About two months ago Joe had a dream.
He actually remembered his dream.
(He never remembers dreams.)
He dreamed that he met our baby, except our baby was older –– perhaps six or seven years old.
She was a girl.
He said she was beautiful.
And that was that. From that moment on, it was a she. He was convinced of it.
When we went to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for Thanksgiving, we walked into a photo booth on a beach boardwalk — the kind that morphs two faces into a baby — and because of Joe’s premonition, we forked over $5 and selected girl.
We all laughed so hard when the machine spit out an androgynous child with a crop of brunette hair.
I had water.
That was more than a month ago
Last Tuesday we went for our 19-week ultrasound, an appointment I was so excited about I could hardly sleep leading up to it.
Some people, patient people, choose not to know the sex of their baby. We wanted to know.
Of course Joe thought he already knew.
“It’s a girl,” he said the morning of the appointment.
“You don’t know that,” I replied.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “I dreamed about her, remember?”
Oh right. And she was beautiful.
For months I had tried to visualize our child and the adventures we would one day embark on. It’s difficult to daydream about this when you don’t know if you’re getting a boy or a girl.
It’s like being told you’re going on vacation to an unknown destination.
I couldn’t wait to learn the gender. Unlike my husband, the babies in my dreams had hazy unremarkable features. As a romantic, I appreciated Joe’s dream, but I’d also been told by at least a dozen people that I was carrying a boy.
The anticipation was killing me.
And then, just like that, I was lying flat on a table at a radiology center in Largo, Fla.. Cold sticky gel was spurted onto my stomach. A magic wand was rolled over the bloated terrain that once housed Subway sandwiches and occasionally, ab muscles.
In a matter of nanoseconds I had forgotten about the gender altogether.
Suddenly all I could think about was my baby’s head, its arms, its legs, its spine and heart. Were they all in their rightful place? Were they functioning? Were there parts where parts don’t belong?
Gender anticipation had been replaced by sheer terror. I wanted to ask the ultrasound technician to swing the monitor closer to my face so I could get a better look, but I didn’t want to be an overbearing mother –– already. So I let her continue with her measurements and calculations. With each inspection it seemed she would rattle off something more chipper and more reassuring.
“Oh, there’s the bladder.”
“The mouth keeps opening and closing. You see that?”
“Oh, look at the hands. Your baby’s waving to you.”
When she eventually asked us if we wanted to know, I was at first confused.
Know? Know what?
Oh right! The gender!
“Yes!” Joe and I emphatically replied.
I looked at my husband to see if from his view of the monitor, he’d already figured out the sex.
I could tell he was still in the dark. Still adamant that it was a girl.
The baby wouldn’t stop moving. It was kicking and punching. Bending and flipping.
“This baby is pretty active,” the technician said. “The head was over here when I started and now it’s all the way over here.”
She pointed to opposite sides of my stomach.
From my angle, it looked like a Sea-Monkey.
And then it spread it’s legs.
The ultrasound technician zoomed in on the space in between.
Our Sea-Monkey was a he-monkey.
There was no denying it.
I smiled and stared at my husband, who looked shell-shocked.
“He was convinced it was a girl,” I told the technician. “He had a dream about her.”
The technician laughed a kind of jolly laugh.
“If this is a girl,” she said, “I don’t know what she’s got going on between her legs.”