I hadn’t consciously realized how much anxiety I was carrying about this pregnancy, until a week or two ago when I passed the 15-week point. In my three prior pregnancies, I’d had a miscarriage at 13 weeks, very heavy bedrest-inducing bleeding from 11-15 weeks, and then another miscarriage at about 5 weeks. I hadn’t had a single worrisome symptom this time around, and yet experience had trained me to worry, and worry hard, at least until I made it past those particular milestones.
Feeling the baby move so early has helped – I felt the earliest flutters around 13 weeks this time, despite the fact that the books and websites swear it’s not possible, and now am feeling them on a daily basis. The kids and Willem have each tried, and maybe even succeeded, to feel some of the flutters from the outside, though I’m nowhere near the point of whole-belly movement that will really impress the audience.
But still, that anxiety festered, and with a different quality from what I would consider to be the normal, about-to-change-my-life-again sort of pregnancy anxiety. It wasn’t that I was afraid something would go wrong; it was that I was just waiting until I found out what that was. Not an “if,” but a “when.”
And, in the past week or two, that has lifted. Slowly – not in a lightning-bolt epiphany sort of way, just a little at a time – but tangibly. I’ve always, at some level, had an odd and simple serenity about this pregnancy: despite my history, this was going to work out. I just couldn’t quite make that conviction move from my heart to my head.
It seems to have done just that, and just in time for the angst over whether to find out the gender. We never have before; with both Emily and Jacob, we picked out both genders’ names, looked away at key moments of ultrasounds, and waited for that moment in the delivery room, “It’s a…” Fun, both times, and I do love that moment. But it’s easy to forget the several weeks’ worth of waffling that I have done, now for a third time, leading up to the halfway-point ultrasound and then lingering for a while afterward.
Because as much as I enjoy putting off that moment, and leaving something to learn in the delivery room, I also hear the other side. The people who want to know, because it’s easier to plan and purchase gender-appropriate outfits. To help the brain wrap itself around the correct set of pronouns as soon as possible (and this is particularly appropriate for me, because this time around I am, for the first time, completely convinced of the gender and already think of the baby as “she” and not “it”). To know, just because the knowledge is there and available and yours for the taking.
So, I waver. And of course, Willem is no help at all… he also liked waiting to find out the gender of the first two kids, but we both feel like, we’ve had one of each, and so truly, really, the gender of this one is not an issue (not a smug thing, honest!). If we’d had two girls, or two boys, then we’d be rooting for the other side to make an appearance, but this way, meh. We wanted a girl the first time around, we wanted a boy the next, and we got what we wanted. (Hmm, I wonder if we’re damning ourselves to a hermaphrodite if we keep on not-wanting one gender over the other this time.) So, being a perverse sort, Willem has announced that it’s all up to me: he enjoyed not knowing the gender before, and would be fine with playing by the same rules this time, but he also wouldn’t mind changing the rules a little. Bastard.
I’m reasonably certain, most days, that I won’t find out, because I really do enjoy the not-knowing. We’ll know for the rest of this kid’s life, and so the suspense is time-limited and kind of fun. But ohhhhhh, it’s hard not to cave, and it’s only going to get harder as we sneak closer to November 6th, when that next ultrasound happens and the tech will, inevitably, turn to me and say, “Do you want to know the gender?”