i'm not sure what it is that happened when that "it's a girl" popped up on the screen.
or when the (sort of mean) nurse called me out for my elevated blood pressure (my heart was literally about to pound out of my chest before they called us back for the ultrasound, then Baby Girl was uncooperative for the money shot, then i had about 3.5 seconds before they called us back for the doctor...you get the idea).
or when we went to lunch (ever so briefly, thanks stupid schedules).
or when the "it" turned to "she" and the "baby" turned to "daughter."
but somewhere, in the midst of all of that, i panicked a little.
how could I be the mother of a daughter? how could i be good at it? all i have learned about psychology and all of my memories of being just a horrible moody teenager and all of my inadequacies and insecurities and a whole host of ideas like that she'll have to compete with me, because that's how she'll find her own identity, and thoughts of spoiled princess girls at church who don't listen all came down on me in one big flood.
and i began to cry a little at the sheer magnitude of it all.
i think it was my first moment of understanding parenthood, in its eternal and unending ramifications. you are blessed with a baby, but that's just such an infinitesimally small part of it.
how do i raise a GIRL in a world that would convince them that they are less than they are meant to be? how do i raise a VIRTUOUS girl in a world that is convinced that a woman's worth comes from cup size and sexual prowess? how do i show a girl to be confident and strong in who she is and what she looks like when, let's be real, i struggle with that every single day of my life?
somehow, a boy seemed easier. i looked at it like a bit of a project, and they seemed so much more black and white and cut and dried. as i said before, that's likely because i have no experience being a boy and i had no doubt that any boy growing up in a house with musicboy would have a prime example of how to be awesome without really trying.
musicboy apparently thinks that of me. i'm not so sure.
and i don't say all of this to encourage sympathy or cheerful reassurances, because once i admitted my greatest fear out loud (well, in a text)--"what if she hates me?" i asked musicboy, through what had to be hormonal tears--it seemed to diminish in size.
(note to self: teach that to Baby Girl. fears always seem less scary when you say them out loud.)
by the end of my two hours of teaching this afternoon, i was centered back on solid ground.
but a girl. it's just...different. but a small thought came to mind. perhaps, if i thought i could do boys no problem, that's a vote of confidence from the One who sent her here that maybe i'm stronger than i think and can handle the hard stuff.
i'd hoped that tonight, before i head off to the North Country tomorrow morning after my class, musicboy and i could wander the aisles of some red and white store and buy our first girl thing together. i didn't want that first shopping trip to be with anybody else, but he has finals and projects and rehearsal until 8, so i went myself.
and it was okay, though i was a bit surprised at my reaction.
there's just SO MUCH PINK. i get that people are all excited about that and think it's adorable, but i really don't want Baby Girl to look like the mascot for a Pepto Bismol convention.
i found a deep pink onesie on clearance for $1.98. loved it. it's plain and adorable and it's a color i would wear, so that helped. then i also found this.
that's a penguin. and that says "little bundle of cuteness." that one's for Baby Girl's daddy, who loves penguins but not nearly as much as he will once he sees his little girl wearing one. and then i bought little socks and called it a day, because i began, as i was shopping, to feel claustrophobically surrounded by pink.
everything was pink. or if it wasn't pink it was yellow. there was no purple or green or blue unless it was for toddlers. because babies can't have a color palette?
i'm so confused. and perplexed. and horrified. all at the same time.
and please let me go on the record right now as saying this: i hate those super frilly dresses with the tulle. unless your kid specifically asks for it (at that point, therefore, expressing interest in fashion and in dressing themselves, which is an entirely different stage of life and requires a different set of parenting skills) or is in a wedding of some kind, why are those not just the worst idea ever?
like it's easy to wash poop, pee, or puke out of those? let's be real, folks.
give me cotton-poly blend any day.
all of this, and the serious lack of cute dresses for church, indicates to me that i need to learn how to sew. ASAP.
i told you, didn't i, that people would be asking about names really fast? one person asked and i didn't mind sharing because she's practically family (hi saf!). but then somebody else asked on facebook and i want to be in general like NO! WE DON'T KNOW! WE MIGHT NOT KNOW FOR MONTHS! THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!
but that seems like overreacting, so i probably won't answer at all. especially since i feel certain our short list of contenders may exponentially increase before it gets wittled down to reality.
i don't think there's anything more magical than seeing a baby in utero on a sonogram screen. i find it utterly fascinating and hopelessly engaging.
the first thing the tech did was, obviously, find the baby. and she was so big! last time i saw her, she was a little 10 week peanut. she didn't look too much like an alien to me then, with all her kicking and punching, but she was small and tiny.
not anymore. big head, perfectly proportioned body, all of the things in the right place. oh, and guess what?
she fist pumped to say hi.
the tech started taking measurements, starting with the head, then moving down to the heart, then looking at the bladder and the stomach and the kidneys and the femur and all of those things that they take pictures and measurements of, and finally her spine, which was just majestic. i can't even explain it. the tech was looking to make sure that the skin was covering the spine, and then she measured our baby's cerebellum.
it was all perfect. she is perfect. and i just couldn't stop thinking "this is so amazing."
life is amazing in its infinite complexity and its pure, radiant moments of simple joy.
that was one of my moments of simple joy.
and then the tech tried to find the money shot, so to speak. and Baby Girl was having none of it, even though we had had a conversation about how this was the ONE time that she was allowed to be immodest. she could show us the goods and that would be okay, but then she needed to keep them under wraps.
apparently she just heard the last part, because she had her legs tucked up under her and her feet in a very important spot.
and i thought, as this was all going on, that it would be so fitting for me and my life to not know what the gender of my baby was until birth just because my baby was stubborn. but the tech was more stubborn and we got enough views to not see anything...obvious...that would indicate a boy. i saw a couple of times what i thought were pretty good indications of girlhood, but what do i know?
so finally the tech was like "i'm 95% sure it's a girl." and i was happy with that, but then baby shifted just a little bit to give us a better view (though certainly not a textbook one) and that was that.
our stubborn, modest girl got outweaseled by the tech.
we only got three pictures--two profiles and one of the "it's a girl" shot. i'm a little sad to not have little pictures of hands and feet and all of that, but i also know that we are blessed to have what we have.
it was quick and it was wonderful and i held musicboy's hand the whole time. i am pretty sure these are what makes life worth it, these moments. all the crazy schedules and projects and papers to grade and insane students were somewhere far outside the four walls of that darkened office.
instead, we just got to see a miracle on the screen.
it was a good day.
it's a girl, y'all.
heaven help me. no, really.
my mom had good advice: "just let her be her."
that's wisdom right there from someone who's been through the trenches. i should stitch that on a pillow somewhere. or paint it over the crib.
"just let her be her."
i don't think i can do any better than that.