Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gender Reveal: How We Told Our Family

I'm still pinching myself that in just a couple of months, we will have a new baby boy. A brand new baby boy!!!

We had our big ultrasound back in November, and honestly, I was a little surprised. Kinda. I'd had three very specific dreams about having a girl baby, so I'd begun to think that maybe... but really, I didn't have any idea, and all I cared about was that he or she was growing well and healthy and strong. The year prior to this was one filled with loss and grief- sorry I can't share more right now- and to see that tiny baby wriggling about on the monitor and to see that strong little heartbeat flashing at a solid 170 beats per minute just filled me with such joy and relief. I'll never forget that feeling as long as I live. I never quite understood when people referred to things as "such a gift from God," although I'm not sure why. Maybe because in my mind, I feel like we are ultimately more responsible for the things that happen in our lives than He is, and I know in my head that simply isn't true. Now I know it in my heart as well.

This baby is the sweetest, most precious gift from the Lord. He didn't have to bless us with this child, and I would still love and trust Him if He hadn't, hard as that can be sometimes. I feel like a broken record in a way- the best way, I hope!- but I cannot stop thanking God and am completely overwhelmed with gratitude.

Prior to finding out the gender, I'd begun to wonder how all of this would affect our Isabelle. Since she is our only daughter, and only child I have not given birth to, might she feel displaced somehow? Not quite as important? Cherished? These were all thoughts that swirled around my mind in between bouts of insomnia and morning (all day/evening) sickness. Ultimately we decided that we will leave our future in God's hands. We still grieve over orphans in the world, and if He leads us toward another adoption, then we will trust and obey. Just like that old song. ;) Simple yet so profound. Plus, I like to think that it would be so special to adopt another little girl one day, for Isabelle to have that bond with her sister.

So with all this in mind, my husband and I decided to keep it a special little secret between the two of us for a few weeks. We'd often find ourselves giggling about it, or giving The Look when the other of us almost slipped and revealed something in conversation with somebody. Those weeks were very sweet for us.

Of course, we had to do a little fibbing since our children and other family members knew about the big ultrasound. Our story was that baby was so incredibly active- true!!- that we just couldn't tell and would have to wait until the next ultrasound. And as Ferris Bueller would say, They bought it. Not that we condone lying or anything...

When we sensed that the time was right, I knew I wanted to tell Isabelle in a special way. She told everyone under the sun how she longed for a baby sister, and I wanted to be as sensitive to that as possible. Of course I knew that she would love and adore a baby brother just as much, but it was all a little different from her point of view. God was so good to us by way of arranging the boys to be gifted hockey tickets for Friday night, which meant that I could take full advantage of Mommy-Daughter time. I took her out for dinner at a small Italian restaurant in town and told her what a wonderful big sister she will be...and then I told her that I actually had some important news, and it was okay if she felt disappointed at first, and that we were going to go shopping for something special for her and brother. She had guessed before I'd even finished my speech, smart cookie, and I'd been rambling on and on by that point because I was nervous and wanted to say just the right things (much like I'm rambling here, ha). Then I told her that nobody else except Daddy knew the secret, and she loved that!

I mentioned some ideas about how to tell the boys the next day, and Isabelle opted for the cake route. So after shopping and staying out waaaaay later than her bedtime, we whipped up a packaged golden cake when we got home. I panicked when I couldn't find the food coloring gels, as we'd already packed up half the house by that point, but I found a couple of old ones in the back of an upper cabinet. And there was blue! Phew.

I wondered how Isabelle would handle the big secret on Saturday, especially when she kept asking if the boys could have cake for breakfast. Ha Ha But she made it till later that evening, and then I gave each one a knife with the instructions to gently slice (yeah, right) into the cake to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. All three looked at me like, HUH? What in the world? Clearly my adolescent sons don't spend as much time scouring Pinterest as I do. But they quickly figured it out when spots of blue cake began to appear, and they were super excited. It was really quite sweet.

 So much for my Pinterest-worthy photo of the gender reveal cake! Our boys ripped into that poor cake with utter abandon, and the moment was absolutely priceless. I'll never forget it, nice photo or not. ;)

All six of us held onto our secret for the next several days, and then right before Thanksgiving, we visited with each of our parents to tell them. I had put one of the outfits Isabelle and I bought, along with the cutest pair of argyle socks- yes, I have a serious thing for baby boys and argyle!- into a gift bag and handed the bag to our Moms. My mother-in-law was so cute. She started squealing and jumping up and down, saying how excited she was to have a new grandson after all these years.

The one thing I had wanted to do so badly was to get a picture taken of Isabelle holding onto a pale blue balloon standing next to me, or maybe up ahead of me. I can totally picture it in my mind, and it was going to look fabulous. ;) Sadly, the weather this fall/early winter was completely uncooperative, and my morning sickness came back with a vengeance for a few straight weeks, and the picture never happened. Maybe we can try again in a few weeks.

We entertained the idea of not telling anybody outside of the family, but that just feels like way too much pressure. Plus, I just love talking about him, so I knew I could never pull that one off. We are going to keep his name a secret, but really that's no big feat, considering that we rarely even settle on a name before labor begins, ha!

And just so I remember all these details, he has started to move and respond to my touch. He'll either kick or push back at my hand a few times, and rubbing my belly seems to make him very happy and calm. Mostly he is a night owl to the extreme, something I'm praying will ease up juuuuust a bit, but even when I'm exhausted and lying there wide awake with him, I don't even care about sleeping. The reassurance of his wriggly little and not-so-little movements is so much more important. I can't help but lay there in the dark with the most grateful heart and the biggest smile on my face. Oh how I love this baby.

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