People asked me all the time if I wanted a boy or a girl, and every time, without hesitation I told them: I want a boy. And of course, I get that look like I’m a big jerk for having a preference because obviously the gender question is a trap anyway and any other answer besides the standard “I don’t care as long as he or she is healthy,” makes you a giant a-hole. Whatever. The truth was, I wanted a boy, and I was totally fine saying that out loud.
My father wanted sons. Instead, he ended up with my sister and me. I’d heard stories about how my dad wore a baseball cap during conception to try and make boys and how the doctor had told my mom both times that we were boys because of how she was carrying us and the fact that we were freakishly huge. I was 10 pounds 8 ounces and my sister was 9 pounds. Hell, the doctor even said I was a boy as my mother pushed me out because my head was so fat. But alas, they ended up with two giant baby girls with cone-shaped giant heads.
Side note: My mom had natural births with both of us. I’m not really going anywhere with that other than pausing to shout out to my mother who is a total badass.
Anyway, my father was very vocal about wanting sons, but it never really made me feel any less loved. He never tried to pretend we were boys. He was always proud of us and loved us. He never made us feel like he felt short-changed because we were girls. So, I have no trouble admitting that from the time I could even imagine Bun, I wanted a boy.
Look, I’m a girl. There are lots of girls in my family. I know myself and I know them. And this is about the nicest way I can say this: Raising any one of those just doesn’t sound appealing to me. In fact, it sounds exhausting. As a teenager, I’d say things like “I hope I have ten kids just like me,” and I was serious. I really thought that highly of myself. And my mother would simply smirk and respond:
“No. I hope you just have one. One daughter just like you.”
And at the time, I didn’t know what that meant, but it sort of sounded like she was casting some sort of spell or hex on me that sent shivers down my spine. And every time the idea of Bun’s gender came up, I’d remember her words and decide that yes, I definitely wanted a boy. It’s not that I would’ve been upset about a girl; it’s just that the thought of raising a mini version of me seemed thoroughly unappealing.
Chris and I decided that we didn’t want to do a gender reveal. It just seemed silly. Nobody likes going to a gender reveal party. It’s bad enough that people are dragged to baby showers and sip and sees and whatever other excuse people can come up with to subject people to a boring party. I didn’t want to be that person. Also, it was our baby and the thought of finding out what Bun was along with the rest of the world seemed a little like someone was hijacking our special husband and wife moment.
I’d like to pause right here to say that if you love gender reveals, more power to you. No judgement here. Just please don’t force me to go to one. Seriously. Don’t.
We decided that we’d find out at our 20-week anatomy scan. We wouldn’t ask the sonographer to put it in an envelope. We just wanted her to tell us. Just quick and dirty. You could tell that the sonographer didn’t get requests like this much anymore because she asked us if we were sure.
The scan took a really long time, which I was assured was fine and only taking so long because my child kept moving every time they went to get a picture. The baby would stay still for a second, right up until they went to snap the shot and then Bun would move, doing the fake out. Things went on like this for over an hour, with the baby wiggling and periodically shaking its fists at us.
Yep. Definitely my child.
“Okay, so what do we all think?” she asked us.
“I think it’s a boy. I’m hoping for a boy,” I said.
“Everyone thinks it’s a boy. I think it’s a little girl. I hope it’s a girl,” Chris said.
Chris was hoping for a little girl, but he didn’t mention it much since I’d told him to keep that to himself so that he wouldn’t bring any extra baby girl juju into my uterus.
The sonographer clicked around for a while. I’d spent some time on Google looking at ultrasounds, trying to learn how to distinguish a boy from a girl. I was pretty confident that I knew what to look for. I knew what I needed to see to get an “It’s a boy!” and so far, I wasn’t seeing it on the screen. The sonographer started talking to Chris.
“So, everyone was thinking boy…”
Oh God, why can’t I see the nuts? I thought to myself.
“Hmm…well, you should’ve placed a bet…”
Oh Dear God, no. WHERE ARE THE NUTS?
“…because it looks like y’all have got a little princess on the way!”
My husband was beaming. I was in shock. Not upset, because I’m not that much of a jerk and of course I’ll love my kid regardless of it’s packing down there. I was speechless as that little hamburger bun waved across the screen and the sonographer took a snapshot and typed “IT’S A GIRL!” Her scan was perfect and she was growing right on track. Her heartbeat was perfect and still one of my top favorite sounds of all time.
We finished up our scan and I was sent down the hall to collect my urine sample. And I was still in so much shock that I went pee but forgot to do it in the cup. So, the nurse gave me some water and we waited around until I could give another sample. I could hear my mother in my head cackling at the idea that we were having a girl.
We left that day and ordered a pink cake, not for a gender reveal, but because cake is delicious, and we told the rest of our family what we were having. We went to my favorite local bookstore and I got Bun Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Madam Curie dolls and a onesie that said Madam President. It was really exciting to know more about Bun now, and as terrifying as it was to know that there was a miniature version of me growing in there, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with joy either way. I still couldn’t wait to meet her.
She was the best thing I’d ever seen.
Ready or not, here she comes. And she has my nose. Damnit.
About the Author: Alicia Barksdale is the Managing Writer & Editor for Gold Anchor Publications, LLC, a freelance writing and consulting service. You can follow her on Instagram @hi_fitlicia and read her blog at AliciaBarksdale.com.