17w1d: Infinite Possibilities

June 10, 2009

Yesterday was my Level II ultrasound. Babies and cervix were as they should be. Wonderfully reassuring, and at times miraculous. It’s amazing that fetuses have all of the body parts that they do, and it’s amazing to be able to see them. After all, most of us haven’t even seen our own cerebellum or watched our own hearts beating.

Leading up to the scan, I experienced a flurry of emotions. As with the nuchal scan, sleeplessness thanks to a combination of Dead Baby Thoughts and excitement. Eagerness to see the babies again and hopefully learn the sexes. And… a bit of sadness at the prospect of finally knowing the sexes.


Let’s step back first. Remember when you were a kid, and you imagined what your life partner might look like, act like, be? Tall, average, short? Brown hair, blond hair, black hair, red hair? (Bald probably wasn’t on the list for most of us.) Maybe he would be royalty, and you’d become a princess. Maybe he would be the funniest person ever, and you would laugh all day every day. Maybe he’d be a musician, serenading you by day and singing you to sleep by night. Maybe you would climb mountains together, or debate philosophy, or attend glamorous A-list parties. The possibilities were infinite, and most of us only imagined wonderful possibilities.

Then, when you finally met someone who you thought might be your life partner, you were so swept away by the reality of the person that the fact that the possibilities had just narrowed probably didn’t enter your mind.

With babies, it’s much the same thing — except that it’s quite different. Babies are also infinite possibility — within the realm of genetic reality. Two short parents are unlikely to produce a tall genetic child, for example. Still, the almost-infinite possibilities abound. My children could have any hair colors: brown most likely, possibly blond or black hair (my husband was a blond child, whereas my hair was as close to black as brown hair can get), not impossible but probably not red (though there are gingers in my family). Eye colors are up in the air, though my dominant brown eye genes will probably overtake their father’s blue eye genes. Small butt like me, or bodacious butt like their father? Skinny like their father, or not-skinny like me? Angel babies like I was, or colicky handfuls like their father? Math nerds like me, or math geeks like their father? Sticklers for precision in language like me, or sticklers… apparently some possibilities are not so infinite after all. My children could choose almost any profession in the world — except that they’ll be too tall to be jockeys, too unathletic to be most other types of professional athlete, too cynical to run for public office — though that last one is more nurture than nature, it’s just as inevitable.

The less-than-wonderful possibilities exist too. Will they inherit ADHD, depression, substance dependence from my side? Life-threatening allergies, anxiety disorders, diabetes from his side? Will my daughter be mortified to hit puberty before most of her friends? Will my son be humiliated to learn that he was not conceived the old-fashioned way and that he is not a “natural” twin? Will my children grow up to be infertile?

Every person who has not yet met their child has a broad set of possibilities they imagine for that child. One thing that happens with infertility is that the time for imagining is longer than it is for most — many of my fertile friends had less than a year from pulling the goalie to holding a baby in their arms, and my knocked-up cousins didn’t even get the lead time to think about pulling the goalie. I had two and a half decades to fantasize about my potential someday children, then seven years to imagine my “when they hell are they going to get here?” children. During those seven years, my imagination covered every possibility — good and bad. Mostly good long-term possibilities, but plenty of bad pregnancy and infant possibilities thanks to the shattering of my rose-colored glasses by infertility.

And so, as much as I have wanted to know the sexes of these babies, as the time approached I also realized that the information would constrain my world of possibilities forever. Two boys would mean that I might never get to experience parenting a daughter. Two girls would mean that the first and middle names we selected years ago in honor of my husband’s grandfathers could forever go unused. One boy and one girl would mean that my twins might not enjoy the same closeness that I’ve witnessed in many same-sex twins — and that this would probably be my last (and only successful) pregnancy (knock on wood), because with one of each we would probably never try to conceive again.

Yes, I know, cry me a river. I realize that these are not actual problems. But possibility is sometimes the only thing an infertile can cling to, and contrary to what I imagined would happen for all of those years, setting aside possibility to embrace reality can be a difficult leap to make.

Those were my thoughts leading up to the scan, anyway. And once I learned the reality? Ecstatic. Unequivocally beaming. Anticipation is a mindfuck, but the reality was as exciting as I’d imagined. Unlike my husband, who adamantly has no gender preference, once I learned one sex I was totally rooting that the next baby would be the opposite sex. I know that rooting doesn’t change the DNA that was put into motion over 100 days ago, but in my head I was rooting. Rooting like a cheerleader. A nauseous cheerleader with her belly hanging out and covered with goo.

Oh, you want to know the sexes? See the photos? Okay, since you’ve come this far.

Baby A, my…

A Boy

…son! The ultrasound technician and MFM doctor both had full confidence. The circle on his chest is Baby B’s head, but they’re not actually crammed together, yet.

Baby B, my…

B Girl

…probably daughter! 90% sure. She was a little modest and wouldn’t spread-eagle like her brother, but after staring at her crotch extensively and patiently waiting for her to shift, everyone thinks she is very likely a girl. It’s sure enough that I can start decorating the nursery, but uncertain enough that we have ammunition to try to persuade my mother-in-law to put off scouring the garage sales for any more baby items that I didn’t want in the first place. Unfortunately I think we’ve already lost that battle. We can look forward to her bursting into tears many more times over our rejection of the junktreasure she has unearthed, but between learning the babies’ sexes and starting pottery, today I am in too good a mood to care.


35 Responses to “17w1d: Infinite Possibilities”

  1. So incredibly happy for you!!!! I totally understand the emotions you had leading up to finding out the sexes. Your son and daughter will share a closeness that is unlike any other, I’m sure of it. Congratulations!!

