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It's a girl! ... Or is it?

I am an urban legend.

You know that friend of a friend of a friend you heard about? The one who was told she was having a girl by two different ultrasound techs only to find out - SURPRISE! - it was actually a little boy?

That’s me.

The real story is even better. I’m an only child and had my heart set on having a girl. I’m a woman’s woman. Always have been. I prefer the company of female friends. If I was making a list of close male friends, it would be a very short list. I was a women’s studies minor in college for the love. I was obviously going to have a girl and I let my wishes - no insistence - be known far and wide.

So, when the big twenty week ultrasound rolled around, I knew what they were going to say. There was only one option. I was having a girl. The tech who performed the ultrasound was an intern and when it came time to reveal the gender, she went to get her supervisor because she wasn’t quite sure. This should have been my first clue. However, the supervisor didn’t hesitate.

“It’s a girl!”

I was ecstatic, elated, overjoyed. I immediately bought the most beautiful little dress I could find and ate pink cupcakes in celebration. We even went back the next week for a follow-up appointment where a completely different tech confirmed once more that I was having the little girl of my dreams.

The infamous pink cupcakes.

I passed the next couple of months stocking up on adorable pink onesies and ohhing and ahhing over Mary Jane Trumpette Socks. I talked to “my little girl” all day long and finally decided on a name. I was going to name my daughter Adelaide Jane.

Two months later, shortly after moving back to Paducah, Nicholas and I went on a “babymoon” to Cancun, Mexico. We soaked in the sun and relaxed. That is until Montezuma’s Revenge hit me like a ton of bricks. Stuck in the room (or bathroom to be more precise), we called a doctor to make sure there was no risk to the baby. He recommended I go to the local hospital and receive IV fluids to prevent any dehydration. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the doctor on duty sent me back for an ultrasound. It seemed unnecessary to me because the baby had been active the entire time but I didn’t protest. Nicholas stayed behind to fill out some paperwork as I was wheeled back by an ultrasound tech whose grasp on English was not the greatest.

Two minutes in to the ultrasound, “It’s a boy?”

“No,” I replied. “It’s a girl.”

“No. It’s a boy.”

I couldn’t even process what she was saying. A boy? I don’t think so. For the next couple of days, as we navigated the Mexican health care system and tried desperately to get home, I chose not to process it. Surely, they were wrong. I had TWO other ultrasounds that said it was a girl! As soon as we got home, I called one of my mom’s friends who had been a tech for several years. We emailed over the Mexican scans. She confirmed the news. It was a boy. Still, I held out hope for the 4D ultrasound. We went in several days later and got the final verdict.

My baby girl was in fact a baby boy.

I was devastated. I cried and cried and cried. I’d cry because I was so disappointed and then I would cry because I felt guilty for being disappointed. I wanted this baby so much.  And I didn’t want him to feel my disappointment. I cried because I was terrified. I didn’t know anything about boys! All I knew (or could think of in that moment) were the worst of the worst stereotypes. Boys were loud. Boys broke things. Boys hated to read and were twice as likely to have autism. Boys married women who would hate you and try to steal them away forever. Boys’ clothes sucked. And on and on.

Eventually, I stopped crying. I made my peace with it. And miracles upon miracles, I had the most magnificent baby boy every placed on the planet earth! He was gorgeous and smart and loving and he was all mine. He loved books and didn’t seem hellbent on destroying every piece of furniture in my house. In fact, he seemed perfectly content to listen to music and play quietly by himself. From the moment his eyes looked into mine, I never really thought of him as a boy. He was just Griffin. My beautiful, wonderful Griffin.

I even decided that boys weren’t the consolation prize of babies. They were something special, something unique and that I would have been missing out if I’d only had the two girls I always planned.


I still wanted a girl. I had kept a box of my favorite dresses (and Trumpette socks) from BM (the period we refer to as Before Mexico). I also kept the special dress I bought when I first found out I was having a girl. I kept a running list in my mind of little girl names I liked - as well as all the families I knew who had had a boy followed by a little girl. When it came time to actually conceive #2, I read The Shettles Method cover to cover and decided to play the cards a little more to my favor. Anything I could do to increase the odds.  And boy, did we. I know y’all didn’t come here for the sexy details but let me just say - if there were extreme Shettles participants, we were it.

