Boy or Girl. The Big Reveal.

I lay on my back, one arm tucked behind my head. I tried to make out the random shadows and blurs on the screen and, like always, was amazed that the woman before me knew what she was looking at and for. “So, do you and your husband want to know the sex?”, she asked. I said yes, we did, but could she write it down for us? We are going to open it later. 

Two years ago, I could not relate to couples for whom finding out the sex of their unborn baby was essential. Really, I thought. You want to ruin the surprise? You want to be that organizedI never said it out loud, of course, because I’m sweet like that, and although I’m wise enough to appreciate that we are all different, I knew it was not for me. No ma’am. I wanted the old-fashioned way. I wanted a surprise.

Turns out, all that changed after I had Ella. I felt like the celebration of which sex my baby would be got lost in the labour, whereby the end, I was so exhausted and shocked, I lacked the energy to give the news the excitement it deserved. It didn’t matter if it was a girl or a boy, no, that’s not what it was about. It was about honouring and celebrating and making something big and special out of the news. It was about reveling in the festivity it deserved. With Ella, the festivity was the birth, not so much the sex of the baby, and I missed celebrating the fact that she was a girl as a separate stand-alone thing.

It would be different next time, I decided, and Joel agreed.

So there I lay, watching the woman turn away from me and scribble something onto the card Joel had brought with him to the ultrasound appointment. The excitement grew in my belly as I pictured what our evening would be like. I felt happy we were making something ceremonial out of this beautiful occasion.

As the sun was going down last Thursday the 5th September, we gathered the things we needed. I piled rugs and candles and glass jars and other trinkets from around the house into a big bag to take down to the beach. Joel packed the seafood he had bought especially for this night, along with a summer salad and other BBQ things for us to share after we had opened our very special parcel. We were incredibly excited.




Even the shell nearby was shaped as a love heart and I took this to be a very auspicious sign. Of what, I’m not sure. Just that it was all so freaking full of excitement and love and happiness. I felt nothing but blessed. My heart was completely full that Thursday evening.




Three candles were lit, one for Joel, Ella and me – the people to whom this baby belonged. And once we were all set up, Joel and I were all, Ok, you ready? Do you want to do this? Joel held the parcel in his hand and as he opened it, I leaned forward, eager and anxious and nervous and apprehensive and so damn excited all at once.



And then friends, lo and behold, THIS is what we saw.





A boy.

A boy.


You wanna know the truthiest truth?

I was disappointed.

I know you’re not supposed to say it, but I was. I knew girls. I wanted Ella to have a sister. I wanted to say ‘my girls’. I know, yes. I know. I should have been grateful we have a baby at all. I should have been happy it was healthy and well and strong. I should, I should, I should.

I knew it would come, though. So I forgave myself for being selfish and I waited patiently. A few days later, Joel and I would be sitting in our car driving up the coast. We’d be dreaming of what it would be like. We’d be throwing boys names around and we’d land on one which would make us stop. We’d roll the name off our tongues and we’d shorten it into the nickname we’d call him, and all of a sudden, I started to cry. That was it. That name, right there. That was my boy. My boy.

And it hit me. That heart-swelling, voice-stealing happiness. That humbling moment you remember that the best things, the best ever things, are those which aren’t planned for or anticipated. The love that hit was humongous and all I could do was sit there, crying, repeating his name over and over in my head. He was ours to love, this little boy. He was all I wanted.




And this girl?



She’s going to have a baby brother to love.

It’s all just so beautiful.





*Friends, if you know my mum or dad DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO THEM. They don’t want to know the sex of the baby and I’d like to try my hardest to honour their wishes. Thank you x

14 Responses to “Boy or Girl. The Big Reveal.”

  1. Kathy h

    Beautiful Rachael Joel and Ella w hat a gift for you all. Sorry our paths won’t cross when I am in Brisbane as Mary old me you would be in NZ so next time when there will be a we bindle of joy to hold and fall for
    Kathy xxxx

    • The Red Tent

      That’s a shame, sorry we’ll miss each other. But to think next time we catch up, you’ll be able to meet him is just the littlest bit exciting! x

  2. Taryn

    Woohoo, congratulations! What a beautiful way to honour your baby! And I’m starting to realize that that disappointment is pretty common- I was convinced my little one was a boy, and couldnt believe when the technician said girl. A few days later, the disappointment had disappeared and I felt nothing but pure joy at the idea of a girl.

    • The Red Tent

      That’s beautiful and I agree. I think most people have a preference. I knew if it was a boy it would take a few days to sink in – another reason I wanted to find out beforehand. But isn’t it true that once they arrive, they are exactly what we want and we couldn’t ever imagine having it any other way? I love that.

  3. Nicolette

    One of my reasons for not learning the sexes of my babies was that I didn’t want to be disappointed. (The other was that it cost $200 to find out, plus surprises are fun). That said- I’d totally find out if I had to do it again. What you described there, that moment of binding love when you said your child’s name- that’s a beautiful thing. Especially when you are spending your days caring for another baby and you don’t have all the time to focus on your growing baby belly.
    And boys? They are great and rowdy and like trucks and are rowdy and pee everywhere and… Are rowdy, and are the sweetest little lover babies!
    Also, that big sister little brother dynamic is priceless!!
    So many congrats!! I’m so glad to have ‘met’ you on IG

    • The Red Tent

      You’re right, I didn’t realize how much less of a focus I’m putting on growing and thinking about this baby because I’ve already got one keeping me busy. Even more reason that finding out the sex has been so wonderful because it has made it more real and given me the experience of a deep bond already. Rowdy! That’s exactly what I was worried about! But I don’t care anymore. 🙂
      I’m so glad we ‘met’ through IG too. x

    • The Red Tent

      Two of each is the perfect balance – well done you! I think same sex siblings is really important so I said to Joel we are just going to have to have 3! (And by that I mean possibly 4) 🙂

  4. Ctrl+Alt+Mum

    LOVED your ideas on how to make this an even more special thing for both of you and for Ella. Sounds like it was well worth going the extra mile rather than just having the scan lady tell you in the room.

  5. Welcoming Billy: A Birth Story « The Red Tent

    […] birthday. And while I thought I wanted another girl because girls are what I know, I had no idea that day on the beach when we opened a flower-covered envelope with shaking hands and racy pulses…. I had no idea that when my heart sunk a little as I read […]


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