|image credit- This is not really our baby!|
I hesitated. You don't go to a twelve week appointment expecting to find out the flavor of your baby, and I suddenly wasn't prepared. But of course there was only one answer. "Hit me with it," I told her.
"I think it's another girl."
I didn't feel a flicker of surprise. We already have three of those. We're good at turning out baby girls. "Seriously?" I asked her. "Are you sure?"
She nodded apologetically. I had already entertained her with our should-be-kept-private-but-are-way-too-funny-not-to-share stories about Jeremy trying to secure a male heir. He read all the online tips. The most famous of his antics was the night I came home and found him sitting with an ice pack in his lap, drinking a Pepsi (we're not soda drinkers). "I think you're ovulating tonight," he said, by way of explanation. I drew the line at taking Mucinex, which was Jeremy's next suggestion. But I understood. He is out numbered 4 to 1.
I called Jeremy after I left my appointment and gently broke the news. "It's a girl. She's pretty darn sure. She's been doing her job for years and years." He took the news in stride. We don't believe in mourning the sex of a baby. We know too many people who would give a kidney in order to have a child of their own. And with three daughters we know what a little girl is worth. So, we laughed as we fell asleep that night. Four girls. What a fabulous, estrogen-riddled circus! I couldn't wait.
And then yesterday happened. I believe that some of life's most amazing, freeze-frame moments happen on sunny Wednesday mornings, when you least expect it. The whole get-along-gang went with us to the appointment. On their own accord my girls decided to "get fancy" for the occasion and wore floofy skirts and their favorite sparkly shoes. It isn't everyday that you get to see what's cookin' inside mom's belly.
The ultrasound technician moved the wand over my belly and said, "Are you ready?" She froze the image. "It's a BOY!" The tiny room erupted in hysterical screams (from our three girls) and Jeremy and I simultaneously started babbling, "A boy? Are you sure? Seriously, a boy? A BOY?"
I raised up on my elbows so that I could look into Jeremy's face. And that was the freeze frame moment I will run my fingertips over when I'm a shriveled old lady thinking back on my best days. He had tears in his eyes. We stared at each other and I nodded an encouraging smile. It's okay to be thrilled! It's okay that you wanted a son. Jeremy took a couple of steps backward and had to sit down. A BOY.
There is a lot about gender that doesn't matter a whit. Many parenting experiences will be the same, regardless of the flavor. Many experiences will be different, but it will have more to do with the individual child and personality traits than anything else. But in some regards gender matters a great deal. I'm going to write about this more next week, but for the moment let's just say that Jeremy had graciously given up on his dream of helping a son through the scouting program, attending our church's annual Father-Son camp out, or escorting him through one of our temples some day. Jeremy was prepared to give his whole heart to the activities and experiences he could share with his daughters...and then this. A boy.
Katherine interrupted the tender moment to say, "Let's have a garage sale next weekend and sell EVERYTHING pink." My face fell. For a fleeting moment I understood that this is my last baby and we will never again unpack those baby girl headbands, the newborn ballet flats, the collection of storage bins in my basement housing all things pink and perfect. For me, every ultrasound is tinged with a tiny sigh of regret because up until that moment you are having both. You get to imagine your life with a baby girl AND a baby boy, two very separate, equally exciting possibilities. But there comes a time to put your future in focus, to distill the picture of what comes next by saying, "Okay, this is what it's going to be." That moment has arrived.
Whatever fear and uncertainty I'm facing about a future filled with pine wood derbies and teenage boy jock straps, there is one thing that is real and true. I wanted Jeremy to have a son. After eleven years of marriage he is still the best man I know and I can't wait to meet his son. I hope this baby turns out just like his daddy and for me, that is reason enough to get rid of the pink onesies and to make room for other things.
It's time to buy some cars and trucks.