Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's really more an issue of "Does The Radiology Dept. Have Enough Tissues On Hand For The Tears My Mother Will Shed?"

The other day I was talking to my mom on the phone, an occurrence that repeats itself usually about three or four times in a twenty-four hour period, when she related a conversation that she had with her neighbor. The tail-end of it went a little like this:

Mom: "And I told her that I wouldn't be back in town until Thursday because on WEDNESDAY my daughter gets to find out whether her baby is a boy or a girl....and....maybeI'llgettogoalongonthatappointment."

Me: "Um? Could you repeat that last part?"

Mom: "andmaybei'llgettogoalongonthatappointment? Maybe?"

Now what the heck am I supposed to say to that? This is something that I hadn't even considered. Ever. Not for my mom, and not for Tim's mom (who lives right down the street and has BEEN right down the street for every ultrasound I've had thus far. DOWN THE STREET. NOT IN THE ROOM.) Of course, it had occurred to me that my mom would be in town on that day, and I just figured that she'd stay home with the boys and wouldn't that be exciting to tell her in person this time?

I stammered through a brief, blow-off type of response that went something like, "Oh, Mom, I hadn't even thought of that. Um...I'd have to talk to Tim about it., you know, Tim's parents aren't coming...and maybe that would be a little awkward...and...well, lemmetalktoTimandI'llgetbacktoyou."

Apparently running your words together when you're nervous about the response is an inherited trait.

I figured that the whole "lemme talk to Tim" about it thing would be my way out. I figured that he felt the way that I did - that the Finding Out Ultrasound is a very special and intimate moment to be shared only with your spouse and the Perfect Stranger Technician (although, we always have the same girl, and her son is in my nephew's CCD class, and we've kinda built a relationship through the years.) I feel like the Finding Out Ultrasound is akin to the Delivery Room Reveal, absent the "getting to hold your baby right away" aspect. No one is in the delivery room with us (except the army of doctors in the OR for my c-sections), after all. But it turns out that Tim's take was far different than I'd expected. As usual, his perspective is far broader, far more generous, far more open, and far more loving than mine. (Don't get me wrong, though, I don't think that my feelings on this are selfish- he's just always more generous in these things than I.)

Tim's perspective: It would be a really special moment for my mom to be able to share with me. This is her (perhaps only) opportunity to see an ultrasound like this because thirty years ago they just didn't do it this way. Most likely this is our last baby (which deserves an entirely separate post considering the Catholic Factor and our commitment to NFP and openness to life) and will I regret passing up this opportunity to share such a special moment with her?

See? My husband's major flaw: always thinking of others above himself. Geez.

Now. My response to this was, and remains, that if we invite my mom, we absolutely have to invite his mom. It's all or nothing at this point. Sure, the question could (potentially) be easily solved by calling the hospital and inquiring as to what their policy is on visitors in the ultrasound rooms. They are BIG rooms, so I don't imagine that space would be an issue, but it is very possible that they have rules against inviting the whole town to watch the Baby Movie. (And it really is a Baby Movie. They have a huge LCD screen up on the wall and everything. It's ridiculously deceiving, actually, because the baby always looks like it's eight pounds and ready to be born...even in first trimester ultrasounds.)

I'm sure that, to the reader, my feelings on the matter are clear. I imagine that, because of that, most people would tell me to just follow through with my original inklings. And. Okay. I'll admit that part of the reason that I don't want anyone else in there is that when other people (OKAY AGAIN, specifically my mom. And sometimes Tim's mom.) get emotional, my back goes up and I react by becoming overly stoic. And kinda sarcastic. And pretty annoyed. YES, I DO EXPECT TO HAVE THE MONOPOLY ON EMOTION. AND, YES, I KNOW THAT THIS IS WRONG, BUT I'M PREGNANT SO LEAVE ME ALONE. That being said, my concern is that my inability to deal with their emotion is not a valid reason to not invite them - although, I don't want my childish reaction to others to mar that moment. You know? I hope you do because I really just don't.

And I'm really torn over this. AND I NEED ADVICE. I may not listen to it, but mostly I'm just curious to know what other people would do. So here's the question: Would you want your mother present for your Finding Out Ultrasound? How about your mother-IN-LAW? Do you think that they would want to be there? (I suppose that last one is a silly question.) What would your husband say?

I NEED ANSWERS. Take a poll. Ask people on the street. Ask everyone you know. And then report back here. Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring pregnant minds want to know or they'll cry. HALP!


Manda said...

Let me just start by saying this: My mother-in-law invited people who were NOT invited to our wedding, and she was told (politely) to immediately un-invite them. It was our wedding.
That being said? An ultrasound is NOT your wedding. But if YOU view it as something special you only want to share with your husband ... then yeah, sorry mom. If it's flexible, tell your mom you'll think about it and get back to her. She can't just assume that you'll allow it without even outright asking if it would be ok!!
Good luck!

maggie said...

This is so interesting to me because my mom and my MIL would NEVER EVER ask to do this, even if they wanted to! (Which I'm pretty sure wouldn't even occur to them.) So it's easy for me to picture brushing them off. I especially can't believe how many people deal with parents/inlaws wanting to be there for the BIRTH! Our families would rather DIE, seriously. And I'm grateful, because 1) that would never be okay and 2) I would Freak. Out. about how to handle it nicely.

Now that I'm thinking about it, though, if my mom really wanted to go to the ultrasound I'd probably be fine with it- I never really believe the ultrasound tech anyway! (Even though they've been right twice. I'm just a suspicious sort.)

Good luck!

curlyheadedtuba said...

I'm definitely the same way about emotion-- the first time we heard my son's heart, my husband got teary eyed. I told him to stop crying.

I would also never invite my mother to an ultrasound of any sort... but I'm not close to her. Or my MIL. And honestly, I think my MIL would be totally grossed out and embarrassed. She's kinda strange like that.

Lizzie said...

Hm. Well? It would be really cool for your mom. My mom OR MIL wouldn't ask. Ever. That would be like admitting that my husband and I have sex. Very conservative families, you see. If you just want the moment to let the fact that your belly houses a baby with an actual GENDER seep in with just your husband then DO THAT and don't feel bad about it!

You know, one or the other would be different than having BOTH mom and MIL in the room too - what if MIL isn't even interested? Then problem solved... Anyway, I'm done throwing my two cents in here.

Stitchwort said...

May I venture a comment from the other side of the question?

I vividly remember the ultrasounds from my two children. I was alone for the first, and my husband was with me for the second; my mother was geographically too far away to even consider asking her. But they were both very special moments.

When my daughter had her ultrasound for her first pregnancy, she was allowed two support people, and she chose her husband and me. Policy here now is that they will NOT even hint at the gender under any circumstances, and she didn't want to know anyway. But I was very touched and thrilled that she wanted me there, and it was still very special to see the baby who turned out to be my grandson while he was still in utero.

She had the ultrasound for her second pregnancy only two weeks ago. Hospital policy had changed to allow only one support person. Her husband deferred to me and so I again had that wonderful moment of seeing the new grandbaby.

(It so happened that they couldn't get one particular reading they needed, so she will have to have a second ultrasound later on, and she will take her husband to that one. And I agree, he has priority over me on this.)

But there is something very special about seeing the new baby in real time there on the monitor screen that no amount of videotaping can duplicate.

If the policy at your hospital is to let other people come in at the end for a look, it would be a wonderful gift to your mother to invite her along. You will already have had the initial experience with just your husband, and it would be a generous, loving family gesture to ask her to be present.

I would never have asked to go along, but I am so very glad my daughter wanted me there.