As previously mentioned, our big ultrasound appointment was originally scheduled for Dec. 28. I had tried to change it to before Christmas, but the appointment folks at the hospital said I couldn’t. Something about needing to be a certain number of weeks along in the pregnancy.
But at our last midwife appointment, we mentioned wanting to find out before Christmas, if possible. She totally made it happen (another notch in my surprising shock at the quality this HMO’s prenatal care). We, of course, decided to keep it a secret.
When we arrived at my mother’s house for Christmas Eve, already knowing about Charlie, she immediately looked at my stomach and exclaimed, “You’re totally carrying a boy!” I tried to play it cool and said, “You think so?” She replied, “Hmm….but you’re carrying really high — that’s a girl!” Score! She still had no idea.
We had discussed several options for the Big Christmas Reveal. We knew we couldn’t do a present, because Charles’ family wasn’t exchanging this year. I had considered filling the nursery-to-be with blue balloons and finding a reason for everyone to go in there at once, but we invited folks over who’d never seen our house and would likely want a tour as they arrived (which happened).
So my brilliant husband came up with the idea of a video. We’d mumble something about needing to show everyone a funny/touching/amazing video on YouTube and there we’d be!
But would it work?!
We brought the camera along to the ultrasound, and I threw something together on iMovie when we got home. Charles uploaded the video to a YouTube account, and connected it to our TV to make sure it would work. All the prep went smoothly.
Christmas Day arrived and folks started streaming in. Charles’ computer was hooked up to the TV and was conveniently playing Pandora. I was super nervous. Would it work?!
There was one point where all of our family had arrived, but we were waiting for my brother’s friend Bryan to show up. I was convinced that if we started playing the video, he’d buzz downstairs and ruin the moment. All of a sudden, however, it felt right. I shot Charles a look and a nod. Time to think of a segue to show the video.
I sat down on the couch and started talking about my crazy hormones (I had just cried over several Christmas presents for Charlie). Then I mentioned how we’d seen a YouTube video that really had me emotional.
Charles: “Yeah it really was incredible.”
Charles: “Why don’t we just play it?” (Heads over to his conveniently placed computer-connected-to-TV and clicks on the conveniently placed YouTube bookmark)
No one was really paying attention, which was good because we could load everything without anyone figuring it out. Then we pressed play.
After about a few seconds of hearing our voices, and seeing the part of the video that said “Surprise, we’re having our Big Ultrasound on X-mas Eve,” my mother finally got what was happening.
“What?!” She exclaimed. “WHAT?!?! Wait, go back!”
It was awesome. At the big “It’s a BOY!!!” part of the video, we heard gasps and squeals and cheers. By the time the video was over, Charles’ family had tears in their eyes and my family was mostly just shocked.
Mom: “So you LIED about your appointment!?!?!?”
Then we got to tell the story about how everything happened and give the family details about the appointment. Lots of hugs and congrats. My mother texted 54 people, and my brother instantly updated his Facebook status. Charles Tweeted the video. Our surprise went off without a hitch!
I have to admit that I was nervous about telling my mother. I know how desperately she wanted a granddaughter, and part of me felt like I was letting her down. Later that night, when we were on the phone, I mentioned being apprehensive about telling her it was a boy.
“Jessica,” she said. “It’s not that I didn’t want a grandson. I just wanted you to experience the same kind of relationship that we have. Don’t you know how much joy you bring to my life? ……..Boys leave their mothers, but daughters never do.”
That statement made me feel a lot of things. First of all, total awww. I treasure my relationship with my mother, and I’m touched that she feels it so deeply, too. On the other hand, I suddenly felt doubt and fear that Charlie wasn’t a girl. Was I missing something by being excited that he’s a boy? What if I don’t have another child, or i do and it’s another boy? Will I never get to experience the joy of having a daughter, joy that was — and is — such an important part of my mother’s life? Will Charlie desert me one day, leave me all alone?
Reason quickly prevailed. I realized that all of those “fears” were essentially selfish thoughts, based on my own anxieties about abandonment and loneliness, and fueled by the emotional struggles that my mother and I have dealt with regarding my brother.
The reason I’m excited about this baby, and why we wanted a child in the first place, has little to do with whether it is a boy or girl. It’s the amazing fact that Charles and I are bringing a new life into this world, one with limitless potential, one that’s part of both of us, and one that we have the incredible gift of helping to raise. I think about this fact and feel so humble and thankful that I could cry (which I seem to do a lot lately).
I can’t wait to meet Charlie. I can’t wait to call him “my son.” I can’t wait to be alongside our child as he learns about this amazing world. I can’t wait to teach him all of things I’ve learned along the way, and have him teach me about things I would have never known without him.
We’re waiting for you, Charlie.