Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s time to answer the question that has been nagging everyone for the past two weeks: is it different this time? Many people believe that there are tell-tale signs that you’re having a boy or having a girl. The old wives’ tales are numerous, and some make more sense than others. To entertain you for just a moment, here are some of the most notable theories: girls have higher heart rates than boys, morning sickness tends to be worse with girls, a preference for your left side while sleeping is a sign that you’re having a boy, women will carry low for a boy and higher for a girl, women tend to be “all belly” with boys and become wider around the hips with girls, women will have saltier cravings with boys and sweeter ones with girls, a conception date earlier in your cycle means it’s more likely a girl and a later date means a boy, and a ring on a string over your bump swinging in circles means you’re having a girl (my personal favorite, since it has nothing to do with you or baby really).
Oddly, many of my friends and relatives are currently only having children of a single gender. I know plenty of women who have given birth to their third boy or their third girl, and the number of women with both boys and girls seems absurdly small. I can now count myself among that number, so people have already begun asking me if there was a difference between my two pregnancies, something that I could have used to predict the sex of the newest member of our family. With some of those old wives’ tales in mind, here are some of the differences that I have experienced between my two pregnancies.
Both of my babies started with high heartbeats- in the 150s, which is fairly typical for all children. By the 20 week ultrasound, those numbers were drastically different. While Felicity’s heart beat was at the same pace as it had earlier on in my pregnancy, John’s dropped into the 130s. When I learned Felicity’s heartbeat from the ultrasound technician, it was the first real inkling that we might be having a little girl. And while none of these myths have ever been demonstrably proven, even my ultrasound tech believed that this one might be a good indicator. Verdict for me though: the different heartbeats accurately predicted a boy the first time and a girl the second.
The most commonly-held myth regarding gender and pregnancy is probably regarding morning sickness. It was one of the few myths that I had heard prior to being pregnant. As I mentioned a while back, I didn’t have much morning sickness with John. Smells bothered me, but the feeling that I was going to vomit at any moment only lasted about a week, and I only experienced that feeling for about ten minutes every evening. As long as I ate every three hours, morning sickness barely affected me. This time around, I felt like I was on the verge of vomiting pretty much every afternoon and early evening for about six weeks straight. On the plus side, smells didn’t bother me. It’s possible this difference might have been the result of opposite-gendered children, but there was another variable that might have affected my morning sickness: I was on progesterone for six weeks with Felicity, and nausea and vomiting are both side-effects. So the verdict is unclear, but would have traditionally meant a girl this time around.
As far as sleeping positions are concerned, this myth can’t really be applied to me: I sleep on my stomach, and I am just as likely to wake up facing the left as the right (I switch sides every time I wake up, and I wake up facing the same direction as I had been when I fell asleep). So I can’t say anything here.
As far as the position of the bump is concerned, and pretty much every myth concerning the mother’s physical appearance during pregnancy, these myths were all pretty much a bust for me. I don’t think my bump looks much different than it did last time, though I suppose there’s still time for that to change, and I started with slightly wider hips (a left-over from my first pregnancy), so I don’t think that really counts. My hair is pretty much the same, and I’ve been told that I have the traditional “pregnancy glow,” just like I did last time. So verdict? The myth is just that, a myth, at least for me.
I did crave salty food while I was pregnant with John- my favorite food was Cape Cod Chips. But I also craved salty food this time around- tortilla chips, to be specific. So no difference in cravings. And I’ve never felt the uncontrollable need to eat burritos or ice cream or any other food at 2am. So this also remains just another myth for me.
Thanks to the wonder of Natural Family Planning, the myth regarding conception seems to be true, at least in my case. Though I wasn’t charting with John, my then-recent introduction to the Creighton Method allowed me to make certain predictions regarding my cycle. I was charting with Felicity, so I knew exactly where I was in my cycle. A later date of conception did result in a baby boy, and an earlier one did result in a baby girl.
I never tried dangling a ring on a string over my bump, so I have nothing for you here.
So ultimately, it seems that most of those myths are just that, myths. Even those predictions that were proven true don’t necessarily mean that there’s really any connection between heartbeat and gender, or morning sickness and gender, or date of conception and gender. It could just be a coincidence after all. Two pregnancies isn’t much to go on when making overarching assumptions.
Granted, I still went into our ultrasound thinking that we might be having a girl, but it had nothing to do with morning sickness, cravings, or the severity of my morning sickness. I did have a certain intuition, a feeling that the child growing inside me was a little girl. But that feeling came from a name: Felicity Rose.
It was the only name that we had settled on when Andrew and I walked into my twenty-week ultrasound. We had a boy name that we both liked, but I didn’t feel as strongly about it as I did about Felicity. Since the moment that name was first proposed, I knew that we would one day have a child with the same name. I prayed for our Felicity Rose on a regular basis, and when I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately began to wonder if God had given us the little bundle of joy that we so wanted. Three years ago, Andrew and I walked into our twenty-week ultrasound for our firstborn, we had agreed on a single name: John Thomas. We had the same experience this time, and so it should come as no surprise that I thought we might be having a girl. And as it turns out, I was right.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!