My Heart Sank When I Learned That My Baby Had Testicles

I want a baby girlI cried when I find out we’re having a boy.  And not in the good way.

I know some people have the willpower not to find out their baby’s sex before it’s born.  I could never handle the suspense.  It’s the Capricorn in me: mommy needs to PLAN. Once I got pregnant, I did toy with the idea for a minute, collecting images of soothing, gender-neutral designer nurseries, full of soft whites and creams (seriously? for a BABY’S ROOM?) and earth-toned, unfinished furniture.

I guess I never understood the reasoning behind keeping it a mystery.  I’ve heard “it’s the last of life’s really big surprises,” which doesn’t make sense to me.  I mean it’s still a surprise, whether it’s inside your body or out.  And it’s kind of depressing to think that might be the last surprise you get in life.

My dad has an interesting theory: he says finding out ahead of time gives you time to have FEELINGS about it.  To spend the next few months disappointed if it’s not what you had in mind.  To be freaked out because for the last five months you’ve felt in your heart and soul that it was one and it turns out it’s the other.  He points out that when you have a baby, THAT baby is the ONE.  Drowning in hormones and love and exhaustion, that exact baby is the baby you never knew you always wanted, and you can’t imagine it any other way.

Throughout five months of pregnancy, I didn’t really have a preference.  All things being equal, I guess I was leaning a little toward a girl, but it felt minor, like it would just be easier because I am a girl and I would get it.  My husband, however, wants a girl like WHOA. He was convinced it was a girl from early on (based on exactly nothing), and I spend a lot of time reminding him that there WAS a chance it  might be a boy.  I wanted to prep him, to make sure he was at least considering the possibility. You know. The 50 PERCENT possibility.

The day of our 20-week ultrasound (which is, I guess, when fetus nethers are big enough to be visible) is like Christmas morning.  We are SO excited, and everyone is waiting on the news.  As the tech moves the wand around, she seems perplexed.  Our tiny person is not giving up the goods.  The modest little thing has its legs crossed, no naughty bits in sight.

In between attempts, she tells me to cough,  drink cold water, walk around the office, and jump up and down, all in an effort to get it to move.  After about a half hour of this — stand up, do some acrobatics, feel like a dipshit, and try again, the view opens up a little.  She says, “I’m 90% sure it’s a girl.  But just so we’re positive, go downstairs, get some breakfast, and we’ll try again.”

A word of advice.  If you are an ultrasound technician, DO NOT SAY SHIT LIKE THIS.

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  • Ric Andersen

    “I am sad about the clothes I won’t get to buy, the pink I won’t get to shellac my house with, the late-night mother-daughter talks I won’t have.”

    On the other hand, you won’t have to buy overpriced girl clothing, you can paint your rooms a normal color, and will be content with your son’s monosyllabic responses!

    Great article. Honest and humerous!

  • LadyClodia

    I can sympathize; I was disappointed at first when we found out that our second child was also a boy, and I cried, but I got over it. I was so sure that I was carrying a girl with my second pregnancy because it was just so different than my pregnancy with my first son. I was really surprised when they told me I was having another boy. With our first I didn’t have a preference, but I was really hoping for a girl the second time around, so I would get to do everything, I guess. (I know that’s not how it really works, but your imagination can get away from you when you’re hormonal and pregnant.) Cut to a year and a half later and our boys are both wonderful and amazingly different while still obviously being brothers; plus, we’ve saved a lot of money being able to use hand-me-downs.

    • Amanda

      Oh, I hear you. As soon as he got here, I was over it. I’m obsessed with him :)

    • Anika

      I save a lot of money putting my baby girl in boy hand-me-downs! She just pees and spits up on everything anyway.

  • allisonjayne

    This is refreshingly honest…but I do find the idea that a gender neutral nursey has to be white and earth tones pretty funny. I would think really anything other than over-the-top pink frills or big signs that say ‘boys only’ would be gender neutral, no?

    We didn’t find out the sex of our kid (because I wanted the surprise, because I loved people being SO SURE they were right when they have a 50% chance, because I actually just didn’t care that much, because we didn’t want to receive a ton of overly gendered clothing beforehand) but I did say that if I had a strong preference, then I’d want to find out. I think that makes sense. It’s so interesting that you didn’t realize you had a preference.

