It’s a . . .

If you’ve popped by my Instagram lately, you know the answer to this most life-changing of questions. Regardless, I love a little fanfare . . . and who doesn’t love a good party?!

After Baby J was resolutely uncooperative at our first ultrasound, we had to reschedule the get-together we’d planned with our families. I’d ordered a cake from a friend so we could cut in and all be surprised together, which had to be delayed with a few frantic text messages.

Disappointed, we went for an additional elective ultrasound last Wednesday — and got a bouncier baby this time! Our ultrasound technician said she could tell “right away,” and we had our answer — now sealed in an envelope — to deliver to the baker.

We got together with our parents, grandparents, siblings and aunts — some through the magic of FaceTime! — last Friday to finally learn whether we were expecting a boy or girl. Though Spence and I were both genuinely excited at the idea of either sex, I’ve had a hunch from the very beginning that we would be welcoming a little guy.

And . . .

I was totally right!

Unlike the last time Spence and I cut a cake together (our wedding day), my hands were trembling like crazy. I actually felt a little faint as we prepared to slice in . . . only because I knew that we would forever remember this moment. That it changed everything.

Having a boy will be such a grand adventure. I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little nervous, only because I have so little experience with kids in general . . . and boys in particular. I am one of two girls; my mom is one of two girls; her mom is one of two girls . . . for as far back as I can remember, we’ve had ladies in our family. Though my dad’s side has many little gentlemen running around, my mom’s side has been resolutely female for decades.

And here comes our guy, busting out his power tools and race cars and monsters.

Because I’ve felt from the beginning that he is a he, I wasn’t surprised — but it’s one thing to suspect something and, you know, something else entirely to know it. If we’d cut in to see pink inside, I think I would have actually been shocked. Mother’s intuition?

I have so much to learn — about babies in general, of course, and little guys in particular. But I’m so excited for my husband to have a buddy in all his experiments and home projects, me to have a young reader (already building his library!), our dads to have a grandson and for both of our families to have a little one to love.

Boy, oh boy!

Gender reveal


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Five things on Friday

Magazine

1. The gender reveal is ON for tonight! Our elective ultrasound on Wednesday was a success, and our technician was able to get Baby J to move enough to “clearly” tell what s/he is. The baby was initially hanging out on its belly, just like last time, and I had a moment of abject panic where I thought, “C’MON PLEASE NOT AGAIN.” Only because I’m ridiculous and impatient. But after a few minutes, we saw a little somersault and got the money shot. And we all find out tonight through a gender reveal cake! I. am. excited.

2. But in the midst of all that excitement . . . I’m dealing with my second cold of the winter season. The first came on in early December, and I’m pretty sure I never really got over that one? This has been one of my busiest work weeks in ages, and I’ve had to muster up every ounce of energy I have to get through it. Unmedicated. Also, I’ve gone through three boxes of tissues in two days . . . so. It’s fun hanging out with me!

3. I’ve become something of a magazine hoarder. Unintentionally, of course. Which magazines do y’all subscribe to? Glamour, Cooking Light and Southern Living regularly arrive in my mailbox. I have them all piled up in the office for a rainy day but, when I finally sit down to read, I almost always reach for my latest novel-in-progress instead. I want to get better about reading and passing them along, though; maybe that’s a good weekend project?

4. Speaking of projects, Spence and I have started looking at paint colors for the nursery. Regardless of whether we’re having a lady or lad, we know we don’t want a pink/blue explosion . . . so we’ve been playing around with a pretty pale purple for a girl or a very subtle blue for a boy. I guess nurseries need a “theme”? I don’t know. I think I want our theme to be, um, soothing and tranquil . . . after all, s/he won’t be paying as much attention to the room as we will. And we’ll be tired. For a little while, at least!

5. And just because shopping is fun, how cute is this little wooly egg doll? She’s reading! A book! I fell in love with the wooly guys when a good friend shared a link with me years ago, and bought her a set as a gift. I think they’re straight-up adorable.

