Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why I Don't Want to Know the Gender of My Baby (Until It's Born, That Is)

Why I Don't Want to Know the Gender of My Baby (Until It's Born, That Is) -- Everyone, and I mean everyone, finds out ahead ahead of time whether they're having a boy or girl. I used to, but here's why I don't want to know this time around.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I can't even remember why we walked into our 20-week ultrasound with baby #5 having decided that we didn't want to know the gender.

With child number 1, 2, 3, and 4 Phillip and I never even thought to ask each other, "Do you want to find out whether it's a boy or a girl?" That was just what you did at 20 weeks.

But for whatever reason, we told the ultrasound tech not to tell us with #5, and I'm really glad we did.

Because that particular pregnancy was the one where I learned by experience that sometimes things go NOTHING like you'd planned.

For starters, they told me I had a complete placenta previa, which made the natural delivery I'd wanted impossible (if we both wanted to live, that is.) My only option was to schedule a C-section, which is one of the last things I'd ever wanted.

And then, at 34 weeks a big bleeding episode landed me in the hospital on bed rest for the next 3 weeks. Also not what I'd planned.

In the beginning, we'd just off-handedly thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun not to find out the sex of the baby this time?" but after a series of bad surprises, the way I looked at it changed.

I'd quickly learned that I was in control of approximately nothing when it came to this pregnancy, but the one thing I could control was that I didn't know, and as long as I didn't know, that meant there was one good surprise waiting for me at the end of all of this.

During that 3 weeks in the hospital, I became a quasi-celebrity among the nurses, and not just because I was the only one in the maternity recovery wing who hadn't had her baby yet. I was also one of the rare unicorn women who didn't find out ahead of time whether she was having a boy or a girl.

Every day, there were 6 billion nurses (give or take) who want to come in and stick me with needles and put monitors on my belly, and I would warn each of them immediately not to tell me the sex of the baby. I don't know if they put that kind of stuff on your chart or not, but better not to take chances.

I'd started to look forward to the baby's birthday like Christmas morning, and by that point I would've been seriously mad if anyone had let slip what my present was before I opened it.

Three weeks, a second bleeding episode, and one scary emergency C-section later, Christmas morning finally came. 

I asked the doctor not to announce "It's a boy/girl!" when she took the baby out, but have the nurses simply give him/her to us and let us find out.

And let me tell you, it was awesome.

The C-section itself is still a pretty dark cloud in my memory, but the brightest ray was when the nurse took the baby from the doctor and flashed us (literally) with our tiny, perfect son.

I loved the feeling of not knowing during the pregnancy (and to be honest, I loved a little bit driving everybody else crazy because they all wanted to know, too) and I loved waiting for the big reveal at the end.

So it was automatic for me, now that I'm pregnant with #6, to say, "I absolutely don't want to know the sex of the baby before it's born."

This time around, I hope there won't be any (or at least, not so many) bad surprises. But even if there are, I know I can count on there being at least one very good one.

**Update: for the natural hospital VBAC story of Baby Evans #6, click here.

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24 comments:

  1. Oh, Jenny, this is an incredible post. I'm so sorry for all the trauma with the last baby, BUT so glad it turned out ok. I had all 5 c-sections, not by choice, believe me... I'm thrilled about this baby coming and think this is the coolest idea EVER!!! I'm also so happy that you're having another baby. We couldn't have any more after 5 and would certainly have gone for more, if my body would have and God would have been willing:) SO thrilled and can't wait for more posts:):):)

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  2. Oh wow that is a heck of a lot to deal with. I hope things go smoothly this time. We just never know though? After baby #4 I had to hang my pregnancy hat up as too many complications occurred. We always found out the sex, because I was in doing so many stress tests and such it was hard to not know. Techs would let it slip and they really were not tying to be mean, so... I let it go. This will be exciting for you though. Do you have any gut feelings on the gender?

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    1. I do have a gut feeling... but should I write something like that in permanent Internet ink? What if I have to eat my words later??

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  3. Neat story! I like that you've had both experiences - knowing and not knowing. I think it's amazing that we can choose to know these days.

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    1. Yes, it is! With #4, when we DID find out, we took the older kids with us to the ultrasound so they could find out with us. They wanted to know beforehand how you could tell so I explained it to them... and then when the ultrasound started they started jumping up and down and shouting, "I think I see a penis! I think I see a penis!" (It was a girl.)

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  4. We found out with our first two and not our third. If I had a fourth, I would probably not find out because the surprise was so fun! I have a lot of friends who have not found out so I am surprised to hear your story of how rare that is.

