labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Saturday, July 5, 2008


My final clinical rotation is underway, and boy is it tiring. I've had several births, all very nice. They were all first babies for the mothers and all were unknown sex. I love that. Where else in life do you get a surprise like that? I can't think of any.

I had asked a couple who had decided not to find out the sex of their baby why they chose to do this. So many people find out (and often it is the only thing they care about during their fetal anatomical survey ultrasound...) that it seems like such a rarity if the birthing couple has no idea if they are having a boy or girl.

The father said, "Ok, so what do we say when the baby comes out if we already know what it is? It's a.... baby! We already know that! We want to say.... It's a boy! or It's a girl!" Very cool.

As the midwife or nurse in the room, I love to see the surprise and excitement on the faces of the family and parents when they find out what their baby is. I know it's not about me, but there really is something special that is added to the birth when things are left a surprise.


Mom said...

I think it's nice when it's a surprise too!

Jody said...

I'm with ya! It seems that 98% of the parents know what they're having. I absolutely LOVE it when they don't know. And yea, its always because they chose Not to know. Love the anticipation!!

Real said...

That's how I prefer it.

rtc said...

I agree. I think it was one of the most important moments for my husband to be the first one to spot that our newborn was a boy.
While everybody else was busy with our baby and mom (me!), he took it upon himself to take a look and call out, "it's a boy!". Maybe the doctors and nurses were just being polite by not announcing it but it was really special for him. To this day (2 years later) he still reminisces about that moment and still gets choked up.

Kelly said...

I'm with ya' - I used to love when my patients chose to leave that as a surprise. It's definitely a rarity these days.

Molly said...

We decided not to find out the sex of our fetus for a pragmatic reason--to force people to find non-gendering gifts and to avoid receiving piles of blue or pink stuff. But the decision also paid off in a wonderful and unexpected way--and it was not the 'it's a boy!' moment. (After a very long labor, we were all so excited that I'd accomplished a vaginal birth that no one even thought about the baby's sex for several moments, until I asked.)

What was cool about it for me was that I got to experience a completely tactile relationship with this being inside me until he emerged as his own person. I wasn't picturing a boy or a girl. I wasn't picturing anything; I was just feeling the fetus inside me and loving it. It's hard to describe in words, but it was really special and really affected my experience of 'meeting' my son once I could hold him in my arms.

KathyH said...

After over a year of infertility treatments and 2 miscarriages, taking home a live healthy baby was surprise enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I have had 6 births, and it's better not knowing. We had scads of scans this time too but made the tech keep it secret and tell us when not to look. I had my husband pick the name this time, and so when he ran over to the warmer (baby had meconium and they wisked her away...though she was born in an intact bag)...he looked baby over and came back to me and said, "we have a Jillian Faith." I gotta say, that was sooooo cool. We've not known 4 of 6 times. The two times we found out, I wish I had not done it that way.


Pam said...

we didn't find out with our triplets, but we did know they were all the same sex (since they're identical). it was a great surprise, even though i was very out of it during my c-section.

it was very hard, with all of the ultrasounds we had, not to peek, but i'm proud that we didn't!

Anonymous said...

I like Molly's take. I wonder how it will go over when, if we ever have kids, we find out the sex but refuse to tell anybody "because I don't want gender roles forced on the kid before it's even born." :) I did tell a relative when he announced the "gender" of a new baby via email that it was a little early to know that for sure. LOL. :)

Jennifer Yates said...

Personally I HAD to know, would have died of curiosity overdose if they had been unable to tell me the babies gender during one of the many ultrasounds I ended up having. I lucked out and at my 20 week scan the tech told me to 'think pink'

Getting pregnant was enough of a surprise for us personally, finding out the gender allowed us to narrow down the name search, paint the room, buy the decore (all the while still avoiding a pink overdose; green and purple all the way)

It's true we did get a lot of pink pastel stuff, boo. But we did torture everyone by witholding the name, and that gave them nearly the same anticipation that waiting for the gender would have!

RehabNurse said...

I only found out because I was looking at the ultrasound screen in the doctor's office and it was VERY obvious what I was going to get.

I knew he was going to be a boy. Something inside me just knew.