Wednesday, July 17, 2013

there's a secret I've been keeping, 17 weeks, 5 days

The other day a good friend asked me if I was excited – if, after the rollercoaster of junior varsity infertility, I was finally ready to unleash the pregnancy-frenzy[1]. I think I hesitated for a moment – engaged in a kind of surprisingly reflective self-check-in. Well, YES! I guess I am excited!

And I was; and I am. But transitioning from the anxiety of too-much-information, the deep, dark rabbit holes of the Googles, the truths of the interwebs-land-of-infertility-story-sharing and my own difficulty in, at least at first, contending with my own sudden and unexpected label – infertile – left me discombobulated.

Rather than the 8-weeks-pregnant-tell-the-world-or-at-least-Facebook-unbridled-euphoria! that seems to take hold of many in the newly pregnant set, I felt myself holding back[2]. I knew too much, I was too lucky to get pregnant after just 14 months, it was too easy to not have to do IVF, what’s that shiny thing oh look I’m distracted.

But now, now, I’m there. At nearly 18 weeks, I am starting to think about what color to paint the baby’s room; I’m imagining what those first few weeks will be like, with C and I, at home together with our babe; I put my hands on my burgeoning bump and looked in the mirror and all I could see was my pregnant body in a muumuu! I felt it, a sort of cliché zen, like things were right in the world and like I might just have this very baby. Or, you know, like it was over-90-degrees-in-my-un-air-conditioned-100-year-old-apartment-and-i-was-just-too-catatonic-to-do-anything-but-grin-stupidly-while-sweat-dripped-down-my-back. Whatever. I’ll take it.

But the point is, there was something else that made this real. Like, real, real. And it’s something that I’ve been keeping from you, dear interwebs, dear loyal readers, dear new-followers-on-the-mysterious-bloglovin-which-makes-me-think-of-mclovin-and-which-I-really-like-but-only-sort-of-know-how-to-use. A big, bad, dirty little secret.

Here goes: we’re having a feral pig! boy.

We just found out, after we finally got the results of some looney-tunes-test-that-only-newly-pregnant-after-infertility-29-year-olds-can-be-convinced-to-pay-for-when-their-risk-of-down-syndrome-is-one-in-a-gazillion. It’s one of these new tests – noninvasive[3], pulls out the baby’s DNA, checks for various scary trisomies and in so doing, also extracts the high-school-biology-memories-are-returning![4] XX or XY chromosome, with over 99% accuracy, so on and so forth[5].

So we found out[6]. By phone, from a kind nurse, who patiently repeated the results several times because, you know, I was obviously having a series of small strokes, such was my overwhelmed-ness.

And now, here we are. Having a boy. I have never had a preference – I mean it. But at the same time, whenever we imagined a child[7], we imagined a girl – not because we had a preference, but because we had a name. Since college, we had a name for a girl. It was crazy. We imagined her pulling on our dog’s tail, romping around the garden in rubber boots, singing silly made up songs with C about squirrels and an imaginary cat named Waffles which was an orange tabby that she would pick out[8].

So yeah, it took a few days to shift our hypotheticals, to start seriously batting around boys’ names, to briefly consider how many times I would get peed on, etc.

But now we’re, kinda, sorta, here. Now I find myself thinking about the kind of son I want to raise; the kind of person he’ll be. And of course, there’s the obvious – he will be a feminist; he will wear a gender neutralizing, androgynous burlap sack until he’s 18; we will use exclusively unisex/intersex/sexless[9] pronouns; we will play Free to Be You and Me records[10] on an incessant, mind numbing loop; he will play with dolls and trucks and he will learn to bake and garden and sew and build fires and fix cars. 

And then, you know, he will promptly rebel, join the Federalist Society, work for the NRA, never speak to me again and spend an inordinate amount of time in therapy.

Ah, yes, how quickly I get back to square one…

For now then, C and I are on the same page – screw the specifics of it all – boy, girl, or feral pig[11] – we just want to raise a child who is happy, a child who is kind and compassionate, and a child who does good. Really, that’s it. And you know, also a child who takes after both of his parents in the sarcasm and political opinions department, thanks, universe!