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  5. We didn't find out the sex of 4 out of 5 of our babies. Hubby always kind of wanted to know, so with baby #4 we found out. Good thing, because it was a girl. After 3 boys, that was a shock! haha! But it is a lot of fun to not find out, and you are right that it's kind of a rare thing anymore.

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  6. That's a lot to deal with!! my goodness. I love the idea of waiting though. I would totally consider it if my hubby was on board. :)Thanks for linking up with us. xoxoxo-Heather @ www.arrowsandwarriors.com

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  7. I loved reading your post Jenny. I only have one child and I was so excited about the whole pregnancy that I wanted to know so that I could start planning and buying gender appropriate things. I think that it's awesome that you waited though and after a long 9 months that it was such a memorable moment. If I have a second child, I will consider waiting... something to think about :)

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    1. It certainly helps with the logistics if you don't already have one of each. Last time my parents had to buy two sets of baby clothes as a gift for the new baby - one for girls and one for boys, and return one after the baby was born - because they couldn't find gender-neutral baby clothes ANYWHERE!

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  8. Crikey you have been through the mill. When I was expecting Grace I never found out - although I could have known for definite having had a CVS - but I had a complete feeling she was a girl. This time when we go for our treatment, we will definitely find out. #TheTruthAbout

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  9. What an experience!! Glad all was ok. We didn't find out either and was such a surprise to have a girl. I think next time I would like to know to plan for my daughter. :-) Hope all goes well with no 6 xx #thethruthabout

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    1. I think it helps your other children and your husband to "bond" with the baby being able to say 'he' or 'she.' Which I think is why Phillip found out but I don't want to know! It's real enough to me because it kicks me in the bladder hourly, but to them not experiencing the pregnancy first-hand I totally get it.

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  10. I have to admit that I really wanted to know the sex of my babies both times but I guess if I had decided to have more babies then it might have been something I might have tried and probably would have loved the excitement of finding out the little one's secret at that moment of euphoria (when the pain stops :-) ) Thanks for sharing on #thetruthabout Jenny X

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  11. I had marginal plasenta previa so I feel ya. It corrected itself through so I also don't feel ya but...I was so scared. It was my first birth so different so me, not my 5th. You are amazing.

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    1. We kept hoping but mine would, but it was a complete previa and a stubborn one at that. We did another ultrasound around 35 weeks just to check if it had shifted at all and the tech said, "Wow, that placenta does not even WANT to move to one side or the other!"

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  12. We choose not to find out the gender of our new additions as they're growing either. It drives others crazy, but we love having the surprise of not knowing. We also figure that it wouldn't change anything for us anyway, so why know. We actually feel like that about all things pregnancy :shrugs:

    Hope this time things are much calmer. Enjoy knowing you're growing another little human (as much as you can/do)! :)

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    1. At this point it's really just a matter of which box we bring down from the attic (boy or girl clothes) so there's no real need for us to know, and I'd rather have it be a surprise!

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  13. I didn't find out with any of my three! I have to say I think it's one of life's last true surprises, although as a self confessed control freak even I find it a bit odd that I didn't feel I HAD to know :) It was particularly special with my third, as we were fully expecting to have another boy, so she truly was a surprise! I hope that this pregnancy holds fewer of the nasty surprises, just one lovely one at the end. And I hope that you maintain control of this and no one accidentally lets slip... Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt, always lovely to have you x

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    1. I was kind of surprised at myself, too. I'm such a terrible control freak and to be honest, I usually don't even like surprises. I guess this is just different. So far the pregnancy is good, so here's hoping it continues that way!

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  14. I was never given the choice when I had my son and in a way I'm glad, it was lovely to be told when he was born and share that moment of joy at the birth and finding out we had a son. It seems to be one of the few areas of control left to a pregnant woman!

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    1. I have actually had someone say to me before that not knowing the sex until meeting the baby was a HUGE motivation to her during a difficult labor, and she sort of focused on that to get through it.

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  15. I had to find out with both my pregnancies! Just had to! That was my way of staying in control of the situation. I have friends who didn't find out & although they kept us guessing I was super impressed with their willpower!

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  16. So glad both of you are healthy and fine! When I asked if the baby was a boy or a girl, the doctor's answer was Yes! Of course that was the dark ages. My daughter is diabetic, so with her pregancies she has known everything with tests and ultrasounds seemingly weekly. Her first baby was a girl, and with the second she wanted a surprise. She actually wore the Expecting a Unicorn t-shirt sent by a friend. It was fun when a BOY was discovered.

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