Oh, girl

So Kates and I now know the gender of Baby No. 2.

I said I didn’t want to do this. But …

It’s a girl.

Another girl.


Kates and I went into the ultrasound last week with tempered anticipation. But deep down I think both of us really expected to hear we were having a boy.

As the technician began the measurements, I was glued to the monitor. The baby was rolling all over, waving its hands and gently kicking its legs. It was a joy to watch and the image on the monitor was a lot easier to make out this time around than the day we first saw Phoebe. It was great fun.

Then the technician got to the moment we’d all been waiting for. “Well, I think you’re going to be able to use a lot of the baby clothes you already have,” she said.

Kates’ eyes and mine caught each other, and neither of us really knew what to say. The technician looked at a couple other angles. And she was pretty convinced.

Suffice to say, Kates and I experienced a bit of a mourning period that night. As I’ve grown into an adult and a father, I’ve dreamed of sharing the wonderful experiences I had with my dad with a son of my own. Coaching little league baseball and backyard games of catch, Boy Scout campouts, solving problems and building stuff. Boy things. The father-son bonding. … We don't know what the future holds for our family, but it makes me sad that I may never get to experience that bond.

Geez, we'd even started to decorate the room -- in our heads -- and discuss names, for a boy.

I had sort of mentally prepared myself for that possibility and the outcome. Kates hadn’t done so much, and when the realization of another girl in the family hit her a couple hours after we were home that night I think both of us were a little surprised at how hard it hit her.

After all, both of us grew up with younger brothers. Now we’re surrounded by friends and family members who have one of each. Having one of each certainly keeps things interesting and varied. We wanted that dynamic for our family, too.

Instead, Kates and I are asking ourselves how we’ll embrace the challenges of raising two girls. How will the younger one define herself? Will we be able to give her the same love and attention we’ve given Phoebe? … Two girls will present a different set of challenges we hadn’t thought about before. All of this talk is nonsense, I know, and I have little doubt these questions will work themselves out. With everything, there is a reason we were dealt this hand.

As I said, the mourning period only lasted for a night. We are having a baby, and that makes us very happy. For me, the mourning ended that night of the ultrasound, as Kates and I were heading for bed, and I stepped in Phoebe’s room to check on her. She was in a deep sleep, her hands resting easily on her chest and clutching her blanket. In that instant, she seemed so grown-up, and I knew this was meant to be.

I met Kates in our bedroom and told her, “Phoebe is going to be a great big sister.”

Here's our new baby girl ...

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