It’s gonna be a…. Boy? Girl?

As soon as we learnt we were going to have a baby, I was pretty sure in my mind that I would like to know the gender of the baby in advance. My wife, on the other hand, felt exactly the opposite. For her, the surprise was important. Over the countless weeks that followed, we both put our arguments forward, trying to convince the other why one of us was right.

For me, knowing was important for two reasons. First, I don’t like uncertainties and prefer knowing over not knowing. I wanted to enjoy the whole period leading up to the delivery framing my thoughts more deeply about the baby and feel more of a bond with it when it is born. Knowing would also let me prepare things accordingly, buy the right colors: blue or pink, the right bibs: sporting a lion or a kitty. I wanted to enjoy knowing. The second reason, though less important, was that, back in India, it is illegal for doctors to reveal the sex of the baby (believe me, it is very very difficult to find out there). But here in Sweden, having had the option available, I wanted to take it just for the reason that I could.

My wife’s only reason for not knowing was that the lesser you know, lesser you tell the world and therefore, lesser people talk about it. She is a bit superstitious, in that she didn’t want to celebrate something way before its time.

However, after some time, it so happened that she got completely convinced by my arguments and agreed to finding out the sex of the baby at the next ultrasound, which was also going to be her last. Now that she agreed on this, she started to see all the advantages, such as being able to prepare with the right colors and the right name, and so much more. Overall, the excitement of being able to find out in advance proved too much for her to let go.

It is strange how opinions change. Because not only did she end up changing her mind, so did I. It happened one day that I was talking to my mom and she said that someone had predicted to her the sex of my baby-to-be. Though I do not believe in such predictions, it did take a place in my mind for a while and I realized that it disturbed me deeply. Somehow, something had come and taken away from the fascinating discussions I was able to have with my wife. Always discussing what we would do if it were a boy, or if it were a girl, pondering over each scenario, all of that was great fun and kept us excited. But once we found out the gender, what then? Nothing?

So, it finally dawned on me that I would be happier not knowing. That I would appreciate both a boy and a girl equally when it comes out because, by then, I would have gone through that nervous anticipation as a father where sometimes there would be good days and sometimes bad days during and I would not want knowing in advance to influence that genuine nervous anticipation. After all, it was my secret to keep and only mine to disclose.

My wife has been quite surprised that the tables had now turned completely. She now wanted to know while I wanted it to remain a suspense. It is, in a way, a good thing that both of us came around to appreciate the other’s point of view. And once you do that, your final decision, whatever it might turn out to be, could never be wrong

In our case, we finally decided not to find out. So, at the ultrasound, when the nurse told us she would be scanning the baby’s lower body and that we could look away from the big screen if we wanted it to be a suspense, my wife closed her eyes while I looked away too. Every moment, I felt enticed to look at the screen; the truth was right there to discover. But I didn’t look.

So now, we wait for January 2017.

Baby? Foetus? Parasite? The first ultrasound experience

2nd June 2016

A few days after we discovered my wife was pregnant – and she had done a second test to be sure, and then a third test before I had to stop her madness – we asked ourselves: what next? Initially, she thought we had to meet a gynaecologist – after all, that is what you would do back in India – but I did some research of my own and the matter was finally settled and we called a midwife clinic in Södermalm called Mama Mia and they gave us an appointment for 2nd June.

In between, we had an Italian trip planned and we found out it was safe to travel. We had a good itinerary but the saddest part was that my wife just could not eat anything during the whole trip since she could not bear the smell of meat (any meat). I felt sorry for her because here I was relishing carbonara, pizza, porchetta, everything that we both loved, while she sat small faced nibbling at a plain baguette we bought at a grocery store near our hotel.

Finally, the day arrived when we met the mid-wife for the first time. We were both a bit nervous and after a bit of discussion, we had the first ultrasound. After a couple of minutes of trying to make sense of what we were seeing on the screen, we finally saw it.

I still do not know what I had expected to see, because what I saw was a very tiny oval-shaped figure – like a small toad in a bubble. To me it was not a baby yet. I preferred to call it a foetus. I later told me wife that it is like a parasite which lived and fed on the host and survived only as long as the host did and it sucked out whatever it needed from the host without giving a damn about her health. Perhaps, I did not want to rush into an attachment at such an early stage. I mean, there were still a lot of tests remaining and one could not be 100% sure until much later so I was perhaps trying to shield my emotions. But before you go judging me, I was enjoying every moment of it anyway.

It was when the mid-wife announced that it appeared to be doing okay did my wife finally breathe a sigh of relief. She was obviously quite tensed, maybe I was too.

We got a print of the ultrasound and on our way back in the metro, while me wife took out the picture and looked at it secretively, I saw a woman sitting with her own baby on the other side of the aisle turn her head slightly towards my wife and smile. It was a smile which, perhaps, I could never understand before that day – she knew exactly how we felt.

How did you feel when you first saw your baby (or foetus) on that monitor? Did you think it was just a foetus like I did, or was it something else? Let me know by leaving a comment below.