Although we saw our first glimpse of our baby at six and nine weeks, there wasn’t much to see. Being that our only indication of my pregnancy at that point was my constant bathroom presence, however, we treasured our little peanut pictures–our only visual of our little miracle.
I started to show at 18 weeks, when I finally made the announcement at work and transitioned to maternity pants. I’m so thankful a gal from church has lent me her maternity clothes. Finding cute maternity clothing is a challenge in itself, finding pants for a 35-inch inseam is another issue. I’m also set with tops my good friend gave me. Thus, I’m doing my best to avoid buying into the multi-billion dollar baby industry.
Aside from my respite from nausea (thank you, White Cheddar Cheese-Itz!) and growing physique, we had no confirmation our baby was okay. We declined the first trimester screening because it was questionable whether the insurance would cover both it and the five-month ultrasound and because false-positive results from the blood tests required an invasive amniocentesis. Basically, I didn’t want to be freaked out about the health of our baby when we were going to keep it regardless. Our only scare lasted for about one second (though it felt like time stopped), while Trent and I looked at each other helplessly while the doctor struggled to find the baby’s heartbeat at our fourth month appointment. That beating was the best sound I’d ever heard. At that appointment, its heartbeat danced in the 150 bpm range, not far from the previous month’s 163 bpm or the following’s 144 bpm, yet a far cry from the 182 bpm of its six-week ultrasound when we first heard it.
From my six pregnany/baby books (I’m not kidding, really, six), I had been anxiously awaiting for week 16 to feel my baby move inside me. By the time of our 19 week appointment, I was still waiting. While I did feel movement, it wasn’t anything I could really distinguish from sensations to which I was accustomed having GI issues.
So I was anxiously counting down the days until our 19-week appointment, ensuring the child I was carrying was doing alright. At first I was adamant about saving the surprise of its sex until birth. I’d figured we’d want to know what we were having next time, so this would be our only chance for waiting. I told Trent he could know, but he didn’t want to keep the secret from me or from the rest of the family. On our drive home from Christmas with his family we were discussing boy names. While we were set on Josephine for a girl (which I’d wanted since I was 14), we couldn’t agree on a boy’s name. Its middle name would be Lee, the family tradition. And being the 80s hair metal fan he is, he was pushing for a first name of Tommy or David to match. We decided we needn’t worry if we found out we were having a girl. I was beginning to feel like if I had any inclination to know, it was either find out at the halfway point or wait.
We were just hoping for a healthy baby–boy or girl. Though, eventually, we wanted a little girl. Because the wives’ tales held pregnancies with girls were more arduous than with boys, I was thinking I couldn’t handle it being any worse, should it be a boy. The Chinese Lunar calendar said it was a girl, but the string test (with flat dental floss, all we could find in the house) indicated a boy. I refused to pee in Draino and risk caustic splashing. My cravings indicated a boy. Prior to my pregnancy, I could devour entire jars of peanut butter in a matter of days and could live on desserts if only they were healthy. However, I gained five pounds before I even discovered I was pregnant craving hearty meals and snacks of pickles, cheese, hummus and potato chips (the latter two of which I had to eliminate due to unpleasant side effects). I avoided traditional Christmas goodies like the plague. I only resumed my regular fruit and yogurt breakfasts after the first trimester. Prior to that I was surviving on cheese microwaved on bread, a staple I’d picked up from my former babysitter. Ultimately, I thought it was a girl with the exception of a few weeks. I’d even purchased a little girl’s peacoat and lamb hat/glove combo at 75 percent off, thinking I could always return it if I was wrong.
I ate some chocolate before the ultrasound to ensure the little nudger would be awake to cooperate, and it was. In fact, it was moving around so much that the tech had some difficulty capturing images. She confirmed it had 10 fingers and 10 toes as well as a nasal bone, the latter indicating it didn’t have Down’s Syndrome. It was crossing its little hands in front of its face, objecting to the paparazzi. Watching it move was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, causing me to now attribute those little flutters to my baby. Its estimated weight was 11 oz., putting it in the 70th percentile for its weight, despite my weight gain of only 10 lbs. I recognized the next image after practicing viewing my friends’ ultrasounds on facebook. Before the tech even said the words, I knew–we were having a little girl who now had a name, Josephine. Though I did not cry, my eyes welled up with tears of happiness.
Something about that moment forever changed my world. We are going to have a little girl, and my thoughts drifted to Easter dresses complete with white gloves, tights and bonnets and princess themed birthday parties–though we hope she also takes an interest in sports, etc. We then saw our first glimpse of her perfect little face. The 4D technology is so amazing, I already think she looks like Trent did in his baby photos. And speaking of Trent, I’ve never seen someone so excited to be a father. Afterward he admitted he had really been hoping for a baby girl all along.