I was smarter this time. I didn’t get my hopes up too much. However, when the 20 week ultrasound rolled around, I was a nervous wreck. This time it took all of 30 seconds for the proclamation. Even I could see the telltale nub, we were having another boy.

Baby Boy #2 - Pretty handsome, no?

And I cried. Again. Not for as long and for different reasons, but still I cried. This time it had little to do with the baby in my belly. I loved him immediately. I know what kind of little boys me and my husband produce and they are rock stars. Bring on another one.

I cried for the daughter I was beginning to realize I might not ever have. I’m up for one more go around the track but my husband isn’t quite on board. And even though I know every time you have a 50/50 shot at either gender, it feels like even if I get pregnant again my chances of having a little girl are shrinking. Every time a friend finds out she’s having a baby girl, I swallow a little sadness before I congratulate her. When people ask me what I’m having this time, I say “another boy!” with a smile on my face but worry in my heart. What if I’ve missed my last shot?

I’m still an optimist. As long as baby boy #2 doesn’t turn out to be demon spawn, I’m pretty sure I can convince my husband (who might I add is a third child) that three is not only doable but preferable. I’ll sign up for the Shettles Method again and eat a calcium rich diet.

And if you need a list of families who had two boys and then a girl, I’m your gal.

~ Sarah Stewart Holland

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Reader Comments (36)

Alas, chances are very good I won't be on that last list. But if you start a list of "families who had two boys and dressed the third boy like a girl," I might just be on that one. Boys are fun, especially when they're rule-following, book-reading, serious, gentle souls. And sometimes even when they're peeing on fires and smearing mud on the pretty cushions adorning outdoor furniture. (I still want a girl.)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Girl, you made me cry... so beautifully put. I can completely understand and feel the same emotions. You know the old saying, "third time's a charm"? Well I am holding out on that for you. Boys are precious, nothing like 'em... I know this because I have 2! But every woman deserves to have the "pink" experience just as much as every father deserves to have a son, his name-sake. But you know, if a girl is not in the cards, maybe you will get lucky and have 3 precious Momma's boys that will run to you and love you unconditionally! You are a fabulous mommy! I love to watch you with Griffin! You two make me smile. I know that you will have the same amazing relationship with Amos. Boys are special that is for sure. I cannot imagine my life without my Ayden and Eli.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

I think I'm readig my aunty's history, she wish a girl so hard, but after two boys she was pretty sure that I was the only girl she could have as a child (I'm the oldest of my cousins and she's the youngest of my mom's sisters).
Then something wonderful (not at the beggining) happens, she got pregnat again, after five years. Now she has a 12 & 7 years old boys and one 18 months beautiful, lovely, charm, great, bright and pink girl!!
I love this little baby and my aunt is happy, so maybe your next baby is a pretty girl!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterisabella

I had three daughters and each time wanted a boy. I even called them boy's names before they were born. However my three daughters are now grown up and aged 52, 48 and 37 and they are my bestest ever friends,


February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermisswhiplash

I have two little boys and I love them to pieces. My house is a mess, I have learned more about trucks and Star Wars than I ever thought I could, they break my things and from about 15 months my older one started referring to anything even moderately "girly" as "too ballerina". They are full-on boys and sometimes I feel outnumbered and overwhelmed, but most of the time I just wrestle with them, set up another wooden block Monster-truck arena and focus on how full of wild, unbridled energetic love our home is filled with. You will be fine!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzeke & destroy

