Friday, June 26, 2015

A Promise Kept — the Baby Gender Not Revealed

Before we ever stepped foot in the hospital for our most recent baby checkup, my wife made me make a promise.

"Honey," she asked, ever so sweetly, "if you notice anything on the ultrasound, and you think you know the baby's sex, do me a favor and stuff an old, sweaty sock in your mouth. I don't want you ruining this."

"Yes dear," I dutifully replied, a single, solitary tear trickling from the corner of my eye.

The waiting room at the hospital. AKA Hell on Earth.
A well-appointed Hell with a water cooler and great
magazines, but Hell nonetheless. 
Fine. It didn't happen that way but it's completely accurate for me to say that Mrs. Blackwell wanted me to keep my big, fat mouth shut.

Her concern was not without merit.

The last time we got the sex of our child, we were in a darkened room illuminated by an ultrasound screen. Ultrasounds greatly resemble a Rorschach test but, miracle of all miracles, I was able to discern male anatomy from the otherwise indecipherable image.

So, I proclaimed, "It's a boy," and in the process angered Mrs. Blackwell something fierce. I didn't know I was supposed to wait, but I was.

This time, I resolved to do as I was asked and contain my impulses and excitement.

Strangely, it turns out Mrs. Blackwell wasn't exactly the picture of composure either.

Our appointment was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and the hospital is about a nine minute drive from our home. By 8:45, she was ready to jump in the car. I really, really don't like waiting rooms so, I was able to suppress her compulsion for a grand total of five minutes.

My distaste for waiting rooms be damned, we arrived ridiculously early for our 9:30 appointment which was great because Mrs. Blackwell had actually scheduled the appointment for 9:50.

In a cloud of euphoric anticipation her mind had moved up the appointment time. It's only 20 minutes difference, right? Well, when you've been waiting two months and you're this close to the prize, 20 minutes becomes a much bigger annoyance than merely the 1,200 seconds it amounts to.

Inside the exam room. The sign under the monitor says, "No
cell phones." But I secretly used mine to snap some pics.
Take that, hospital authorities!
And that was just beginning of our wait.

I thought we'd step into the examination room and the ultrasound tech would rev up her machine and tell us "Girl," or "Boy."

I thought wrong.

Once we got into the room our nurse informed us that the sex of the baby would be amongst the last pieces of information she'd share. Instead we were led through an infinite presentation of ultrasounds and three-dimensional images of the baby from every angle imaginable.

She started with the brain, heart and vital organs and moved on to look for common problems.

"Its heart looks strong. Its femur is there. Its arm bones are there. Oh, look! It moved its little hand. Its legs look long, like mom's. Its head looks huge, like dad's."

Matters got to the point where it seemed we were running out of body parts to examine — except for the one I was most interested in.

As we progressed, my patience teetered. So I diverted my thoughts back toward the moment Mrs. Blackwell and I learned she was pregnant.

Since that time, we'd both asked each other what we thought we were having. Invariably, we'd both say, "Boy." Somehow, some way, we just knew. (I guess when you're odds are 50/50 it's not a real stretch.)

Regardless, as the tech moved the wand across my wife's tummy and the ultrasound images rolled by in a haze of little black-and-white fingers, toes, arms and legs, I reminded myself that this baby could be a girl.
A note from my iPhone. I was so confident,
I stealthily wrote this, just so I could say
"I told you so," afterward. Confident —
and immature, and petty...the list goes on. 

Wouldn't that just be the topper? We were convinced it was going to be a boy and then, at the last moment, we were both proven wrong.

I fastforwarded through an entire life of raising a little princess, of having faux tea parties, of seeing her play softball, like her mom, of watching some scrawny 16-year-old kid come by to pick my daughter up for her first date and then I thought of giving her away on her wedding day.

Before I knew it, my faith in my intuition crumbled and I was convinced it was a girl. I just knew it.

Naturally, I could barely contain my excitement at this revelation and just as I was about to turn and tell Mrs. Blackwell, I remembered my promise. And, even though it was just a guess, I kept my trap shut.

A few more minutes passed and finally, after learning about body parts I'd never known existed, the nurse paused and asked, "Do you want to guess what it is?"

Being the Oak of a man that I am, I sat, waited and said nothing.

Naturally, Mrs. Blackwell, took a moment and, calm as can be, said, "Boy."

Naturally, the nurse, said "Yep," and I said, "Huh?"

As we left the doctor's office, we were both beaming. Happy, first and foremost, that our little bundle was healthy and, for my part, particularly pleased that I'd kept my big, fat mouth shut.

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