    But yeah, a gender neutral nursery can be anything but white. I always thought it was so strange when my sister painted her daughter’s room bright pink before she was born, even though my sister totally HATES pink. Why would you want a room in your house, in which you’ll probably spend a lot of time, a colour you hate? Paint your kid’s room a colour you like, decorate it with stuff you think is cute. Then when your kid is older, let them decide. I requested my room be painted blue when I was a kid, because it was (and still is) my favourite colour. And I’m a girly girl. I just like blue.

    • StephKay

      Exactly. Besides, who says the child will like those gendered color schemes in the first place? In fact, if we’re getting technical here, kids don’t even HAVE a gender until between 2-5 years old. You get to know their sex, you know they are male female or intersex. You have no idea what their gender actually is until they start to express it. Sex =/= gender. I personally did find out both times, and yes, my daughters clothes were purchased about 3/4 from the girls section and my sons clothes are about 3/4 from the boys section. She still had a blue pack and play crib, a blue bedding set in her real crib, and he still has a big pink elephant on the wall in his nursery and plenty of his sisters hand-me-downs. To be perfectly honest, if I thought I could get away with it without others making rude comments, I would probably be using all of his sisters Girly hand-me-downs too. Who cares? They’re babies. Ultimately, when they’re older my son could end up being the one keeping me up at night with relationship drama talk and my daughter is already far more interested in sports and cars than dolls and make-up. There really are no guarantees.

    • Amanda

      So true. An honestly, it’s impossible to anticipate how you’re going to feel about anything until they arrive. I get annoyed now that I can hardly find him ANYTHING that isn’t blue!

    • Amanda

      In fairness, I did say “sex.” I guess I did say gender-neutral, but that’s how they are marketed. I am sensitive to the sex/gender terminology, and thank you for reinforcing it!

    • StephKay

      Oh I didn’t mean to call YOU out specifically there, I actually think you reacted in a totally normal and healthy way. I was just building on the previous commenters take on neutral nurseries. However I do think a lot of the associations we all make after the “it’s a boy/girl!” moment are based on cultural conditioning to lump sex and gender in together. I’m so glad you’re conscious of it, it really is so important when our kids are little and developing gender identity.

    • Ap

      My nursery as a kid was white with red bedding. My sister and I are both girls.

      I say, paint the nursery whatever color you want. The baby won’t care, and you have a darn good excuse to paint a room a garish, horrible color without anyone being able to judge you.

  • meah

    Congratulations! Don’t feel like an asshole. I think it’s normal to grieve a bit when things don’t go as we hoped. I always leaned toward girl and secretly wished for one. I was worried that if I had a boy, I would be upset. So, when we decided not to find out the sex, I was worried that my reaction might be sadness instead of joy, if our baby turned out to be a boy. BUT, when the Dr. held up my beautiful son and said, “It’s a Boy!”, the only things I felt were love, relief and an intense need to hold him, and I have never looked back. I now can’t imagine life any differently. I think if I had found out my son’s sex when I was pregnant, I would have grieved too, but in that spectacular moment, when he was born, it just didn’t matter. I think you’ll find the same thing!

    • Amanda

      He’s here and he’s the love of my life Can’t imagine it any other way!

    • meah

      Well then, double congrats! Life is fabulously surprising. :)

  • Mary

    I love the last sentence!!! I have a girl and a boy and I’ve said it 100 times: boys are easier. My daughter is so emotionally draining.

    My sister wanted a girl so bad and was disappointed she had a son (she got her girl 4 years later). She adores her now 12 year old son.

  • Allyn K. Milojevich

    I wanted a girl SO BAD! My husband did too, though I don’t think he was aching for a girl like I was. I just imagined all the awesome ways I would raise her. She would be a college athlete, just like me (basketball I hoped). She would be a kick ass feminist. A total tomboy. But alas, fate had different plans. We did the gender ultrasound at 22 weeks and as soon as that wand hit my middle, our little man was waving his junk around, flaunting it for all it’s worth. I somehow managed to keep it together in the room, but the next 15 minutes really are a blur for me. I bawled hysterically in the waiting room while we waited for the pictures and DVD. Another massive crying session in the parking lot, in the car, at the house. At least twice a day for a week. Then once a day for another week. It took a solid month to come to terms and I didn’t tell anyone the gender during that time. Everyone knew I was desperate for a girl and I didn’t want to hear placating “just be happy that it is healthy” garbage.

