“You’re having a girl.”
“A girl. Your baby — it’s a girl.”
“Oh … okay. Thank you?”
The woman smiles amiably and walks away. She’s a coworker who I hadn’t met until today (West Valley is a small facility compared to some, but it’s still impossible to know everyone). I’m getting used to encounters like these, though. This blog has made me decidedly more visible around the hospital. And after my installment about gender — specifically, how we’re not finding out — it seems like everyone wants to hazard a guess.
Judging by her once-over of my abdomen, I’m guessing this particular coworker was going with the high-bump, low-bump method of approximation. You know that Old Wives’ Tale, right? A high, full bump is a sure sign of a girl, while a low, narrow bump is clearly a boy. All medical legitimacy aside, this technique is completely subjective. Two strangers have declared my protruding stomach an obvious girl, while several others have commented on how low I’m carrying and deemed it a boy. Hardly an exact science.
And here’s my larger issue with all the Old Wives’ Tales about gender: every guess has basically a 50-50 chance of being correct, which gives 50% of people the false idea that their methodology works.
But I also understand that sometimes I’m an epic buzzkill because I’m an alien and don’t understand human things like fun (just quoting my sister here). So, for all you humans out there, I will now subject myself to some classic Old Wives’ Tales for your amusement. But I'm too cheap to buy Drano just to pee in, so forget about that one.
The Rumor: Some legitimate studies have been conducted on this topic and severe morning sickness requiring hospitalization can often be linked to a female child. The results vary quite a bit from study to study, but hey, at least some research has been done.
The Verdict: I didn’t feel great the first trimester — exhausted, no appetite, felt like I couldn’t breathe for some reason — but I never threw up or anything. So, boy …?
The Rumor: If the fetal heart rate is under 140 bpm, it’s a boy. Over 140, it's a girl. No medical basis for this one (I asked), it’s just a bit of lore.
The Verdict: Sorry to burst your bubble, but during two of my last three checkups, the baby’s heart rate was exactly 140 bpm. The outlier was my 20-week ultrasound where we woke up the peanut and poked him (or her) repeatedly, leading to a 174 bpm heart rate. I’m throwing that one out because I’m angry when people wake me up too. Inconclusive.
Left Eye Capillaries
The Rumor: If you pull down the skin below your left eye and see capillaries branching in a V-formation, you’re having a girl.
The Verdict: I mean, girl … but seriously? Doesn’t everyone have branching capillaries under their eye? That’s just silly.
Family Birth Order
The Rumor: In three-child families, it works like this: if you’re the first born, you’ll have whatever your mom had second. If you’re the middle child, you’ll have whatever your mom had third. If you’re the last child, you’ll have them in the exact order your mom did.
The Verdict: I have an older sister and a younger brother, so boy.
The Rumor: If you prefer sleeping on your left side, it’s a boy. Right side, girl. It’s actually recommended that you sleep on your left side during pregnancy anyway, because it improves blood flow and keeps the baby off some major organs.
The Verdict: Girl. I've been trying to sleep on my left, but right is my default.
The Rumor: There are like a thousand variations on this. One is swinging a pencil on a piece of string over your hand or wrist. One is swinging your wedding ring over your belly bump. I’ve also seen a coin, an egg, a needle … the list goes on. Swinging in circles means a girl, back and forth motion means a boy.
The Verdict: In a highly scientific study using a piece of balloon ribbon and my boss as an assistant, we tested the pencil over my hand and the wedding ring over my stomach. Back and forth on one, circles on the other. Inconclusive.
The Chinese Calendar
The Rumor: All I know is that — depending on who you ask — it has to do with your age at conception, the month of conception, the Chinese lunar calendar and a chart allegedly uncovered in a tomb in the 8th century. Some numbers add together and odds numbers are boys and even numbers are girls … or something.
The Verdict: If you Google “Chinese gender predictor” there are a million calculators you can use online. I did it on three different websites just for the sake of comparison … two were boy, one was girl. Inconclusive.
2 boy, 2 girl, 3 inconclusive. To quote my boss, "Wow, it's almost like there's a 50 percent chance you're having a boy and a 50 percent chance you're having a girl." I love that she appreciates sarcasm. But by all means, feel free to post your guesses in the comments.