‘It’s a … baby!’: Revving it up for a gender reveal

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, it’s guaranteed that a ginormous high-tech/societal tidal wave will roll in, squashing you like a little sand crab.
Take childbirth for example. When I became a mom 36 years ago, technology had taken a giant leap from the era when my mother had me. The fetal heartbeat could be heard through a special stethoscope. And when it came time for baby to be born, mommies got strapped in for the ride. In the “Labor Room,” contractions were measured by a gizmo that appeared to be geared to Richter scale readings.
It nearly ended my marriage.
“Here comes the next one!” my husband proclaimed as the contraction intensity graph began a steep ascent. “OK, OK, it’s peaking now,” he shouted eternities later as I clenched my teeth violently and attempted to throttle him with the IV rack. It was like being trapped at the Houston Space Center and getting pelted with unsolicited bulletins from Mission Control. Yes, being married to a rocket engineer while inching toward that 10-centimeter “Go for launch” condition had its challenges.
But those were the Dark Ages compared to today.
Innocently picking up the ringing telephone in early November, my younger daughter announced, sans preamble, “I’m pregnant!!!”
“NO!!” I shot back, apropos of nothing. I detected my son-in-law in the background as he burst out laughing.
Yes, they’d been pregnant approximately nine minutes (they find these things out early these days). Two-year old Charlie would be a big brother. And yes, I was indeed surprised. As was the case for all of our grandchildren, I never knew for sure when the “trying” part would begin. I mean, who needs all that performance anxiety?
But we were on our way to New Babyville once again, and the race was on toward the 17-week mark when the baby’s gender could be ascertained via ultrasound.
Now this is one of those modern break-through advancements that amazes me. Although it sort of messes up the function of the delivery room folks who, in the olden days, would call out, “It’s a (boy/girl)!!!” But now most parents are thrilled knowing the gender way ahead of D- (Delivery) Day.
Furthermore, today’s parents-to-be are entertained from conception with updates delivered via the Internet. Weekly bulletins relay approximate dimensions of the baby from, you know, grape seed-sized to watermelon volume and all manners of fruits and veggies in between. You’ll also learn what is materializing that week: “Your girl baby has acquired the gene that causes her to love cute shoes,” you’ll read, and yes, I just made that up, but you get the idea. It’s light years away from the dark mysteries that took place within the wombs of yesteryear.
So when my daughter asked me what I thought of a “Gender Reveal Party,” I have to say I was right on top of it. “A WHAT …?” I stammered, wondering if I’d heard correctly.
Yep, these days there are actual parties dedicated to letting folks know baby’s gender. And it’s kind of a cool thing, in my opinion. My daughter wanted to celebrate the pending arrival of her new baby, and since it involved baking, this party was right up her alley.
“I don’t want it to be overly dramatic,” she worried before throwing herself into party planning.
“It won’t be,” I advised. “Just go for it!” And she did.
So we arrived at their home one recent chilly evening, attired in clothing indicating our guess of girl (pink/red) or boy (blue). Pink and blue paper footprints led the way to a sign that asked us to specify our vote for boy or girl. Pizza was ready, and so was a tier of mysterious cupcakes … cupcakes that held a pink or blue frosting surprise in the center.
After pizza, we each received a cupcake, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty, people! Nope, at my daughter’s signal, we immediately tore into those cupcakes like packs of wolves, eager to know the answer to that ageless question: boy or girl?
And inside each cupcake that night? A dollop of frosting tinted a beautiful baby blue announced the joyful “reveal” of another happily awaited grandson.

Leave your comments