Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: the sex reveal. Drumroll, please. Little Baby Ramirez: It’s a…!!!
My 20-week ultrasound took place just one day before I was 21-weeks pregnant. I squeaked this appointment in right before the deadline that my OB had imposed because this date marked beginning of my health insurance upgrade (but my health insurance conundrums are an entirely different, more dramatic story).
Daniel and I both arrived to the 8:30 am appointment on an empty stomach (I chose not to eat because I remembered how unpleasant the poking of my belly felt at the 11-week ultrasound; he chose not to eat because he had just woken up 5 minutes prior to driving us to the hospital). My morning runs had been becoming steadily shorter, slower, and more laborious for each single step. Yet I knew that having been on my jog would wake up my growing appetite soon. But for the moment, the noise inside was quiet, aside from the army of butterflies that were busily fluttering.
“Lacey?” A technician called my name into the waiting room at precisely 8:47. “I’m Flavia, and I’ll be doing your ultrasound today,” she said through a thick, Russian accent.
I nervously threw down my coat as we entered the exam room and took a seat atop the white sheeted table. “Please, lay down,” Flavia instructed me. “Lift your shirt up and lower your pants,” she said, draping me with a white towel.
Warm gel melted onto my abdomen, upon which Flavia placed her magic ultrasound wand. She turned on a screen to where I could see it from my supine position. On the screen, an image formed. Then the outline of a spine, a head, and swimming hands and legs. Was that my baby?
“Do you want to know the gender?”
“Oh yes,” I said, eagerly.
“I’m not going to tell you. But my supervisor will.”
Dismayed, but relieved to not have to think about the life-changing news for a few more minutes of blissful ignorance, my eyes returned to the screen. I chewed over the mystery of why many healthcare professionals and expecting Pinterest mamas still use the word “gender” on their aggressively cute "nuts or no nuts?" cakes (the mamas, not the doctors) to describe the baby’s sex. In reality, gender-identity is clearly not indicated by fetal genitals.
Flavia zoomed into a hole in the baby. A uterus? No, the chambers of a beating heart. Silence hit as she rotated her magic wand around my belly to trace the delicate boundaries of the tiny heart. She frowned as she snapped several images. More silence. More frowns. More clicks. Was something wrong with the heart?
Finally, she broke the silence, still staring into her screen, “You see, the baby is reaching his legs up to his face, and I can’t capture the correct angle of the heart.”
The baby was doing happy baby? This certainly was my child. Wait… did she say he?!?
Twenty minutes of probing later, Flavia’s supervisor came in to take over. “Starting with the heart first? Those are the most difficult pictures to take.” Relief washed over me again that the delay was in the difficulty of the technique, and not in the development of my baby.
“Oh, how cute,” the supervisor said. “Your baby moves a lot. But it’s not going to be easy to get the images we want.”
Daniel stood up to get a better view of the screen, and the crowd around me suddenly felt bigger. It was unpleasant to the vessel of intrigue in front of a crowd, but I imagined that being stripped down naked to give birth in front of a group of unfamiliar faces would feel even more invasive.
The supervisor quickly snapped photos of several more areas of the baby’s growing body: the head, the arms, the legs, the stomach, the bladder…
“Do you want to know the gender?”
“Yes,” I affirmed a second time, although it was still not the gender.
“It’s a… girl!!”
I smiled. “Did you hear that?” I asked Daniel, craning my head upwards. He nodded. I felt too inhibited by the probe on my belly to laugh, cry, or jump for joy.
Two hours after we had arrived to the hospital, as I was reaching the edge of my tolerance for having my abdomen shaken, rotated, and probed with a stick, the supervisor finally announced, “That’s the last picture we need.”
My insides were still too shaken by probing and nerves to be hungry, but my bladder felt as though it were going to burst from the pressure of the probe. However, when Flavia and her supervisor left us to gather our belongings, none of that felt like it mattered anymore.
Slightly dizzied from so much time lying on my back, I struggled to a seat, then smiled at Daniel. “My love, did you hear that?” I asked him again. “We’re having a girl.”
“Uh huh,” he said sweetly, as if he had known it all along. In truth, we both had a feeling, but I wasn’t sure if that feeling was more a want than a hunch.
We stumbled out of the room dazed, unsure of the way out, and surprised that two fateful hours had just flown by. A few months ahead of us, there would be rosy pink headbands, running strollers, 3 am cries, cloth diapers, and a jealous dog to deal with. But for now, there was just us in our quiet moment with our precious knowledge, our sacred little secret that our little snowpea was going to be born with a vagina.