Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Le Reveal Sans Balloons & Cupcakes (I am so French.)

 Remember when I said I had so much less anxiety about this pregnancy than the last? It's still true. But barely. Apparently I can be thrown back into complete neurosis at any given time. I was pretty freaking cool, nearly cucumber-like, and then I started telling people at the 12-13 week mark and had to use the fetal doppler every 34 seconds because of the jinxing phenomenon.
Then things settled, my belly started popping, I started feeling cute and the day of the gender reveal arrived.

That evening was a clusterfuck. We got hit by torrential rains leaving J stuck on the highway in gridlock traffic. Knowing that there was basically no chance he'd make it, I called my sister and she hightailed it across the city. In addition to wanting an adult buddy, I also needed help with Henry who I'd already picked up from daycare so he could witness and fully grasp this momentous occasion. I was really glad my sister was able to be there. I am not my own emotional support. I rely on family, friends and strangers to fulfill that role in my life. Hence, this blog. Henry, while glad to see his aunt, insisted on lying on my chest, whimpering with his feet on either side of my belly while the ultrasound tech probed and prodded. The probing and prodding went on for what felt like forever. It really wasn't that long, just so markedly longer than with Henry's gender reveal. Moms of boys have had this experience: the tech swivels the probe around and there, between the legs, are giant floating balls and penis. It's the most obvious thing in the history of things that are obvious. This time, no balls. Also, no real cooperation on the part of the baby. Baby kept its legs crossed at the ankle and would spring up and down occasionally providing a momentary glimpse but nothing sustained. We kept getting flashes of nothing between the legs, then flashes of the infamous "three lines" and vacant space below but they were quick. The tech said she was fairly certain but needed her senior tech to confirm. The senior tech came in and was able to get a clearer shot very quickly. Ankles still crossed but there it was. Three lines. No balls.

It's a girl!

It's a girl? For real? Are you kidding? I wanted a girl, I want a girl but I was so completely thrown by the declaration. Tech said she was absolutely certain.  I walked out of there totally stunned despite the fact that all arrows had pointed in that direction from the time the ultrasound jelly hit my belly. I had tossed the pronoun "she" around in my head before this, looked at girls' clothing, but kinda didn't think it would happen.

So am I excited? Yes. I am. Do I completely believe it? No, not yet. I have the 20-week ultrasound coming up in mid-October and am absurdly anxious for a peek. I keep worrying that I'll give my heart to the idea of a girl and then be one of those people who is told they're having one gender and then delivers another. Seriously, I can't stop googling "wrong gender ultrasound." And, like googling "cancer" and "miscarriage," the interweb world is more than happy to share their stories of mistaken gender on ultrasounds. As are my mother and the housekeeper at my office. So I vacillate between happy and an emotionally-guarded nervous wreck combing the Internet for fetal vagina pics. They look like my fetus' vagina but still. BUT STILL. I just can't bedazzle one half of the nursery with glitter and flammable pink fabrics for another 3 weeks. You know, because that's what one does for female children. 

So that's where I am. 25% excited, 15% skeptical, 60% a ridiculous mess of nerves. 

As always, I invite and encourage your comments. HOWEVER, if you share a story about your cousin who had all three children's gender misindentified at an ultrasound, I will find you and kick you in the nutgina.*

*Nutgina - A common physical anomaly often misidentified on ultrasound as the wrong gender.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

16 Weeks and Such

Sixteen weeks today. Feeling like shit. Horrible headaches that make me nauseous, general feeling of being woozy and light-headed much of the time. This pregnancy is kind of a doozy. Cooking Henry was relatively easy, I've come to find out. Things that are keeping me from lying on my bathroom floor and simply moaning: I'm developing a cute little beer belly; I'll feel movement soon. I felt Henry flipping around for the first time at around 19 weeks and, if it's true that you feel the second pregnancy sooner, then I'll feel something or other in the next couple of weeks. One pick-me-up coming in the very near future is the big gender reveal. We went to a Peek-A-Crotch ultrasound center at 16 weeks with Henry and, true to form, will be doing it again this week.

I find myself thinking about gender so much more during this pregnancy. There are two reasons for this. First, when I was pregnant with Henry, I was so totally sure that he was a boy that I didn't really feel like I needed to think about what gender was living inside me. Because basically, I knew. So when the ultrasound tech swiveled around to show a prominent set of twig and berries, it just didn't feel like a surprise. I was elated - I had grown genitals out of petri dish emulsion, J's sperm and my egg - but I felt like I'd known the whole time. This time I don't have that gut feeling. The pronoun "she" wanders into my head quite a bit but that's not the same as the feeling I had with Henry. I've dreamed about having this baby several times and each time, the gender switches. Equal ticks in the girl column and boy column.

This ambiguity keeps me thinking about the gender but more so it's the future picture of my family. I think I'm done after two. It was hard to get here and I can't imagine my body will keep responding well to IVF hell. What's more, I don't think I want to be pregnant a third time or have a third child. I want parenting to be a man on man game. Children should not outnumber adults or it's total anarchy. J doesn't feel the same way - he'd like a third, he's one of three kids - but that's a discussion for the future. A discussion in which he doesn't have a uterus and doesn't pee a little when he sneezes. (I know. Kegels.) When this topic does come up, he asks me if I think that his youngest brother, was a mistake. Um, what? The question is not, "Should we eradicate all third-born children from this earth?" My answer to that question is, unequivocally, "No, they can stay." It's hard having completely irrational debates. I don't mean to shrug off J's hopes and dreams for our family, I just know that the onset of the second trimester isn't the time to make sweeping decisions.

I had this little moment of clarity the other day regarding the gender. It's totally sappy and not really like me but it's made me excited and given me a sense of calm. We're just finding out who's meant to be cooking in there. I told you. Sappy. But I'm pregnant and cried while watching a 2015 Cubs highlights reel. Sappy is my thing right now.