20w, 2d. Yesterday was my birthday--and also coincidentally the date of my anatomy scan. I've made no secret of my wanting daughter, and so I was up before 4 am, worrying and wondering what we might find. The night before, I had the chance to catch up with a good friend with whom I'd spent the past week playing phone tag. She asked if Sam and I were going into the ultrasound with two names, one for either sex. I laughed and said that we hadn't begun to think about names--honestly, the thought of considering any girls' names was just too painful. It sounds silly, but I've wanted a daughter for so long and knowing that this was our last shot at having one (yes, we're really and truly done having kids after this one is born), I just felt like I couldn't handle the disappointment of thinking about a baby girl in more concrete terms, like what we might name her. Only boys have been born into my husband's family for the past three generations--12 boys thus far, and everyone has just come to expect that that's how it will continue to be...
When I woke up around 4:00 (all too common these days), I started worrying about whether or not the baby would be healthy--I'd spent so much time focused on whether we were having our third boy or not that I had just taken the baby's health for granted. Given that this pregnancy has been surprisingly hard on me, all of a sudden I wondered if something could be really wrong with the baby. There hadn't been any indication of that during my nuchal translucency at 11 weeks, but those things don't find everything... Luckily, my kids snuck down the stairs around 5:30 am, singing 'Happy Birthday' to me, and distracted me for the next couple of hours.
When we got into the ultrasound room and the anatomy scan began, the sonographer confirmed that we wanted to know the sex. She moved the wand around for a while, saying that the baby has its legs crossed and she'd take pictures of other stuff first, until the baby changed position. I jokingly offered to let her hang me upside down if she needed to, so anxious was I to finally know what we were having. Eventually, she said she thought she knew what the baby was but just wanted one more picture to confirm. When she got that, she said, "It's a healthy baby... girl."
I immediately started sobbing on the ultrasound table, my belly shaking and making it impossible for her to see much of anything for a moment. Sam asked if she was sure it was a girl, and she nodded, pointing out the labia and eventually the ovaries. He looked happy but stunned--although he had admitted to me the night before that he felt for the first time like having a daughter was a realistic possibility and had even started looking at girls' names on his own.
If it makes any sense, especially to those of you who have lost someone close to you, I really felt my mom's presence in the room at the moment the sonographer shared the news. I had told Sam the night before that I knew that regardless of what we were having, this baby was the one that was meant for us, given that despite two previous precisely planned pregnancies, this one had been a bit unexpected. Not only had I gotten pregnant before we started "trying," but I'm due on 1/2/13--which is exactly the season in which I have never wanted to have a baby, given that it meant being pregnant through the summer and having a baby with a birthday within days of a major present-filled holiday (it always seemed to me that those kids get stiffed on presents and celebrating, due to all of the other hullabaloo at that time). Kind of like this baby was a reminder to me of just how little life can actually be planned out according to my specific whims.
But back to that feeling about my mom--she died less than two months after my second son was born, and I continue to feel her absence in my life. We were really, really close--the kind of close where I called her everyday when I moved away for college--and continued doing so until the day she died because I wanted to talk to her. She was an excellent mother to my little brother and me, and I aspire to be like her. And while I have come to learn that she and my brother also had an excellent relationship of a different sort (which relieved me, given the fact that I have two boys of my own), I have always wanted a daughter in the hopes of having the kind of relationship with her that my mom had with me. I'm sorry that she'll never get the chance to enjoy having a granddaughter, but it kind of feels like this little girl is a gift from her (despite my understanding full well how babymaking works--and I can assure you my husband and I were the only two people in the room at that time).
Anyhoo, I went to bed last night still feeling elated--and woke up this morning feeling the same way. This ultrasound experience was much better than when we learned our second child was a boy--and I punched Sam while lying on the ultrasound table!
Did you find out the sex of your baby in advance? Were you surprised? Delighted? Disappointed? Leave a comment.