    Alas, said child is now three months old and all is well in the world. I do find myself noticing that the vast majority of children I see throwing tantrums are girls. And knowing my luck, she would be a conservative republican girly girl. So I suppose it all worked out. Plus, as my BFF has reminded me, someone needs to raise feminist boys too. Gender equality is perhaps fought for best when it is fought by both genders.

    It does make me want a second child, though

    • Amanda

      I’ve heard that same thing about raising feminist boys. It’s an excellent opportunity to raise good men!

    • CleaK

      That was the thought that made me come to terms with having a boy. We had the ultrasound at 18 weeks and when the technician told me it was a boy I swore. Then I had her check 3 other times throughout the appt. We were unable to get a good heart shot so I had to go in again at 22 wks and I made her verify gender again; it was definitely a little boy.

      However a picture started to form in my head, and was made stronger everytime my husband asked how is buddy was doing, of my husband walking hand-in-hand with his son. He was so genuinely excited for our son. He said that he didn’t know how much he wanted a son until he had one on the way. I watched him play with our nieces throughout my pregnancy and talk to our baby and I knew he would make such an excellent father and would help me to raise a boy who would one day also make an excellent father. The world has too much by way of ‘Daddy issues” and I hope my grandchildren will be spared of those.

  • Chelsea Haddaway Williams

    My mom told me something similar to your dad, but with a very different conclusion… She said that when you don’t know, you have both a girl and a boy baby in your mind throughout your pregnancy. When one of them is born you are of course SO happy, but you are also a little bit sad because you’re mourning a baby that, until that moment, was just as real to you as the baby you now have. It made me decide that I will be finding out what I’m having when the time comes, so that the birth can be only a happy moment.

  • alice

    This was a great article. And really funny. (From the annoying “life’s last real surprise” crap to “If you are an ultrasound technician, DO NOT SAY SHIT LIKE THIS.”)

    I don’t know why people give a shit about someone else’s decision to “find out” or wait. Or why in my family, my mother always has a sad and predictable tone towards anyone who “finds out”…accompanied by a little mournful head shake, and unsolicited grief at the “loss of the surprise.” The person who is carrying that baby is not mourning the loss of the surprise!

    It would be more accurate if we all just said “It was really selfish of you to find out the sex of your baby, because I was really looking forward to being surprised. And you ruined it. For me. The person who is not growing a tiny human inside their body for 9 months”

    • Gangle

      I always find that comment ‘you ruined the surprise of your babies sex for me’ really weird. My sis-in-law found out the sex of all her babies just because she wanted to. My mother however, wanted the surprise. All she did was ask my sis not to tell her… problem solved.

    • Justme

      Upon finding out that the next time round, my husband and I will NOT be finding out the sex of our child, MIL promptly screeched “you can’t do that! You HAVE to find out! If you guys don’t tell me, I’ll just go to your doctor and find out.”

      Um. Excuse me?! Thank God for HIPPA.

  • Eileen

    There are a lot more cool but normal girls’ names than there are boys’, but other than that I can’t say I really get having a preference, at least for a first baby. I actually feel kind of sorry for the kids of people who had a strong preference. The only thing I can think of that would be worse than being a disappointment for being a girl instead of a boy is being a disappointment for having my own personality and preferences rather than being the imaginary daughter my mother had wanted.

    This article did make me laugh a bunch though, and I’m glad your son is both healthy and well loved :)

    • Amanda

      I imagine everyone gets over it pretty quickly–they have a way of making you love them to little tiny pieces, regardless of what color hat the hospital puts them in :)

    • StephKay

      Agreed with the name thing. I’m really big on neutrality, so we have a daughter named Sam. We liked the name and settled on it for either sex before knowing what we were having. When I found out the second was a boy I realized I didn’t really have that same freedom. I could either go with another totally neutral name that would sound super matchy matchy along with his sisters name, or go with a more feminine name and subject him to teasing. We ended up going with jack. I agree that the strong preferences might be setting yourself up for disappointment when the kid expresses their own interests. Like I mentioned up thread, all you really know is their sex. They could still end up anywhere on the gender spectrum, or identify with their birth sex but have more traditionally opposite gender interests. The “it’s a boy!” or “it’s a girl!” moment really tells you nothing concrete about who your child will be.

