content warning- loss
One big thing I’ve done to help me process my births is request my medical records. I’ve had two hospital births with epidurals and varying levels of interventions, an unmedicated hospital birth and an emergency cesarean that was supposed to be a homebirth. Suffice it to say I’ve had a lot to process and work through.
I have a house full of boys. Four now, but only three when I requested all of the records from that second loss. One thing I didn’t ask when my doctor called to tell me the results was the sex of the baby. I was young and hadn’t found my voice. It felt awkward and inappropriate so I just didn’t ask. And it never came up again.
Fast forward several years and I’m having coffee with a dear friend and we are talking about our losses and I mentioned that I had never found out what sex the baby was, but they must know because they have the lab report stating the chromosomes. She wholeheartedly encouraged me to find out.
I’m going to touch on what some people call gender disappointment. When I envisioned my family my whole entire life, I had daughters. I have two sisters and the bond between us is very special and very important to me. When my third son was born, I experienced a lot of grief that he would not be a girl. I was not disappointed he was a boy. I love having boys. I was sad for all the things I may never have. Not so much the little girl things like dress up and dolls and barbies. Those are fun and special in their own way, but the mother-daughter relationship was the thing I was longing for. It’s a different dynamic than mother-son. I looked forward to how that connection would change and grow as she turned into an adult. I understand that things don’t generally turn out the way you want, but this was something my heart had desired nonetheless.
I tell you all of that so you can understand how big of a deal this was for me. It took a few weeks to track down those records and I just knew it was a girl. But hey, I’d been wrong before. Exhibit A, B and C being child 1, 2 and 3. I flipped through about 35 pages and finally came to the lab results. Scanning the page top to bottom, only looking for the word, male or female. And there it was, in black and white. Female. I had a daughter. A daughter I held for just a few short weeks inside of me. I cried tears of joy and we named her Emily. I can’t really explain why this filled me with happiness. I would never hold her or watch her grow up into the woman I dreamed of. You’d think it would have the opposite effect. But it didn’t, it gave me peace. Being able to name her and picture her sweet face was invaluable to me. Finding out so many years later after having three boys was the icing on the cake.