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?
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.
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.
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
I am an urban legend.