Okay, one note on finding out the gender. This was always something I was fairly strongly against. I was all about the surprise, keeping it old school, buying gender neutral stuff, etc. It was kind of all bundled up with my former all-natural, no-interventions birth (and even conception) ideals.
But then infertility happened. And then this rather difficult pregnancy happened. And then we found out our child has a birth defect and suddenly everything we assumed about what this whole journey would be like, was different. We needed something to hang onto, something to make this real again. To bring it back to being about a baby coming into the world.
We needed to know Turtle’s gender to refocus ourselves and make this about more than the diagnosis.
One of the few benefits of being a high-risk OB patient (along with the frequent ultrasounds), is the possibility of finding out the sex early. We found out through a blood test called the MaterniT21, which tests for Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13 (all three were negative, thankfully). At our first appt with Dr. Kind, he recommended getting it, just to definitively rule out the possibility of any other genetic issues. It was the nurse who casually mentioned that the test also can tell you gender. So there we were at a little over 12 weeks, learning we’d be able to find out the gender in 7-11 days! We were pretty stoked (and shocked. Apparently, fetal cells float around in the bloodstream of the mother and can be detected as early as 10 weeks!).
So a week later, during my work day, I look down at my phone to see I have a missed call and a voicemail. I check the voicemail and it’s Dr. Kind’s office calling to tell me that the results of my MaterniT21 test are back and they are negative. She says nothing of the gender but to call with any questions. Of course I immediately excuse myself and call her back from the empty office space next door.
I have to admit, I was pretty certain Turtle was a girl. I had been having dreams of a daughter since long before we managed to conceive and a few since then too. My extreme morning sickness and the fact that I pretty much looked like shit also pointed to a girl. DH thought boy. No reason, just felt it. I expressed at one point that maybe what we both “thought” it was was really what we both just hoped it was.
Regardless. I get the nurse on the phone and she says immediately, “You want to know the sex?” “Um, yes!” “It’s a boy!” “Are you serious?!” I couldn’t believe it but was of course so, so happy. Suddenly, everything felt so so REAL. I‘m pregnant with a little boy. Our little boy, the fighter. I immediately called DH and told him. He just said, naturally, “I knew it.” He’s incredibly excited to be having a son though.
And at our second ultrasound with Dr. Kind, he was actually about to SHOW us Turtle’s boy bits! They were itty bitty of course but he assured us they would get bigger.
We kept this a secret until now because we wanted to surprise our families with the news at Christmas. I had thought of giving my parents and DH’s mom a small gift that would indicate a boy. I looked at some little blue turtle stuffed animals but they were kind of silly and didn’t feel right. Then I searched Etsy for “blue turtle” and found this set of three blue turtle ornaments. They are handmade and oh so pretty. And three was the perfect number, one for my parents, one for his mom, and one for us.
All the days leading up to Christmas it was killing us, keeping quiet. We had many gender conversations where we had to watch our pronouns very carefully. Earlier that night, my cousin was asking us if we were still planning an gender reveal party (I had wanted to do the thing with the colored cake, especially when we thought it was twins). I had to lie through my teeth and say “maybe,” when what I wanted to say was, “It’s actually tonight – in about 30 minutes!”
We gave them as the last present of the evening, “something special for the grandparents to be” and made sure they opened them together. They got the turtle reference right away but the gender part didn’t dawn on them until I said, “Notice anything about them?” My mom then said, “It’s a boy turtle?” And the room exploded and everyone was happy and we’re having a boy, ohmigod, the end.