It has been nearly a week since we found out Sweet Pea’s gender, and despite my intention to post an entry (#50 on the blog!) this weekend, the process of downsizing from a large house to a small apartment and moving to a new state tomorrow morning has definitely taken over our lives at the moment. With that being said, it has also been nice to have our little secret these last few days as well as the ability to tell family members over the phone or in-person when possible.
And since we’ve made you wait long enough, I will simply come out and say…
Yes, Sweet Pea is a boy! So many of the guesses from the beginning have been for a girl, so I have to say we were initially surprised but couldn’t be happier. It seems strange now that we thought he (I can use pronouns now!) could be anything other than a boy because in our minds he is already so clearly our son. And yes, he does have a first name, though we aren’t quite ready to share it yet. One thing at a time! (If you happen to have heard the name at some point, please be careful not use it until we are ready!)
Being at the ultrasound in person was nothing short of amazing. It is so different than getting to see it through the computer screen via Skype (which is also wonderful, but not the same), and I do not take it for granted that we were able to have this experience when many Intended Parents, such as those who are internationally-based, do not have such a luxury.
. . . . .
Tuesday afternoon, ahead of all the excitement, we pulled into Elle’s driveway and finally got to spend some time seeing their part of the country for a change. Her family was so sweet to open their home to us for two nights, and her youngest kindly offered up his bedroom while he slept on the couch. Up until then we had yet to meet her boys in person, though we’ve said ‘hello’ from time to time during Skype chats. I was a little nervous to drop in on their family like that, but Elle insisted from the beginning that we were welcome, and as soon as we were together again we picked up right where we had left off. That first evening we had a great dinner out and walked around some shops before driving through the area a bit.
Seeing Elle with a little belly that represents our baby somehow didn’t feel strange at all. I tried to be very careful to never touch her stomach without asking or take too long feeling for Sweet Pea (though if he was in my belly, I don’t think I could ever take my hand away). I am always conscious that it is her body first and foremost, and I don’t ever want her to feel as though I think otherwise. However, she was always happy to point out where she thought the baby’s head and body were, as well as have us both place our hands on her belly to feel him moving. Throughout our visit she would suddenly stop in her tracks when Sweet Pea began to wiggle about and the two of us would patiently wait, barely even breathing, with my hand on her belly feeling for the tiniest of kicks. With each and every movement it felt as though the world slowed down around me and I would think, “This is one of the best moments of my life.”
By the time our appointment on Wednesday morning rolled around, I was aching to know more about Sweet Pea. But before we found out the gender, we completed a check-up and met the doctor Elle had chosen. We are her first surrogacy case and so there will be some things to figure out, but my heart nearly burst out of my chest with pride and happiness when she addressed me as the mother of the child and asked me the questions regarding the baby. It was such a simple sign that let me know I will be respected even though my body has essentially failed at pregnancy.
Being there in an obstetrician’s office felt strangely as though I had somehow cheated the system, like I had found a way to be smuggled inside. I thought of all the women who take for granted their ability to walk through that office when so many of us feel barred from it as though we have been denied entry to an exclusive club. Unsurprisingly, the four of us got a few surprised looks and stares as we traipsed through the hallways together, but focusing on the reason we were there made that less painful for me.
Once inside the ultrasound room we were offered chairs, but I was too anxious to sit. My heart raced in anticipation while I stood next to Elle’s head, mimicking the same positions we had been in for the embryo transfer. And then it all happened so suddenly. At first Sweet Pea’s legs were crossed so a little maneuvering was necessary, and then the tech looked at me and said the words, “It’s a boy!” which caused me to start laugh-crying with a mixture of surprise and joy.
Even though I have seen countless gender reveal images and was fairly confident I’d be able to pick things out on the screen, nothing at all seemed recognizable. After hearing me ask the tech if she was absolutely certain, Sweet Pea decided to make sure we knew he was a boy. We now have several shots of him showing off for us until any lingering doubt regarding his gender was gone. There was definitely no chance of mistaking it. Immediately afterward he gave us a “thumbs up” sign with his tiny hand up by his face while we laughed at his cheekiness.
The gender ultrasound is a complimentary one, meaning it is only supposed to last a few minutes, but the supervising sonographer told our tech to get a bunch of cute photos for us since we are aren’t able to see the baby in-person often. When she struggled to get a good profile shot, the other woman took over and spent a further 15-20 minutes showing us Sweet Pea. Even though our in-depth ultrasound won’t take place until we’ve passed the 20-week mark in September, she showed us the chambers of his heart, the tiny bones that make up his spine, his fingers and toes, his bladder, and even his brain. It was breathtaking to see the intricacies of his developing body and overall they took 24 new images for us. We watched him move around and stretch out for a while and then laughed when he held up an arm as though he was flexing a little bicep. As I stood and watched the screen I thought about all the times in his life that I might think back on this moment, another one to add to the list of the best in my life. Will I think of it as he walks across the stage on graduation day? Or as he waits at the end of the aisle on his wedding day?
. . . . .
Saying goodbye to our son the following morning was difficult. We had just started to get to know him better and already we had to leave knowing that we might not get the chance to be with him again until he is in our arms– a good 5 months from now. It feels like an impossibly long time to wait. In the meantime I have kept a journal since the very first week of his existence in order to continue bonding with him. Over the last couple months I’ve written to him through every milestone, both big and small, and someday I hope he will read it and know that no child was ever wanted more than I have wanted him.
As always, I am keeping the ultrasound photos off my main page because they can be painful for some to see. If you would like to see them, click here: https://inpursuitofafamily.wordpress.com/ultrasound-photos/