It was rather a gloomy Hawaiian day. The indecisive pitter-patter of the rain against the windows and the cold breeze blowing harder than usual reminded me of a beautiful fall day in Italy, only with palm trees dancing with the wind. Ralph and I have silently waited for this day to come. We went about our usual day – him, working as usual, and I, running errands to ease our growing excitement.
By 4:00pm, we were on our not-so-merry way to the hospital. The silence, as we drove there, was a bit deafening. Ralph always wanted a girl, and I always wanted a boy. With our misaligned hopes, talking about our baby’s gender has been taboo during the first three months of my pregnancy.
“That guy’s blinking light is on! That car’s switching lanes!” All I could be was a pregnant backseat driver. Really? When did that happen? Apparently, today.
Ralph solemnly replied, “I see it.” Then sighs.
I exactly knew what was going through his head. Or so I thought.
Upon reaching Kapiolani Hospital, my impatience kicked-in. Every single time the door leading to the examination rooms opens, I’d sit straight up and expected the nurse to call our name. Fifteen minutes passed. Then, 30. Then, 45. I’ve excused myself several times to the bathroom – a result of forcibly fixating my waning attention on downing a bottle of water, and of course, my shrinking bladder. The Disney channel slowly picked up volume. The hushed murmurs gradually turned into silence. The chairs have eventually turned cold. And all we could do was sit there and wait.
We finally decided to nap the wait through until…Nurse Mary came. She greeted us with a big warm smile dispersing all chagrin that had excruciatingly been eating us alive.
“What are you guys planning for Christmas?”
Okay. “Oh, just lunch with our friends.”
“I’m making jam all day long! After having a full-house for 18 years, all you’ll want for Christmas is some peace and quiet – making jam!”
I never seen anyone excited over jam. We all laughed while the ultrasound probe and warm gel glided its way across my bigger-than-ever belly. Nurse Mary’s eyes twinkled, as she watched my baby through the monitor. Within seconds, BAM! There was no denying it, even an untrained eye could make out past those wavy black lines.
“It’s a boy!” Nurse Mary happily announced.
I knew it! My budding mother’s instinct has been right all along, but I couldn’t throw myself into euphoria worrying about what Ralph thought about it. He tried his very best to be ecstatic, but his eyes told a story of disappointment he battled to express.
Nurse Mary continued pointing out everything we needed to know. She tried showing us different angles on both 3D and 4D images, and printed more pictures than necessary.
After saying our goodbyes, we walked out of the sonogram room filled with mixed emotions. We scheduled our baby’s Fetal Heart Echo test for another month, and awkwardly made our way back to the car. I knew I should have given Ralph ample time to digest the news, but I was too eager to hear an answer I didn’t want to hear.
“So, are you disappointed?” I asked.
“Yes” was his short reply that sent a million daggers into my heart.
Well, why are you disappointed? What’s wrong with having a boy? You should fully accept your child. And on and on I went bombarding him with questions, and pushing his buttons like a pregnant woman on a double dose of raging hormones.
He finally snapped. “Well, it’s like when you have a daughter and you worry about how to become a mom to a daughter. That’s the same thing with me. I worry about how to be a father to a son!”
The hurt I felt completely subsided. How could I be angry at him? How insensitive was I becoming? I have to remind myself that all of this is as new to him, as it is for me.
The rest of the night still did not go as smoothly. We argued a bit more. We argued where to eat, when to eat, and when to break the news to our families. And that was okay because a major paradigm shift happened between us. What I saw as an initial lack of concern for our unborn baby was actually of a man, preparing himself to become the one and only greatest dad my son will ever have.
And that’s all I needed to know, and that’s all Ralph needed to be.