The Moment Shit Got Real: The Day I Found Out the Sex of My Baby

ultrasound, Pregnant in Paris, échographie, 17 week ultrasound

Photo courtesy of Katrina Turnbull

Let me start from the beginning. I was four weeks pregnant, and my mom was in town visiting. A sweet little baby shop at the end of my street was going out of business, and for months I had been admiring these darling, pastel-coloured tutus artfully displayed in the store window. I finally had an excuse to buy a tutu. There was only one problem: I didn’t know whether I was having a girl or a boy.

As my mom and I walked in the store, I immediately beelined it for the tutus. But there was only one left. I clutched the lovely, elephant-grey ruffled creation to my chest and looked wide eyed at my mom.

“Do I buy it?” I asked her. “What if I’m having a boy?”

“Well…” she hesitated, seeming to mull it over herself.

Perhaps sensing my rising panic, the store clerk strode over and asked if she could be of any assistance.

“She’s pregnant,” my mom whispered to her, barely able to contain herself, even though I had technically been pregnant for only two weeks. “And she doesn’t know what she’s having, so she’s not sure about getting the tutu.”

“Ah,” said the clerk, “she needs to try the Chinese baby calculator. It predicts the sex of your baby, and it was right for both my kids.”

Chinese baby calculator? I had never heard of such a thing. Nevertheless, I pulled out my phone with one hand (still grasping onto the tutu for dear life with the other) and Googled it. Sure enough, a very unscientific website popped up asking me to input my birthday and either my conception date or due date. I entered my details and pressed “calculate.” My answer popped up instantly: I was having a girl.

Feeling a rush of excitement, I practically charged the cash register to purchase the tutu. It was at that moment that I had convinced myself (and later, my husband) that we were having a girl. I could just feel it…

Pregnant in Paris

Fast-forward to our month in Paris. In the span of a few weeks, I had no less than three recurring dreams revealing the sex of my baby. Each time, I wasn’t holding a girl. I was holding a baby boy.

Upon waking up from the third recurring dream at 17 weeks pregnant, I told my husband Dave, “We have to go for an ultrasound. I need to know if I’m having a boy.” He humoured me and my premonitions, and we set about finding somewhere to get an ultrasound (échographie) in Paris.

I decided on EchoLife 3D, located at 96 Rue Rivoli in the 4th district. I chose Echolife 3D based on its proximity to our apartment and because it offered service in English. For €60, I could find out the sex of my baby and receive photos and video of my 3D ultrasound.

The office was very modern and well-kept. The technician was a nice young man who was quite keen to conduct the ultrasound in English, despite my instance that French was fine (I think he was eager to practice his English with us).

He asked how many weeks I was. I told him I was 17 weeks pregnant and gave him my conception and due dates. He informed me that, according to the French system, I was actually 15 SG (semaines de grossesse or “weeks pregnant”) as they don’t count the first two weeks of pregnancy that date back to the first day of your last missed period. It’s too soon to try to determine the sex of the baby before 17 weeks (15 SG), so the technician warned me that it may not be possible to find out the sex that day. He said he would flash either a pink or blue light on the screen in front of us if he was 100% certain.

He began recording the 3D ultrasound and, in vivid detail, I saw my baby take shape for the first time. After I few minutes, he announced, “I ‘ave deetermeened wiz one-undred percent certaintee zee sex of your baby. Are you ready to find oot?” I nodded and shut my eyes tightly in anticipation.

Et voilà.” He said. I re-opened my eyes expecting to see the screen light up in pink, except I saw nothing. Dave was smiling and looking at me expectantly. “I missed it!” I cried, my eyes fixated on the screen. Dave gave me a puzzled look. “It’s a boy.” He said pointing at the huge spotlight in the corner shining blue.

I forced a smile, but didn’t say much for the rest of the appointment. As I exited the office and entered the 19th-century, wrought-iron elevator, I started to cry. I was disappointed. I had wanted a girl so badly and had convinced myself so strongly that I was having one.

By the time we crossed the street into Parc de la Tour Saint-Jacques, I was inconsolable. I was bawling and wailing. Passers-by were giving me strange looks; they probably thought I was a lunatic. At first I was upset because I felt disappointed. Then the guilt took over. What kind of mother reacts this way to finding out she’s having a boy? How would my son feel if he knew how crushed I was? I sobbed to Dave, “He can never know! I have to hide this deep dark secret and never tell a soul.”

I carried on like this for the better part of an hour, despite my husband’s attempts to console and reassure me. He finally got through to me by suggesting we go buy a little French-boy outfit for our son. With that, I cheered up (truth be told, I might have lost it again several more times on the way to the store) and set off to shower my unborn son with gifts to make up for how terribly I had reacted.

When I returned to Canada, I told a few of my mommy friends about my experience. To my surprise, some were appalled by my behaviour and shamed me for being disappointed. This only made me feel guiltier. But then I thought to myself “Am I really the only mom on the planet to have been disappointed with the sex of her baby?” I doubt it. In fact, my experience was a real moment. That was my real reaction and those were my real feelings. Pretending like that didn’t happen would be fake.

I came to realize that there was nothing wrong with being initially disappointed in the sex of my baby. Now that my son is here, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like raising a girl. I am completely in love with my little man, and I would actually love to have another little boy and raise two sons.

As for that tutu I bought so long ago? I managed to put it to good use.

baby wearing tutu

My son will surely hate me for posting a photo of him in a tutu on the Internet.

 

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20 thoughts on “The Moment Shit Got Real: The Day I Found Out the Sex of My Baby

  1. Hi Katrina,

    Great story and I can really relate… In my case though I wanted a boy and guess what I’ve got??? But like you said I can’t imagine life without Adriana.

    Love your blog BTW. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That photo is adorable!
    I can totally relate to your experience! I never dreamed of having a son and was very sad when I found out I was having a boy. I wanted tutus and frills and doll houses. But you know what, he is my little mama’s boy angel and I couldn’t imagine not having him in my life.
    When I was pregnant with #2, I didn’t find out what I was having, but convinced it was another boy. To my surprise, out came a little girl! And she isn’t girlie anyhow. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw Katrina, this is so beautiful and honest. I love that you have shared this with us, I think a lot of future moms will really be able to appreciate this. I also very much admire your experience being pregnant in France…its hard to be far from familiar especially when you are in a vulnerable place in life. 🙂 Wonderful post. PS. Your little man is absolutely adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Comic (Book) Relief | Every now and Jen

  5. I’m just reading this post now, it hurdled me back to the day I found out we were having a boy. I was so convinced it would be a girl (who else who inherit my giant Barbie collection?). I bawled and crawled into bed sobbing, and did boy-related retail therapy afterwards too. Now with a 6 yr old, I think back and laugh; I can’t imagine life without my little man. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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