Bad news is bad news, but like mom always said, “there will always be someone worse off than you.” Your world might seem like it is ending. What if there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Is this what life is all about? Obviously, this mom-to-be had a lot to consider…until she got THIS phone call, and everything changed in an instant.
“Are you going to find out what it is?”
“Well, we’re really hoping it’s a baby, but I did see a lady on the front of the “Enquirer” who had kittens…”
Okay, okay, so I never really answered anyone like that, but I was tempted many times. By the time I entered my seventh month, I had already gotten used to ridiculous questions (e.g., “Haven’t you had your baby yet!” or “Well, are you ready?” and the ever-popular, “Won’t you be glad to have it?”) And since my husband and I had chosen not to learn the sex of our first child, we decided we would ask the sex of our second child at the seven-month ultrasound.
We already had a happy, healthy four-year-old son, so our decision to find out invited many comments like a)”Maybe this one will be a girl,” b)”Well, when you get that daughter you’ll have the perfect family,” or c)”Now Matt needs a sister.” Although I secretly longed for a daughter I kept telling myself that it didn’t really matter.
The morning of my ultrasound I was a nervous wreck. The doctor had told me to drink the requisite fourteen gallons of water and, the fool that I am, I followed her instructions. By the time we drove the thirty minutes to the office I was about to die, and after I waited in the reception area for another thirty minutes, I was standing on the edge of hysterical. After all, hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman denied her right to potty. I begged them to let me go to the bathroom, but they gave me a tiny cup and said, “Just a little,” with an unsympathetic smirk. I made a Herculean effort to stop my flow and went back to the waiting room. Finally, it was time for the test.
After smearing incredibly cold gel on my swelling tummy, I was parked unceremoniously on my back on a cot. The tech strapped every possible monitor firmly (read: tightly!) around me and I began to wonder if I could ever feel any less attractive. Surely this is what a beached whale feels like. I fully expected a group of Greenpeace activists to break in, shouting, “Don’t worry! We’ll get you back in! You’re gonna be fine, Shamu!” She began to describe the flickering image on the screen. “I see the heart, and all ventricles appear perfectly formed. The brain also appears normal. Measuring the legs, we can determine the approximate weight to see if we’re on track with your due date.” Dramatic pause, and then the announcement. “And if you want to know the sex, I can definitely tell…it’s a boy!”
Her lips kept moving after that, but I didn’t catch too much of it. All I do remember is trying to maintain my composure while my husband held my four-year-old (who was squealing with delight). I am human enough to admit that I was disappointed at first. The drive home was the longest thirty minutes of my life. And after I closed the bedroom door, the tears finally came, bringing with them the acknowledgment that I didn’t want a daughter so I could have “a boy and a girl, the perfect family,” and I didn’t want a daughter so my son could protect her at school. I wanted a daughter for me. I wanted a little girl to wear mother/daughter dresses with, to go to the hair salon with, to go shopping with (for prom dresses, wedding gowns) and to sniffle through “It’s a Wonderful Life” with. And as I kept on thinking about it, I realized that my deeper desire was not for a daughter but to go back and do my adolescence again.
Then something happened that really changed my perspective for the good – the phone rang. Our dearest friends were calling to tell us she had gotten some bad news from her ob-gyn that same afternoon – she was in the same stage of pregnancy as I was – and she was experiencing some complications. We cried and prayed with them and for them, and as I hung up the phone I began to realize what an amazing gift of life was moving inside me.
As I drove to work the next morning I braced myself for the impending questions, “Did you find out what it is?” And immediately I knew the answer: Yes, I do know what it is. It is a gift. It is life. It is a priceless treasure. It is healthy; it is whole. It is another chance. It is laughter; it is joy. It is part of me. It is my son.
Wow. Truer words have never been spoken. A child is a gift, and while I can 100% sympathize with this mom’s desire for a little daughter, her ultrasound could have been so much worse. The news could have been devastating. This is a story that everyone should read! It really puts it all into perspective.
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