From Bump to Baby

Finding Out The Gender

With this pregnancy, I am reminded of the top 3 questions that get asked to pregnant women again and again. 1) When are you due?  2) How are you feeling? And 3) Are you going to find out the sex?

The first two, when answered, are usually met with a nod and perhaps a follow up question or two. The last one, however, tends to take certain people back to Debate class, and they seem to feel a need to argue why their decision – whatever it was – is the better way to go.

May I humbly share some advice? This is a very personal decision, which, for many, simply comes down to their gut. Respect that, and intentionally choose to just listen to their reasoning and understand where they’re coming from. In addition, I must share that I rarely meet a woman whose decision can or will be changed, once she’s made up her mind.  So I implore you not to ruffle any feathers.

As for Marc and me,  we did decide to find out the sex with babies #1 and #2 ahead of time.  And we will likely do the same for the third. Which means I have a story for each, and I’d like to share them briefly in hopes of sparking an idea for those of you in the “find out the sex” camp.

With our son, I went to the ultrasound appointment by myself. My husband was unable to attend due to a story that’s longer than deems this article, so I found out the news by myself in that Northwestern Hospital room. Knowing my husband wanted to hear the news in person, but also knowing that I’m bad at keeping a secret, I placed a phone call or two (or 3 or 4 or 10) and then blabbed the news to my classmates in grad school. Yes, it felt weird that Martha, who I’d only meet weeks ago, knew that the babe in my belly was a boy before Boy’s own daddy did. But my mouth had gotten away from me and what was done was done!

I then went home and decorated the condo in “It’s A Boy” fashion, so that when my husband walked in the door from his work event, he’d be barraged with all things blue.  I put the final touches on the streamers and signs and waited…and waited…and waited. I finally received a phone call that Marc had stepped on a nail during the day and needed to get in for an urgent doctor’s visit. Hours passed, I paged even further through my “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” book (I was surely at the “What to Pack for the Hospital” part by then), and finally I heard the outside door to our condo open. I grabbed the camera and watched as he opened the door and took in the news. I think he gave a thumbs up. I definitely know he smiled. And I remembered he was raising his eyebrows as he smiled as if to say, “Really???” It was a happy moment.



But….the initial “it’s a boy” news wasn’t shared together.


Fast forward 3 years. Perhaps it was in regret of half of America knowing the news before Marc did. Or maybe the fact that I learned the gender by myself in a dark hospital room on floor 24. But I knew I wanted our second pregnancy to be different.


So, with our second pregnancy, I asked the ultrasound tech not to share the news verbally, but rather write it on a piece of paper for Marc and me to open together at dinner that night. And that is exactly what we did. We drove to downtown Chicago, ordered our ribs, and while we waited – opened the envelope together. I will never forget that moment, for I had been convinced that I was a mom of boys. To see the word “girl” was almost too much to take in. The picture below shows my reaction.




I guess I wanted to share the story with our daughter to point out the fact that your companion for sharing the news does not have to be the tech you met only moments ago, who, surely is a nice woman, but nevertheless a virtual stranger. That idea had not occurred to me, and I will say it was a blast opening that envelope at a downtown Chicago restaurant with my husband.


There are plenty of other ways to discover and/or reveal the news. I’ll share a few of them here:


1)   Gender Cake Party –Hand over the ultrasound tech’s report to your local bakery, invite friends and family over, and cut open the cake to find either pink or blue inside.

2)   Baby Shower Reveal – This one takes self-discipline, but would double the fun of your baby shower. Have the baby’s gender sealed in an envelope to be delivered to the hostess of the baby shower. She will tell all the guests the sex of the baby and they can buy gifts accordingly – tons of pink or blue!

3)   Fortune Cookie Surprise Have the family over for dinner to share your good news. Serve Chinese food, maybe even play with the Chinese Gender Calendar. Then offer everyone a fortune cookie for dessert. Only these fortune cookies will have special message that say, “It’s a girl!” or perhaps hints about the sex of your baby. You can either pre-order special cookies or you can make your own fortune cookies.

4)   Write It Out – If you do any blogging yourself, or are simply on Facebook or Twitter – deliver the news by dropping little hints. “Boy oh boy! We’re so excited to meet our new little one this fall. Missing pregnancy will make me blue, but what’s a new mom to do?”

However you choose to learn and announce the news – ENJOY. It’s the first of many steps in getting to know your little one.

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