This Is My Version of a Gender Reveal Party

The bad news is, there’s no cake. The good news is that you don’t have to leave your house in order to attend.

Did you know that they have a blood test now that can tell you whether you’re having a girl or a boy (or at least, a baby with two X chromosomes or one X and one Y)? Well, they do. You take it at about 12 weeks, and it measures fetal DNA in the mother’s blood.

The test also tells you, with a high degree of accuracy, whether or not your baby has Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18 or 13. Needless to say, I was more concerned with these results than the other one. Regarding the boy/girl question, we have a niece and a nephew, and they’re awesome, and nothing that’s awesome about them is because of their gender.

But I am roughly one-thousand years old in mom years, which adds to the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.

Delivery Notification

The results came in through the automated system at LabCorp, which was a very good sign. Doctors tend not to release your results when they’re bad. They call you on the phone, like our ancestors did, or worse yet, ask you to come in to the office. If a doctor ever asks me to come into the office, I’m moving to Costa Rica, ASAP, to live out the rest of my life in the sloth sanctuary. I don’t need more information than that phone call asking me to come in. I can guess the rest.

Anyway, there was no need to move to Costa Rica just yet, because the results were good: negative for all trisomies.

Also negative: the test for the presence of a Y chromosome. “Consistent with a female fetus,” the report read, which slayed me for some reason. Medical lingo is so cautious: “We’re not saying it’s a girl, but we are saying that it doesn’t have a Y chromosome and probably won’t have a penis. What you do with this information is up to you. We’re not into the whole labeling thing.”

Which is for the best, really. Before we got the results, Adam mentioned that you can only learn so much from a test.

“I mean, by the time this kid grows up, we’ll have about 800 different gender identities,” he said. “So it probably doesn’t really matter what their underpants situation is today.”

Consistent With a Female Fetus

I will confess that I wanted a girl, for one reason and one reason only: I did not want to have to deal with the whole circumcision issue.

Many of you will read that and start tsking, regardless of where you stand on the issue. People tend to be very passionate about their stance. I’d guess conservatively that 80 percent of the parents reading this have very strong feelings about circumcision one way or the other, and to those parents I say, hey, you’re probably right.

There are certainly good arguments for both sides. On the one hand, if we had a vaccine that prevented HIV and HPV infection as well as circumcision does, we’d give it to everyone, probably at Costco while they were trying cheese samples. On the other hand, well, doesn’t it seem odd to lop off parts of people’s bodies before they get a say?

Bottom line, whatever you decided to do with your son, I’m on your side and will vigorously defend your choices. But, oh my sweet baby Jesus, am I glad we won’t have to decide.

Beyond that, I feel like I have a better handle on the precise flavor of bullshit that a girl is likely to deal with in life, although that’s a good news/bad news situation. I’m not looking forward to teaching her how to deal with street harassment and the gender pay gap and unconscious bias. But I am definitely looking forward to telling her about all the excellent women who paved the way for her to build the life she wants.

Because she will have that, no matter what some of the men in charge right now would have us believe. Their time is coming to an end, but Baby Girl Luckwaldt’s is just beginning. And yes, it’s a big scary world out there, full of people who would limit her potential based on nothing, a report containing news so inessential, it could be sent via email with an automatic notification.

But it’s also a world with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton. Maxine Waters and Elizabeth Warren and Malala Yousafzai. Fannie Lou Hamer and Mary Harris Jones and Margaret Sanger and Shirley Chisholm and Mary Wollstonecraft and Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Emmeline Pankhurst. Simone de Beauvoir and Bell Hooks and Maya Angelou. So many more.

My secret is that I’m an optimist. Beyond that, I’m determined. I’ll be the first to make fun of a male celebrity when he claims that he cares about industry-accepted sexual harassment because he has a daughter, but it does make a difference, having a girl. Already, I’m thinking to myself, “But she’ll be brand-new. How can anyone try to limit her potential when she doesn’t even know who she is yet?”

Soon, we’ll have a daughter. Forget the nursery. It’s the world we have to get ready for her.

Image: Karen Eliot/Flickr

Advertisements

So, It Turns Out That I Really Like Being Pregnant

Chalk it up to hormones, or the fact that we had to wait so long and thought it might never happen, but I’m really enjoying being pregnant.

