It’s a… mystery.

Today I’m 20 weeks pregnant, and Powerball is the size of a banana.  Aside from marking the halfway point, 20 weeks is around when the anatomy scan is supposed to happen.  You know, the big scan: the one where the medical professionals look for all sorts of important things and, while they’re at it, count fingers, toes, and genitals.

Our anatomy scan was yesterday, at 19w6d.  For a reason I can’t remember, I had scheduled the scan for 8am: an hour where I’m usually still in my pajamas and struggling to find Bingo breakfast.  Also an hour at which we definitely don’t have childcare.  We spent the morning in utter panic, desperately trying to get ready while allowing Netflix to raise our child.  I ultimately had to leave Sea and Bingo to make their way to the ultrasound clinic themselves, while I headed out to get started with the scan.

As it turned out, we had plenty of time.  As the first appointment of the day, I was called in pretty quickly but the scan itself took a very, very long time.  A full hour lying in a dimly lit room with a silent ultrasound tech, listening to talk radio.  I looked at what she was doing, but the pictures were mostly mysterious grey and black blobs to me.  (Was that Powerball’s head?  Oh, maybe the torso.  No no, that’s my cervix…) Every ten minutes or so the radio host would announce the time: 8:10, 8:21, 8:29, 8:40… finally, at 8:52 Sea was called in for the show-and-tell part of the scan, the one where we would find out Powerball’s sex.

We did get a pretty good look at Powerball: the ultrasound tech took the time to show us different views, pointing out Powerball’s face, arms, legs, and beating heart.  She even paused to count out five tiny toes on one foot.

She also gave us a clear view of Powerball’s tightly closed legs.

Powerball, it seems, has already grown frustrated with the associations made between assigned sex and gender and sees the makeup of his/her genitals as irrelevant information to share with his/her parents.  With some violent jiggling of my belly, the ultrasound tech was able to get Powerball to begrudgingly offer a slightly more open view, and the tech made a guess.  But that guess was couched in “probably” and “I really can’t say”.  So Powerball’s sex remains a sort-of mystery.

As do the other results of the scan.  The ultrasound technicians at this clinic (and possibly all clinics) are fiercely trained to say nothing– good, bad, or indifferent.  So we know that Powerball has one head, two arms, two legs, and at least five tiny toes.  For everything else we’ll have to wait.

No problem: only 20 weeks left to go.

(My views on sex and gender haven’t shifted a lot since 2013.  If anything, I know a lot more small children and can see even more clearly the multitude of ways that these things can meet, diverge, shift, and play out. But we do have different name choices, so would like to know Powerball’s sex.  As this will probably be the last ultrasound, we might just not find out until October.  Oh well!)

(Side story: I forgot my phone in the clinic and had to go back about half an hour later to get it.  The ultrasound technician invited me back into the room… where a couple had just finished their scan.  The pregnant person was still sitting there in a gown, and I had to reach UNDER HER to grab my phone from where I had left it on the exam table.  Awkward.)

 

Pregnancy milestones. 

I’ve missed a few milestones it’s true. I can’t even tell you with any accuracy when I felt Powerball’s first flutter*. But, for the sake of accurate recordkeeping, let it be known that today- 17w2d- was the day I gave up trying to button my pants.

*14 weeks, maybe? It was early and I blamed an active imagination instead of an active fetus.  Sorry, Powerball, I promise to pay more attention once you’re here. 

Told you.

The list of people we’ve told about Powerball is pretty small: my parents, 2/4 of my siblings, our closest friends, a couple of coworkers, relevant medical professionals, you.

This list shouldn’t be confused with the list of people who know about Powerball, however.  Somehow that list has spilled outwards, further and further away from our control.  Thanks to loose lipped friends and family members (I know who you are), the list of people who know about Powerball now includes: my aunt, my other aunt, an unknown quantity of cousins, a nosy coworker, several Russians, approximately 43% of our acquaintances, my real estate agent, and my real estate agent’s assistant.

Guys, my real estate agent’s assistant knows about Powerball and Sea’s mother doesn’t.

I’m torn between appreciation for the enthusiasm surrounding Powerball and frustration that we haven’t had a say in what gets said. I’m sad to have not seen/heard the reactions of the people I love, the moments replaced with congratulatory e-mails with hints of hurt feelings that all begin, “I heard the news.”

It’s making me not want to announce at all, really.  To issue a retraction, maybe (“What we assumed was a fetus was, in fact, an alien invader. We apologize for the confusion.”) To keep Powerball off Facebook until s/he graduates from fetus to person, or maybe even from small person to legal adult.  To tighten our grip on whatever bit of control we still have.

Still, we had better tell Sea’s mother before the real estate agent’s assistant lets her know.

Powerball update: I’m 15 weeks pregnant.  Powerball is now the size of a canary, and flutters in a convincingly birdlike way from time to time. I’m denying the fact that my shirts are too short and my pants are too tight.  I’ve started a (secret) Facebook group for queer folks expecting babies in the fall.  If you want to join, send me an e-mail at beginningfromthestart@gmail.com.