It's something I thought about a lot. Deep down I knew we were going to do it, but part of me wanted to hold off - just to keep things interesting. However, when it came down to it, we couldn't resist the temptation. We had to know if we were having a boy or a girl.
Okay, I might have led you up the garden path a little with the title of this one, but technically we will be talking about sex - just in more of a pink and blue way rather than a birds and bees way.
It's a big deal, finding out the gender of your unborn baby. In the early stages of my pregnancy I was often asked if I had an inkling as to what we were having and I would promptly tell everyone I thought the baby was a boy. The truth is, I think I was hoping for a girl - not because I have anything against boys, but just because I was so used to girls. I have four sisters and four nieces, and although I also have three nephews, there has always been an overwhelming dominance of Barbie dolls and fairies over dinosaurs and trucks in my life. As a result, I was comfortable and confident when it came to dealing with little girls and I believe that's why I was leaning towards wanting one of my own.
(Please excuse the gender stereotyping - if it helps, I had a boy's haircut for many of my childhood years and rarely wore dresses. Also my nickname was 'little fella' due to being mistaken for a boy thanks to the aforementioned hairdo. I was pretty much the son my parents never had)
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, 20 weeks pregnant and kind of crossing my fingers for a girl but telling everyone I thought I was having a boy because I figured that somehow kept things even. I felt guilty about having a slight preference, and certainly didn't want to admit it.
I knew that it wouldn't take long for me to come around to the idea of a boy if that was our destiny, but I was worried I might feel a little disappointed on first hearing the news. I didn't want to spend my first moments with my newborn trying to quash even the slightest feelings of disappointment, so I figured it was best we find out the gender before he or she was born so I had time to get used to the idea.
Our twenty-week scan was a few days before Christmas and we discussed asking the ultrasound technician to write the baby's gender in a card that we could open together on Christmas morning. That completely went out the window when the tech asked us if we were finding out the gender. Joel and I looked at each other and knew we wanted to know right away. When he hovered the, what is it... a wand? Stick? (Quick google - 'transducer')... when he hovered the transducer over the region in question there was no mistaking what we saw.
"We're not really meant to tell people with one hundred percent certainty what they're having, but I am a hundred percent certain you're having a boy"
He really didn't need to say that. The image spoke for itself, and we were equally sure of what we saw. Surprisingly my heart didn't sink. Nor did it soar. It was more of an "oh, okay, cool" kind of moment. It was hard to take in because we were overwhelmed with how real it all felt now that we knew the baby's gender - it somehow gave him more of an identity than he'd had up to that point.
I'll admit that on the day of the scan it was a bit weird having to figuratively say farewell to the baby girl I had in my head, but I now know I would have felt the same if we'd had to close the door on the idea of a baby boy. We'd spent so much time talking about "if it's a girl" and "if it's a boy" that it was like we'd imagined two little babies, so a small sense of loss either way was inevitable.
Life has a way of ironing things out, and the good news is I love my little boy to pieces and certainly wouldn't have him any other way. He's the perfect fit for us and I'm so looking forward to all our adventures together. I now find the idea of having a little girl completely foreign and can't imagine what life would be like with a baby girl in it. I still think it would be nice to have a daughter, but I equally think it would be awesome if Victor ended up with a little brother. I can honestly say I don't mind if number two is a boy or a girl, so perhaps next time we'll leave it as a surprise? Who knows, temptation may well get the better of us again.
Did you secretly (or not-so-secretly) have a preference when it came to the gender of your child/children? Did you find out your baby's gender before he or she was born? What would you do in future pregnancies?
Finally if you have a few moments to spare, feel free to watch the video Joel made to reveal our baby's gender to our families on Christmas Day, 2011. Pretty cute don't you think?
- © Fairfax NZ News