Am I Talking To A Boy or Girl?

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Am I Talking To A Boy or Girl?

From the moment I began to tell folks I was carrying a little person inside me, I've been dodging the question of gender/sex. And because I decided beforehand that I would not find out, I would seek out the most creative ways to sidestep the question. Well, does it that really matter? Or, I just want healthy baby. Or, I'm just happy I'll get a chance to experience being somebody's mother. Of course these platitudes were simply that. Platitudes. I was just being politically correct. As in, why the hell you want to know if it's a boy or girl? Are you trying to anticipate what color clothes to buy based on what lives between the kid's legs? I mean, my son might want to wear pink shirts with glitter all over it? Or my daughter may just live in overalls and play with dump trucks all day long? And what if the kid wants to live somewhere between the two? I wanted my child to have the room to be as fluid as he wants to be, as flip-flopping as she dared, and I made no bones about saying so. In my rants against gender-norms my politics were clear.

But deep down inside I had my own desires. I thought it would be easier for me, big, Amazon, lesbian, activist to raise a daughter. I imagined it would be easier for a girl to see how being a feminist would be a good thing. I kept telling myself it would be a good thing to raise a boy who could house feminist politics and still be proud of being male, but I know I was hoping against hope I would have a girl. It all seemed like such a puzzle, which I was fully committed to figuring out. My analytical brain was in full Rubik's Cube mode. If the kid is a girl, she would be like this and therefore I would need to approach the politics like this. If he is a boy, then he would be like that, so I would need to treat him like that. I bought the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter and read articles online about raising feminist sons. I had my formulae, my game plan. I felt prepared for anything.

Then at fourteen weeks I woke up from a nap with blood all over my inner thighs. By the time I made it to the bathroom rivers of red were coursing into the white porcelain toilet bowl. I felt like I was drowning. But I couldn't allow myself to go under. I needed to get through this in a practical way. I pushed the sorrow from out of my heart and yelled for my friend, Racquel, who I just happened to be visiting in Toronto that week. When she stepped into the frame of the doorway the look on her face said it all. We both knew what all this blood in the toilet meant. Baby was saying bye-bye.

"Think we should go to the hospital?" Racquel asked?

"Yes. Yes. We should go to the hospital," I agreed.

In my head I wondered what was the sense of going to the hospital now. I tried to remember what I had read about miscarriages; how long the process took, what were the signs -- I remembered it could take days to pass the fetus. I just wanted to crawl back into bed and wait out this terrible, terrible nightmare.

But Racquel face still wore a streak of hope so I quickly put on a pad and grabbed my handbag while she and Sandy (my friend who drove me from New York to Canada) got dressed.

At the hospital the nurse looked at me and said, "Fourteen weeks? There's really nothing we can do at fourteen weeks. The baby isn't yet viable, you know?"

I nodded, but I really had no idea what she was saying or how I was hearing it. I wanted them to do what they do on TV when a pregnant woman comes into the ER bleeding. I wanted them to use medical terms and shout instructions to each other while they wheeled me into some room here they would do something to save my dead baby. But they calmly led me into a cold examination room with gynecological equipment and told me to get undressed and wait for the doctor.

Half an hour later, someone came, took my vitals and told me to get naked from the waist down and put my feet in the stirrups.

"Yes, yes. There is some bleeding."

This one must be Einstein, I thought and smiled and nodded again.

"Fourteen weeks? Nothing we can do at fourteen weeks," he said.

"What about an ultrasound?" I asked.

"Yes, yes. Of course, we want to see what's going on with the little one."

Then he withdrew his speculum and left.

I had no idea what they would find with the ultrasound. I waited another hour, shivering in the freezing exam room. Nothing seemed urgent. Which seemed out-of-place in an emergency room. I was certain the baby was already gone. There was too much blood for me to hope. I wasn't close to any of my doctors, and I had no health insurance coverage for Canada. My naked lower half was covered in goose bumps and although my friends were just outside in the waiting room I felt completely alone. I didn't even realize I was crying until I heard myself sobbing. I wished I had someone to talk to, to say how I feel.

I looked at my barely distended belly and admitted that I really wanted my baby to be alive. Something told me I needed to vocalize that desire. Maybe if it could hear me say it, it might just stay.

I placed my hand on my lower abdomen and tried not to feel foolish as I began, "Ahm--I'm Staceyann. I'm your mother--well, I will be--well if you--I mean, that is if--"

Comments [1]

Grace Moon's picture

what a damned mystery.

the wisdom of the unknown and the unborn.

tweet tweet @gracemoon