The X Factor

Outside, it was cold and blustery, but in the basement of the church where a few hundred women and girls were gathered to celebrate the upcoming birth of another, the atmosphere was warm and festive. We played the usual baby shower games, laughed ourselves silly, and oohed and aahed as my cousin’s daughter opened package after package of beautiful, frilly gifts. Suz was excited, and who could blame her? The very day that an ultrasound told me that I had a granddaughter on the way, I went out and bought a tea set, so I fully understood her joyful anticipation.

Pictures of the baby’s nursery—ready and waiting for its new tenant—were passed around. It was gorgeous. Pink and yellow tulips had been lovingly painted on the walls; it was as if they’d bloomed from the baseboards, creating a lovely garden to inspire happy dreams of sunny summer days to come. The room was prepared, the expectant parents ready, and two sets of grandparents waited anxiously to meet their baby granddaughter.

Within a few weeks, the mother-to-be had completed every chore on her to-do list. All of the new clothes were washed and put away—newborn sizes in the dresser and the rest boxed neatly so that as the baby grew, her things would be easily accessible. She was one energetic and motivated mama.

When the long-awaited day arrived, everyone was excited and they could barely express their gratitude when both mama and baby were declared perfect and healthy. They were practically speechless for another reason, as well. On the first of April—a day known for its propensity to host surprises—baby Tristan was born. Healthy. Perfect. And male. One X short of a canopy crib.

What a difference one little chromosome makes.


  1. Great post as always, Beth! What a fun story!

  2. Gary R. SmithMay 4, 2011 7:54 AM

    HeHeHe!! Great story Beth.

  3. wonderful! I had a similar situation when my oldest was born, ultrasound assured me I was having a girl, lots of pink clothes and the perfect name were chosen, when HE was born Alexandra Danielle became Alex Daniel!

  4. That sounds like fun. We tend to not celebrate babies in our family until after they are born. We've had too many tragedies, losing them. It is nice to see how other families operate. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Funny story! Oh those chromosomes..

    visiting via Z to A

  6. Your writing just pulls me in -- I love your storytelling! The bonus is that this one was about babies :)

  7. @catchats: Thanks! :O)

    @Gary: Thank 'ya, sir. :O)

    @Sass: Yikes!! They caution that the ultrasounds aren't 100% accurate, but they usually are right, so I guess we've all grown to assume that when they say "probably" we can pretty much bank on it.

    I like your son's name!

    @KBalbify: How very sad. I'm sorry that your family has had to endure so much pain.

    @Julie: I think it will always be one of my cousin's (and her daughter's) favorite stories!

    @mm: Awww, thank you!

  8. Oh, you caught me off-guard on this one--as Tristan did the family.

  9. My mom always joked that we all turned around backwards to be purposefully obtuse. They weren't positive about us at anytime though my mother "knew."

    Z to A Challenge

  10. One of the reasons I wouldn't want to be told, even if I had needed an ultrasound (which I didn't, 30 yrs ago). Cute story, and I hope Tristan has no issues growing up being told he was supposed to be a she.

    I’m hosting Z to A in May, but I’m blogging at: Ross County Roundup

  11. Awww, love that story. :)

    I WANTED to know with both of mine and neither one cooperated, so I had the agony of waiting (yes, to postpone all that shopping was heart-wrenching for me! ha!) to decorate and purchase all of the little items I dreamed about. ;-)

  12. @L.L.: :OD

    @Mayzee: Mothers do know an awful lot, though not everyone believes or appreciates our inner brilliance. ;O)

    @Marie Anne: Over the past year or two, I am seeing more and more parents choosing not to find out the gender of their unborn children. I'm amazed at their ability to go to all of the gazillion prenatal checkups and not once change their mind about waiting and say, "Hey doc, pink or blue?"

    Like you, my kids were born back when ultrasounds were done only in problem pregnancies, so I didn't have a choice, but unlike you, I definitely would have wanted to know.

    @Sunshine: Neither? What little stinkers!

  13. That happened with my second child...'sposed to be a girl, came out a boy. That was 25 years ago. Unusual with today's ultrasounds.


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