It’s a Girl!

Since we didn’t have the embryos tested for genetic disorders, we did the blood tests to check for chromosomal and other disorders.  My particular healthcare system offers the NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) to women 35 and older.  This test is a blood test drawn around 11 weeks, and checks for trisomies 13, 18, and 21.  Trisomy 21 is the same thing as Down syndrome.  The test also checks the sex chromosomes for disorders, so the fun part is that you get to learn the gender early.

For women who are not yet 35 years old, they are offered the California state screening that everyone in the state is offered.  The first blood draw is around 12 weeks, and there is an optional nuchal translucency ultrasound (NTU) that is also performed around that time.  The ultrasound mainly measures the nuchal translucency, which if thicker than normal indicates a higher risk of Down syndrome.  But younger women are also at risk for structural deformities (whereas those of us over 35 are at higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities), so sometimes the early ultrasound can pick up some major malformations.  The NTU is not performed for those who have the NIPT done.

The women who have the NTU done get a preliminary result regarding risk for Down syndrome, but have to wait for the 2nd trimester results to come back to get the final results.  One benefit of the NIPT is that you receive the chromosomal testing results earlier, which can be helpful in case there is an abnormal result.  From there, patients can opt to do additional testing like an amniocentesis, which involves taking a sample from the amniotic fluid and testing for chromosomal disorders.

Since the blood tests are screening tools, the results can rarely be incorrect.  While the amniocentesis is not 100% accurate, it provides a much more definitive diagnosis.  Some people (especially those with significant risk factors) can consider skipping the blood tests and going straight to amniocentesis, but a lot of people hesitate because of the slight risk of pregnancy loss associated with the procedure.

Women who have the NIPT done also have the same 2nd trimester blood draw that is done with the California state screening test.  That’s because it checks for things like neural tube defects that are not assessed in the NIPT blood draw.

I’m 18 weeks now, and I’m still waiting for the results of the 2nd trimester blood draw.  But thus far, the NIPT results were normal and showed that we’re most likely having a girl.  I also have my anatomy ultrasound coming up.  This ultrasound is performed on all patients, even those who decline the state screen and NIPT.  It will check for major organ malformations of the brain, heart, kidneys, etc.  In our offices, those who don’t do the NIPT typically find out the gender with this anatomy ultrasound.

My husband and I would have been happy with another boy- we just want a healthy baby, and I’m hoping all of the tests and ultrasound results come back ok.  So far, until the results come back normal and we feel comfortable sharing the news of the pregnancy with the masses, we’ve held off on clearly telling WZW that I’m pregnant as well.  He definitely wouldn’t know how to keep it a secret.

To be honest, I’m a little scared to raise a girl.  Not that my fears are necessarily based on any real facts.  Since we have a boy, it seems like a known, as in we generally know what to expect, although of course every child can have very different personalities.

It’s probably more of a reflection of my own issues growing up.  I have this impression that it’s so much more complicated to raise a girl.  I would be concerned about cliques and Mean Girls-type situations.  I’d also be concerned about raising her with self-confidence and to have a good body image.  I would want to avoid stereotypes of what are boy interests vs girl interests.  We’ve certainly come a long way from the days my mother grew up in.  She was told that since she was a girl, she didn’t need to go to college like her brother, and all that really mattered was for her to get married and have children.

I think about two of my good friends that I’ve known since elementary school.  One comes from a family of 4 girls, and the other a family of 3 girls.  Growing up, and even into young adulthood, it seemed like they had more complicated relationships with their sisters.  I only had one brother growing up, and yes we fought a lot as kids, but it wasn’t the same as what I saw with the families of all girls.

One of my colleagues’ wife is a life coach.  They have two adult sons, and she once said how much respect she has for mothers of daughters.  Based on her experience as a life coach, she thinks it’s more challenging raising daughters.

So I’m not crazy to feel this way.  But I also realize that you can have challenges with children regardless of gender.  I once read an interesting quote from actress Kerry Washington in Marie Claire magazine,  “We think children come into the world and it’s our job to mold them and create them and teach them who to be so that they can be the best version of themselves, but it’s actually completely upside down. We get sent by God the kids we need so we can grow in order to be the parents they need us to be.”

As an aside, my husband played football at Cal with Kerry Washington’s husband, Nnamdi Asomugha.  Nnamdi also played for our local 49ers.  So it was funny when the news came out and I told my husband, “Nnamdi married Kerry Washington.”  My husband responded in all seriousness, “Who’s Kerry Washington?”

Going along with Kerry Washington’s quote, I suppose we’re having a girl because it will be a learning experience for us.  I had a feeling it would be a girl, partly because of our fear of having one.  We are happy either way, and I am excited to be able to buy some baby girl clothes.  Actually, since it’s been a few years, I’d be happy to buy baby clothes for either gender.  But I have a thing for (tastefully done) rainbows, and it’s much easier to find girl clothes with rainbows.

It’s funny how it worked out that my parents had a boy and a girl, my brother has a boy and a girl (twins), and now I will, too.  What’s also spectacular is that we can get all of my niece’s hand-me-downs.  She was born in July and our daughter is due in August, so that should hopefully work out well with clothing sizes and seasons.  But I will still want to buy a few things for her myself.