  • Heather

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, I desperately wanted a boy during my first pregnancy. I was so sure I was going to have a boy that I even bought a bunch of baby boy clothes that were on sale right before the gender ID u/s. And of course, she was a girl. Right on up to the delivery, I kept hoping that the u/s was wrong and my little boy would pop out. She’s almost four now and I wouldn’t trade her for a boy for all the world. She was an easy baby, a good sleeper and a great companion. She is also a wonderful big sister to her little brother. Second time around, I was actually hoping for a girl – I really wanted two of the same sex, so Murphy’s Law, I got my boy. He too is wonderful – but he is so much more difficult than his sister was. He was a horrible sleeper as an infant, he’s got much more of a temper than his sister ever had, and he is soooo slow learning to talk. He does give great cuddles, though. Lesson that I learned – you get the family you were meant to have, not necessarily the family that you thought you wanted.

  • Sadie

    You don’t deserve to have a child. You too much of a selfish wench. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. I have no idea why everyone is being so accepting.

    • Sadie

      *You are

    • Amanda

      Oh my gosh, I got my first hate-reply! Awesome. Thank you!

    • StephKay

      Jeez, Amanda. You shouldn’t be here typing, you should be hiding your head in shame somewhere! Next I’m sure you’ll be telling us you felt conflict over the decision over whether or not to breastfeed or whether to use cloth or disposable, or occasionally feel overwhelmed when your baby is crying. You terrible mother, you!

    • Barbie McFairyprincesshead

      TROLOLOL! Sounds like there’s a single mommy at home, suckin’ on a bottle of cheap vodka, bitter that she doesn’t have a mommy blog! Or are you only a mommy to your trollish comments? LOLOLOL!

    • alice

      TROLOLOLOL. so true.

    • StephKay

      Wait…what? Do you care to elaborate? That seems like a MASSIVE leap to take over a mother feeling a little sad over not getting what she expected. I highly doubt her son is going to be abused and neglected because he lacks ovaries. That was an incredibly harsh thing to say.

    • alice

      Sadie, it’s cool. You just telling it like it is? right? Keeping it real! I honestly have no idea either why more people aren’t calling the author a wench. I mean, that’s the first thing I thought when reading this honest, heartfelt, personal article: “WENCH!” …. totally normal response.

    • mikeo’

      you couldn’t be more wrong, Sadie.

      I’m betting you hear that phrase a lot.

  • Kris Washburn

    The day before my big gender revealing ultrasound I walked into the bathroom to check on my 6 year old stepson to find him playing with himself in the bath. I don’t know why, but I was horrified. I so did not want a boy. The next day, of course, I found out I was having a boy. I cried. Now that he is here, I adore him. He is now 7, and yes, he plays with his junk as well, and I have dealt with the fact that of course boys are going to do that. My second child was a girl, and I have to tell you, she is so much harder. At 4, it is already like having a teenager in the house, and I am so afraid of what she will be like as a teenager, while he is easy going and always has been.

    • StephKay

      Not to mention girls aren’t exactly unaware of their junk either. I was totally blindsided finding out this pregnancy is a boy, after having a daughter, being one of two girls raised by our single mom who is one of five girls, but man am I excited now. I think it’ll be really interesting to see how gender dynamics evolve having one of each.

  • Dan

    “As I’ve told many pregnant friends since then, there is NOTHING like a 13-year-old girl in a sequined tube dress and four-inch heels to make you happy to be having a son.”

    What the hell kind of misogynistic crap is this?

    • mikeo’

      I’ll tell you what kind it is: none.

      nice try, sweetie.

    • Dan

      so it is cool to shame women for their clothing choices? horse fucking shit.

    • Véronique Houde

      actually, i think it just reflects our fears as parents at seeing our early adolescent girls starting to express their sexuality through clothing. ALL parents have a difficult time seeing their teenage daughters wear something that is too “mature” for them. It’s not mysogynistic at all.

