(Sometimes I feel a little reflective and I like to write about things that happened in the past. So yes, a post about when I was pregnant with Adeline isn’t very timely, but it’s my blog, give me a break.)
I wouldn’t have been so nervous if the t.v. hadn’t been broken. I should have been able to watch the ultrasound on a giant t.v. monitor; to see all the bends and folds and yes, the genitals. But it was broken so I had to lay back on the hospital bed and trust my not-very-good eyes (I’m supposed to wear glasses, but I often don’t) to pick out tiny body parts on a much too small computer screen three feet away.
Even then, with the right technician I would have been ok. But the woman we got was old and cranky and she said, “Well, I don’t see any boy parts sticking out. And this here” (casual point) “looks like girl parts to me.” Then she moved the screen away and went along with the rest of the ultrasound. “Wait!” I wanted to yell. “Did you just tell me I’m having a girl? Are you sure? Don’t you want to spend a little longer checking things out? What the hell is going on here?!” But I don’t yell. That’s not how I was raised.
Instead, I waited until she left the room for a moment and turned to David. “She didn’t sound very sure… What if she’s wrong? I wish she would have showed us so I could have seen for myself.” When she came back, David pushed her on the issue. “Oh, sure, it’s a girl. I’m never wrong.” And that was that.
Now is probably a good time to mention that about three weeks before the ultrasound a friend of ours had a baby boy. Except that she had been told it was a girl. She had bought all pink-themed bedding and nursery décor and baby clothes. She had dreamed about a girl and told everyone that’s what she was having. Then she had labored and pushed and prepared herself to meet her daughter and they had handed her a son instead. I’m sure she loved him just as much, but still. I wanted to know. One way or the other, I wanted to know. And I was convinced that our cranky old lady technician could quite possibly have been wrong.
I fretted about it for the next month and a half, still refusing to buy any girl clothes or register for girly stuff. I finally got up the courage to ask my OB at the time to give me another ultrasound. I knew I sounded like a crazy person, but I explained to her that I just wasn’t confident in the previous ultrasound and I really wanted them to look again and make sure it was a girl. She filled out the ultrasound form: check for low growth. “Just ask them to check the gender while you’re in there,” she told me.
So there I was again. Same hospital bed, the t.v. still not working. But this time the tech was a nice young woman who talked to me the entire time. And when I asked her if I could just see my baby girl’s girl parts, she happily obliged. “You see, this is what they call the taco.” She was pointing to two little folds between her skinny little legs. And finally, I believed it. I was having a girl.
And that’s when it hit me: I wanted to be sure because I had to prepare myself. Not physically prepare myself by buying pink things, but mentally prepare myself. I needed to daydream about my daughter, about the things we would do together and the things I would teach her. I needed to imagine telling her that boys are mean when they like you and helping her buy her first maxi pads and showing her how to shave her legs and put on makeup. I needed to think about how I would explain sexism and inequality in the workplace and domestic violence. I needed to think about the kind of mother I would be: how I would demonstrate love, and model courage, and tell her that she could be anything she wanted to be, but she didn’t have to be anything other than herself.
I had wanted a daughter, that I knew. But once I found out I was having one, I realized just how hard it was going to be.