As I wrote in my last post, the most amazing thing happened at my 12 week 1 day ultrasound – while I did not get to hear the baby’s heartbeat, I found out that we were having a boy! I had read in my pregnancy books that by week 11, the baby’s sex organs would be differentiated enough that in theory it was possible to know the baby’s sex. But none of the books had even hinted that the ultrasound technology was sophisticated enough to pick up on this. Rather, the books make sinister references such as “if you could see your baby outside the womb, you would be able to see the sex”.
I know people who wait until the baby is born to find out the sex, but my husband and I are not those people. We are both planners, and I (I’ll speak for myself) am impatient, so we both wanted to know as soon as possible. Up to this point, we had referred to the baby as MB (i.e. embie). However, while we spoke of MB in the masculine, we did not actually expect that MB was really a boy.
While we were keeping an open mind, both of us were gearing ourselves up for a girl. My husband had even recently started saying things like “When MB is born, she’ll like….”. Our reasons for expecting a girl were at once completely rational, and entirely baseless:
First off, we had the perfect name (first and middle) picked out. Both of us loved it! It was beautiful, simple, and not too common. Since we weren’t having much luck agreeing on any boy names, we figured it had to be a girl.
Also, after experiencing our friends’ little kids, my husband had decided that girls seemed easier. The little boys were constantly on the move, dismantling everything in sight, while the girls sat quietly and played with their toys. So, my husband had decided that we would have a girl.
I had a similar bias, but for different reasons. Anytime I pictured how I would decorate the nursery, it was always very girly – lilac walls, a flowery chandelier, etc. And the little girl clothes were beyond adorable!
So, when I called my husband after finding out the sex and had him guess what it was, it’s no surprise that he guessed it was a girl.
“Guess again!” I said. And with the same sense of wonder that I had felt, he said “It’s a boy!”.
With this new knowledge, both of us saw a shift in our attitudes towards the pregnancy. Up to that point, we had been taking it day by day, or at most, week by week. We celebrated each new milestone and looked ahead to what was next, but weren’t very good at thinking long term. We had talked a bit about how things were going to change once the baby came, but it hadn’t really felt real that an actual baby was going to be the outcome of what we were currently going through.
However, now that we knew it was a boy, we started talking about what our son would be like – things like would he take after his father, what sorts of father/son activities my husband would do with him, and how to raise a little boy. A lot of this conversation was driven by the need to reframe our expectations from a fuzzy likely-girl, to an actual, real boy. Both of us had to purge our little girl thoughts and replace them with little boy thoughts.
However, regardless of the motivation for these talks, the end result was what mattered: the process got us that much closer to believing that everything was going to turn out okay, and the possibility of a baby became that much more real.