Unlike most parents these days, Jonathan and I decided not to find out the sex of our newly expected family member. Sometimes I like to joke that I never want to find out. Even if we do know the sex, our kid’s gender won’t be decided until s/he is old enough to vocalize that information.
Most of the time pregnancy has felt somewhat like taking care of a giga pet. One that requires daily care, healthy meals and exercise, but like the digital toy, cuddling is abstract and the only real form of communication are kicks and hiccups. Honestly, most of the time I couldn’t tell my little pet’s butt from his head. I’m getting better at identifying body parts, although it helps that she is head down at nine months and likely to stay in that position until delivery.
When we first learned the news of our little one, three things were instantly decided. 1: We didn’t want to learn the sex until delivery. 2: We had two sets of names chosen depending on the sex. (This is odd considering we didn’t plan on ever having children.) 3: Our baby was not to be referred to as “baby.” Not for a while anyway, as Jonathan’s eyes were still bulging from the news. So we settled on Dragon, based on the Chinese zodiac and her reptile-like form at six weeks. Providing a nickname was a way of protecting ourselves, while respecting the growth the little one as-is. Always armed with smartphones, we were like instant pregnancy experts once we had confirmation. Instantly we knew the statistics of women who carry to term. One out of five don’t. On one hand, we needed Dragon to protect us against the surprising crash of news. On the other, we needed the nickname to protect us against developing a relationship that
would might end too soon.
Before getting pregnant I didn’t know anyone who withheld knowledge of their baby’s sex. With all the technology today, it’s so convenient to find out. Surprisingly, I learned that my own parents chose not to find out my sex before birth, which made for some interesting stories from other family members as they recounted their response upon hearing the news. Jonathan loves surprises, so even beyond the “danger zone” of pregnancy, he’s confident in our decision. I am learning to appreciate surprises. I may joke that I don’t ever want to learn Dragon’s sex, but I don’t like the idea of a stranger knowing before me! I’m at complete peace with the notion that Dragon may have a different gender than what generally comes with his sex. My curiosity is not focused on what’s hiding between Dragon’s legs, but about settling this abstraction. About getting to know any tid-bit of information about our kid. Like, is he bald? Does she have blue eyes?
We’re in the final stretch now. Basically 30 days or fewer. I’ve never felt more at peace during this pregnancy, but Friday I have another test. Based on my bump size, our midwives recommended another ultrasound. I could struggle to see something on the fuzzy screen, have the technician write it down or I can wait. Our childbirth teacher recounted what an amazing moment it was for her to look down and see the sex of her children without being told by someone in a lab coat pointing to a monitor. Her story made me appreciate my partner all the more and his love of surprises. If all goes well, Jonathan will be the one to catch Dragon and the three of us will begin learning about each other at the same time.