January 22, 2013

To Know or Not to Know...?

"Congratulations!!! You're having a baby!! Do you know what it is?
... Are you going to find out?!"

I promise this (or some very similar variation) will be the first thing people ask when you announce that you are expecting.

Almost three years ago when we were expecting our first, we found that 90% of the people we knew having babies were finding out. But that 10% seemed kind of cool... Intriguing. My husband felt very strongly that he didn't want to know our baby's gender. He wanted to have the moment of bursting from the delivery room and announcing, "It's a--!!!"

I liked the idea, too. You may be thinking: hey, you are doing all the work of growing a tiny human, giving up alcohol and sushi and cold cuts, gaining 30(+) lbs, having morning sickness and heartburn, and/or other discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth... Shouldn't you at least get two votes... And some of the glory?

Agreed. But I got to feel tiny kicks long before my husband, and all day every day while I was away from him. And I was lavished with all the Mommy-to-be attention and baby showers. And this is our child. and, at the risk of sounding too cliche, it just didn't matter as long as we had a healthy baby.

"But I am too much of a planner," you say. "I have to know how to decorate the nursery." I AM a planner. I am an industrial engineer by profession and practice in my personal life. So I planned. I researched the best baby equipment (in gender neutral shades) and read books on how to care for babies (I highly recommend both the Miracle Blanket and The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by the way). And from a totally materialistic perspective, we scored tons more of the "real" baby equipment from our generous family and friends than our friends who "knew" and got piles if pink or blue onesies instead.

Then we rounded month 8 of our pregnancy. In this last month, you're anxious to meet this little soul, and is the most uncomfortable yet (especially if you are expecting in August, in the South). And while we were so fortunate to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy, that meant we didn't get any more ultrasounds, no more chances to look inside and change our minds and maybe start calling "it" by a proper pronoun.

Oh well, too late.

And then your due date rolls around, and don't you know, you have a beautiful baby boy who is perfect and whose name fits perfectly (regardless of how much you stressed over having to choose TWO names, or what other celebrity claimed it just days before). And already you can't remember what life was like before now...

AND THEN... Because your first child is so cool, you may choose to have a second child. And now there is another person to consider in your household vote to find out the gender or not.

Maybe you maintain that it will not matter, as long as the baby is healthy. But maybe you remember month 8 and are already weary if all the "s/he"s you type to your friends in emails. And your son is two and still doesn't totally get this idea of a sibling, but when asked which he would prefer, he answers unwaveringly with "a brother". How can we keep preparing him for this new arrival, and disruption to his world?

Hm. So your husband concedes that "last time we did it his way", so he is open this time.

The fifth month approaches and thought you are most hoping for 10 fingers and 10 toes, you are also looking forward to finding out the sex of baby number two.

So we found out. And good thing, since all three of us were pretty sure we were having a boy... And the tech informed us she is a girl. We had her check twice.

I made surprise pink-centered cookies to send to our family and share with our coworkers. It was fun!

So as the pink gear started to amass in the nursery, we agonized over a name. Of course, we had a girl name all picked out for baby #1, so that should have been a no brainer. But this go 'round I just didn't like it for her. And of course hubby and I still had very different preferences. But at least we got to call her "her" and "she". Then at month 7 we were riding in the car from one random place to another and I just blurted out, "how about ___?". Hubby said, "hey, not bad". And it stuck. So now SHE even has a name (even if only a select few know it)!!

We have been able to start training our 2.5 year old to refer to the baby by her name and its cute. Maybe its just been all the talk about the baby, and siblings classes, and maybe he's matured to the right point, but his sister even seems more real to him now that she has a name. He asked me the other night, "When will Baby Sister come out of your belly?" ... so he's putting it all together.

 I still follow up gender references with "... or so they say" because, they do get it wrong sometimes...


  1. Oh please, oh please, oh PLEASE tell me. I lie awake at night wondering about it! I am so excited for the three of you that I almost can't stand it. You are SO close!!

  2. Jill B-L! I agree!! Inquiring minds want to know!