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4 thoughts on “It’s a Girl!

  1. Meg March 24, 2019 / 4:45 am

    POB I’ve been waiting for you to be in the 2nd trim before I said anything, but CONGRATULATIONS!! And a girl! Wonderful!

    Interesting to hear your thoughts on this. I am one of two girls while my hubby is one of two boys. Before having kids I always thought that I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with boys so thought I’d rather have girls. We were happy when our first was a boy (as were were hoping for a boy and a girl overall), but the second time were really hoping for a girl (had a beautiful boy). Every time this topic has come up among our new mother friends I have heard this a lot – the belief that girls are hard. My mother in law said to me “You don’t want girls…. girls are terrible…they just go off, do what they want, don’t care about you… you don’t want to have girls” (which made me glad I wasn’t her daughter!!). I also heard a lot about how hard it is in the world for girls.

    Then again, we made it in the world, my sister and I. And so did you. And so did all my wonderful female friends who are amazing people. Maybe we do suffer more and have more invisible scars than the average male, but we are also likely to be more resilient than the average male.

    Also about sisters having complicated relationships… I wonder if some of that is because the expectations are different. If I had a brother and we weren’t close I think less would be thought of it than if I had a sister who I wasn’t close to. There’s this unspoken expectation that sisters will be close and share everything. I don’t even think that expectation is there there for two boys…. if two brother’s weren’t close, not as much would be thought of it. And that expectation on girls/sisters both from the outside and what we place on ourselves complicates everything.

    My sister and I were not particularly close growing up because we had (still have) polar opposite personalities. I don’t think we’d have been any closer if she was a boy. Now that we’ve grown up and had children, our parents are getting older, we share something more than our childhood and have become closer. And yeah my sister had a rough time of adolescence, but I didn’t find it awful. The tough aspect is not universal.

    Hubby and I are sure we don’t want more children (I’m very sure!) but I did say to him that if we could have a third with a 100% guarantee that it would be a girl then I would. Of course, having said that if we go for a third it’ll probably be a boy!

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    • Paleo OB March 24, 2019 / 9:59 am

      Thanks, Meg! You make some really great points. Ultimately, it’s hard to know what you’re going to get, regardless of gender. You could have children of either gender that cause parenting challenges. My friend with 3 sisters didn’t get along with two of them for some time, to the point that I don’t think she had much contact with them for a while. But now that they’re all well into adulthood, things are better. My brother and I have never been super close like best friends, but we haven’t had issues to that point.
      And it’s also going to be a difference experience having a girl and a boy as opposed to two girls or two boys. Although I have my fears about having a girl, I’m sure it will be fine. As you said- we all turned out just fine. There will be different parenting challenges with any child. We are going to take it one step at a time, and thankfully these gender challenges will come later. Early on, we’ll be worried about having a newborn and getting through those sleepless nights again!

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  2. Jamie Bee March 25, 2019 / 3:35 am

    Hello and congrats! I am so happy to hear that you are now well-progressed into this pregnancy and all is going well. My very best wishes going forward as the three of you (you, husband and WZW) adjust to the impending prospect of a fourth family member, and a girl at that!

    I found your thoughts about having a girl to be very interesting because I am exactly the opposite to you. We have two girls (ages almost 4 and almost 2) and are expecting a third child, gender unknown, in another month or so. Unlike you, I was one who really REALLY wanted at least one girl, and was secretly thrilled when our second child was also a girl. I come from a family of two girls, and have always been close to and have loved having a sister; I’m glad my own two girls will have each other as they get older (although already their personalities are so different and it will be interesting to see how they get along as they grow older). I suppose a lot of my desire for girls is a bit self-centered – I have so many books and experiences from my own childhood that I have been dying to share with a daughter, and I suppose I would have always mourned not being able to do so if we had had only boys (not sure how a boy would feel about Anne of Green Gables, though who knows!). I have to admit that a part of me secretly hopes that this third one will also be a girl. Mostly I think that is because we already have so much experience with girls and at this stage they seem “easier” to me (quieter, a bit less active, more vocal and potty-trainable at an earlier age, fewer potential behavior problems, etc) – though of course my views may change as we approach puberty and teenagehood! People always assume because we have two girls that we “went for a third” in order to get a boy, and I always laugh to myself because that wasn’t the case at all. As you say, though, we perhaps get the children we need, and my MIL tells me that raising a boy is wonderful and life-changing as well, so maybe what I really need is to see the world through a son’s eyes. I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks’ time!

    I suspect that for me – and for you – all of these thoughts/qualms will fall away once the baby is here and, whatever they turn out to be, they will feel just right when they’re in our arms! Best of luck to you and take care! x

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    • Paleo OB March 29, 2019 / 8:36 pm

      Congrats! That is so interesting to hear your point of view, essentially the opposite of mine. Now that I know it’s a girl, there is a lot that I’m excited about, as you mentioned passing along more girly interests. I’ve thought about things like my old diaries that my mom has kept all these years. Your comments bring up so many more thoughts- will definitely want to write more on this topic. Hope all goes well with delivery #3, and will be curious to find out the gender!

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