    • Dan

      Only fucked up parents like the opare afraid of their kids becoming adolescents .
      it was a totally stupid thing to say. Seriously….terrified? Hilarious and pathetic, the lot of you. Also. Sexist.

    • Véronique Houde

      so are you saying that my boyfriend is stupid? My boyfriend, when we realized we were having a child, became terrified of his daughter being caught with a mini-skirt. he actually had a sit-down with my dad that reassured him a whole bunch of common sense ;). No need to call me names, dan! There are always other, more mature ways, of using your words :D

    • Kim Spence

      Heh. No, that’s not what this is about. It’s about sexualisation of girls at a younger and younger age. We know 13 year olds often have sexual feelings, but dressing in overtly sexualised clothing is another matter entirely.

      A 13 year old is not a woman making an informed clothing choice. A 13 year old is a child with a hell of a lot of physical and emotional development ahead of her.

    • canaduck


    • Lori B.

      That line in the article has nothing to do with shaming “women” for their clothing choices. Maybe I am reading into the author’s words too much, but I understood the comment as having to deal with a young girl becoming a woman and making her own choices, despite what her parents think are appropriate. As the mother of a daughter, I am terrified of the time when she starts to embrace her sexuality. It makes me a bit scared for her knowing that she will hold most of the burden of sexual responsibility in her relationships. And to be honest, it makes me scared that she will have to become a woman one day. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of stopping her from making her own decisions when she is good and ready, and have every intention of giving her the information, love and support to do so responsibly. It’s not about the dress, which would be totally appropriate for twenty-something, it is about what the dress symbolizes, the journey from girl to woman.

  • LiteBrite

    Although I’m not a Capricorn, I wanted to know the sex midway through the pregnancy for the same reasons you did. And yeah, I was disappointed I was a having a boy.

    Now that he’s five though, I’m REALLY glad I have a boy. I love that crazy boy energy. I like not having a battle every freaking morning over what he wants to wear. And I’ve learned tons of cool facts about garbage trucks. True, if I had girl I might’ve had these same experiences, but I think my chances of this would’ve been less with a girl.

    Boys come with their own issues too (someone mentioned the whole “junk” thing. I hear ya!), but I adore having a son. Plus, he’s one of only three boy kids in our family, so I think the grandparents like the break from pink and girly!

  • Ana

    People imagine all sorts of ways their life will go – their career path, a vacation, meeting the in-laws – doesn’t often happen exactly how they want it to so I don’t think it’s that different with imagining what gender your unborn baby will be (obviously people also daydream about how many children they will have and at what age, again doesn’t mean it’s going to pan out that way). I really wanted at least one girl and am blessed to have her, but in my mind she was always a badass tomboy. In real life she’s an adorable girly girl who hates any sport but swimming and while I will never have much love for Disney princesses, I love her enough to pretend I do.

  • Zoe

    Apparently my dad was really disappointed when I was born a girl. Gender disappointment is totally a thing. Don’t feel bad about it. It passes. Just let yourself grieve for the daughter you’re not having (this time, anyway) and by the time your boy is born you’ll be fine.

    I was a bratty child and a very difficult teenage girl, and I just don’t want to go through that. My partner’s sister was terrible too, so we’re both praying for boys when we TTC next year. I completely hear you on the 13-year-old girls in high heels.

    My sister got exactly what she wanted – a boy, then a girl. Perhaps I’ll get lucky too.

    If your son is into girls and you have a good relationship with your future daughter-in-law, you’ll still get to have the late night girly talks.

  • Emmali Lucia

    I bet your family and friends are a bit relieved you’re having a boy.

    My friend and sister got pregnant around the same time, my friend had a girl, my sister had a boy. I was dumbfounded with how much more money I spent on my friend’s baby shower present, even though they both got about the same amount of clothing.

  • noelle02

    And this is exactly why I didn’t find out before my kids were born what their genders were. My firstborn was a son and I wanted a daughter so badly that I would have reacted just like this. However, after twenty three hours of labor, I was so thrilled to have a healthy baby that I didn’t find out my boy’s gender until about fifteen minutes after giving birth because it didn’t matter. I fell in love with my baby and was thrilled to have a perfect son. I know this author would be telling my story otherwise.