  2. WiseGuy Says:

    Amazing post Cassandra! Yes Possibilities…there is no discounting them at all!

    And huge WOOHOO for having one of ‘each’! It is beautiful!

    Sweetie, Take Care!

  3. Sue Says:

    I’ve been a lurker for a long time, just wanted to say how lovely it is that it might be a boy AND a girl.

    The perfect family and you deserve it!

    S X

  4. Heather Says:

    Congrats for the great ultrasound and one of each sex!

  5. samcy Says:

    Congrats on the pigeon pair – although not sure if it was intentional but you kinda gave it away way up in the post… πŸ˜‰

    A boy and a 90% girl – just super!!!


  6. Kymberli Says:

    I know that were odds were naturally in your favor for getting one of each, but I’m soooo happy that you did! Congratulations!

  7. MeAndBaby Says:

    One of each! How terrific! Congratulations!

  8. Magsy Says:

    Such wonderful news and such a well-written, heart-felt message. Thank you for sharing and congratulations again!

  9. clumsykisses Says:

    Yay! πŸ™‚

  10. Carrie Says:

    I’m so happy for you! I have boy/girl twins and am amazed at their relationship at a mere 9 months old.

  11. Tan Says:

    awww I’m a silent reader and I’m just so happy for you!!

    Hopefully little lady will make it definite that shes a girl by your next scan so you can buy the things you want and hopefully cut MIL off.
    you can say someone else wants to buy you x and the other person wants to buy you y etc etc… cut her off(the buying spree) now before your house is filled with all those … “treasures”

    Congratulations again!!

  12. jill Says:

    Many congrats! That’s just wonderful πŸ™‚

  13. Mel Says:

    Starting to cry because I totally remember that moment where you found out that first baby’s sex and were waiting for the second. And our boy-girl twins are still super close at almost-5 (and their friends, two boys, are not. So I really think it is more personality than sex). Congratulations–I cannot wait to talk twins with you in a few weeks.

  14. S Says:

    My congrats to you! Beautiful!

  15. Kristin Says:

    What an absolutely amazing post. I am so very happy for you. Between healthy babies and crafty pottery time, it can’t get much better. Yay!

  16. Beautiful babies! YAY a boy and a girl! How exciting! Congratulations on 17 weeks! Hope you’re feeling less nauseous soon.

  17. Dora Says:

    Your son and daughter!! Mazel tov!! So happy for you.

    What an incredible post. I have to admit, I only got about halfway through before I scrolled down to find out.

    Oy, your MIL! She is the price you pay for your fab husband. Maybe you can tell her all her garage sale finds tested positive for lead, so you had to throw them away.

    Big hug, mama!

  18. Jennifer Says:

    YEAH – Boy/Girl twins…wonderful! So happy for you.

  19. Congratulations on getting this great news!

  20. Laura Says:

    CONGRATS a million times—-how exciting!

  21. Cara Says:

    OMGoodness!!!! I am so excited for you. Doesn’t it feel great to say those phrases? My son…My daughter…

    Sorry I’m late to the celebratory party!!!

  22. Lavender Luz Says:

    Modesty is a great trait for a girl to display!

    Of course I’d be happy with any permutation, but with this one, I can say that Reed was right. A dog and a cat. Kind of.


  23. Sarah Says:

    I love it “anticipation is a mind fuck” That may be my new motto for the week (or a month!).
    Lovely post, you so clearly captured all the odd twists and turns our minds take on teh way to reality.

  24. shinejil Says:

    Hooray! Glad all is well.

  25. strongblonde Says:

    πŸ™‚ so excited for you!!!!

  26. Aaaaaaahhhhh! Can you hear me screaming from the West Coast. I actually called the hubby out of the bathroom to let him know it was a boy and a girl. SO happy for you. And how cute is it that one baby was resting her head on the other baby? SO happy for you!

  27. Queenie Says:

    This is a gorgeous post-I totally get it on the gender thing. Congratulations-sooo exciting!

  28. rosesdaughter Says:

    Oh Wow!! Congrats on the boy and the girl!!! Yeah!! This is sooooo exciting!

  29. Barefoot Says:

    LOVED this post…you are so right about the possibilities. We don’t find out for another 5 weeks what we’ve got brewing, but right now the options seem infinite.

    Congratulations on your son and probably daughter!!

  30. Shelby Says:

    Fantastic! Congrats! Once I found out that I’m having a boy, the anticipation and possibilities were no longer. Still, it’s darn exciting. πŸ™‚

  31. Carrie Says:

    I am BEYOND happy for you!!!! A boy and a girl, what a double blessing.

    It is amazing how much more rewarding reality can be than our best fantasies.

    Hugs and CONGRATS!!!

  32. Cat Says:


    We’re also hoping for an assortment since, assuming all goes well, this will be our only pregnancy. However, we’re not finding out the genders. I’ve always wanted to be surprised and after all the thoughts/dreams/plans IF has already taken away about how we’d bring children into the world, I’m just unwilling to give this up, too.

    Here’s to continued smooth sailing for the next 20 weeks for you!

  33. Photogrl Says:


    A girl and a boy…great pics. I love the first one with the appearance of Baby B’s head on Baby A’s belly.


  34. Annie Says:

    Yay! Congrats (again)!

    And on the MIL thing, don’t worry, there are years after having the babies to troll around garage sales and attics for junk/treasures that you’ll have to throw away after she leaves. I know all too well from experience *sigh*

  35. chelle Says:

    YAY!! A boy and girl!

    It is so true about the possibilities though… I never really thought about it till you said it!!

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