The bad news: there was more emotional trauma than I anticipated.
These days, most people find out the gender of their baby quite early. There's all sorts of tests that can be done, especially if you have a high risk pregnancy. We opted out of the elective tests and just planned on waiting until the routine ultrasound. Our doctor told us that would be just after the 18 week appointment. So we planned on that. But then of course, I had to change my doctor and the new doctor has a policy to not do the ultrasound until you hit the 20 week mark. I was a bit sad about that, but I thought, "Hey, I've waited this long, what's another 2 weeks?" But apparently I'm in the minority, because when I went in to my 18 week appointment and met our new doctor, she said, "So do you know the gender yet?"
I said, "Well, no we haven't had our ultrasound yet."
She said, "Oh most people have gone on their own to Fetal Fotos at this point. They can't wait this long."
So then we looked into Fetal Fotos and then thought, no we can wait another week. Ha! So finally yesterday morning, Thursday the 15th, we had our ultrasound scheduled for 8:30 am as soon as they opened doors. We went in and had a great ultrasound. At this office, an OBGYN does the ultrasound instead of a technician so that they can see if there is an issue immediately. She took all the measurements and most everything is looking really good. It was so nice to see the scan and watch our baby moving around. The brain and spine and legs all look good. She pointed out what she looks for in the heart and the mouth. It's really neat to see the view with blood flow and you can see that things are moving and working properly. The whole thing was just very reassuring and comforting when you haven't SEEN anything for a few months.
At the end, she started looking for signs of gender determination. Unfortunately the umbilical cord was in the way between the legs and she couldn't get a clear shot. She tried moving the wand around a bit and then said, "Well I'm not positive, but I think it's a girl. If I had to go Vegas, I'd say it's a girl. But don't buy anything pink yet because I didn't get a very good shot." Greg got excited and said, "ok great, it's a girl!" But her so-so answer wasn't good enough for me. I wanted a stronger confirmation of gender before I got pumped. Especially because I had been feeling like it was a boy, so I was OK to be wrong but only if I really was wrong.
She did say one thing that she wanted to check again, so she said I should schedule another ultrasound for 30 weeks to check the concern and "we'll confirm the gender at that time."
So Greg and I go into the lobby waiting for them to burn the DVD of the ultrasound to a disk. Greg tries to cheer me up and calm me down, but I was pretty frustrated. I couldn't sleep the night before and I'd been counting down the days until we would know the gender. We had both taken the morning off work and we were planning to go to breakfast after the appointment and going to the mall to pick out a new little baby outfit together. But none of that sounded fun anymore when we didn't have a confirming gender. And I was sad about it. I held strong until we got to the car and then I just started sobbing. I felt jipped.
I texted my mom and sister, and they thought I was joking that the ultrasound was inconclusive about gender. I knew I couldn't wait for another 2.5 months and my mom certainly didn't want to wait that long either, so her and Melissa suggested I just bite the bullet and go to Fetal Fotos. I called the doctor's office and asked if there was any other way I could find out the gender but they pretty much only gave me the option of Fetal Fotos because there was no other medical reason that they should perform another blood test or ultrasound at this point.
At this point it was 9:15 am and Fetal Fotos doesn't open until 10. I had been crying so much that I knew I needed to get water or I was going to get a headache. And I had been planning to go to breakfast, so I was super hungry. Plus I am pregnant and emotional, so hunger and thirst certainly don't help the equation. Ha! So we drove home. I got some toast and water and called to cry to my mom while Greg popped in the ultrasound DVD. I had him fast forward to the end and he paused at a spot where she was going to measure the femur. He thought he had seen a little something when we were at that point in the doctor's office. He said, "Remember when I squeezed your hand at that point? I thought I had seen something."
I said, "Oh I thought you were just excited that it had a long femur and would be tall like you!" Ha!
So we go through it slowly and Greg pushes pause at just the right spot. It definitely looked like a little boy part and not an umbilical cord! So Greg googles "baby boy ultrasound" and we're comparing the google images to the screen trying to figure it out.
I said, "Ok this is too weird. I don't know if we can trust our screen shot of the DVD as our answer." So we racked our brains trying to think of who we know in the baby industry that we could text our screen shot to and see if we were right.
Greg says, "Well I think at this point we have a 50/50 chance of it being either a boy or a girl. Let's just call Fetal Fotos." Ha! Greg calls and they have an opening in 20 minutes!
We race down to Murray (and get there 15 minutes before they could take us, we were anxious). I had been chugging water because they said if my bladder had been full at the first ultrasound, it might have been better. But then at Fetal Fotos, they said they prefer if I have an empty bladder, so that's confusing.
We go into the appointment with their ultrasound tech and it's totally different. At this point, we know that there are no issues with the baby and we'd just seen all the cute little things like the little hands moving and the foot print. All adorable, but I wanted to focus on the goal! Who is this kid? Baby girl or baby boy?!
Our tech there was really sweet and acted as if she plenty of time in the world. She let us just watch it moving around a bunch and showed us some of the cuter, traditional views like the profile and playing with its arms. It was fun. Then she focused in on gender. We could see the umbilical cord in the same spot but she moved it around a bunch and said she had a pretty good idea of what it was but she wanted me to lay on my side for a few minutes and poke around my stomach to try to get the baby to move. So I did just that. She came back in and we tried again. The umbilical cord and shifted over just slightly, but enough that we could definitely see a little nubbin on our baby boy! She went around and around and showed us the umbilical cord pulsating and transparent so we could really confirm it for ourselves. It was all so exciting!
We came out and she gave us our pictures and the proof we were looking for! I felt so relieved that my instinct was right and that we had a confirmation. Of course, I would have been ecstatic with a girl too but just knowing that we really had a gender and we had seen it for ourselves, was so neat. We thought about how good it was that we didn't do a gender reveal party, because the first ultrasound doctor would have just written "girl" on a piece of paper in an envelope. But we were really part of the diagnosis process and we're glad we were there to see it all and really know for ourselves that we are having a boy!
At that point, we needed to get back to work so we didn't have time for our fun plans. Greg dropped me off back home so I could go back downtown and he could drive to Park City. Our families were excited for us and we're so pumped about how real the whole thing feels now. I feel like I can finally picture our baby knowing that he is a boy.
I tried to think back about why it felt like a boy and there were a few random things. Here's one I feel comfortable to share:
About a year and a half ago, we got tickets to go to EnduroCross. It's a dirt bike competition they have at arenas around the country and it's a tight course where the competitors go over big logs and rocks and race to the finish line. In between one of the races they brought out a bunch of little boys on mini dirt bikes to do a mini version of the course. They were probably between 5 and 8. And they were absolutely adorable. Greg had mentioned that he wanted our kids to dirt bike when they were young, but I hadn't actually seen a mini dirt bike rider and I just lost it.
He turned to me and said, "Wait are you crying right now?"
Ha! I said, "Yeah, it's just really cute. That could be our boy someday."
We were on the front row so I had a great view and they were just so cute. And I pictured a little boy of ours with all his gear and Greg teaching him how to ride. Of course we won't force him if he isn't into it, but I just really hope they can share that hobby together. And I'll be the overly worried soccer mom on the sideline. :)
As Greg says, we're just happy we have a healthy baby. But for me, I'm glad to finally know more about him and start prepping for the details!