When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to find out the sex before birth or wait. In the beginning, I leaned towards waiting until birth. I liked the idea of the surprise. However, as the weeks went on, I found myself anxious to know. I was convinced I was having a boy. An ultrasound would just confirm that. I could start shopping for clothes, brainstorming on names for him, and decorating his room. Sure, there are gender neutral nursery décor, but they can be harder to come by. By 20 weeks, the suspense got the best of me. I had to know for sure.
With my husband and parents present, we went to my appointment. My heart raced as we sat in the waiting room. There is nothing like nerves leading up to ultrasounds. You worry if everything is ok. You are excited to see how your baby differs from the last ultrasound. The galloping sound of the heartbeat is one of the best sounds. On top of all these feelings, I was finding out what I was having. How could women wait until birth to find out?
We piled into the dark room where the ultrasound machine hummed, and my rounding belly was covered in thick, warm goo. This was it. I would see my potential Henry Spencer. (We wanted to wait until birth to see him before committing to a name.) Everything looked perfect. The baby was active and seeing and feeling the movements, at once, was surreal. Then came the moment of truth.
“You’re having a girl!”
The first word out of my mouth was, “Really?” I was shocked. I was elated. I was having a girl! Let the shopping begin! I was glad I found out. Had I not found out, I would have planned for a boy.
We spent the next 20 weeks shopping for little outfits, decorating her room, and celebrating with showers. We brainstormed on names for our daughter. On my due date, I went into labor and Molly Kathryn was born. In the beginning, I was convinced she was a boy. Now I could not imagine having a son.
My daughter wasn’t even 18 months old when we went to the 20-week ultrasound for her sibling. There was no question. I was finding out again. All our big items were gender neutral. I had all the girl clothes. What if this was a boy? I would need clothes. I’m glad we found out, for the most part. However, I felt a little let down that this big surprise was “out of the way”. There is so much anticipation leading up to finding out. In a matter of seconds, it’s over. What would it be like to carry that another 20 weeks? I decided that if we ever had another, I would wait until birth.
I got pregnant with my third child when my son was 19 months old. I immediately knew I wanted to wait until the birth to find out the gender. On the day of the 20-week ultrasound, I began to second guess my decision. My husband was ok, either way. I went back and forth on the way. I went back and forth as I exposed my stomach. I told the tech we wanted to be surprised. After the ultrasound, I found myself ok with waiting. I didn’t have a desire to find out.
The drive to the hospital, not knowing what we were having, gave an extra thrill. I already knew meeting your baby, for the first time, was like nothing I ever experienced. What would it be like to hear what I had at that moment?
After all the pain and pushing, my baby was born with the added announcement. As my baby was handed over, I heard those words.
“It’s a boy!”
Hearing the gender after I gave birth was magical. It made 9 months of waiting worth it.
I got pregnant with our last child and knew, going by previous experiences, I wanted to wait until birth. Knowing how much I loved finding out after I delivered, I wanted that again. It made the wait much easier. It gave me something extra to look forward to.
Are you finding out before birth?
Clothes shopping will be easier. If you are a planner, you will have that extra piece in place. Keep in mind, you will probably get more clothes than practical items for shower gifts. Although I did not feel this way, many of my friends felt more of a bond with knowing the gender.
Are you waiting until you deliver?
My biggest struggle was finding gender neutral clothes. (I may have been looking in the wrong places.) If you can get past the 20-week ultrasound, it does get “easier”. I have no words for hearing the announcement at birth. The added surprise really added to the experience. There are few big surprises like this in life.
There is no right or wrong way. It’s a personal decision. In the end, you get your perfect baby. I have friends who find out every time and would not have it any other way. Some of my friends always wait.
Did you find out or wait?