"Hello, baby," says me, quietly sitting alone in my bedroom.
"Knock once if you're Livia, twice if you're Wyatt."
"Okay, knock once if you're really in there."
"Knock, knock, knock," says the baby.
"Wait a minute! Was that one knock for Livia and then two hello knocks, or two knocks for Wyatt and one hello knock?!" Ack! Tricky baby! You're just like you're father!
"I could make some real money charging admission to your room," said the delivery nurse. "I've never seen such a group waiting to come visit."
My husband and I laughed, holding our new baby. We had chosen early on in our pregnancy not to find out the gender, a decision that had boggled our entire families' minds for 9 months.
"How about you just have the doctor tell me?" said my mom.
"How will you buy anything in advance?" said his mom.
"You already know what it is, don't you?!" accused others.
But we didn't. For the entire pregnancy, we chose not to find out. It was horrible. The questions were tiresome. Explanations were longer. Everyone felt entitled to ask, "Why?" Even strangers on the street.
Now, I admit, it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do (thus far). At each doctor's visit, I would have an inner battle-- what if only I found out? I wouldn't tell anyone. I would even ask my doctor not to tell my husband at the next visit. Never mention it to him. It's a secret.
But each time, I would begin to feel like I was ruining some wonderful Christmas gift. Like telling your husband what his gift is, months before when you come up with the perfect idea. It would be wrong to find out. It would ruin the wonderful surprise. It would take the joy out of it. (Of course, our baby being born would have been the most joyful moment of my life anyway-- but this only sweetened the deal.)
So I would hold out. Each month. Internal turmoil aside, I would not find out the gender.
Therefore on Oct. 3, 2011, when my OBGYN walked in and said, "We're just going to break your water, Ok?" I was all smiles. 36 weeks, 5 days pregnant. 3 weeks, 2 days before my date.
"Okay," I said.
"Okay," said my husband.
By 2:00pm, we were allowed to begin pushing.
I had kidded through the entire pregnancy, "I don't care who shows up, as long as they're here before my abdominal region explodes." Livia or Wyatt, whoever gets here first.
At 4:01, I met my baby for the very first time. It was red and wrinkly, but not mad. Maybe a tad startled. My husband, having been told that there would be swelling from the birth, thought we had a girl-- but the doctor quickly flipped the baby face up to reveal its gender. Wyatt had shown up. Wyatt was here. He had been there the entire time. It was him.
For 9 months, I talked to the baby when I was all alone, trying to coax it to tell me its gender. I would reason with a fetus. Plead with it. Promise it candy if it would only tell me.
"It's a boy!" my husband told me.
It was at that moment I finally knew.
He had knocked twice for Wyatt and once more to say, "Hello, Mommy."