Part 27: Think ruffles
As it turns out, the baby is not born that night. The next day, however - Oct. 24 - does bring some pretty big news:
It's a girl.
Kathy and Wendy persuade a nurse to do just one more ultrasound, and there on the screen the baby appears, in all her girlness.
Christiana, says Kathy when she sees her. Not Mary Louise. Christiana Marie, that's her name.
"Gram?" says Kathy, on the phone at Wendy's house. "Guess what? We went to the doctor's and we did the sonogram, and they say it's a girl. She's gonna give me a girl, yes. Can you believe it? She's gonna look sweet in that carriage" - the carriage grandma bought with her Social Security check. "Wait till I show her off with that carriage!"
Querida filha, says grandma. That's Portuguese for "darling daughter."
* * *
When they hang up, Kathy says, "I want to get the flag for the house - the it's-a-girl flag."
"You can't hang it up," Wendy tells her. "You can't do that!"
"Why can't I hang it?"
"When it's born] I gotta get it out yet," says Wendy. "What if something happens."
"Nothing's gonna happen," says Kathy.
"I know nothing's gonna happen," says Wendy. "But . . ."
Kathy gets their mother on the phone.
"Ma," she says, "guess what?"
But Louise doesn't have to guess. She already knows, because Nicole told her. Secrets don't stay secret long in this family.
"I'm supposed to tell you it's a girl," says Kathy. "She told you]! So what do you think about our having a girl? Can you believe that? Ma, can you believe I'm gonna have a girl? But Ma, listen! Listen! Listen! It's a girl! It's a girl! Oh, my God. Ruffles. Lace. Think ruffles. Lace. Pink. Bonnets. Fat! The hat matching the dress. Patent leather shoes. Bending over with all the ruffles. Lace. Joe? Joe is ecstatic. He kept going, 'Oh, my God, a little girl. Awww.'
"Wendy knew it all along. 'I knew I was giving you a girl,' she says. 'This is what I wanted. Now it's all complete. I wanted to give you a girl.' She did.
"Ma, I can't believe it. Come over, please! I want to hang the sign up, but my sister won't let me. The sign - It's a Girl! Yeah, that's what she said. . . .
("I gotta bring her down all the time to reality," says Wendy. "I gotta be the bad guy.")
"She says, go ahead," Kathy tells Wendy.
"People are gonna start coming over!" Wendy warns her. "People don't do that with ultrasounds!"
But Kathy's already moved on. She's describing her baby to her mother - "It's fat, it's darlin', it's darlin' . . . "
Louise loves this, that Kathy can tell from an ultrasound that the baby is darling. "I suppose it had a bow in its hair, too," she says.
* * *
In a few minutes, Rachel comes home from school.
"We found out what the baby is," Kathy tells her. "Guess what it is."
"A girl?" says Rachel.
Yes, says Kathy. "You like Christiana or Mary Louise?"
"Christiana!" says Rachel, who endorsed that name one summer day when they were all together at the beach.
"O-kay," says Kathy, with an air of finality, as if that shall be the name, just for Rachel.
* * *
That night, Wendy's water breaks.