Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that there truly was no one person more AGAINST the practice of finding out the gender of a baby before it was born. Both my husband and I thought it was the weirdest, wrongest, most terrible anti-climactic thing we had ever heard of. Strangers would ask me "do you know what you're having?" and more recently, "are you having a boy or a girl?" I was looked at like some kind of throwback alien when I told them all "we NEVER find out!"...
the response was almost always the same, across the board: Something along the lines of Oh, wow, I just had to know. You are more patient than I am. I never knew what to say. Childbirth, to me, was this amazing life experience, after hours and hours of excruciating hard work, you got to hear ITS A BOY! or ITS A GIRL!-- that whole thing was just the part of the whole thing to me! You cried with happiness either way, boy or girl, and you laughed, and you reveled, and the little lists you made of Henry, Felix, Andre, Bella, Katriona, Violet suddenly became 50% abbreviated, and well, I just thought finding out what kind of baby you had in there was tantamount to opening every Christmas present early for yourself, your family, and everyone you knew. But worse!
Well, this time, this pregnancy, this year, this place we are at in our lives and our world, things change. It happened one afternoon, around a month ago. the three little boys, near the tail-end of our bout of sickness, were being particularly horrible. Jumping, beating each other, screaming...and I looked over at my husband and said "I swear to God, if we are gonna have 4 of these creatures, I think I want to find out now." TOTALLY KIDDING. and he says to me, "I know, I think I wanna find out too this time"...and my daughter, who has been through 3 pregnancies with me, waiting for her baby sister to materialize somehow, some way, says to me "I wanna find out SO bad! Oh please you guys, lets find out!".........and we all shared this look, surprising ourselves with the giggly idea of this all. "FIND OUT??? US??
I couldn't stop thinking about it. What would it be like, to have some cold and nonchalant technician casually ruin life's biggest surprise to me one random afternoon? Would I be depressed, full of regret? Would we tell anyone else that we knew, or would secrecy verge on some burdensome lying thing? How dare I think that is all that could be revealed on an ultrasound scan, what if the baby was less than perfect, what if I had a placenta problem, a heart defect, kidney failure, chromosomal disorder, conjoined twin, what if the baby --gulp--wasn't alive? Last pregnancy, I didn't even get an ultrasound, didn't want one--was that insane, or was that "right"? Arggggggggg!!!!
The ultrasound was scheduled, and I went in by myself. My friend watched the children, as the hospital had a policy that no one under age 12 could be there without their own adult guardian who was not the mom. My husband goes to work extremely sick, there was no way he could get the time off, it is just that kind of a job. So I went alone. It was peaceful. I was nervous about the baby's health, and got even nervous-er wondering if this was all my 'intuition' or what. I still didn't have to go through with it--the ultrasound, the finding out, none of it. I could go hide out at Starbucks, reschedule the whole thing, or do what I have done in the past, tell them DO NOT NOT NOT tell me what it is, PLEASE.......But I did go. I signed in, and my hands were shaking- I couldn't believe I was this nervous! Maybe the whole OB-Hospital thing was freaking me out, did any of these people know that I was theoretically against all of this stuff? Sigh.... I told the receptionist the whole thing, how we NEVER find out, that we had 1 girl and then 3 boys, yadda yadda yadda and me and her hit it off so well that she made me promise to come back through that way and tell her what happened! Again, I was thinking about me crying, finding out that the baby was not well, and maybe not telling her.....so pessimistic! Sigh sigh sigh....
So in I went, and the technician was very very cool and nice! What a surprise! I told her all about my story and she was so cool, also a mom. Then she started the scan.....I know enough about these things through my own experiences and TV that she didn't have to keep reassuring me when she was quiet. The baby was very thoroughly scanned, she spent a long long time on the brain, the heart, the spine, the cord....and then she said that the baby was in a weird position, breech, crosslegged, and I told her that I simply could not leave without knowing the sex, too much anxiety and pressure and so many friends now all waiting to find out...I offered to jog around a bit, to jump up and down, and she said "Oh, ok, it looks like you are having a little girl!"
All the years of imagining what this would be like, swirling around in my head, was this my imagination, too? All the night before I tried to picture its a boy, its a girl, and what I would think, what it would be like, etc. ITS A GIRL??!?! Was it possible? Did me and Steve still make those?? (haha) I asked her if she was sure, sure, sure and she showed me everything I needed to concur. And the baby is totally healthy and I really could have floated out of there...I think I did.
I did remember to go back and tell the receptionist, and she cried! Maybe because I was crying! It was so surreal, all of it. So wonderfully, wonderfully neat-o.
I do NOT think it is weird, knowing what the baby is this time. It wasn't anti-climactic, it was really really climactic. This time, this was what we wanted, and this pregnancy is so different from the others, it really just fit perfectly with all that is going on in this crazy unpredictable life. Who woulda thunk?