From the moment I discovered I was pregnant with my second child, I was convinced it was a boy. I had the same instinct that my first child was a girl and I was right, so when two sonograms said I was having another girl I was shocked, but also relieved. I am a girl, I have a girl, and I know what to do with girls. Boys are a mystery to me.
We were getting ready for the birth of Lillian Ellis. At my baby shower, there was a sign, “Welcome to Lillian’s Baby Shower”, and everyone gave us pink and purple clothes. Her nursery was done with a butterflies and flowers theme. Things were all in place for my little bundle of girly joy.
September 12, 2002 was the day set to induce labor. From the get-go things weren’t going as planned. My 6:00 a.m. check-in was moved to 10:00 a.m. because there had been too many births the night before. Once the Pitocin drip started, I wouldn’t dilate, so the doctor had to break my water. Then things started to get scary because every time I had a contraction the baby’s heartbeat dropped, which meant the umbilical cord was either around her neck or her shoulder.
After 11 hours I was finally dilated to nine, and the nurse said there was no time for an epidural. I informed her nothing was coming out of my body without one. My doctor relented, and as soon as the epidural was administered the baby’s heartbeat disappeared from the monitor and my blood pressure began to fall. I was sure we were both going to die.
Once the situation was under control and it was time to push, the doctor discovered the baby had turned sunny side up and the cord was indeed around her neck. The doctor had to gently turn her and hold her head so he could remove the cord without hurting her. “Dear God,” I wondered, “Will this mess ever end, and is my little Lillian going to be okay?” I’d never been so scared in my life.
When the doctor told me to watch as the baby was being born, I knew things were finally okay. That was until I looked down and saw a penis and two testicles. Those in the delivery said I screamed, “Oh my God, she has a penis!” My husband was thrilled and screamed down the hall, “It’s a boy!” I sat there in stunned silence wondering what I was going to do with the cute pink and white Ralph Lauren dress with matching bloomers and hat I’d brought for him to wear home from the hospital.
Everyone came to see the baby, and I held him and smiled for the cameras, but I wasn’t feeling it. I felt disappointed and disconnected from this little person. I was glad when everyone left so I could have a good cry. I planned for a girl and I wanted a girl. I didn’t know how to be a mom to a boy.
The next morning was the first time the baby and I had any extended time alone together. After I nursed him I promptly put him back in his bed and rang for the nurse, just like I’d done after the previous feedings. This time they told me he had to stay so we could bond. I was not interested in bonding with this little person that was the source of all my disappointment. I just wanted to cry some more.
After a couple of hours, I looked at him. I really looked hard at him for the first time since he’d been born. I saw the satiny little white peach fuzz on his head and the perfect little bow shape of his pink mouth. Then he looked at me with those big beautiful blue eyes. I busted out crying, picked him up and told him, “I may not know how to be a mommy to a little boy and you may grow up to be a big sissy, but I’ll love you no matter what." We’ve been inseparable ever since.
Although my perfectly planned day went nothing like it was supposed to, I still consider the day Maxwell Joseph was born to be the best day of my life. He’s almost three years old now and the absolute light of my life. And he’s not a sissy!