I have this fringe friend whom I respect greatly, and though our relationship is based mostly in the virtual worlds of Facebook and Instagram, I would totally would spend more actual time with him if he wasn't so busy vacationing in Cabo and Aspen and happy houring at the hottest new foodie venues and generally way too cool for me. Anyways, when I was pregnant with my second boy, he told me, 'I know I don't know you that well' (which he doesn't) 'but you seem like you'd be a really good mom to boys'.
Now, I immediately took (and still take) that statement as a complement. Granted, he could very well have meant 'Anyone who wears their hair like that probably shouldn't produce any female offspring' or 'I always took you for a closeted lesbian' but I still think of it as a complement nonetheless.
As my pregnancy ambled along and the official 'anatomy scan' loomed closer, I found myself spending more time thinking about the possible outcomes of that scan. Honestly, I am a person who really enjoys a good 'surprise.' I like to fly through life by the seat of my pants, not knowing exactly what to expect around each twist and turn of the road (which perhaps at least partially explains why I seem to be churning out offspring with the proficiency of a damn rabbit). If it were totally up to me and my instincts, I would prefer to wait until the day our little bundle arrives to learn what sort of genitals we'll be dealing with. I just love to linger in suspense and anticipation.
Unfortunately, being a working mom of a one- and two-year-old who can just barely make it out of the house with everyone properly clothed and is generally operating just one spilt sippy cup short of a nervous breakdown, I have learned the grand benefits of operating two steps ahead of life when possible.
Plus, with biweekly ultrasounds to monitor the competency of my mommy parts, concealing the gender of our baby will become harder and harder as my pregnancy progresses. I would much rather find out intentionally then unintentionally.
The plan with my first born was for my husband to be the one to deliver the delightful news of the baby's sex in the delivery room. When my son made his dramatically rapid appearance, my husband was busy racing his way back from the dinner I had insisted he have with his sister.
Therefore, the long awaited news came instead from a doctor -- whose name I ashamedly cannot remember -- as he tried consoling my post preterm delivery tears with the words 'he's doing great' and was probably a little perplexed when his use of a gender-specific pronoun only made me cry harder. Nothing had gone as expected, and this was the icing on my shocked and overwhelmed cake.
With our second, we were determined for things to go drastically different (i.e. normally) and somehow I felt that I could take some semblance of control over my previously uncooperative reproductive system by learning the baby's gender in advance.
We had a nice little party with our closest friends and family where I insisted everyone guess at the gender before the big reveal. By wrapping my ponytail in a pink bandanna and snatching up an un-inflated pink balloon, I found myself both outnumbered by our party guests and also wrong.
My friend who had been given the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech and subsequently poked holes in all the pink balloons, gave me an apologetic smile as the air seeped pathetically from my pink balloon. The millisecond of disappointment I felt stemmed (yes, it happened) less from learning it was another boy and more from my genetic predisposition that lends me to hating being proven wrong.
Still, I quickly got excited at the prospect of having two boys who would grow up together so close in age. I am, after all, a 'good mother to boys.' The word 'princess' frankly makes my blood boil a little and these days, I apply makeup about as often as I change the oil in my car. I enjoy wrestling with my boys and have a low tolerance for tea parties (pretend, political, or otherwise). As a child, I once openly declared my disgust for my growing collection of 'kitchen sets,' tore the wallpaper filled with tiny pink hearts from my bedroom walls as soon as I had the chance, and have since become a woman who can barely boil water properly. It's true. I am probably a better mom to boys than I would be to girls.
But that doesn't mean I would decide to negotiate a baby trade with some other expecting woman if this one turns out to be female. Sure, I would probably experience a whole new level of anxiety and maybe arrange for an extended vacation that could be taken alone in 15 years when the kid subsequently becomes the monster that is a hormonal 15-year-old girl (take it from me, I was no picnic at that age).
Come to think of it, I'm not crazy about teenage boys either. I think I'll book that trip either way.
Still, I can't help but think it would also be kinda great to accept the challenge of raising a strong, smart, confident woman in a world that seems to favor empty-headed stick-figures with boobs.
So at yesterday's routine biweekly lady-part check up, the ultrasound tech casually asked if we already knew the gender. When we responded in the negative, she asked if we'd like to know. I had convinced myself they would save that info for our official 'anatomy scan' scheduled in a couple weeks, so I just stammered for a minute or two before accepting her offer, given she would just write it down and seal it in an envelope.
So now we have this envelope.
At one point early in my last pregnancy, I honestly thought the gender of our second child would determine whether or not we would have another to 'try for a girl.' Maybe in part, I felt this because the whole world seems to be rooting for all families to include one of each sex (and no more). If that were actually the case, that would put a heap-load of pressure on the contents of this envelope. But at this point, I honestly don't know what I want. I know it's P.C. and relatively common for an expecting parent to say that the only thing they really care about is that the baby is healthy, while secretly yearning for one gender or the other. But I think I'm just the right combination of both wishy-washy and paranoid to actually mean that now. My very sincere answer to the inevitable question: 'are you hoping for a girl this time?' is that I really just want a nice, fat full term baby. My cervix measured at 4.4cm yesterday (which is good) and that was the most important news we left with.
Still, now that we have the envelope, I am feeling totally preoccupied by it's contents. We haven't opened it yet, but now I feel pretty certain I can't let it remain a mystery for much longer. It's not that I'm rooting for one or the other, I'm just curious beyond belief. Now it's like when someone teases you with their knowledge of a juicy secret that directly involves you. It sits there lifeless in my living room, taunting me.
Maybe it's a boy.
Maybe it's a girl.
We do know it's a human child and that we will love that kid like crazy either way...at least until he/she turns 15.