When I was pregnant with Nash, Todd and I decided not to find out if he was a boy or a girl. It made the whole experience so exciting. As January 9th approached, I found myself wondering who I had been carrying that whole time. Our family, on the other hand, was dying to know. I got many complaints about how bummed people were at his baby shower to not buy baby boy or girl clothes. When I told other people we weren’t finding out, they would say, “How are you going to be prepared!?!?” I always found that question to be funny. We are going to be prepared for a baby. It’s not going to set us back if we don’t know the gender. I was surprised at how mad or annoyed some people were. I thought people would be excited for the surprise. My mom even said, “If you can find out why wouldn’t you?” I have to say, Todd and I really enjoyed keeping everyone in suspense. It was almost fun to torture them. When people would say something about how ridiculous it is not to find out, we enjoyed their frustration. I knew from the moment I was pregnant with him that I was having a boy. Call it a mother’s intuition, but I told Todd the only way I would be surprised is if the doctor said it was a girl.
I could tell that our doctor loved the fact that we were not finding out the gender. The day I was induced, she stressed to everyone at the hospital not to say a word. As they started doing my c-section, all I wanted was to hear him cry and know he was okay. I was so concentrated on listening for his crying that I wasn’t even thinking about the gender. The doctor said, “A little pressure.” Then I heard a giggle and, “Oh my God Shelly, it’s a big baby.” Then I heard the most beautiful sound. My sweet baby crying. I got teary eyed immediately and then the doctor put him over the curtain to face us and Todd screamed, “It’s a boy!!!” To this day, my favorite video in the world is the one of Todd going out to the hallway to tell our very tortured family members that it was a boy. The excited screams and cheering. The smile Todd had as he tried to hold back just how proud and excited he was, was beyond cute.
We swore we would never find out the gender of our other babies either. It was just so amazing the way it was with Nash. After Nash died, however, and we found ourselves pregnant again, I was worried. When this baby is born, I want it to be just as joyous. I was worried about my reaction when the doctor told us the gender. If she said that it was a girl, I didn’t want to be sad or let down. If she said that it was a boy, I wanted to be prepared for the fact that he is his own person. That yes, it may be a boy, but it will not be Nash. I felt the need to be mentally prepared. I talked it over with Todd, and he said he wouldn’t mind finding out. I think he had the same fears I did. All we wanted the day this baby was born was to be happy. We needed to get whatever bad or negative feelings we had out of the way now so this baby is brought into the world with just as much love and happiness as Nash was. I told Todd it would be amazing to do a gender reveal at Nash’s birthday party. We then talked about whether we wanted to know before hand, or find out with everyone else. I said that I had to know before hand. I knew people would be searching my face for my reaction and I didn’t want to have a bad one in front of hundreds of people. So we decided to find out and keep it a secret.
As we walked into the doctor’s office for our 14 week checkup, we had decided to tell the ultrasound tech that if she wasn’t sure, we didn’t want to know. We didn’t want to get our minds wrapped around something and have it turn out to be wrong. I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I was. As soon and Todd and I walked into the room, I laid down and started explaining and crying to the lady that our first child passed away and how hard it may be for us to know the gender. I told her our concerns and cried the whole time. Of course she said her apologies for the loss of Nash, but then it was business as usual. She took a picture and said, “Looks like a boy.” She said it so casually, while yawning mind you, that I didn’t have a reaction. It wasn’t quite the enthusiasm I had anticipated. I almost thought I heard her wrong. At the very end of the ultrasound, I said, “How confident are you that’s it’s a boy?” She said, ” It’s a boy.” Tears flowed out of my eyes like someone turned on a faucet. I looked at Todd, who had that same smile on his face that he did the day he told his family that Nash was a boy. We walked out to the car hand in hand. As we sat there, I said, “How are you feeling?” We both surprisingly felt the same way. Todd said,” It couldn’t have gone much better than it did but it still sucks that he should have an older brother.” I felt the same. I wanted a boy so badly and was beyond happy, but I still felt sadness that I didn’t expect to feel knowing it was a boy. He is supposed to be a little brother, not the oldest.
As the weeks went on though I started having doubts, 14 weeks is early, they could have been wrong. At 18 weeks, we were to have another ultrasound. I told myself not to get excited until then. We had a different ultrasound tech for our 18 week ultrasound. Again, I told her our fears about finding out, that we wanted her to be 100% certain or not tell us, and again I cried the whole time. She snapped the perfect pic and said, ” I’m not allowed to say with 100% accuracy what this baby is.” Then she looked at me and smiled and said, “But this baby is 100% a boy!” Todd and I were all grins. Right or wrong, finding out it was a boy helped Todd and I heal like nothing else had to this point. We found ourselves excited and even happy more often than not. I was sad though that this was the first of many things we would do differently than we had planned. Losing Nash had changed us. We lost that element of surprise. Doing a gender reveal at the Nash Bash was what kept it exciting. Another reason I’m so thankful for the support we have is that we could share this news with hundreds and still have a surprise that was memory worthy and special. Something this baby boy deserves just as much as Nash did. I knew I would need help to pull this off, so I called Todd’s cousin Christina and my good friend Lauren. They would help us pull it off. I had no idea at the time how grateful I would be to have told them. I was excited and scared and now I had two girls I could talk to. Two people I could trust with whatever I was feeling. Two people I could call and be just plain giddy with. They became my rocks, my people to lean on. January 9th could not come soon enough!!!