Things have not gone according to plan the last couple of weeks. An important pregnancy lesson learned though – always expect the unexpected, especially from your pregnant wife!
There is an age-old (ok, more like a decades-old), debate about whether knowing the gender before birth is the “right” thing to do. In many countries, and even in different parts of the same country, the law forbids you from finding out. In some places where healthcare is free, you have to pay for a private scan if you want to know the sex.
Those in the keep-it-a-surprise camp, which includes both of my parents, argue that you should let nature take its course, trust in God’s plan, or keep one of life’s last few remaining mysteries a mystery.
People in the must-know-as-soon-as-its-medically-possible camp have a whole slew of reasons, which they feel just as strongly about. These reasons are, for the most part anyway, not as lofty as putting your trust in a higher power or as “earthy” as letting Mother Nature plot her course. Knowing the sex so you can paint the nursery blue or pink instead of neutral green or yellow, or so that your friends can buy gender-appropriate gifts are (in my humble opinion) not valid reasons for finding out. They revolve around consumption and convenience and don’t float my boat at all.
What does have my boat bobbing around on the surface and my feet firmly planted in the can’t-wait-to-find-out camp is that knowing the sex will bring a greater level of detail to the daydreams about what life will be like after birth. It bothers me (and is a bit weird) that these daydreams currently feature a generic baby who is neither boy nor girl. Almost like a baby mannequin. Scary. Knowing whether we will have a son or daughter is going to bring a whole new dimension to imagining our lives as parents.
Unfortunately, there was no scan at our most recently scheduled check-up. So although B and baby were both given a clean bill of health, we still had no idea if it was a boy or a girl! Not only was it an anti-climax after the weeks of suspense, but also the sexless mannequin baby was still making an appearance in my daydreams about fatherhood.
Obviously getting the all clear after the various tests was something to be thankful for and this, combined with hearing the heartbeat (an incredible feeling!), made finding out the sex seem rather trivial. We discussed whether to wait for the scheduled scan six weeks later or go to a private clinic and get it out of the way. We decided that we didn’t want to expose the baby to additional scans for no good reason and as the suspense killing us didn’t count we agreed to wait. At least that’s what I thought…
B went to Shanghai last week to see her Grandma whose health has unfortunately been deteriorating. She was spending all day at the hospital and I guess being just an elevator ride away from the OB/GYN proved to be too tempting. On day three of her trip I received a message with an image from a sneaky ultrasound that she claimed was needed to put her mind at ease after having a hot bath, and worrying what the effects may have been on the baby. You might be thinking that sounds fair enough, but as this is a woman who can’t bear surprises I am pretty sure it was all part of her dastardly plan to find out if she’s got a boy or girl floating around in her belly.
The scan at six weeks showed what looked like a jellybean-shaped blob, but this one was an entirely different story. A perfectly formed, albeit still tiny, baby human. Amazing! The irony is that he/she had their legs crossed so there was still no way of telling the sex. The foetus foiled B’s dastardly plan!
Gendergate (yes, it’s an official scandal now) has made me rethink finding out the sex and I’ve done a complete U-turn. If it were up to me – which it’s not – I would now prefer to wait until birth to find out. Having a name lined up for each sex doesn’t seem too much trouble and as baby will be sharing our room to begin with we don’t need to know what colour to paint the nursery walls.
Gendergate has also been a good reminder that we are too used to getting all the information we want whenever we want it. The expectation for everything on-demand makes it easy to forget what is really important.
There’s more from the Daddy Diaries plus plenty of gorgeous gift inspiration on the BaoBae Blog!