  • SDanielle

    As someone who found out about complications at the 20-week ultrasound, it’s always hard to hear that people get so focused on the baby’s sex. That ultrasound is scheduled for that time, not because the baby’s genitals are big enough to see, but for identifying potential abnormalities. I suppose I’m just envious because other people get to be blissfully oblivious to that and get to just focus on whether their baby is a boy or a girl.
    Luckily, my baby is happy and healthy now, but I know how devastating the 20-week anatomical scan can be.

  • Waiting

    Your heart sank when you found out you were having a boy? I’m really sorry to hear that. MY heart sank when I found out that my husband and I could not have a baby on our own. It sank after the first, second, third, fourth and fifth phone call telling us that months of injections, pills, blood work, ultrasounds, general anesthesia, procedures, testing, weight gain, hot flashes and tens of thousands of dollars, had once again left us with nothing. I’m not saying that I can’t understand hoping for a girl or a boy but really? Crying uncontrollably? Not being able to hold it together to tell your family? A WEEK OF GRIEVING? You said you felt like an asshole but I think if you truly had felt like one you wouldn’t have published such an insensitive article.

    • Shea

      This isn’t the Sadness Olympics. The author’s disappointment (which, it’s clear from the article, she’s totally over) has no bearing whatsoever on your situation.

    • Holly

      First world problems.

  • Amy

    I felt the same way when i found out i was having a son. However, since the minute he was born 5 years ago he has been the greatest joy of my life. I appreciate the author’s honesty.

  • EJ

    Great article. I know EXACTLY how you feel. My heart sank when I found out I was having a boy too. I would walk around the clothing store looking at all the army gear and construction clothes and tears would come to my eyes. Then I had another boy. And all of us (including the kids started praying for the girl). And she came and each one of my precious children has brought beauty and joy and surprise into my life. Life’s last surprises?? Heck no! You’re a mother now!!

  • Molly

    Gotta be honest, the author sounds pretty immature. She is a Capricorn, so she needs to know the sex of the baby to plan? Berating the tech because she was honest? Assuming that all 13 year olds dress like tramps? It is probably a good thing that she had a boy.

    • Ric Andersen

      Comedy is hard for you, isn’t it? You can look up “satire” in only a few seconds. Try it.

  • sara

    The same thing happened to me. In fact a couple before us went in and the husband came out and was sooo excited he was laughing and crying that it was a boy. When i went in and found out i cried tears of sadness it took me 4 months to be happy. Everyone told me i was wrong to feel that way especially since it took us many fertility treatments to have our son. But i was in the one and done club and wanted a girl. It hurts still especially when i see my friends with their daughters and buying cute girl things and the fact we still havent had another child yet.

  • marla

    You are the very best at what you do. This site has made my deepest desire so simple! This has everything I could possibly need. Ekaka. thanks for all your love and help. Your love spell brought my love back to me, after 3 years from the moment we broke up. And this evil woman finally disappeared. You chose me even if you can only take two clients a week and I am glad I chose you

  • rabbitwithfangs

    I did feel very guilty about being disappointed when we saw the teeny penis on the ultrasound. To be honest though, the fact that everything is healthy went a *long* way towards relieving that slight let-down. I wanted to raise a kick-arse feminist too..until, as one of the other commenters said, I realised I can totally still do that.

  • Jay

    I appreciate this so much! it really gave me a great laugh. I’m pregnant and I really want a girl because I already have a son. Something in me is telling me that it’s another boy; I hope I’m wrong. If it is a boy I can’t help but to think my reaction will be the same. Once again reading this made my day!

  • kate

    that’s exactly how I felt when I found out we were having a boy. I have a 2 year old girl that I love dearly and I wanted another girl! I was so soooooo disappointed when they said boy. I cried and cried – despite knowing I am lucky to have a healthy baby (especially after a late miscarriage earlier this year) and I felt like a jerk for crying. Everyone is so excited for me (1 of each) but I just wanted another little girl :(

  • Ivan Sazon

    tyBaby gender determination before birth and conception. Baby gender determination by photo of parents only. To do this I have an account and a group at Facebook. The group is called Baby gender by parents photo. io

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