Haven't read the whole thread but I'm 100% with you OP. Just the mere words 'baby shower' on an invite makes me cringe - I read it as 'shower us with gifts'. If it's not about the gifts then just call it a morning tea or lunch or afternoon tea or whatever! But the words 'baby shower'.... arrrghhhh, makes me want to run far, far away.
A friend of mine was quite determined to organise one for me. Luckily my best friend got word of it and put a stop to it as she knew I really didn't like the idea of them. I did have a brunch at a cafe with my closest friends 2 weeks before DS was due but that was it. No gifts - just a last chance for me to enjoy my friend's company before DS arrived. Those who wanted to give gifts came and gave them to me after DS was born which was great and very much appreciated.