This last weekend, Jimmy and I shared some pretty exciting news with our family and friends: the gender of the twins. My sister hosted the greatest quarantine gender reveal party for immediate family. Our extended family and friends were able to watch the reveal via Facebook Live. But the fact that it was a quarantine gender reveal was not the only reason that the reveal was untraditional. The main reason it was opposite of a mainstream gender reveal was that Jimmy and I already knew. And we had known for 7 weeks.
Now, what typically happens at a gender reveal is one person close to the parents-to-be is informed of the gender and creates some sort of grenade or smoke bomb or cake that explodes with pink or blue and everyone finds out together the sex of the baby.
Our story would’ve been the same had my 14-week ultrasound gone a little differently.
After finding out we were having twins, Jimmy and I knew we wanted to know the genders of the babies before they were born (probably so we’d feel like we have some kind of control in this situation). There were two ways to go about this with twins: they could stick giant needles into my uterus and collect samples from my amniotic sacs (okay, no thank you) or we could wait until the 20-week anatomy scan. I opted for the scan, obviously. This is because things are (understandably) packed in the uterus and it can be difficult to see the little parts of both babies until they’re big enough, which is why we’d have to wait until halfway through the pregnancy. I was okay with that.
So at my 14-week ultrasound, I went into it knowing this was the time most parents of singletons find out the gender, but told myself 6 weeks isn’t that much longer to wait.
I got up on the table in that tiny, dark room and my ultrasound technician squeezed the clear, blue gel on my stomach. We chatted like we normally do and laughed at how crazy it is to carry two babies. Then she fell kind of silent for a while, and I figured she was just concentrating on their measurements. Then she quietly said, “Have you had any genetic testing done?”
It’s amazing where your (pre-) mom-brain can go. As soon as she asked me, my heart seemed to fall out my butt. Are they okay? Is something wrong? Are they not healthy?
“No, ma’am,” I squeaked. Jimmy and I had opted out of genetic testing due to our own religious beliefs. (That’s a different story, but I’m a very open book. If you care to know more about why we declined genetic testing, you can always send me a message!)
She took a deep breath, smiled and said, “So you don’t know the genders, then, huh?”
The genders! Lead with that, next time, I thought.
“Oh no, we have no clue,” I answered.
“Well, do you want my guess?” she asked.
Now, let me preface this by saying that this wasn’t something new for me to hear. The doctors and nurses had been taking guesses for a while, based on the data we had. At the first few ultrasounds, Twin A was calmer and barely wiggled much at all. Twin B was basically dancing. Twin A had a heart rate of 178 bpm, which was higher than Twin B’s rate of 150-160 bpm. It’s said that baby girls have higher heart rates than boys in the womb, so most of my medical staff believed Twin A was a girl and Twin B was a boy.
However, in the last two appointments before my 14-week ultrasound, Twin A and Twin B both had heart rates in the 150’s and both were busy bodies. They began to act more and more alike, so my own vote started to change. I began to think they were the same gender.
Flash forward, when the technician asked if I wanted her guess, I assumed she’d just say it like everyone else.
“Oh, sure!” I laughed.
Little did I know her guess was less of a guess and more of a fact. Instead of saying “I think they’re…” she says, “Look, don’t you see it?”
“See what?” I asked.
“Right here, we have the testicles and penis for Twin A.”
“Oh my….yeah I see it,” I laughed. Oops, I thought.
“Now I can’t get Twin B to cooperate, but he’s got a little penis, too.”
I started laughing. One, because I was so happy to finally know I was carrying two little boys. Two, because Jimmy’s guess was right and I was wrong. And three, because it wasn’t the grenade-launching, smoke-billowing, confetti-exploding kind of gender reveal that I expected. And I kind of didn’t care.
So, I came out of that appointment at a crossroads. Should I tell Jimmy? Should I wait and let him find out at the gender reveal? Can I keep this secret for that long?!
I had decided that I would not tell Jimmy. I would let him be surprised (Jimmy loves surprises) and I’d keep this to myself.
This lasted all but five minutes after I walked in the front door.
Jimmy was in the garage, building me a table for the laundry room.
He looked up and said, “Hey, how’d it go?”
“I know,” I said, my hands covering my big goofy smile. “The genders.”
He looked at me, smiling quizzically. “You don’t know.”
“Yes I do, I know. The technician showed me.”
He laughed. “They literally said we can’t know until way later.”
“But she knows, she showed me. I’m serious, I know.”
This continued back and forth for a few minutes. “You don’t know,” and “Yes, I really do.”
So I said, “Do you want me to tell you?”
Jimmy paused and said, “Is it what I thought? Wait no, don’t tell me. Wait, yeah I want to know. Hang on, no, don’t tell me.”
Jimmy’s inner struggle continued for a few more minutes.
“Okay yes, tell me. Final answer.”
“Are you for sure? I don’t want to take away a surprise.”
“No, yes I’m serious tell me.”
This continues back and forth for a few more minutes.
“Tell me this…was I right? It’s two boys?” Jimmy asks.
I nod my head yes, smiling and laughing.
“Whoo! Yes! I knew it!” Jimmy jumped, the hugged me tight.
“Well hang on, don’t get too excited, I only saw one penis!!”
“Well, she said the other one was a boy, right? She’s been doing this for years, I trust her.”
The rest of the day, Jimmy walked around the house singing, “Two boys! We’re having two boys!”
At the 18-week ultrasound, I was able to send a video to Jimmy where the technician gave us shots of their little bottoms. I can confirm the sighting of both penises (haha).
So as previously mentioned, Jimmy and I did opt for a gender reveal. However, instead of revealing to us, we revealed to everyone else. My sister made the gender reveal a casino theme and we had family and friends place bets on their guesses for the genders. Though a little unconventional, it was super fun tricking family and friends up to that point.
In the end, most people voted on two boys, so our tricking was not as successful as initially thought.
Needless to say, we are over the moon that we get to welcome James and John Schmitzer into the world.