This was a surprise. If you’ve read any of my blog posts over the past few years, you know that I was not at all expecting to like being pregnant. I figured, best-case scenario, I’d tolerate it — but I was expecting something along the lines of Aliens mixed with Rosemary’s Baby.

But here I am, nearly 15 weeks pregnant, and I feel great. I’d love to claim that it’s because of my fabulous attitude and self-care skills, but actually, I think I’ve just been really lucky so far. I was mildly nauseated every day from about week five to the end of my first trimester, but now I’m good as long as no one eats lobster in front of me. (Apologies to my family, who accidentally helped me discover this during a clambake a few weeks back.)

I also feel ridiculously cute. I have named my stomach The Protuberance, and while I’m not one for naked belly photos under any circumstances, I am enjoying dressing The Protuberance in a variety of fun shirts and stretchy jeans.

Related: we should all be wearing maternity jeans, all the time. Even the men. You guys, I’m serious: go buy some right now. I have discovered the answer to 35 percent of my problems and it is maternity jeans and I’m never taking them off. THIS IS JUST THE WAY I DRESS NOW.

I also wasn’t prepared for how much people love pregnant ladies. Here’s something about me that I wish were different, but will probably never change: I love it when people like me. It’s pretty much my favorite. I’m not willing to pretend to like the wrong sports team or support a dictator or anything like that in order to win you over. But I do enjoy approval.

And boy howdy, am I ever getting it. Since I started showing, I have been smiled at by nuns, children, joggers, store clerks, waiters, and one random guy who appeared to be about my age and didn’t even have any kids with him. The only people who don’t care are teenagers and I totally understand: they’re busy.

I don’t even really mind that I can’t drink, because pregnancy is a low-key mind-altering experience anyway and I have no idea what I’ll feel like from one moment to the next. I could be crying by the time I’m done typing this sentence, or seized by the urge to organize my bathroom counter. WHO KNOWS?

Anyway: pregnancy. 10/10, would recommend. But only if you feel like it, of course. It’s not for everyone, and I’d hate to talk you into anything.

thomas-kelley-74109
Also, the baby is apparently the size of an apple now.

 

Image: Thomas Kelly/Unsplash

The Miracle Baby

I liked the new fertility doctor right away. We sat down in his office and he smiled at us across his desk and I immediately thought, “Oh, thank God.” He had a kind face, and when he listened, I could tell that he wasn’t thinking of anything else — not his kitchen remodel, not another patient, not the box score for his favorite sports team. He was totally focused on our case.

He didn’t demoralize us with statistics, but he was honest about what we needed to do next.

“You’ve had three IUIs,” he said, looking at our chart. “Is that right?”

“Yes, plus the one that was cancelled for overstimulation.”

He looked up from the file. “You know what’s next,” he said.

“IVF.”

He nodded. It wasn’t news. We already knew that would be the recommendation. I’m 41, and we’d had three failed cycles. IVF was the last-ditch, and an expensive one: $20,000 per cycle at our last clinic, and probably not much cheaper anywhere in the greater New York area.

The next step was a physical exam, and things immediately got interesting.

“The opening of your cervix is TINY,” he said. “TINY, TINY, like a pinhole.”

“Do you think…?”

“YES,” he said, and then very professionally did not say what I could see him thinking, which was, What the @#$% was the matter with your last doctor?

It’s possible that I’m projecting.

Anyway, it turned out that the reason my hormone panels were mostly fine and I wasn’t getting pregnant wasn’t because the assays were wrong, like one of our doctors suggested, or that my egg quality was bad despite the very decent egg quantity. It was because my cervix was essentially closed, almost like a natural diaphragm, and it was very unlikely that any swimmers could get through.

Unlikely, but not impossible.

“Hmm,” he said, looking at the ultrasound. “This lining is very thick.”

“Oh, that’s good, right?”

“Yes.” He frowned at the screen for a second. “In fact, if you don’t get your period next week, I want you to come in for a blood test. It wouldn’t totally surprise me if you were already pregnant.”

That’s bananas, I thought. And at the same time, I also thought, I am definitely, totally pregnant. I’m the most pregnant. I’m getting an A in pregnancy. 

That was around 12 weeks ago. And now I sit here, wearing maternity jeans as I write this to you, at the beginning of the second trimester.

Surprise!

This is how big the baby is, apparently. Thanks, internet!

Image: Pexels