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Today I started the first day of my new life. It’s just the prologue of this particular story, but I know it has begun. I would have expected that day to be when we found out we were having a baby, or perhaps the day we moved here back in November. But there was some things about today that just made it obvious that things have changed for me, for real.
The first and most obvious was that we had returned from vacation. It was probably the last vacation without a child, at least for a while. But it was also the way I felt myself responding to our return. The chores that we would have been split equally between my wife and I were now weighted more towards me.
That is because the math is different now. It is not 2 equals anymore. The situation is now one raised above the other two at all costs. That means both of us have to do a lot more. Just because that one cannot be seen yet does not mean that my wife is not working hard all the time. And that means I need to work harder, too, in the world outside her womb.
It also felt incredible to be working from home, for a company I truly love. That is not something that is completely possible right now, but it is the ultimate goal. To have a taste of it today crystallized its beauty. I need to find other good ways to generate income without going into an office.
Unpacked the bags, did the laundry, bought some groceries, cleaned the dishes, shit I usually hated doing suddenly became somehow more important. These chores need to get done now because we are going to have a baby soon. It was intuitive and obvious and an utterly different thought than I’ve ever had before. There was always later, before. Now there’s a date where later ends. I must be ready.
Chilling out in the DR. My wife is doing great and our little unborn is growing at a furious rate. This is exactly the tropical vacation we need before becoming parents.
I’ve been looking around and thinking about what it would be like to be here with a child. I’ve decided that it would be fantastic and easy to do. Time stops, the concerns of the world vanish and you are able to indulge in your own rhythm of life. The problems: paying for it and medical care.
Otherwise, tropical paradise is perfect for baby-raising, as far as I can see.
This post is brought to you by a hammock and the incessant chirping of crickets.
Saw the doctor today, and also my unborn child. It was incredible. The tiny little heart within my wife’s womb was beating fast and steady. 8 weeks in a great milestone to hit. 12 weeks will be even better. Of course the happy news was delivered with a healthy douse of caution as well. Still lots of things to rule out and avoid, but so far, so good.
Dinner with my bro tonight and now we’re off to the pub for a pint or two. This, too, is a luxury that will not last much longer. Gotta enjoy this free time while I still have it.
Friends came by for dinner tonight and when they drove away a few hours ago, they left their kids behind. That was the plan, though. They get a night to see music or a movie, and we get to practice taking care of young children. It was awesome.
The kids already know us pretty well. The three year old knows us by name and is always happy to see us. But I wasn’t sure how it was going to go when it was actually time for Mom and Dad to step out the door. Me and the three year old were building a plane with Legos so he barely looked up to see them off. my wife had the one year old in her arms attempting to put him to sleep, but he was a little more fussy. It was later than usual so he was probably overtired, and because he’s still so young it had to be a little confusing that his parents weren’t there to put him to bed. I tried taking him for a while and he just screamed and squirmed in my arms, but it worked out because then my wife became a more desirable human for some reason, and after rocking him in the dark for a bit and then laying down with him, he was out.
Before the other one went to bed I read him some stories, but mostly it was just me answering a variety of the same “but why…” questions over and over. So funny. Eventually we took the Lego plane we made and flew around the apartment and then into the bed and he was so good and quiet with his young brother sleeping next to him. I was utterly surprised by how amendable he was to going to bed, and even though he wasn’t quite asleep when I got up, he hasn’t made a peep since. I did promise I’d check on him, though, so I’m gonna do that in just a few minutes. Keeping promises is important.
I know it won’t always be this easy with a kid of our own, but it felt good that we had some instinctive knowledge of how to handle little ones. Without a doubt, though, we still have tons to learn.
The first ultrasound is tomorrow at 3:30pm. We are so excited to see our little one growing in Mom’s belly. We are so excited for everything there is to come.
Okay so are we sure this is the way it’s supposed to go? You just sit around waiting for your wife to balloon up and then bam there’s three on the team? Clearly it is the way all of us arrived on this planet, but it’s almost too ludicrous to even consider.
The odd thing is that even though every one of us have been there, done that–gestation in the womb for 9 months, contractions that pushed us into the world and then our first shout of life on Earth–none of us remembering it happening *to* us. And even though it has happened more than 6 billion times only counting the people alive on this planet today, each of us only get to experience the event a handful of times. Sure, midwives and doctors see many more, but for the average person it’s typically their own and then their kids. But everyone I talk to who has children says it is one of the most profound days of their lives. It is amazing that something that every single one of us share can be so absolutely transcendent.
I can’t say I’m ready for it, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Word is spreading. We’re slowly but surely ringing up our friends and family and letting them share in the joy. It still feels a little early, but we can’t help ourselves. It’s too much fun.
Last night was great. We lied to our friends about being in the area and then dropped by with a gift for their 1 year old son. The note was from his ‘pregnant aunt’ and when his Mom and Dad read that, their reactions were priceless. It was so much fun to see people find out in person, because nearly everyone we’ve told has been over the phone. Hopefully there will be a few more like that, but it’s been really tough to keep it to ourselves.
