Top 10 Reasons to Wait on a Delivery Room Surprise

Going through my blog post drafts, I came across this gem. I was writing this the very DAY I ended up having Camille! I remember starting it, but didn’t know I had basically finished it. I was going to rewrite it now that we know what “Baby #2” is… but I just love it as is… 

With a bump the size of Texas, I can’t go anywhere without people commenting on it and asking questions.

39 weeks pregnant with #2

I love it! I’ll gladly talk your ear off about our impending bundle of joy, the fact I also have a 16 month old, and how crazy my life is going to be for the next… oh, 18 years or so. Inevitably, I’m asked, “What is it?” or “Boy or girl?” It’s funny how people just assume I know. When I respond, “We don’t know. We’re waiting on a surprise…” every single stranger is thrilled. Without exception. “Oh, I love that!” “People never do that anymore!” “So exciting!” “That’s how it should be!” (Now, the grandma’s and our close friends are exceptions to that. They all want to know and are frustrated that we don’t know. Ha!)

Many other mommas-to-be tell me they wish they could wait, but “can’t.” I find that comical because I hate surprises more than anyone – yet found the willpower (twice now!) to wait 40 weeks to see if we’ll be blessed with a boy or girl.  So, here is my list….

1.  Not knowing makes for an incredible “moment.”

This is our second rodeo in the “delivery room surprise” camp.  When this photo was taken…

We still didn’t know that was the face of our little BOY. Not until a minute or so later when my OB brought him on the other side of the infamous c-section tarp, showed me his naked little body, and said, “Michelle, what is it?” and I stared weeping uncontrollably – “It’s a BOOOOOAHHHOOOHHHY!”  Ahh… what a moment. (Read more about it in Kenton’s Birth Story.)

I want that moment again. I can’t wait! Sure, seeing the “bits” on the ultrasound screen can also be a special moment – but I just can’t imagine it being as monumental as finding out the same moment you meet your precious little human.

Want to read about my reaction the second time around? Check out Camille’s birth story.

2. Not knowing makes the end of pregnancy more tolerable.

I admit, I’m over it. My due date is tomorrow and I’m probably going to see it come and go without a baby. That sucks. However, the mystery of not knowing if we’ll have a boy or girl does make this phase of pregnancy more exciting. I’ve waited this long, so what’s a few more days? The added excitement on top of finding out who the baby looks like, what his/her temperament is and seeing how our birth story unfolds – is this underlying and building anticipation of whether it’s a he or she.

3.  Not knowing is more fun for family and friends.

They won’t admit it – but they love it. If they already knew we were having a boy and his name was going to be Jack (it’s not, but I do like that name), that just steals some of the excitement from the birth announcement. Then, you’ll get an update that says – “Jack is here!” The only mysterious information is his weight, length and -of course- his unique birth story. In our case, there is so much more to be excited about (we think!). Not only will people be happy our baby has arrived, they’ll also get to find out the gender, name AND all of those other exciting baby vitals.

4. Not knowing forces practical pre-baby financial decisions.

This weekend, I dragged Jason to one of those artsy-craftsy fairs. You know, the ones that have a bunch of booths set up with different handmade trinkets – jewelry, art, seasonal decorations, AND baby stuff! Oh my, there were the CUTEST things… I told Jason more than once, “These are the moments I wish I knew if a boy or girl was inside my belly, because if I knew, I’d buy that and THAT AND THAT AND THAT!” He smiled coyly and responded, “And that is one of many reasons why I’m glad we don’t know.” Smart man. We left the fair with homemade fudge, snickerdoodles, and cash in our pockets.

Instead, we’re forced to be disciplined to buy things like diapers, crib sheets (in white!), and a new crib. Those are the things we need anyway. But if I knew what this baby was – he or she would have a new wardrobe by now and there would be something on our “need” list that we wouldn’t be able to buy.

5.  Not knowing results in more practical gifts from family/friends.

The first time around, our amazing family/friends snapped up basically everything on our registry that we truly needed. Being first-time parents, that was a huge blessing. We knew that our baby would be clothed, eventually… but we didn’t need 15 adorable little baby boy baseball outfits before he was born. We needed a diaper pail. And we got one – and our car seat, bottles, breast pump, mattress covers, diapers, gender-neutral sleepers, etc…. Seriously, people were INCREDIBLY generous. Some, however, just couldn’t bring themselves to give us anything until they knew – which was fine too! We were overly blessed with gifts galore.

