In every version of the N-D newsroom I've ever been in, there's been some kind of board on which we'll pin things that make us laugh or items of particular interest.
Once it was called the Wall of Shame and it was full of goodies. These days, we have a dry erase board we loosely refer to as "the countdown board."
We keep track of things like the Cubs' record and also count down to milestones. Right now, there's one of particular interest to me that's counting down faster than I ever imagined. It reads: "Countdown to Baby Parky" and, as of this writing, it sits at 142 days.
That seems like a lot, but considering when that countdown started (after we found out on April 10), it was at 255, it's clear we've come a long way, baby.
Last weekend, we hit a milestone. I promise not to write a column each time we hit a milestone, but — well, nevermind. I can't make that promise.
Anyway, on July 23, we had an ultrasound in which the technician revealed she could determine baby's gender. My wife and I had affectionately been referring to the baby as Walter because — in one early, distorted ultrasound picture — it beared a striking resemblance to ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's curmudgeonly puppet of the same name. Endearing as that nickname was, we were happy to be able to start using proper pronouns and address Walter by an actual name we intend to use.
Even still, when the technician said she could determine the gender, there were tough decisions for the Parkhouses. First, you should know that I've always been in the "let's be surprised" corner when it came to knowing our baby's gender. I figure there are no real surprises left in life anymore, so I definitely didn't want to know.
Then, we got that positive pregnancy test result. I almost immediately did an about-face on the subject. So, that decision had already been made, for the most part.
Also, we were toying around with the idea of doing a gender reveal party with close family and friends. It was either find out in the ultrasound room or go through with the party. It seemed dumb to me to find out and then still have the party. I can be stubborn like that.
So, we turned our heads, and the technician concealed the gender from us. She printed a picture, placed it an envelope and sealed it with an obscene amount of tape. I took the envelope - so as to keep it from my wife and mother-in-law who, frankly, I didn't trust with its contents.
I then put it in the trunk of our car, because I didn't trust myself with it, either.
We then drove it back into town and delivered the envelope straight to Uptown Cakery, who was in charge of making our cake. The idea was to have them dye the inside of the cake either pink or blue, obviously depending on the envelope's secret.
Two days later, we gathered with more than 20 of those closest to us, ate lunch and wheeled out the cake.
At this moment, I didn't so much know what I was rooting for. I always thought I wanted a boy, but in that moment, I found myself not caring — but I badly needed to know.
With friends and family perched, each wielding a smartphone or device with the record button pressed or their fingers on the shutter, we lopped off the corner of the cake.
Our little "miracle baby" is a girl. My legs began to wobble as the emotional wallop packed by slicing off that bit of cake hit me. There were tears. There were laughs. Plenty of hugs.
It was a truly great moment. Like, a Hall of Fame moment.
Oh yeah, the cake was also delicious.
We think her name will be Cecily, or Cece for short. Mommy and Daddy can't wait to meet you, sweetie. Just 142 days (or thereabouts) and counting.
Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-219-214-4170.