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Monday, February 3, 2014

It's A...BOY?!

As you may have read in previous posts regarding my pregnancy and birth, we were expecting a girl until the moment our amazing little boy was born. And yes, we were told girl by the ultrasound technician and, while I didn't specifically ask for a confirmation by the OB/GYN we were seeing for the first 30 weeks, she seemed to agree.

Now, my one fear in writing this post is that someday, maybe, our E will read it and I don't want him to think for a fraction of a fraction of a second that we wished he were someone else. Because, E...oh my word I cannot describe the joy you have brought into our lives. You have truly taught me what unconditional loves means and your father and I adore you. We love you more than can ever be described and we always will. No. Matter. What. And the second you were born, my mind was flooded with images of us doing all the fun "boy stuff" with you!. I know your dad can't wait to teach you all of the fun "manly stuff" he loves to do. You are so loved my little man.

Original photo taken by: Dana Marie Photography

Before we decided to try to start our family, we knew that we both liked the name Lily for a girl. My husband's grandmother was Lilyan, and I just always thought it was a sweet name. So to spice it up a bit, we decided if we had a girl we would name her Lilyana (pronounced Lily-Ann-Uh). After finding out we were expecting, we started looking through names for a boy since we already had a girl name decided. We both taught middle school (well my husband still teaches) and have worked with children for quite a few years now. We all know boys are a bit more, shall we say, "rambunctious" so deciding on a boy name was tough. I'd like one, then he'd say "No can't do it" and vice versa. Shortly before our 20 week ultrasound, a co-worker of my husband's mentioned a name and we loved it. In the waiting room before the 20-week ultrasound, we decided that'd be it if we had a boy.

To back up a little, I grew up quite a tom-boy and while I enjoy a glass of wine with the girls now and then and grew up with Barbie, I'm more of a whiskey and beer and campfire kind of gal. I like physical hard work, love to build things, and have a little destructive side. So I always thought I'd have to have boys because I wouldn't know what to do with a girl. My husband on the other hand, who is as manly as they come, thought he'd have to have a girl because he always had a harder time with boys when it came to supervising and such. There are not many girls on his side of the family. Not any in fact, younger than his aunts until our niece was born a couple of years ago. So I guess you could say some were "hoping" for a girl, if for nothing else than variety and buying pink things. I just wanted our baby, but if you asked me before our ultrasound, I said we were "hoping" for a girl, but I thought boy.

When we were told girl, it didn't feel real to me. To the point it made me worry that I wasn't connected to my baby. I had looked up photos of ultrasounds to see what a girl would look like (I think we know what a boy looks like) in an ultrasound photo. When I saw our baby on the screen and she said girl, I doubted her. My momma-gut didn't feel right and I only saw two little lines (which we'd later find out was the outline of a boy). But we left and soon began telling family and friends that we were expecting a Lilyana.

People would ask if we knew the gender and had a name picked out and when I would answer, again it didn't feel right. No doubt I was excited to be having a baby, but saying girl felt weird. Saying Lily felt weird. So then I doubted our name choice a little bit thinking maybe that was it. Maybe this just wasn't a Lily (well I was right about that I guess!). Then I worried that I wasn't bonding with our unborn baby. Then I decided it was all poppycock and that I wouldn't feel that strong bond until "she" was born and I stopped beating myself up about it. Still, saying girl didn't feel right.

Then we had our pink owl-themed baby shower and got lots of adorable dresses and outfits. I loved everything and honestly still have all of it in case we have a girl the next time around. (Maybe I'll just make the photos of the shower black and white for his baby book :-P) Other than clothes, all of the "gear" we registered for was gender-neutral since we plan to have more than one child. But again, something was gnawing at me and I again chalked it up to being a first time mom and hormones.


Then, at 42 weeks, labor began and we prepared to meet our little one. Labor was intense and while I know I didn't think so right afterwards (I blame the Pitocin), I loved it. Because of the meconium in my water when it broke 19 hours prior to our E being born, I didn't get him on my chest right away. He was being suctioned right next to me and I was in a whirlwind spinning through what just happened. I pushed out a baby, it took a couple of hours, but I did it. Go me! Then I hear a little commotion and our wonderful doula leans over the bed and asked, "What were you expecting again?" with a bit of a giggle as I recall, and then there was an "It's a boy!" and an uproar of laughter from the nurses. And me saying to myself, "I KNEW IT!" And our sweet midwife saying..."Oh yeah! I just remembered thinking 'be careful when cutting the cord.'" lol...Then I pulled out a green hat I had packed (along with a gender-neutral onesie) just in case.

