For all expectant parents, the anticipation of finding out whether they’re expecting a boy or a girl is part of the joy. Between 50 to 70 percent of expectant couples ask about the sex of their baby at the ultrasound taken at 18-22 weeks. Reasons for finding out range from just wanting to know to the convenience of knowing how to decorate the nursery or what color clothes to buy. The most common reason for deciding not to know is to enjoy the anticipation and mystery of finding out until the baby’s born. It’s considered a little old fashioned, but still 30 to 50 percent of parents decide to wait.
Unfortunately, a percentage of expectant couples will never get the chance to decide.
How can you tell?
Some pregnancies end before they really begin – that is, the egg never becomes implanted in the uterus and just gets flushed out by the body with the mother’s menstrual cycle. All she knows is that her period is heavier than normal. Other mothers and fathers experience the loss just as symptoms are starting to appear. Perhaps the store-bought pregnancy test has come back positive and before they can get too excited the baby is lost. Still others get closer to that 12-week stage and imagine their baby moving even though they can’t feel it. Others feel the kicking and somersaults as the 20th week approaches.
Obviously, there is a grieving process that comes with all these experiences, but something special happens when a mother first feels those movements of life. But if the baby is lost before that first ultrasound where gender could first be assessed, there is an added question of: What was it?
I was certain mine was a girl. No mother can really tell you how they know. Some just know. With my first I didn’t have a clue what it was and I didn’t want to know. I wanted a surprise. With my second, nearly 10 years later, I never got the chance to find out. I had a name picked out for a boy and a girl, although I couldn’t tell you what the boy’s name was.
Since my miscarriage happened at just over 11 weeks, there was really no way to find out if it was a boy or a girl and I will always wonder.