Last Friday we reached Week 18, and things are getting pretty serious in Utero Land.
The weekly pregnancy update video informed us that our baby now has fully formed fingerprints and the ability to grasp the umbilical cord like Tarzan swinging on a vine.1 Our baby is also apparently filling its bowels with its first poo, which I presume will sit there festering for the next 22 weeks? Is that why the first poo is black?2
The most exciting new development beyond excrement and fingerprints, however, is the fact that our baby can now hear us! The ears that formed a few weeks ago are finally fully operational, so I need to a) start holding my tongue from saying rude things, b) start proactively talking to my wife’s stomach3 so that the baby learns the sound of my voice, and c) provide this baby with a quality in-utero soundtrack by acquainting him or her with some of my favorite music which will obviously have good associations and already be his or her favorite music upon arrival. A new Frank Sinatra fan is born!
Speaking of him or her, I’m also very excited to finally be learning which pronoun to use in a mere two days! Our next appointment features another ultrasound, so I’m pumped to see our kid for the first time as more of a baby-shaped blob of pixels than just the regular blob of pixels we saw last time. Seriously though, I feel like finding out the gender is going to make this pregnancy–and this person–feel real in a way that has not been the case thus far. Beyond morning sickness and my wife’s increased tiredness, the only indication that we’re pregnant has been the fact that we’re telling people that we are. At this point, I could say it was an early April Fool’s Day prank and there would be little external evidence to refute it.
That said, Theresa is working on a baby bump that will no doubt visibly blossom in the coming weeks. Right now she pretty much only has a bladder bump–a part-time, pseudo baby bump on one side of her abdomen that is only visible when she has to pee. Though when this bump is apparent, it definitely looks more like an alien body invasion than a growing fetus. But don’t tell Theresa I said that! We received some maternity clothes from a friend and Theresa recently tried on the jeans, which fit her perfectly. The form-fitting elastic waist also clings to her almost-baby bump–making her appear more pregnant than non-maternity clothes–which is exactly what she wants right now. Don’t tell her that it’s too early for capri jeans, either. I don’t think she’s going to wear anything else now.
The number one question we have gotten since our announcement is about whether or not we are finding out the gender. We never had any doubt that we would, at least for this first go-round.4 As I mentioned previously, I am starved for updates and information on this child5, and the gender is finally something concrete that I can know. I’m not passing that up!
The next question that most people ask comes with a knowing smile: So what are you hoping for?
There is no way to win with this question. If I say a boy, the person can reply with “that figures,” since I come from a family of four sons. If I prefer a girl, the person can coo and talk about “daddy’s little girl.” Either way, I don’t think I should be hoping for one gender or the other, and I can honestly say that I’m not. I have a feeling6, but it’s a gut feeling, not a preference. I want a baby of the gender that is already present in my wife’s uterus. I want the baby that I’m already talking to and will meet in early August. That baby.
But as long as we’re talking about misguided preferences, I’ll offer one that I do hold: I want my baby to be left-handed.7 One look at the chart below will show you that my wish is genetically unlikely, but chew on this: two of my three brothers and I are lefties, born of two right-handed parents. Three out of four us are left-handed, even though there was only a 10 percent probability that would happen. Clearly my DNA has the capacity to break the mold and continue a lineage of left-handedness. Plus, Theresa’s dad is also left-handed. I’m no Punnett square genius, but that’s got to increase the odds of another southpaw, right?8
So why do I want a lefty? There are two main reasons: commiseration and ease of training. If my child is left-handed, we can collectively rage against the right-handed machine, raising our ink-smeared fists together in solidarity at all the ways the world is prejudiced against our people and setting us up for failure. Then I will train our child to overcome these obstacles by teaching her/him to write lefty, bat lefty, throw lefty, eat lefty and think lefty. They will gain lifetime membership in the worldwide club of people who see another lefty in the wild and say “Whoa! You’re left-handed? So am I!” Plus, we can celebrate Left Hander’s Day together, which falls on August 13…within about a week of the baby’s due date! Is this another sign?!
Sweet child o’mine, if you’re reading this someday and you’re right-handed, I’m sure you’re not saddened by any of this because I have no doubt been razzing you for years about being just another righty. If you’re left-handed, congratulations9, and I hope they have invented an ambidextrous computer mouse by then.
- I’ve gotta be honest…Even the video’s normally creepy computer animated rendering of that was pretty cute.
- This is a less cute mental image to ponder.
- Actually, I already do this a lot…
- Not that I’m arrogantly assuming we will have more kids, but if we do, we might let the gender be a surprise.
- Beyond current fruit size
- That I won’t share here, in case I’m wrong, and my child one day reads this and winds up in tears because they think I wanted something else.
- Countercultural, no?
- Or should I say “left?”
- to both of us