OH. You should ALSO know that, like I've mentioned before, Rowan's been asking for a baby for at least a year and a half. Specifically, she's been asking for a baby sister. That's actually part of the reason we wanted to find out the sex early; we figured, the more time we had to prepare her, the better.
Oh, and one more thing. ...Kidding, that's all, here's the video. :)
So there you go! She was relatively unfazed, and she apparently has our next baby already planned out.
Me, on the other hand?
Okay, this is where I admit something that will make some of you think, "Oh my god, I've totally been there and I understand!" It'll make some of you think, "You're a horrible excuse for a mother and human. You should be grateful that you're pregnant at all." (It'll make the rest of you think, "I give zero shits about this and am unsure as to why this warrants a blog post.")
And of course. Of course I'm grateful that I'm pregnant. Of course I'm grateful that the tests showed that the baby doesn't have certain fatal chromosomal disorders.
But it turns out that you can feel more than one thing at a time, you know? I'm grateful, yes. So grateful.
I'm also a little disappointed.
I'll be completely transparent: I was hoping for a girl. It's funny, because when I was pregnant the first time, I wanted it to be a boy. When the ultrasound tech announced it was a girl, though, I burst into elated tears. It just felt right, like something - somebody - I had known all along. I didn't care at all that it wasn't a boy; I was beyond thrilled that it was a girl.
Then I ended up having a hard time bonding with Rowan in the first few weeks after she was born, despite those early feelings of knowing her. I even referred to her as him, over and over and over. So feeling connected while pregnant, just because of which sex the fetus is? Meh. Clearly not essential.
Also, like I said in the beginning of this post, I don't put much stock in assigned gender. This baby will be whoever he is, and it's my job to help him discover that and own that, not to dictate that to him.
So these are the things I keep telling myself to assuage the disappointment. Because...I really did want a girl. I love having a girl. I am shocked again and again at how much I love having a girl. Plus? I wanted to give Rowan the sister she'd been asking for. I wanted to pull out all of her old dresses, still adorable, still in pristine condition, and use them for a new baby. I want to have two best girls, my daughters. I wanted to update the nursery in my current favorite color scheme, adding coral and navy to the turquoise, and create a 3D paper flower mural on the wall. I didn't want to have to make the circumcision decision. I feel less confident about raising a boy who's a feminist than a girl who's a feminist. Girls feel like familiar territory; boys feel so alien. And? There are NO GOOD NAMES LEFT for boys.
You don't need to tell me that a lot of those reasons are utterly ridiculous. All new babies are unknown territory, regardless of sex. Personality is not determined by genitalia. It might be easier to raise a feminist boy than to un-teach a girl all the cultural patriarchal trappings. Boys CAN have flowers and coral in their nurseries, and even dresses, if that's what's making me upset.
And as for giving Rowan the sister she wanted? Well. First of all, as you saw in the video, her solution is just to have a girl baby next; no big deal (ha). Second of all, she is thrilled about her baby brother. She sings to him, she reads stories to him, she wants to snuggle him constantly. She runs up to me about a dozen times a day to hug my belly (never me; I'm chopped liver now, compared to Baby Brudder). She'll sigh and say, "I can't wait to meet the baby. When will I get to meet our baby?" When I explained that she could probably meet the baby a few hours after he's born, after he gets all cleaned up and has some milk, she responded, "Well, I could watch the baby when he has a bath. Just in case he feels sad or nervous." She's thinking about him all the time: She recently asked J.J. to get some milk for her and some water for me, then hugged my middle and said, "Baby, you'll get some water from Mommy. Through the umbilical cord!" One day we were snuggling and I said, "Rowie, you're my best girl. Oh, and the baby will be my best boy!" She looked at me indignantly and asserted, "No, he'll be the whole family's best boy!" She asked me last week if I was coming to the store with J.J. and her, and I told her I couldn't, because I had to stay home and wrap some more presents. "For me?" she asked, eyes wide. "Mayyyybe!" I responded. "And for my little boy?!" she exclaimed excitedly. She wants to know if the baby can go swimming, and if she can tickle the baby, and if the baby is allowed to eat whatever she happens to be eating at the moment. She threw her giant Rudolph doll down the stairs one day and apologized when she saw that it scared the shit out of me, because I thought she was falling down the stairs; then she asked, "Do you think that scared the baby, too?" I was brushing her hair one night and I asked her if she would be my girl forever (one of our routine questions to each other). She said yes and then said to my belly, "Baby, will you be my baby forever?" She went on to say that she would be the mommy and her baby would be the daddy and that they could have a baby together. I gently explained that that's...not exactly how it works, and she started to cry: "But then - who will be my best boy?!"
She's already in love with this baby, simply because it's our baby. (Oh, and because she has no CLUE what she's in for when we actually bring the baby home. Sorry, sister.) She tells everyone she sees that she's going to be a big sister, and that her baby brother is coming in the summer. She's still holding out hope that I'm carrying multiples and has devised a child care solution for that situation: "Maybe there's more than one baby in there! Maybe one will grow, and then one and one and one and one, and you can take care of one and Daddy can take care of one and I can take care of one and Gramma can take care of one! Then we'll have babies, babies everywhere!"
SO. My point? I'm trying to follow her example and just be excited about our baby. I've had a couple weeks to sit with the disappointment, as well as the guilt that came along with that. I also feel guilty putting this out there to the world, because he could very well read this post one day. What would that feel like for him? Hopefully, what he'd learn from that is that in the end, I love him because of who he is, not because of what I planned for him to be or what cute hand-me-downs of Rowan's he was able to wear. He'll understand that he's the exact kid I didn't even realize I wanted. And that, as Rowan said, he's our whole family's best boy.
(But there are still no good names left for boys. Don't try to convince me otherwise.)
...And because you know I love comparison pics, here I am at 16 weeks with Rowan: