Gender Reveal

15 weeks +5 days pregnant 

So the day I’ve been eagerly anticipating finally arrived. It’s been a month since my last scan and as the days have rolled by, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to remain optimistic that baby is still ok. 

I felt sick when I woke up. It’s very easy to play out scenarios in my imagination in which I’m told there is no heartbeat. These mental images are so powerful because they are rooted in experience and sometimes I play them out without even realising I’m doing it. It’s like surrendering my mind to replay that awful experience, to go back in time to relive it through all of my senses. It’s overwhelming and it’s suffocating. 

We were booked into a private clinic and when we arrived the place felt very different to the spartan and medicalised hospitals where we’d had our previous scans. Cute baby photographs and scan pictures adorned the walls along with charming little slogans about babies and love and life. There was a wall where you could take your photograph against their company backdrop so you could send it to friends and family to let them know you were having a scan. A different world. It felt so commercial. So optimistic… and in a way, so inappropriate. 

A heavily pregnant woman emerged from the scan room with a dreamy look in her eye. She and her husband hugged one another and gazed longingly at their scan pictures. Such blissful self assurance. In stark contrast, I sat trembling, my heart beating out of my chest. I’d booked in for a gender scan but the gender felt secondary to just knowing my baby was ok. 

When we entered the room the sonographer and her assistant were so positive and upbeat. It felt like a very different environment to the one I’d had in my earlier scans in, where the sonographer had seemed guarded and serious. I suddenly felt a little foolish for booking a gender scan, it was laden with an assumption that my baby was ok but I now doubted everything. The assistant cheerily told me to hop on the couch. The disparity between our expressions was stark; she a beaming smile and me fighting back the tears. 

They picked up on my anxiety and asked if I was ok. I tearfully explained that I was terrified as I’d lost my baby last year. To their credit, they were amazing. The sonographer applied the gel and instantly confirmed that baby’s heart was beating strongly. My own heart rate settled. The sonographer was amazingly reassuring and verified that everything was looking as it should.  I found myself finally beginning to relax and share in their positivity and optimism. Aside from the initial nerves it turned out to be the most wonderful and special experience of my pregnancy so far. The day I found out I was carrying a son. 

Although I had predicted that I was carrying a boy it had an unexpected effect on me. It was like confirmation that this is a very different pregnancy, a very different baby to the one I lost. I have lost my daughter, maybe now my only daughter and I couldn’t help but let that sense of loss slightly hamper what I had gained.  

I have the gift of a beautiful boy and it feels like the most precious thing in the world, but my heart wishes I could have them both. Somehow that makes me feel disloyal to him, like I’m saying he isn’t enough. He should always know that he is enough. That my love for Nieve and the sense of loss I may always feel, does nothing to dilute my love for him. 

So for today, I’m feeling happy and optimistic and looking forward to planning the nursery and buying little boy clothes. Today, I am celebrating my son but have my daughter lodged firmly in my heart. 

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