Hi there! Aside from the trip to Mexico and the mixed-up ultrasounds, this post sounds all too familiar ;) I have two boys, 15 months apart. They are precious and I wouldn't trade them for the world, but for the first 20 weeks, I swore my little boy was a girl. I KNEW it. No one could tell me otherwise. I already had my eye on the crib bedding I wanted to purchase, the cute little Carter's onesies, the hair bows, and of course the hairband with the giant flower attached to it. I could not wait to dress up my little doll... I was all set to go into my 20 week scan and come out of the room proudly displaying my pink wristband to show the world my husband and I had produced a little girl. But then I heard the words from the tech..."another little boy!" I believe my first word was "really?" I know she could see my disappointment because she started telling me about how cute he was going to be...blah blah. I know she was talking but can't really remember her words. I was too busy trying to cover up the disappointment I was feeling from my husband. I've later admitted to him I was disappointed, but not because we were having another wonderful little boy, but because I had psyched myself up thinking, er, knowing, I was going to have a girl.

I was only disappointed for a day, because then I realized that a) hand-me-downs are awesome, and b) my firstborn will have a buddy! My little baby is 2 months old now and I cannot imagine having a girl...I don't even know what I'd do with one!

Like you though, we plan to try for a third at some point, but this time, I won't psych myself up. Whatever we get is what is meant to be, and if that's another cute, precious, loves-his-mommy-more-than-anything boy, I'll take it ;)

All the best and good luck!!

My brother is awesome, and he has a hundred girl friends (intentional space) that think he's a gentleman and tell him their problems. (He also tries fixing the kitchen sprayer and instead broke it irreparably and thinks that reading books are a waste of time because the people aren't really but...)

On the other hand, I'm the oldest. I'm a girl. Number 2 and 3 were boys. Then my mom was going to have number 4. Now, she didn't have ultrasounds or anything, but based on heart beat and position and everything, it looked like a boy. So I did what any six year old could do; I prayed every single day that the baby would be a girl. Lo and behold, when the baby came, it was a girl. :) If you care, her name's Elianna (L-E-On-A), meaning my G-d has answered. So there is hope for you too. And if not, well, he could always my like my brother.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail

Me again...

I re-read your post one more time and one thing I wanted to add is that after we found out about boy number 2, I sometimes had to fake it when I answered the question on everyone's minds...yes "another boy!" The first few days I smiled and pretended I was overwhelmingly happy, but deep down I was still struggling with thinking I knew one thing (that I was absolutely having a girl) to the realization that my "mommy instinct" was WRONG. Eventually though, my answer of "another boy" began to have meaning and wonderful happiness behind it.

This is my biggest fear!! I'm at 31 weeks and cannot stop buying pink. We even painted the nursery pink. We have one ultrasound that was "inconclusive" and one that deemed our baby a girl.

Fingers crossed!!! I want bows and ribbons and ear rings.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPoof

I completely sympathise with you and I had the same feelings when I started my journey to motherhood. If anyone even suggested that I might be having a boy, I quickly shushed them and said that all I wanted was a girl. And we decided not to know the baby's gender until birth.
But.... I guess you know the story right? I had a boy. Even though I still long for a little girl, I don't think I can even imagine going through all that again. At any rate, not in the foreseeable future (which is atleast 5 years).

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFire Crystals

Thanks for all the supportive comments! The best part is always knowing you're not the first (and won't be the last) mom to feel this way. :)

- Sarah Stewart Holland

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaltandnectar

Aww, I love that story...Guess what 5 GIRLS RIGHT HERE!!! People ask me if we are going to try for a boy...my response, we did 4 times. I remember with the last one I just KNEW it was a boy. The pregnancy was totally different. BUt alas it was another girl. More pink, ruffles and hair. I understand your tears and disappointment. Then I look at couples that will never have a child and appreciate the drama, hair, cat-fights, menstrual cycles, moodiness etc..of all these girls. BTW, I can ship u a 18mth old, 3, 7, 9 and 14 year old. They may be a little tan but that's ok :)

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkaymac13

very candid! i love it. i'm not sure if i'm expecting a boy or girl (no thanks for being in China), there's just too much 'drama' involved and i haven't gotten around to blogging about it. i'm hoping for a boy! we'll see in 8 weeks' time!