6. Not knowing is a great way to avoid divulging more information than you’re comfortable sharing.

I’m an open book. I had a detailed conversation the other day with the cashier at the grocery store about why I’m going for a VBAC. I, honestly, don’t mind sharing much of anything… except… baby names. Not knowing the gender, I bet I get asked about possible names way less often then the momma-to-be who responds by saying “Girl!” to the inevitable… “What is it?” I’m fairly certain the next question is, “Do you have a name picked out?”

But… sometimes I’m not in the mood to talk – or the person asking makes me uncomfortable.  I can shut them up quickly and honestly by not being able to answer their questions. You mommas with big bumps know exactly what I’m talking about.

7. Not knowing is a fun way to play around with baby names.

We have three girl name possibilities and one boy name – and all have several middle name options. We alternate different days calling the baby one of the choices. We’ve ruled out several options that way – after saying it out loud for a day or so and realizing we don’t really like the way it sounds. We’ve also added some options through the course of this pregnancy. We feel that not knowing has allowed us more time to be creative with our name choices.

8. Not knowing is what God intended. 

We could start quite the theological debate on this point! Of course, I’m being sarcastic – I don’t think God cares if you find out or not. I do, however, think He doesn’t give us a choice on baby’s gender on purpose. Obviously, He has a special plan for each baby before they are even conceived – and gender is a huge part of that. I talk more about that on this vlog.

If a momma is secretly (or openly) hoping for one gender over another – not knowing helps prepare you for both options. I’ve heard about the mom who has two boys, wants a girl, and NEEDS TO KNOW if #3 is a boy too so she can “mourn” before he’s born. I’ve never experienced that – so I have no idea what that would be like. For me, I’ve gone back and forth on what I want this baby to be – and not knowing has forced me to trust the Lord. It honestly does not matter. This baby is exactly what He planned for our family. I can’t imagine any need to mourn something the moment you meet “it” – there will be no sadness in that moment, only joy.

9. Not knowing is a great way to prep for multiple babies.

Because our first go’round was also a mystery, we are fully stocked with gender-neutral EVERYTHING… as I mentioned in Reason #5.  I’m having this second baby so soon after our first, I didn’t even have a shower (or a “sprinkle!”). Everything we have from round one is still basically brand new – and all gender neutral, so we’re good! Sleepers, onesies, car seat, bottles, towels, bath supplies, stroller, baby carriers, blankets, toys, nursery decor – it’s all ready to go for this baby. Nothing is emblazoned with princesses, basketballs, pink or blue – it’s all ready to go for either a boy or a girl. If we were going to continue pro-creating after this one (that’s not the plan), we’d still be ready!

10. Not knowing makes you stand out in the crowd.

Most people find out if they are pregnant with a boy or girl. That is a fact. Not finding out is the exception to the norm. Goes against the flow. Counter culture. You get the picture. I’ve overheard people talking about Jason and I – “They’re the ones that aren’t finding out! AGAIN!” Our OB thinks it’s awesome and exciting. During my brief scare that sent me to L&D – the nurses were all excited about the mystery – as they were during labor with the baby who turned out to be Kenton.

Bottom line, not knowing makes pregnancy more exciting!

Addendum: Read more about the moment we found out #2 was a GIRL in Camille’s Birth Story. As I suspected in Reason #1 above – it was an amazingly special moment that I will cherish FOREVER. Here’s my face around the moment I found out my boy had a little SISTER!

Oh, and it’s making me tear up all over again!

So, readers, did you find out or have a mystery? What do you think of these top 10 reasons NOT to find out?

About Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin is a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mom. She's also an award winning broadcast journalist and public relations professional. Michelle spent nearly a decade working in television newsrooms across the country, both behind and in front of the camera. Training future broadcast journalists in her faculty associate roles at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and at Arizona Christian University was a cherished focus of her post-TV career. Today, she maintains a roster of public relations clients focused on empowering fellow “momprenuers.” She also serves as a speaker for various women's and mom's events. Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from Biola University and Master of Mass Communication (MMC) from Arizona State University. She and her husband, two young kids and English bulldog call Scottsdale, Arizona, home.


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