On Keeping Baby Genders A Surprise (And Baby Names We Didn't Use)

One of the questions I receive the most is about our decision to keep our second daughter's gender a surprise until birth. My Insta and Facebook feed have had so many pregnancy announcements recently that I figured it might be a fun and timely topic to discuss. People have asked me -- what made you decide to keep it a surprise? Was it worth the wait? Would you do it again? Was your guess correct?

So, first things first, we did find out the gender with my first pregnancy, Camille. We actually got it done a tad earlier than my OB's office would do at a private ultrasound practice so that we would know in time for our gender reveal party (I planned the party, printed/mailed invitations, THEN found out that the anatomy ultrasound appointment was happening after the party ... drama).

With Camille, we were both secretly hoping for a little girl! Ian was inclined to keep the gender a surprise, but I pulled the Type A card and really pushed for us to find out. Um, hello, gotta plan.

So, when we were expecting our second child, I decided to give him his wish and have us experience the true surprise of finding out boy or girl at the moment of birth. Here are the reasons why I was down:

+ I had already experienced a pregnancy knowing the gender, so this was a way to experience it a totally different way
+ I already had so many baby necessities from Camille that were gender-neutral colors or styles and could work for a boy or girl
+ I wasn't planning on doing another registry or having a big lavish baby shower for gifts
+ Something about finding out with just Ian (other than the medical staff) felt really intimate and special
+ Being busy with a wily toddler, I didn't have as much time to just sit around and navel-graze and ponder pregnancy. Life was all about Camille and this second pregnancy was so wonderful but not as "in the limelight"

One stipulation that I did have was that I asked our delivery room medical staff (midwife and nurses) to let Ian be the one to tell me what we had. I made this wish very clear because I just always wanted that memory of hearing the news from him!

And boy, was that a surreal moment. I will never forget hearing from him that we had another daughter.

I was also SO wrong in my mother's intuition ... I thought for sure we were having a boy!

SO, although I really think with every cell of my body that our family is complete as a family of four, if I did it all over again, would I wait to find out the gender?

Probably not. :)

It was definitely a sweet and wonderful surprise, but being the planner I am, I took so much JOY in connecting with baby Camille in my tummy, knowing she was a girl. Running my hand over little pink outfits in the store, Registering for blankets with ribbons on them. Picking out girl names.

(About that: The hardest part of ALL for me was having to go to the hospital with both a girl AND a boy name, both of which we loved, and then have to leave one of those names on the proverbial cutting room floor. Our boy name was Carter. Our other girl name that we decided against at the very last minute was Scarlett. We loved both Charlotte and Scarlett but Charlotte just seemed more classic and special to us and our story.)

I'm definitely glad that I experienced the two pregnancies in different ways. And it was fun telling our moms as they entered the room that the baby in our arms was another darling girl.

So, what did you do, or what do you plan to do? Will you find out the gender?
Care to share the baby name(s) you ended up not using?

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