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenters

Thanks for sharing this post, so honest. I think most moms can relate to the feelings. I had five brothers growing up, no sisters, so I was sure I was having a girl with my first. I thought if I willed it to be true, then it would be. LOL Then my son was born and he is without a doubt, my best buddy in the whole wide world. He and I have this unshakable bond. I love him more than the moon and stars. When I was pregnant with my second I was POSITIVE it was another boy. I was fine with that, even though I did have a little twinge of sadness I'd never experience a girl. When the u/s tech told me it was 100% girl I was shocked and of course thrilled and happy that she was healthy. But then I felt a little twinge that my son would never experience a brother. Totally normal feelings. I guess there will always be that "what if" feeling but now that I look back and remember how difficult it was for me to even get pregnant and I realize I am so very very lucky and blessed to even have my two sweet kids.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShe's a Maineiac

I guess I'm one of the minority of women who thinks she wants mostly boys. And if I have a girl I hope she is like me, in that I hated drama, liked to read, liked the outdoors etc..

Doubt this will help at all, but my mom had 5 boys, adopted my older sister, found out she was pregnant with a girl (me).. had me, adopted my younger sister, then had twin boys to top it off... so it is possible. Maybe your husband needs to "think girl" as they are said to determine the sex ratios..

Take care, and I hope this pregnancy goes smoothly for you

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

kaymac13, you want to arrange some type of exchange? I've got a 21-month-old who'd be glad to add some testosterone to your house! ;)

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaltandnectar

LOL!! He would be spoiled rotten. All of my daughters think they are baby experts. He would not have to lift a finger....We might be doing more harm than good.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkaymac13

[...] a huge fan of The Secret. I believe in the power of positive thinking but if The Secret were true I’d have two sets of twin girls by now. Oprah was very passionate about the book in the beginning and I’m sure I wasn’t the [...]

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSalt & Nectar

Sarah, just curious if you have ever checked the Chinese Conception Calendar? I am half Filipino and with that comes all of the "Asian Superstitions." It has been right with EVERYONE I know. I have not had 1 person I know get it wrong. I have been pregnant 4 times (and only have 1 baby, but that is a whole other long story). With every pregnancy it has been right. I, unlike you, wanted a boy and ended up with a girl. Next time, I am using the chart to make my boy! Oh, if you do check it, make sure you add a year to your age because in China when you are born, you are already 1. Let me know how it goes and/or if you have used it before.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa DiMillo

Teresa, The chart was right with my son but wrong with #2. It said it was going to be a girl! :(

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaltandnectar

I just found your blog and saw a post about wishing for a girl and had to read it. I have three boys and my husband is from a family of 4 boys. He never even wanted a boy- he just wants his little girl. Even after I was told of my boys' genders on the ultrasound I was still hoping till the end that it would be a mistake. Still, only boys. I am not done yet so there is some hope. It is always 50-50, maybe next time. (I am trying to talk it into myself)

Probably not a story you want to hear but funny anyhow- I know a woman who had 11 boys. I know 11 is crazy but she wanted a girl and didn't want to stop. She just had number 12 and it was a girl. Miracles do happen. But after 11- only a select few can do That.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterryekatcher

rykatcher, here's a better story for you! My husband is from a family of four boys ... and a baby girl! So, hopefully, you won't have to go all the way to 12!

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaltandnectar

Hopefully. lol. I know they say "never say never" but 12 kids? NEVER!

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterryekatcher

[...] readers over and inspires Mama Bird Holland to create a snuggly nest worthy of her newest chick, Baby Boy 2. Salt & Nectar was thrilled to receive reader and moonlighting design star Amy H.’s [...]

I, too, have lucked out with two boys, even though I had always pictured myself as the mother of girls. With my first son I thought he was for sure a girl; with the second, I KNEW he was a boy. We're not having any more children, so occasionally I'll get a little ping of sadness that I'll never be able to french braid hair or pick out fun clothes with a daughter. However, I'm also relieved that I'll never have to deal with any of the "girl stuff" that comes with raising daughters!

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranne

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