Happy weekend, friends!


Early lessons in (not quite) parenthood

Twenty weeks

Back in November, we scheduled one of the most exciting appointments for parents-to-be: our 20-week anatomy scan, also known as the Big Exciting Ultrasound Day in which many parents get a detailed glimpse of their growing child — and learn the sex of their baby-to-be.

It was the week before Thanksgiving. I was still fighting off the urge to gag at chicken, Brussels sprouts, candy . . . everything, basically. And the idea of actually being pregnant — like, with a baby — was still pretty novel. Spencer and I had the shell-shocked looks of two people who had no idea what they were in for, and we sat at our first trimester screening holding sweaty hands.

Though I knew something was happening, that first abdominal ultrasound afforded us our first look at our little one actually kicking, squirming and air-punching. Moving. Until that moment, “the baby” was totally abstract. But there, on the screen, was the baby. He or she looked both foreign and familiar, new and old. Impossibly small. Totally beautiful.

When we scheduled our anatomy scan for January 15, it seemed like forever — an eternity — before we’d return to that office. I couldn’t imagine how I would look in two months . . . and even more importantly, how I would feel. I remember shaking with nerves and excitement, and consoling myself with the knowledge that the holidays would help the time pass quickly.

Because we wanted to know.

Despite friends’ efforts to convince us to wait for the Big Reveal at birth, Spence and I both agreed that we wanted to know whether we were having a boy or girl as soon as we could. I commend parents who can wait the whole nine months — actually, I think it’s awesome. But I am way too anxious and impatient. After our very first positive test, actually, Spence blurted, “So we’re going to find out, right?”

Right.

Our anatomy scan last Thursday was perfect. Baby J was moving, flexing its fingers and wiggling — to get comfortable? — across the giant screen. I started crying again, looking at that strong and flickering heartbeat, and felt all the anxiety I’d felt in the days leading up to the appointment begin to fade.

We saw the brain, kidneys, fingers and toes. A profile (with little nose!), stomach, roof of the mouth, the leg bones and arms.

Everything! Everything but . . .

Well.

Everything but whether he is a he or she is a she.

As I laid there with an ultrasound technician trying valiantly to gain access to our child’s private area, panic began to make my heart race. We’d planned a gender reveal get-together with our families for the following night — complete with a cake to reveal to us, too, what our baby will be. We’d waited so long. We wanted to know.

Spence and I had already prepped our technician to warn us if she would be getting close to any “tell-tale” areas and to please write the sex on scrap paper, which we’d been planning to deliver to a friend to bake our pink-inside or blue-inside cake. He or she — which will it be? I’d been scheming this Friday get-together for a month.

We tried several angles. Twisting, turning. The baby would shift, shift, then turn away — giving us a clear view of his or her backside with the umbilical cord tucked resolutely between their legs. When the tech had no luck, she called in the doctor to try and offer an opinion. She said she had “an idea” but, sadly, told us she just didn’t feel comfortable “calling it.” Uncooperative.

I. was. devastated. Devastated in a way that only a truly irrational pregnant woman can be. It was just abject disappointment, really; just a letdown. But I kept reminding myself of the actual importance of this visit: ensuring our baby is developing normally and getting stronger. And he/she is! Our due date is right on target for early June. Our wee little one now weighs 11 ounces.

That seems impossibly small and also . . . so big. Considering we found out we were pregnant when Baby J was little more than a clump of cells, smaller than a blueberry, we’re making great progress!

After I regained my composure on Thursday (and started making calls to cancel our little party), I realized we’d just learned an important early lesson in parenthood: life is unpredictable. Stay flexible. Don’t expect kids to do what you think they will when you think they will . . . in fact, don’t be surprised if they’re, like, doing headstands. In the womb. And totally ignoring you.

Despite our disappointment at having to wait longer to learn if we have a guy or gal on the way, I went to sleep Thursday with a happy, grateful heart. And rumbling belly. All things in perspective.

And we’re halfway through. Halfway!

Orange juice toast for everyone.