this baby is starting to seem like the real deal

i went in for my nuchal translucency screen yesterday. it had been over five weeks since my last sonogram, & i knew that the baby was probably going to look more like a baby this time around, which was exciting in theory. but the scan wasn’t scheduled until 3:30pm, which is usually the time of day when i am deep in my mid-afternoon nap. & i was so worn out from spending all day wednesday at the zoo (birthday trip!) & a good chunk of the morning at the pool, i couldn’t even get stoked about seeing the baby again.

until we saw it! it really did look kind of baby-ish!

chin tucked!

it was a sleepy baby. its heart rate was only 147, which is perfectly within the normal range but just a touch slow. the tech kept trying to prod it into a good position for her to see the nuchal folds behind the neck, but the baby wasn’t feeling it. it waved its arms around a little & crossed its feet & then it went to sleep. i got up & walked around a little, which woke it up & it stretched out:

stretchy baby!

she was able to get some measurements & they appeared to be well within the normal range. the nasal bone was also quite clear, which is a good sign that the baby does not have down syndrome. in fact, the baby has kind of a big nose, just like its daddy. the taber genes reign again. i guess jared comes from a line of semi-prominent american quakers, & there’s a photo of his great-great-great grandfather in a book he owns about the history of quakers in philadelphia. he showed it to me & i started laughing because this old dude from like six generations ago just looked like an old dude version of jared. he was making that same cranky/thoughtful face jared makes all the time. my genes don’t stand a chance.

anyway, we’ll get the results back on potential birth defects in a few weeks, but i’m not too worried. we don’t have any genetic risk factors & there was nothing concerning on the sonogram.

i did get kind of obsessed with wondering if there was any indication of the baby’s gender in the sonogram though. i know i’ve said i’m going to wait until the baby is born, & that really is the only way to really be 100% sure because even late sonograms can be wrong, but it’s such an obvious area of idle curiosity. it’s hard to just ignore the question. a few people who have seen the pictures said they suspected it was a girl because the skull is so perfectly rounded. i had never heard of the skull theory of fetal gender prediction before, & i guess it’s based on the forensics used to determine the gender of decomposed bodies. i don’t know if there have been any actual scientific studies done or if it’s just a kind of more science-y sounding old wives’ tale. apparently there’s also “nubbin guessing”. this early in pregnancy (i’m 13 weeks today), the baby’s genitalia hasn’t really differentiated into boy parts or girl parts, & what it does have looks pretty much the same regardless of what it will become. it resembles a “nubbin,” & supposedly a boy nubbin points up a little, while a girl nubbin points straight or down. i have no clue what this “nubbin” is even supposed to look like & couldn’t begin to find it in my sonogram photos. but some people who have seen them claim that they’ve spotted the nubbin & they’re leaning girl. i also took the intelligender test this morning, which gave me a resoundingly definite boy result, no ambiguity at all.

so who the hell knows? i don’t care one way or the other. well, maybe i care a little…i would still prefer a girl. but i got jared to promise that if we have a boy, we can nickname him iggy, & that makes me way more excited about having a boy. i wish i could shake my weird gender preferences because they’re really not founded on anything that isn’t at least a little bit problematic. i find myself thinking, “i could bond better with the baby if we knew if it was a boy or a girl,” but how? it’s not like your sex determines who you are as a person. it only determines how you will be socialized by a gender-obsessed society.

i tried to talk this all over with my therapist yesterday, & i made some off-the-cuff remark about not having any plans to dress the baby in gender-specific clothing. she said, “oh, you’ll change your mind once you start going to the playground. all the other kinds will be dressed in boy or girl clothing & you’ll want your kid to fit in.” this REALLY bothered me. i’ve been seeing this therapist for three years, but apparently she doesn’t know me AT ALL. when have i ever expressed any interest in fitting in? i told her that if the kid came to me, once it was old enough to have thoughts on this subject & make them known, & told me that it needs to start wearing clothing with trucks on it because it’s a boy, or clothing with butterflies because it’s a girl, i would accept that, because life is too short to argue with toddlers about what they wear. but i won’t be the one to try to force that shit on my kid. & if my kid enjoys wearing gender-neutral/non-conforming clothing & gets picked on as a result, i will talk to it about the importance of being true to yourself–not the importance of trying to change what you like so you don’t get bullied.

jared said last night that even if we did somehow magically learn the baby’s sex, we shouldn’t tell anyone, because he has read that knowing the baby’s sex makes people start buying gifts that aren’t on the registry. he said, “we don’t need people buying us tiny little baby-sized seersucker suits because they find out we’re having a boy. i don’t relish the thought of stuffing a floppy baby into a seersucker suit. plus we’d get sued by KFC, because they own the trademark on all images of seersucker suits worn by creatures with over-sized heads.”

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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