“….G–I–R–L”

Have I mentioned before how much I love planning parties? The menu, the decorations, the deadlines, the strategy, and that feeling of adrenaline as you draw all the strands together to create a beautiful whole just before the guests arrive! You could say that I need very little excuse to start convincing Dave that another party is in order…So, the event of finding out what gender baby we are having was the perfect catalyst for creating a Saturday brunch feast for our closest friends and family!

Pinterest has become one of my major tools in planning for any event. I always start with the menu and usually end up going a little overboard as I glean inspiration from the myriad of recipes and food artist shots of people’s creations. This event was a brunch theme so I went with Fruit Salad Cocktails, Toasted Muesli with Yoghurt and Raspberries, Cream Cheese Cigars, French Toast Bake, Breakfast Enchiladas, Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole, Burek and Cherry Clafouti. Having gone with a Purple and Yellow colour theme for Hudson’s Gender Reveal Party, I decided for a less confusing Navy and Red colour palette for this one.

Juggling two active boys and party planning can prove to be a little tricky at times, but I tried to involve them as much as possible, showing Eli and Hudson the video of our previous Gender Reveal Party and asking them for their predictions on whether they thought they would have a brother or a sister. I put the decorations up early in the week, both to increase anticipation and to save time when things got crazier… I ended up reusing the brown paper bag bunting that we had created for Hudson’s Teddy Bears Picnic and utilised all the chalk boards in our house for name suggestions, themed pictures or voting boards on our name shortlists.

Throughout the week Eli and Hudson helped me with the Toasted Muesli and the pastries so that these would be ready to go on the day. We made a banana cake for Grandpa John’s birthday as he had generously agreed to share the spotlight on his special day.

Friday arrived and with it a host of anticipation. I had booked a long overdue hair appointment for 9am at a new salon nearby. After providing my usual instructions to the hairdresser I removed my glasses for the duration of the cut. Unfortunately the hairdresser’s cheery ‘I’m just going to shape around your face” didn’t register alarm or the “I’m just going to thin out the back” and by the time my glasses were back on, it was too late. I was now sporting the most uneven, unflattering, unnaturally parted hairstyle that I had ever paid for. But, it was now past 10 and our 20 week scan was booked for 10:30 so I had no choice but to hightail it out of there.

Dave and I made it to the clinic with three minutes to spare. Despite this being my fourth scan with the ultrasound technician, I dutifully re-answered the same questions she always directs my way, “no, this isn’t my first baby”, “yes, all of the deliveries have been natural” etc. As she was setting up, Dave asked if she would be able to write down the gender on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. She agreed fairly unenthusiastically saying she may not even be able to tell the gender from the scan. I started feeling a sinking sensation in my middle. The computer screen flashed on and she quickly tilted the screen towards me, “well, there’s the head of the baby… Ok, now onto the measurements” and the screen went right back out of view. She spent the next 20 minutes mumbling about body parts and clicking the screen. We did get to hear the heartbeat for at least 3 seconds (!) but you definitely got the sense that she was going through the clinical motions and you were just part of the machinery in getting her job done.

Half an hour later and we were still no closer to finding out whether the baby would reveal its gender. The technician didn’t seem too fussed if she found out or not, saying we could just reschedule the party! Apparently the baby was not being very cooperative and was keeping its legs tightly closed for the scan. After some enthusiastic jiggling and coughing and swaying from me, I hopped back onto the table. After some very long seconds, she said “….Ohhhh yeah…. I’m pretty sure I know what you are having…. but as I say to everyone, it’s not 100% reliable so don’t get too excited”. Needless to say, my anticipation was a little bit deflated.

Dave and I stopped for Subway on the way home, just to process the situation and to spend some kid-free time together talking. It was really nice, though I still find it hard to just enjoy the moment when we are kid-free. In the back of my mind I’m always wondering how Mum and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa are coping with our energetic whirlwinds! We got home to relieve Mum and started focusing on the abominable haircut once again. The worst thing, I had said to Dave, was that I just didn’t say what I really thought because I was so afraid of offending the hairdresser. Mum wasn’t so hindered and decided it was time to drive me back to the salon to demand a recut. After having looked forward to the haircut and the ultrasound and having disappointing experiences at both, Mum said she could at least help me fix one of those situations.

With my heart pounding, we stepped back into the salon. The hairdresser was still there but we managed to get the attention of the head hairdresser who was very sweet and accommodating, saying that she would personally re-do the hair at 4pm if I could make it. We agreed and thanked her and I left feeling a lot lighter.

The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind filled with cooking, an awkward re-cut and picking up the pieces of a difficult afternoon with the kids for Dave, but we made it in the end. My new haircut, while not exactly what I was initially hoping for, was worlds better than the morning’s offering!

The day of the party dawned and we went right back to Action Mode. Dave took the kids to Spotlight to get the balloons and I finished the remainder of the cooking. By the time everyone arrived there was a small feast on the table waiting to be consumed!

At precisely 11:30am we gathered everyone, charged glasses with champagne and got ready for the reveal! Eli had been practicing for his big part of reading out the envelope and he did an incredible job, with 35 pairs of eyes trained on him! “G-I-R-L” he read out, and there was a big cheer. Dave and I couldn’t help but sneak a peek as he read the letters out and we were overjoyed, though a little unable to take it all in as everyone pressed in for hugs and congratulations.

Now that it has sunk in (though with a big grain of salt stemming from the technician’s initial lack of certainty) we are very pumped that Eli and Hudson will have a sister and we will have a daughter! Not only that, but a healthy, perfectly formed baby girl. It is easy for that to get lost in the excitement of the party, but we are very thankful and mindful that life is an absolute blessing- in any of its’ forms…

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