“Are you going to find out what the sex of the baby is?” I’ve been asked that several times now and my answer is usually an incredulous “YES!” I know there are those out there who enjoy waiting and who believe that not knowing makes meeting your baby for the first time all the more special. Nothing against this, but I’m a firm believer in preparedness (see: control issues). Why put yourself through the torture of having to choose two names, decorating your nursery in “neutral” tones, and depriving yourself of receiving any boy or girl-related gifts at your baby shower? Not to mention the most obvious con: no baby clothes shopping while you’re waiting for little Christy or Christopher to arrive! After all, there are more than enough surprises that come with ballooning to twice your size, morning sickness, and the destruction of your internal and external organs. I consider finding out the sex a little mid-pregnancy reward, the dangling carrot to get to you through the remaining 4-5 months.
Though the standard reveal is at 18-20 weeks, I was determined to do a full investigation of my sonogram at my 15 week doctor’s visit. Surely with a keen eye and the aid of a magnifying glass, I could uncover a speck here of there, or lack thereof, that would at least point me in the right direction. My usual wait time at the doctor has been no longer than 15-20 minutes, so I thought scheduling an appointment at 11:20 would be a good plan. I would get there at 11:15, meet with the doctor at 11:35, be done and out by noon in time to grab lunch and head back to the office.
After reading through every social media update on my phone, checking all my emails, and flipping through two magazines, I began to get impatient. It was 11:45 and all the women who had arrived before me were for the most part still waiting. With every appearance of the nurse with clipboard, everyone’s ears perked as we readied ourselves to be led back to the promised land. If there’s anything worse than a room full of a sick people, it’s an anxious room of hungry pregnant women with full bladders. My decision to gulp down a bottle of water to prepare for the monthly pee sample was one I was quickly beginning to regret. In waiting room hell I had two choices: I could go now, but I might not have any left for the sample. I could hold it, but my bladder had become highly unpredictable, so I had no concept of how much longer I could wait or what type of situation I’d be left with if I happened to sneeze. Luckily, as I was about to make a run for it to the bathroom, clipboard nurse appeared again and my name was called. “Later suckers!” I thought as I made my way to the back area patient rooms. Or “sucker” rather – the room of 15-20 people had by then emptied and I was the second to last person left.
Next stop: waiting room purgatory – I was now in the safety of the isolated patient room. Empty bladder was good, but angry empty stomach was not so good. My initial game plan had me eating by noon but had not accounted for the almost hour wait. It was now 12:15 and I was dying of hunger and thirst with no snacks in reach. I don’t think I’ve emphasized this yet but the hunger pangs that come while pregnant make regular hunger seem like a joke. It’s painful and even terrifying, you can feel your body begin to shut down and the desperation will make you do crazy things (just ask my husband about the time I threw a tantrum and then nearly passed out in the aisles of Home Depot). Just when things were about to go white my doctor came in – she asked me a few routine questions, examined me quickly, and let me hear the baby’s heartbeat. The quick and loud “thump thump thump” filled me with happiness and distracted me from my lack of nourishment. “That’s it!” she said, “see you in four weeks”. FOUR WEEKS?! No sono? I was so sad. “But ..” I blurted. She stopped to look at me, “Was there something else?” I mumbled something about hoping to find out the sex of the baby and she smiled and went into an explanation about how insurance would only cover a set amount of sonograms, unless there were health-related issues that needed to be checked out. Everything was looking normal with me, so there was no reason for me to get a sonogram at that point in time. She could tell I was disappointed and offered a solution, “There was actually another woman in last week – ” she said, “that wanted an extra sono and had us price it out for her to pay out of pocket. We could do that if you’d be interested?” Hooray! “YES! Well – how much would it be? And what is the likelihood that I’ll find out the sex this early?” She said the chances were high I’d be able to tell, and the nurse quoted me $60 – what a bargain compared to the $1,000 I was prepared to shell out!
A lot of people (including myself) wondered why I didn’t wait until my next visit anyway since my husband wasn’t able to make this appointment and it would be better to find out together, but I wasn’t kidding when I said I was impatient. Also, he had given me strict instructions prior to the visit to do everything in my power to get a sonogram. As I waited in yet another room while the nurse was setting up, I kept thinking “girl girl – be prepared for a girl”. I was fine with either but the husband had his heart set on a boy and I somehow wanted to brace myself for his disappointment. Our baby suddenly appeared on the screen and I stared eagle-eyed at the image. “Baby is moving around a lot, it’s going to be hard to tell.” What?! Sixty dollars down the drain, I thought. After five minutes of different angles she finally pointed to the screen — “there’s baby’s legs, and there’s his ….”. HIS! My heart was beating with excitement and I tried not to run out of the examining room with my belly exposed. It took every ounce of will power not to call my husband right away, but I still needed to get my blood drawn, check out with the nurse and fill out some paperwork before I would get to leave. As luck would have it my husband happened to be unreachable at an all day conference so then began the random dialings of immediate family members. Mom – no answer, Sister 1 – no answer, Sister 2 – no answer, Dad – “hello?” “DAD! WE’RE HAVING A BOY!”