So we pulled out the name we'd decided on 22 weeks prior and it fits him perfectly :) I didn't know this at the time, but my husband later told me that asking if I wanted his name to be our son's middle name meant a lot to him. I thought we'd discussed it but apparently I never said it out loud. Yay for sweet moments <3

In the days following the birth, I was so happy. Tired and sore, but happy. I actually loved the surprise. I mean, even if you don't find out with an ultrasound, you know you'll get one or the other. When you are told one and get the other, that's even more of a surprise. I love surprises. I am not one to snoop for gifts or try to get hints. So in retrospect, I'm not sure why I really wanted to find out the gender. I remember thinking it would help me bond with the baby, and we know that didn't work. (Not that I didn't bond with him during pregnancy...feeling those kicks and squirms is priceless).

Then came that moment of a slight feeling of loss. A few days after the birth, our doula stopped by for her post-partum visit and asked if we felt a sense of loss and how things were going. At that point I was still in phase one mentioned above and told her things were great. But a few days, or maybe weeks, later it hit me one night. I believe it was after I put all of our girl clothes away. Doing that made me feel like I was saying good-bye even though a daughter never existed.  I was holding E in bed staring at his tiny sweetness and started crying. Not bawling, but there were tears. When  my husband asked what was wrong, the flood gates opened. I was more upset because I felt good ol' fashioned momma guilt. I needed my tiny moment to "grieve". A moment I didn't think I would need. And because I had that moment, I felt tremendous guilt. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't for a second want E to feel we ever thought we didn't want him. I couldn't bear the thought and I still can't.

So the tears came because I felt a moment of loss. It was brief but it hit me. Then more tears came because as I said to my husband that night, "I don't want him to ever think we didn't want him. A part of me just feels that we lost a daughter." That was my moment and I'm glad I let myself have it because as much as I loved and adored him before that, it opened me up even more to truly soak in that I have a son. I should say that more often. I have a son, a sweet, hilarious, smart, adorable little son. I wouldn't change a thing and my husband says more and more how excited he is to share all of his manly hobbies with him (not that he couldn't share them with a girl...but how many girls do you know that are into ham radio?).

So what did this experience teach me? First and foremost: Trust your gut! Secondly, I can't think of another true surprise we are given in life. I know people find out for different reasons and of course your choice is your choice, go you! But we will not be finding out the gender in the future. We may not even get an ultrasound in the future. I loved the surprise and don't want to spoil it. Like I said, it's really the only one we get. Even better, we have a bin of both boy and girl newborn clothes, socks, booties and hats so we are ready for #2 no matter what! It also taught me that you can spend weeks preparing clothes, getting everything washed and organized. This isn't a bad thing, but I found that it isn't something to stress over. I had to do that all over again after E was born and we were blessed with many gifts of boy's newborn and 3 month clothing and it was no big deal. If you have the time to nest like that, do it, but don't stress over it. All they really need is you, diapers, blankets, and maybe a hat or two. The rest is extra. Really all of it is extra, all they really need is you <3


Did you find out the gender of your baby, or are you planning to? Have you been surprised like we were? I'd love for you to share your story with us in the comments!

4 comments:

  1. April, thank you for taking me through the experience again - I still have a smile on my face!! How I loved learning of your insight, and subsequent lesson learned. I didn't know that you did end up having a moment that you had to let go of Lily, so that was interesting to hear. The entire post is exceptional. Your outpouring of love for E makes me want to run over and sweep him up! I will be gone for the next 4 days and then we'll make a date! XO to you, XO to Nick, and XO to E

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  2. Thank you Donna :) If my "moment" lasted more than 5 minutes you would have been the first to know! It is odd though, I'm not sure we'll want to use the name in the future. We both agree it just feels a little weird! Can't wait for our date! E is getting so big and he is definitely on the move!

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  3. I loved reading this story! At my 20 weeks ultrasound, I was told girl. I was disappointed a bit because I really wanted a boy. I tried getting used to the idea of having a girl, but something in me still thought it might be a boy. When we went back at 24 weeks, it was a BOY! Not quite as dramatic of a story but it was still awesome. That had to of been one of the craziest surprises ever. I am sure he will love to hear about it when he is older! Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. Thank YOU for reading & sharing your story, Julia :) It's amazing how we just know these things sometimes. That is still definitely a big surprise for you!

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