[1] Err, you know, in similar words.
[2] Until, like, almost 18 weeks. I know, I know, the portrait of restraint!, etc.
[3] (Though, anything-that-involves-taking-that-much-blood-shouldn’t-really-be-called-nonvinvasive. So. Yeah. Bunch a liars.)
[4] The words “punnet square” still elicit very mixed emotions of “ooh, fun, it’s like a puzzle!” and TERROR! TERROR! DO NOT PASS GO!
[5] The test has some kind of Orwellian-non-specific-but-sounds-like-rainbows! name, like “Sunshine” or “Harmony” or “Expensive-test-your-insurance-won’t-cover!” Something like that.
[6] But frankly, until I see penis, I’m still not convinced it’s not a goat.
[7] Which, obviously, was ALL-THE-TIME-FOREVER-AND-EVER.
[8] It’s our fantasy so, you know, withhold judgment, pleaseandthankyou.
[9] Fine. That last one might warp him.
[10] Because, honestly, the only way to play Free to Be You and Me is by record. That stuff is vintage.
[11] Because really, what other options are there?


  1. A boy!! Welcome to the boy club. Knowing the gender is such a mind-blowing thing. I'm excited for you and your burlap-sack wearing, non-gender-stereotyping boy.

  2. Congrats on the boy! I hope you stay zen, and that the gender reveal just makes it more real and curtails the worry. You are lucky, of course, but you also DESERVE this. Don't forget that.

  3. If you have a goat, can we at least diaper it? Like this?

    No? Fine. Good thing you're not having a goat.

    You're having a boooyyyy. Wow. Congratulations. How weird and real that knowledge makes this. Also, I have the very same image of how we will raise our child. Of course, those are probably pre-parent pipe dreams. But at least we'll try.

  4. I too didn't really mind which gender we had, but somehow always imagined a girl when picturing stuff in my head. And then I found out we were having a boy. The first day or two, I was a bit sad. After that, I found that I was and am thrilled to have a boy.

    So far, I've only been peed on once (the day he came home from the hospital) and there have been a few pee-incidents, but never on me.

  5. You need to strap the headphones onto your belly and play Free to be You and Me NOW. It's so formative. There is essentially zero risk of him coming out as a Republican if you start introducing him to Marlo Thomas in utero. Once he's actually born, I'd recommend showing him the movie The Point Ask the L&D nurse to roll a TV and VHS room into the delivery room. With these two gems you'll bake the best kid ever.

  6. Boy, oh boy!! This is thrilling news. Thank you for your big internet reveal. Worth the wait.

  7. A boy! We're having a boy too. We were hoping for a girl so when we found out we where having a boy it took me a few days to adjust. I wasn't sad we were having a boy, but I was sad that we're not having a girl. Now I'm fine with us having a boy. I think feeling him move more and more helps, I'm getting attached to the baby we're having, rather than the potential baby I was imagining before then.

  8. Congrats! Finding out boy/girl seems so exciting. The people who can wait and be surprised just blow my mind. Love the burlap sack idea. Do they have burlap onesies?

  9. Thanks for all the kind words, ya'll! We're pretty excited and may actually get to see the physical proof of this so-called "boy" next Friday...

    (And I will save my rant about how finding out whether we're having a boy or a girl is really a question of finding out the biological SEX - and not the gender - of the baby. Because, obviously, gender is a social construct, liberal arts education, etc.)

    Now please excuse me while I place headphones on my belly and blast Marlo Thomas - awesome idea, 2dognite!

  10. OK this is gonna sound insane, but until you said "the kind of son I want to raise," it never actually occurred to me that I will have a "son"... I just keep referring to our fetus as a boy, and keep telling people we'll soon have a boy around, and that the sex was "likely male" on our ultrasound report. But wow... fuck... we're going to have SONS. That's kind of amazing!

    Congrats congrats, and I will join you in the gender-neutral EVERYTHING. My friend has a three-year-old son who can often be found wearing a pink tutu while playing with his trucks, which to me equals PERFECTION. :)