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From day one I’ve been convinced I’m having a girl. Steve too. We talked for hours about names and barely touched on the boy’s list, while the girl’s list grew and grew. So when we went to our 17-week gender scan, we were fairly confident we knew the answer.
“Baby’s not playing ball,” said the sonographer, as the screen lit up with an image of our little one in a yoga position, legs firmly crossed. “But I can’t see any obvious ‘bits’ immediately…so my first thoughts are it’s a girl.” Perhaps we were right…
I was sent off to drink a sugary drink and do some star jumps to stir the baby. Second time, still not lucky: this time the baby had its hands between its legs. So, some orange juice and a swift walk later, we went in for a third time to see our child. I was thrilled by how often we were getting to see them!
This time, despite the umbilical cord being slightly in the way, the sonographer was 80% sure she had the answer….
….we are having a boy!
I raised my eyebrows at Steve, both of us in shock, but with big smiles upon our faces.
This little creature who we love more every day was no longer an it but a he.
Part of my brain was racing. After months of thinking girl, this was a change in direction. “But how do I bring up a boy? I don’t know how boys work! Nearly all my experience with kids is with little girls. Oh my, how do I do this?” I wasn’t silent: these were words said out loud to Steve. And as I said them, and looked at him, the fears slid away and new thoughts found their way in. “He might be like a mini Steve. I can’t imagine anything better. And we can raise him a feminist. This world needs more male feminists. And look at those tiny Converse. Oh my, we’re going to have a son!”
We didn’t share our news with anyone else for another three weeks. The 20 per cent of uncertainty meant we wanted to wait for further confirmation at our 20-week scan. It also gave us a few weeks to sit with the news ourselves and make new dreams for our little boy. We were in Italy during that time, and many an hour was spent by the pool or over pasta, debating new names and imaging our tiny man. He felt more real as the days went by.
And, sure enough, at 20 weeks, we had our confirmation: legs wide open, there was little doubt left to spare: we are having a boy!
How to make a hidden word cake
The hidden word cake was Steve’s idea, partly inspired by an episode of the Great British Bake Off where one of the bakers made an incredible terrine cake with a flag pattern running through the middle. We also didn’t want to do something that relied on pink or blue being the reveal. So the cake is what Steve came up with, perfect considering my well-documented cake-obsession!
I was busy the week we wanted to make it, so Steve took it upon himself to bake, despite never having made a cake before! I sat working in the kitchen, butting in occasionally as I watched his progress, and I did the final icing, but the vast bulk of the work was his. And he did an amazing job!
This was the process:
- Make two small simple butter sponge cakes using red food colouring in one and purple in the other.
- Create a cardboard template of the letters that make up ‘boy’.
- Use the cardboard templates to cut out the letters from the red cake. Steve cut out three of each letter.
- Cut a block of the purple cake to create an underline for the word ‘boy’.
- In a large cake tin, lay down the purple block to create an underline and base for your word.
- Now stack the word ‘boy’ on top on the purple base. Stack the three B’s closely next to one another, so there is no gap in-between. Do the same for the O’s and the Y’s. But also make sure to leave a good space between the B, O and Y.
- Mix up the same simple butter sponge mix, this time with no colouring.
- Gently spoon the mixture into the cake tin, being carful not to knock over the letters. It’s helpful to use a piping bag to do this as it’s very finicky, especially getting the batter to go through the middle of the letters.
- Bake the cake until it’s cooked through. Leave to cool.
- Decorate however you like. I used a simple cream cheese icing. Steve also made the ‘It’s a’ on the top of the cake. He printed off the words and then used that as a template to cut it out of cardboard. He then covered it in glitter.
One thing to note is that you don’t necessarily need the underline. We saw examples where people have simply put down a layer of cake mixture and then stacked the letters on top. We were worried the letters would sink through the mixture, hence why we added the underline. Steve followed this tutorial to make the cake.
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Babybond scans at Mothercare
We had our first gender scan with Babybond in Mothercare in Bristol, which I highly recommend. As well as the screen the sonographer looks at, there’s another big screen at the end of the bed, so you can clearly see what’s happening. You can also take photos/video while you’re in there, which we weren’t allowed to do at the hospital. This means we have some very cute footage of our baby wriggling around in the womb. Steve and I also went there for an early scan, for some reassurance, at about eight weeks. And we intend to go again for a 3D scan at about 28 weeks. The scans cost from £39 and you can bring 3-5 guests depending on the scan you choose.
By the way, this post isn’t sponsored by Mothercare or Babybond, I’m just sharing some (hopefully) useful info!