I wish I would have known to ask.
You see, I lost my baby during the 20th week of pregnancy. After delivery, my doctor told me she was unable to determine whether I had given birth to a boy or a girl. She guessed that my baby had died two days earlier, and that tiny, fragile body had already started to deteriorate. While that little body was still intact, the midsection had begun to decay, making it impossible to determine my baby’s sex by sight alone. There were two hands and two feet, ten fingers and ten toes. There were eyes, a mouth, and a nose. But those identifying parts that I had expected to be there, weren’t. I am so grateful that I got to look at that face. That I got to touch those fingers and toes. That I got to hold my baby in the palm of my hand. But I wish I would have known to ask for genetic testing. I wish I would have known that it wasn’t too late to determine my baby’s sex.
I wish I would have known that I would have only one opportunity.
It is with great pain that I missed the opportunity to know the true identity of my baby. During one of many visits to the ER, a nurse performed an ultrasound and told me that she thought she could determine the sex of my baby. However, she didn’t share this information because I had my 20 week ultrasound coming up and she didn’t want to give me the wrong information. I wish I would have known that this would be my only opportunity to find out if I was carrying a boy or a girl. I wish I would have known to pressure that nurse into telling me what she was seeing on that screen. Not a day goes by in which I don’t regret this missed opportunity.
I wish I would have known that medical professionals might fail to share important details.
With the chaos of working in a hospital environment, the professionals who work there are bound to forget things. My baby was delivered with compassion and handled with care. My nurse provided useful information regarding resources. She shared part of her own loss story. She gave me a care package. She stayed well past her shift in order to provide support when I worked up the courage to see and hold my baby. But she forgot to mention that genetic testing might be an option. She didn’t tell me there were ways to find out if my baby was a boy or a girl. I wish I would have known that medical professionals might forget important details. Maybe then I would have known the right questions to ask.
I wish I would have known how complicated not knowing would be.
People ask whether my baby was a boy or a girl and I wish I could give them a simple answer. I wish I could say my baby was a “he” or a “she.” I wish I didn’t have to do so much explaining in an attempt to answer this question. Sometimes I just let people assume that my baby was a boy because it’s easier, and I don’t have the energy to explain the whole story. When I do explain, people seem confused. When I don’t explain, I feel misunderstood. I wish I would have known how complicated not knowing my baby’s sex would be and how it would not only complicate my story as a whole, but also the perception of my story.
I wish I would have known that years later, the disappointment in not knowing my baby’s sex would continue to grow. I wish I would have known that feelings of anger would come alongside the disappointment when I learned that I could have had genetic testing done. When I learned that a baby’s sex can be determined at a very early gestational age. When I learned that although my baby’s sex could not be determined by sight, it could have been determined through testing.
I wish I would have known, before it was too late.