When it comes to the question of finding out the gender of my unborn child I am firmly in the finding out camp. It’s each to their own obviously, but I really love to know what I’m having, it helps me to imagine life once they are born and besides that I’m bloody impatient! I have heard people say that it spoils the surprise in the delivery room but I really disagree with that. The boy/girl surprise just happens a few months earlier and knowing the gender in advance takes nothing at all away from the miraculous moment when you meet your child for the very first time, because it is one of the most amazing moments of your whole life and nothing can ever detract from that. Whether you choose to find out during pregnancy or not, it is certainly a burning question for all expectant parents!
When I was pregnant first time around with Jess, the NHS in my area only offered one scan at 16 weeks and private scans were unheard of (they probably existed, but just weren’t accessible) so that was it. They didn’t give out pictures and they wouldn’t tell you the gender. I do of course remember how amazing it was to see that grainy black and white picture of my baby, but it was very unclear in comparison to today’s technology. I was not so secretly hoping for a daughter and was thrilled when she was born and was indeed a girl! Although of course, a boy would have been just as welcome, once that baby is in your arms, safe and healthy, that really is all that matters.
With Matthew and Nathan, even though they were born only three years later, things had changed a bit. Two scans were now offered, a dating scan and an anomaly scan, and they gave you pictures and would also tell you the gender. As I was having twins, I had several more scans in fact, to check their growth and to keep an eye out for things like Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. After a some initial indecision I decided that I would find out what I was having, mainly because I was concerned that if I ended up having a general anaesthetic for a c-section that everyone else would know what I was having before me and I didn’t want that (and in fact, I was right, that is how they were born). I was so happy to find out I was expecting two little boys, I remember not being able to sleep with excitement because I just felt so lucky!
When I was expecting Milly five years later I was adamant right from the start that I wanted to know, not just for me but for her sister and brothers who aged 8 and 5 had their own ideas about whether they wanted a brother or sister, and I didn’t want there to be any disappointment when the baby arrived! Fortunately, we all got what we hoped for, a little girl. How lucky was I, it was like I had them to order!
With Sienna, I had a really really strong feeling that she was a boy right from the start, I somehow just pictured a little baby boy and just could not imagine a girl at all. It wasn’t so much that I wanted a boy, it was just that I was absolutely convinced it was a boy. At the 20 week scan I was quite shocked when they told me she was in fact a girl after all. I think I probably gave the sonographer a blank look and said ‘A girl? Are you sure?’ If I’m honest, for the first 24 hours it was a real struggle to get my head round it! But it didn’t take long before I was buying all things pink, and by the time she was born of course I couldn’t imagine things any other way.
When I was expecting Freya, at first Mr T wasn’t totally sure if he wanted to know or not. I let him decide as at the time we thought it would be his one and only, so although it would KILL me not to know I wouldn’t have found out unless it was what he wanted and I didn’t pressure him (much!) I have heard of couples who have had a difference of opinion about it and so only one of them actually found out the gender in advance, but there was no way we were doing that, either we were both finding out or neither of us were (besides which, there was no chance of me keeping it from him, I would mistakenly blab it straight away!!) We decided to get the sonographer to write it down and put it in an envelope rather than find out in the scan room and we went out for lunch with Sienna afterwards and let her open the envelope. If I’m brutally honest, there was the slightest pang of disappointment just for a second that we weren’t having a boy. I’d had no strong feeling either way this time, but just felt a boy would have been nice, especially for Mr T. However, a healthy baby was of course what we hoped for, and I couldn’t help be thrilled that Sienna would have a sister who was close to her in age. I imagined them as little partners in crime and that’s exactly what they are!
So (in case you have lost count, I know there’s a lot of them!) here is the score so far:
This time around I can honestly say I didn’t mind one tiny bit. Yes, a boy would be nice, but so would another girl. Because of my age I wasn’t sure if we would be lucky enough to have another baby and so when I got pregnant I just felt it didn’t matter at all as long as everything was ok. When I was just 10 weeks pregnant we had a NIPT blood test to check for chromosome abnormalities. The 11 day wait for results was agonising, and as time went by I convinced myself something was wrong. When I finally got the text from the clinic asking me to call when we were on holiday the week before Christmas I was almost too scared to call. I tried to claim to Mr T that my phone signal was too patchy and I would have to wait and call later but he just handed me his phone with perfect signal so I was out of excuses. By the time I got through to them I was almost in tears, thank goodness the receptionist put me out of my misery almost instantly by saying the words I longed to hear – ‘very low risk for all chromosome abnormalities tested for’. If she was in front of me there was no doubt I’d have kissed her! When she asked me if I wanted to know the gender it felt almost like an afterthought. But I said yes, because of course I did want to know and we had already agreed we were going to find out. Though when she told me I can honestly say I couldn’t have cared less if she had said I was expecting a baby hippo, I was just so relieved to know everything appeared to be ok.
It has been really nice to know what we are having from so early on. On the practical side of course it is much easier to plan clothes and a nursery but aside from that I just think imagining the baby as a real person is so much easier when you know if it’s a ‘he’ or ‘she’, rather than an ‘it’.