Along Came A Blue One.

4 years ago, I was standing on a tube platform with DH when my phone rang.

It was the mother of one of DD1’s school friends, checking whether my DD would be attending her DD’s party. I was at that vague stage of pregnancy where you feel like your brain needs oiling, and the invite had completely passed me by.

I apologised and explained,’ Sorry. My brain is mush. I’m pregnant’ (Again)

‘Mmm, okay. Just a bit nauseous really.’ ( I didn’t ever do vomiting)

’12 weeks. I’m just heading in for a scan today.’

‘The Fetal Medicine Centre. Oh, you went there too?’

I’d been to the Centre before with my last 2 pregnancies at 11-13 weeks to have my risk for Down’s Syndrome estimated. They had an advanced method of screening for this disorder then, I think it may be standard these days.

Until the other mother asked ‘So, are you going to find out what you are having?’, the aim of the day’s scan had been to assess my risk of having a baby with congenital disorders as at 37, I was considered an older mother.

My immediate thought was What was she on about? I was only 12 weeks! I had found out the sex of the DD’s at 20 weeks and was prepared to do the same with this pregnancy. I hadn’t dreamed you could find out earlier.

But it turned out it’s not hard to get an ‘idea’ at 12 weeks. An experienced ultrasonographer can predict the sex of your baby at 12 weeks gestation, and get it right about 70% of the time. It’s unlikely that an NHS practitioner will even take a look but if you are having a private scan, it seems most of them will have a go.

Suddenly the day’s focus shifted slightly.

On the tube, on the way to Harley Street, my mind was whirling. Should we try to find out? I talked to DH about it and he was keen. I resolved I would ask the person doing the scan if they would try. After three girls , I was convinced this one was a girl too. The pregnancy felt no different at this stage. Later on I would reflect that the severe Antenatal Depression I’d experienced carrying the girls never kicked in with DS.

When the time came, I almost chickened out. I’d had bloods taken and that was being analysed as I was scanned. The scan showed our baby to be healthy and it looked to have a low risk of Down’s.  The ultrasonographer didn’t offer to check the sex, we had to ask, but when we did, she didn’t blink an eye.

I was quite relaxed about it as I *knew* I was having a girl, just as I had *known* I was having a boy the previous three times. Perhaps this should have told me something? But when she began to out the relevant parts of my baby’s anatomy I started paying attention.

‘What we are looking for is 3 lines. If they are parallel, it’s probably a girl, but here we have one perpendicular  so your baby is most likely a boy.’

It took a couple of seconds for it to sink in. A boy? I was having a boy? The 4th girl I had imagined for our family suddenly evaporated, just like that, and in her place was an unknown quantity. What did I know about boys?  OMG, I had a penis growing inside me!!!!

I got a bit tearful at this point, and the rest of the appointment went by in a blur. The scan and blood results were good, so the chances of having a healthy baby were high, but all I could think of was the male child growing inside me.

After that I calmed down, and when my 20 week scan confirmed the presence of male genitalia, I managed not to cry.

Friends and family all assumed I was thrilled, but I wasn’t. Mainly I was worried and a little disappointed. DH was very pleased I think; he was looking forward to having another male in the house.

Of course, now DS is 3-and-a-half I wouldn’t give him back for anything. He’s funny, loving, stubborn and opinionated, just like his sisters. Except for his Thomas Obsession and an insistence on standing up to wee,  I really haven’t noticed too much difference between the genders but then, my girls aren’t that girlie and DS is partial to a bit of pink glitter.

But part of me is haunted by the idea of that fourth daughter, and sometimes, when I have a moment, I find myself wondering what a family of 4 girls might have been like.




17 comments on “Along Came A Blue One.

  1. Lovely story but I almost spat my coffee out at the ‘ omg I have a penis growing inside me ‘ part – hahaha

  2. An interesting twist on the usual yearning for a baby of the opposite sex. I have several friends with three children – the first two children being of the same sex and the last one in most cases the same sex as the first two. I would say that of the mums, most of them wanted a baby of a different sex to their first two and were disappointed not to.

    When I was pregnant with ds2 I admit to being disappointed that the scan revealed ‘another’ boy but I have to say, now when I see families with two children – one of each – I realise how much easier it is to have siblings who are interested in the same things (football and computer games) and who always have a willing playmate at home.

    As my children get older I get asked the question less frequently ‘so, you’re going to try for a girl, then?’ There’s family precedent – I was the last ditch attempt at a daughter – born 10 years after the youngest of my two brothers. I wouldn’t want that for my daughter though, I was more or less an only child who tagged along with older parents who’d done their parenting ten years before.

    I often wonder at these stories in the (downmarket) papers about women who’ve had multiple babies in their search for one of the right sex – how on earth do these children feel knowing they turned out ‘wrong’?

    • Yes, part of me worries that I shouldn’t let any of my kids know that I was disappointed he wasn’t a girl. But I think gender disappointment is a bit of a forbidden subject, which is sad really so I want to speak up and encourage people to talk about it. People can’t help how they feel and a lot of problems in our society stem from people repressing their feelings.
      I hope DS will know that he’s much loved part of our family as he grows up, but I do anticipate a few strops along the lines of ‘You never wanted me’…waaaaah!

      • I remember posting on BGH at the time of my scan with ds2 and got some really shocked replies that I’d voiced my disappointment – it really is a taboo and we’re expected to smile sweetly and say ‘doesn’t matter as long as it’s healthy’ and _really_ mean it!

  3. You know, I felt like that too when we found out we were having a girl. I was thrilled to bits, but a part of me was in mourning for the little boy I thought we were having. Wouldn’t change her for the world now, though.

    • I imagined a boy for my first, and then my 2nd and 3rd! But for my 4th I’d given up and had my heart set on Little Women!

  4. I’ve only boys, and during my fourth pregnancy lost count of the times I was asked ‘So you’re hoping for a girl this time?’ We didn’t find out the sex of any of the children, and after three of the same weren’t surprised when another boy arrived. I was thrilled, but wonder how I’d have felt had I had a girl. Slightly horrified, I guess, and like you this feeling would then have turned to love. I don’t wish for a girl, and always feel so blessed to have four healthy children. I’d have felt exactly the same way had I had four girls or a mix of genders. I really don’t understand when people hanker after a particular gender. You get what you get and aren’t we lucky?

    • ‘Slightly horrified’ summed up my feelings exactly. I didn’t know what to do with a boy, but it turns out it’s pretty much the same as for girls. Keep them fed, clean and warm, love them and don’t let them kill themselves.

  5. We didn’t fine out but I “knew” it was a boy (but secretly longed for a girl) I felt the same thing about the penis, how weird. But then girls already have their eggs, so that’s weird too, your pregnant with your future potential grandkids.

    When my son was born 650 grammes fighting for his life, I didn’t care at all, and just loved him. I can’t have anymore so will never find out what it would be like to parent a daughter and that makes me a little sad.

  6. Thanks for your comment on my blog about having a girl after 4 boys. I see what you mean – your experience was quite different to mine. I can’t deny I was over the moon to learn I was expecting a girl, but we hadn’t planned on having any more children so it wasn’t as if I was desperate for a girl. It’s lovely having 4 boys – hard work when they’re little, but lovely watching them grow into men. My 2 eldest now tower above me and are very protective. I’m not sure my husband was quite so taken with the idea of having a girl – he always said he wouldn’t know what to do with one and to a certain extent he still doesn’t.

    • I think I would have been keener to have a girl after three boys but who knows? Eldest girl is 9, so we have teenagehood looming and I’m not looking forward to that.

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