I had a plan for how this day was going to unfold: the ultrasound technicians were going to ask whether I was hoping for a boy or a girl, I was going to give them my best poker face and say “as long as it’s healthy”, but would cry graceful and not at all splotchy tears of joy when they finally announced to me that it was a girl. After it was over I would celebrate by embarking on a symbolic shopping spree for all the pink sparkly clothes I’ve been coveting since I found out I was pregnant for the first time almost five years ago.
That was the plan anyway. Unfortunately plans don’t always work out exactly like we imagine.
Instead I stared blankly at the screen as the technicians wobbled the ultrasound wand across my belly, my eyes fixed on the fuzzy figure squirming in and out of the little window, hiding coyly from the camera. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t excited. To be honest, I was mostly numb. I searched the screen for something familiar.
My husband was the first to venture a guess as to the sex of the little blog on the screen. Apparently our two previous ultrasound experiences have left him a tiny penis-hunting expert, or so he thought.
“It’s a boy, right? I see the penis. Right there. I think.”
I squinted trying to decipher the picture dancing in front of me.
“No, that’s the umbilical cord.” The tech assured me.
“He wishes his penis was that big, honey.” I joked, convinced that I would be wiping poop off scrotums for the next three years.
But then something unexpected happened.
The tech spoke slowly, with thinly veiled excitement in her voice. She sounded like someone who had a juicy secret that she was dying to share.
“There it is. Right there. See those three lines?”
“That’s your girl.” She beamed.
No matter how many times I’d imagined this moment and no matter how many people had assured me that all my symptoms pointed to the fact that the baby was a girl, I still was not prepared to process hearing those words.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I didn’t say much of anything. I just stared at the little white lines on the screen wondering what exactly I was seeing. Labia? It was all my brain was allowing me to think about right then.
I watched, dumbfounded, as my baby danced on the screen in glorious 4D (whatever that means), and smiled graciously as everyone congratulated me.
Where was the feeling of relief and joy I’d expected?
As my husband and I walked out of the room he smiled at me. He seemed over the moon excited. Why wasn’t I?
My plan was working out exactly the way I’d imagined. Except for the part where I experienced some feelings other than hungry and crampy.
I decided I needed to do something to get my head back in the baby girl game: shopping. After all, I’ve longed for years to get my hands on those adorable pink onesies and sparkly dresses with ribbons and bows. I wanted my kid to look more like a Christmas package than an actual baby, right?
Surely some cathartic shopping was just what I needed to jump start my overwhelmed heart.
So off to Target I went with an ultrasound photo in my back pocket and my credit card burning a hole in my wallet.
Well, here’s where my plan really went awry. It turns out I’m terrible at shopping for pink clothes. My brain is so conditioned to look for blue that I left the store with three items, all of which were teal and navy blue. Apparently having a girl is going to take some practice.
Ironically, wandering around the girl section of Target feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate did stir up some emotion. I looked at the tiny blue dresses in my shopping cart and finally the wave of feeling swept over me. I’m not sure exactly what the feeling was, some combination of relief, excitement, fear, and wonder, but I stood staring at those little dresses and wept like a completely lunatic in the middle of Target.
So there it was. My plan had finally come to fruition. It just took a little longer than I expected.
It looks like the Outmanned Mommy will be a little less outmanned from now on, and I’m sure eventually I will get to buy my sparkly pink hair bow. I just need to take it a little slower than I thought: all that pink was a bit rich for this boy-mama’s blood. I still have glitter stuck to my hands.