~ Big Trip to Tennessee, & It's a...
I tried to keep a positive attitude as the days to the Tennessee trip approached. The funny thing is that I was more worried about throwing up on the plane and sort of forgot that right before we left town we were going to find out the gender of the baby!
We loaded all our stuff in the car for the trip, and headed the 45 minutes to the doctor's office. It wasn't too long of a wait until we got to go in there. The ultrasound tech was a nice man who works at a local hospital and this doctor's office. He was super friendly and relaxed.
As Tory pointed out later, the real reason for these ultrasounds is that they are looking for problems in the baby. Fortunately I hadn't thought about that too much, but I did get a little nervous as the ultrasound tech spent at least 20 minutes looking at the baby from every angle, measuring head size, body weight, and a bunch of other things I couldn't even begin to know. I could sort of see things on the screen, and every now and again he would turn it towards me and we could see the baby moving in there. Tory had a big smile on his face as we saw our child moving around in real time! That was quite amazing, to see the motions of the arms and legs all going around.
After what seemed like forever, the tech finally turned the screen towards us and said, "I'll show you and let's see if you can guess what it is." We were looking at an underside shot of the butt and legs spread slightly apart. I looked and looked and finally said "I don't see much there," to which he responded, "Exactly. That is telling us that it is a girl." A GIRL!! Hooray! Girls I understand!
After that joyous news, we took our little pictures of the baby and headed to the airport. I was feeling pretty good and made it through two flights, a 2 hour layover, and a 3 hour drive from Nashville to Oak Ridge, and I did not throw up one time! Once we arrived, it was non stop family stuff every day. Tory has five sisters and two brothers, and almost all of them were in town with their many children. Tory's mom is a champion garage-saler, and she had the kids pick out baby clothes from her collection of finds. They gave them to us and we had a little baby shower!
Then there was the big ceremony at a Cathedral in Nashville for Tory's twin sister Sasha and the other Novitiates in her convent to take their first set of vows. She's already been in the order for two years, and this step is the most celebrated of all the steps in becoming a religious Sister (nun). The vows she takes in this ceremony are for three years, after which she'll have the chance to take the lifelong vows and be sworn in forever! However, the final vows I believe are a private ceremony; this set of vows is the one family and friends attend. It's sort of like a big wedding/graduation, although it's of course very formal, and there are tons of Priests and Bishops there. The ceremony was beautiful, although it was quite long and some of my nieces and nephews fell asleep.
We spent all day after the ceremony and much of the next day visiting Tory's sister. It's great to see her so happy in her environment, and realizing that this is really what she wants! It's also great to see that while the focus of her life is definitely maturing and changing, her personality is still the same as it ever was. It's that way with all the Sisters there, and it's really fun to hang out with them! They goof off and make jokes and do all the things regular people my age do, and it's so fun to see that. Seeing a nun habit on someone can be very intimidating, but now that I've had a bit of an inside view I see things very differently!
The trip back home was fairly uneventful, although I was quite uncomfortable on the plane rides and felt a little nauseated. Fortunately I kept my food where it should be! And now that we're home with the kitties again, we can get to the business of preparing for a little girl!!