Kimstat: Certainly, babies deserve celebrating. The problem is that the shower is one of the few situations where gifts are, if not absolutely mandatory, the defining purpose of the party. The point of the party is to "shower" the soon-to-be new mom with things she'll need, but won't have.on hand already from previous children. A "shower without gifts" is a contradiction in terms.
It's a hold-over from an earlier time, when setting up with just a crib and a few sets of baby clothes could financially tax a young couple; but also, a time when things were "used up, worn out or made to do". An experienced mother wouldn't need a new cradle, or new clothes -that's what hand-me-downs were for. Expecting your family and friends to upgrade your used stuff would be an unfair drain on their finances.
So, the "meet-the-baby" (either pre- or post-nativity) party was born. It's for celebrating a new life, but without calling it a "shower", the implication that you'd better be bringing the goods is gone. People can give a gift if they want (and most people probably will), but that's not the point of the gathering - it's the baby that's the focus.
If someone insists on a "shower" instead of a normal get-together (and that's clearly not the case with mrsbrandt), it tends to make me think that the gifts are indeed more important than the child.