|via Instagram @whitneynewby|
Yesterday's sonographer was methodical, but also reassuring, and for that I was grateful. She worked her way through each of the baby's systems, measuring what she needed and explaining herself along the way. "There are the four chambers of the heart. And do you see that dark line that's shaped like a candy cane? That's the aorta."
When it was time to reveal the gender, she found the appropriate angle and paused the screen.
"It's a little girl!" she smiled confidently, and took my breath away. Shawn and I looked at each other through happy tears.
We hadn't expected a little girl. Not for weeks, at least. It had been a more difficult first trimester than with Liam, but I chalked it up to international travel, a stressful move, and chasing a toddler in 95-degree heat. Anyone who saw my growing belly in person would comment, "Looks like another little boy in there!" and when I pictured the next few years of my life, I could only picture two little men.
But I wasn't disappointed at all. Just stunned. Of course I knew a girl was a possibility, it just felt much less likely.
A few hours later, Shawn and I headed out on a date to celebrate, and as we sat down to dinner he asked, "So what are you most excited about?"
I mentioned a few things: seeing Liam as a protective big brother, seeing our daughter love her daddy, sewing clothes and headbands for her, choosing her name. And then I looked at Shawn and said, "But I'm scared." I'm scared to raise a daughter in 2015 and 2025 and beyond. A daughter in a world where women are objectified in mainstream media, where the innocence of girlhood is stolen too quickly, where there's such a thing as "twerking." I know I'm raising a boy in that same culture, but boy-raising somehow seems less tricky. Less fragile. I want our daughter to be strong and brave and refuse to be trampled on, but also gentle and modest. I want her to feel safe, and I know that's something we won't always be able to provide for her.
I'm so glad we're in this together. That she already has a daddy who will take her on dates and teach her what it means to be treated like a lady. That she has an extended family who already loves her fiercely and will show her undeserved grace. That she has a church family who will undoubtedly shower us with support. That she has a God who we pray will save her soul at an early age, who loves her more than we can fathom.
Today, when I saw her squirming around on the screen and felt her little jabs - and when I heard that this baby who I've just begun to know and love is a "she" - all of a sudden, she couldn't have been anything else. It was always her: my daughter.