In early November, about a week before we moved into our new apartment — the bigger, three-bedroom apartment our family could grow into regardless of whether we remained just the three of us or were lucky enough to add a fourth Condellberry to the mix — we grabbed some dinner at Shake Shack one evening. At the table next to us was a woman who used to own an upholstery and design store in our neighborhood until she closed it a couple years ago. She was there with her tween daughter. “Hi,” I said as we sat down, “You reupholstered a chair for us a few years ago.” It was a chair we’d bought on Craigslist for our soon-to-be nursery. She did a beautiful job with it.
“I remember,” she replied. “You were pregnant then. How old’s your son now?” she asked, gesturing to Jackson who was already making a mess of his food and demanding my attention.
“He turned three last month,” I replied, as he knocked over his whole cup of water. Our table mate jumped up to grab some napkins.
“Oh, thank you!” I said as she helped clean up.
“Girls have such a different energy,” she said calmly, glancing at her daughter who was sitting quietly working on homework. “When you have your daughter,” she continued, matter-of-factly, “You’ll see.” And without missing a beat, she slid back into her seat and finished her meal.
Ohh-kay, I thought, shooting Drew a look. I wasn’t even pregnant. At least, not that I knew of. But a few days later, I took a pregnancy test and it was a clear positive. After my chemical pregnancy/ miscarriage in September, we held our breath in the weeks that followed, but, when my first OB appointment in early December showed a strong, healthy heartbeat and we got to see a glimpse of our teeny baby-to-be, we breathed a big sigh of relief. This was happening! We were doing it again! We’re having a baby! And it has been no less thrilling this time around than it was when I was pregnant with Jackson.
Because of my age (38), we opted to do genetic testing. (We did the MaterniT21 test, which is new in the last couple of years, and which I highly recommend for women over 35; it’s a simple blood test with higher accuracy and much less risk than more traditional chromosomal testing like an amniocentesis). I went in for the test just a couple days before Christmas and was told it would be 7-10 days before we received results. Seven days passed, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. TWO WEEKS passed and we still hadn’t received results. Why I didn’t just CALL my doctor, I don’t know. I just thought I would get a call when the results were in and didn’t want to bother anyone, which is sort of ridiculous, I know, especially considering how worked up I’d made myself. I was sure the results weren’t good and my doctor was waiting until my next scheduled appointment (a couple weeks after I had the tests done) to tell me the news in person.
I went in one afternoon just after the holidays, a bundle of nerves. It had been two weeks to the day since I had my blood drawn for testing. Unfortunately, Drew was stuck at work and couldn’t make the early part of my appointment, so I sat and waited in the exam room alone for 20 minutes, imagining the worst. Finally, the doctor came in and said, “I’ve been trying to call you for a week!!” (It turns out they had the wrong number for me on file). “I have good news!” she said. Oh, thank God.
“Everything is good,” she continued. “The tests were all normal.”
Thank God, thank God, thank God. I felt overwhelmed with relief and gratitude.
“Do you want to know what you’re having?” she asked.
“Yes!” I said.
“We’re having a girl!” I told Drew when he arrived from work. I met him in the lobby and showed him the strip of ultrasound pictures my doctor had given me to take home. “Here’s your daughter,” I said, my eyes filling with tears again, and we hugged and laughed and hugged some more.
Though I hadn’t wanted to be greedy and hope for anything more specific than a healthy baby, I’ve always wanted a daughter. A daughter!
I’m 15 weeks along now and everything is going fine. My first trimester was pretty easy except for the bone-crushing fatigue I remember from my pregnancy with Jackson. I was lucky enough to be spared the terrible morning sickness that plagues many a pregnant woman, but just when I thought I would manage to skate through two pregnancies without much nausea, it hit me a couple weeks ago. “That’s because you’re having a girl,” a friend reasoned. “They make you sicker. At least, that’s the myth,” she said.
I’ve also heard they “steal your beauty” when you’re pregnant with them, causing break-outs and face-bloat and lots of weight gain, oh my. But then, I’ve heard that, once they’re born, their “energy is very different” and they’re much calmer than boys. I guess time will tell!
We told Jackson a few days ago that he’s going to be a big brother (after reading him this book and this book). Fortunately, he’s been asking for a baby sister for months, so he took the news pretty well (not sure how it would have gone if we were having a boy…). He was a little overwhelmed (or maybe underwhelmed?) the evening we told him, assuring us it was “just pretend” and there wasn’t really a baby in mommy’s belly (despite my quickly-expanding waistline). But then the next morning he woke up and the first thing he said was, “I’m going to teach my baby sister the ABCs, I’m going to teach her to count, I’m going to read her books.” He’s going to be the sweetest big brother and this baby is going to be one lucky little girl.
She’s due in July and, needless to say, we’re so excited to meet her.