Monday, June 27, 2011

"What are you having?"

In the 20th week we had a choice. When we went in for the midway ultrasound (the one where they make sure everything's in the right place and such) they check the sex of the baby. You face a choice at that point: find out, or go without knowing until the baby is born. The technician doesn't write it in the chart or anything, they just indicate whether everything is in order in terms of the gender.

My wife and I decided to turn our heads, and it was something we agreed on without much conversation.

Everywhere we go, people ask what we're having. We always say it's a surprise, and a lot of the time people are a little stunned that people like us are still out there.

The tech told us that most people these days find out, and why not? Ultrasound technology is pretty cool and gives you a window on things that took forever until the waiting date. Some have been surprised that I didn't want to know given how much I love and use digital technology. My thinking all along was that while the tech is great, I didn't want to know unless there was reason to know.

For example, if the ultrasound had picked up something unusual it would help to have a name for the baby as we kept it in our prayers, and that required knowing the sex. Otherwise, a little bit of mystery and surprise is a rare thing. I consider not knowing the equivalent of unplugging from the Internet for a while.

Mostly I just want to be in the moment on the day of the birth, when everything is new and unexpected.

Our families, of course, wanted to know. One "no" wasn't enough, and I don't blame them. But we stuck to the decision.

I will say we have had a few unexpected side effects of not knowing. We had already planned for a gender-neutral color for the nursery when we went with white trim and weathered sandstone walls, the latter of which looks like this:

Behr 290E-1 Weathered Sandstone at MyPerfectColor

(by the way, embedding Behr paint colors on your blog; the Internet is rad)

The problem came a bit more when we started looking at clothes. So much of what we found was in pink or blue, and that's it. We've decided greens, yellows, and beiges were good for either gender, but that stuff was a lot harder to find and there is much less variety. We didn't anticipate that, and while we know now I don't think that would change our decision anyway.

In some ways it's helped us to do baby on a budget. The basic white onesies and socks are the cheapest thing out there because it's not fancier, I think. But we're both minimalist that way and think white is just fine.

The other thing that happened is that I refer to the baby as "it" rather than he/she. It sounds so impersonal to use that pronoun, but what are we supposed to do? I was laughing to myself when a Facebook friend was offended I was using "it" as if I was devaluing the baby's life or something. That was one of my first moments of swallowing the bile in the throat while being criticized for my parent choices, but it's good practice I suppose.

Would we do the surprise thing for the next one, if there is one? Not sure. For now I like not knowing.

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Post #12 in my 90-in-90 blog challenge. Blog with us and join the fun. I'll be blogging both here and on my professional blog for the challenge. For more about the 90/90 challenge, read about my call for participants. The blogs participating are on the list at the right, or follow us on the #LUBlogTribe hashtag on Twitter

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