I’m really looking forward to the ultrasound. I hope we get to see the heartbeat, but I know that doesn’t always happen. In some ways the initial shock has worn off, and since she’s not showing, I have to keep reminding myself that this is really happening. Intellectually I know this is definitely going down, but emotionally I’m still a little detached. Each and every step will bring this into sharper focus, but I can see how it must be tough for guys to truly connect to the reality of pregnancy. I can only stand here on the outside constantly asking, Are you okay? How are you feeling? What do you need? What do feel like inside? What can I do?
The fact is, though, one of the most important things I can do I already did. Obviously there’s still plenty to take care of to make sure our new child enters the world safe and secure and that we are well-prepared. But the extreme physicalness of this process is completely out of my hands. There is the thin skin wall of her soft belly that conceals and contains this amazing event. Until the child is breathing air, wrapped in my arms, all I can do is wait and watch and help and hope.
Today we got home at about 2:30pm. I grabbed the paper, scooped up the big soft red blanket, set the lights just so, laid out on the couch and began to read. Fifteen minutes later the paper was on my chest and I was sound asleep. I napped for about an hour and a half. Then we watched lots of LOST, made dinner, chatted and then I retreated to what was the ‘den’ and is now ‘the baby’s room’ and I proceeded to read the rest of the New York Times. No one demanded my time and attention. No meltdowns, no screaming, no crying, no terrifying uncertainty of what the hell I was doing with a child in my arms. Not yet.
I savored every moment of this afternoon. After spending the weekend with our friends who have 1 beautiful 3 year old daughter and another couple with 2 great kids, I was reminded once again that soon, chaos will reign supreme. I know I’m not ready for it, but it has become quite clear to me that no one ever is, so I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy this time now, all of it. The luxury of reading the entire paper. The selfish indulgence of an afternoon nap. Multiple episodes of a show I want to watch, which does not include singing or imaginary cartoon characters.
But there was one thing I didn’t feel this weekend that of late I have experienced on more than one occasion. I did not feel envious of my friends who are parents, and of their amazing kids. I no longer had to spend the weekend hoping for that beautiful clamor of children and family. I no longer had to hope the chaos of new life would consume my world. I will have that. That existence is on the way, growing every day in my wife’s body. Our creation is twice the size it was last week. Soon our baby will be bigger than anything either of us have ever experienced in our lives. And when something that huge crash-lands in the center of your life, it is bound to shake up a few things, and make a lot of noise. I cannot wait, but since I have to wait, in the meantime I will help my wife in every way possible, and I will enjoy the anticipation and the quiet.
I guess that is why some people don’t want those noisy chaos creators in their bars. I suppose I can understand that. But it feels weird to almost be on the other side.
I knew it was dangerous to talk to her. She’s been one of my best friends for more than 12 years, and she’s the one person besides my wife that I can really talk to about just about anything. I knew it was going to be impossible to hang out with her, her husband and their 3 year old daughter without them figuring out that we were pregnant. That’s why we had a plan to tell them this weekend when we saw them.
But I truly never expected supernatural powers to come into play when ferreting out our secret. I called her the other night to talk about the weekend plans, and everything was just fine. Normal conversation, no weird pauses or slip-ups by me revealing what was up.
But as the conversation came to a close, she said this to me: “Now, I don’t want to be nosey or anything, but I have to ask you something.” Oh shit, I thought, here we go. “Are you guys pregnant?” she asked, point blank. I mumbled something like nah, but that would be so awesome, the whole time my eyes buggin out as I’m trying to tell my wife what our friend just asked me. “Do we tell her?!?” I mouthed, nearly paralyzed. Lying to one of my bestest friends felt so wrong, but she was continuing. “Huh,” she said. “Cause the other night I had this really vivid dream with your wife in it and she told me that she was pregnant and then we started doing yoga and were levitating and all this stuff. It was incredible, and it was so vivid that I really thought you would be.”
By this time I had flipped it to speaker and my wife and I just sat there staring at the phone as these crazy words came out of it. After another moment of mimed questioning to each other and hushed conversation we decided we couldn’t lie. We were going to tell her anyway, so why not right then? It would have been more fun in person, but when a best friend tells you that they had a dream that you were pregnant and you are it is really just impossibly rude to sit there and lie to them.
“Well,” my wife said, “the thing is, I am!”
“You are!? You’re not joking!? Oh my god that is so crazy and awesome!” our friend shouted.
“I cannot believe you just asked us that!” I said to her. I still can’t.
Now, it was no secret that we were hoping for a family so it’s no surprise that it was on our friend’s mind. But she’s known this for months and has never asked, and in all that time she’s never had a dream like this, either.
I knew it was going to be impossible to hide this from her, but I had no idea that she already knew, even before she spoke to us or saw us. I can’t wait to see them both in person and I know my wife is very excited to talk pregnancy with her. Hopefully her husband will have some fatherly insight for me, too. I love the way they are raising their daughter and I hope we can do as well with the little bundle of joy that’s on the way.
I’m seeing some other best friends tonight, but it will only be me. We’ve got a lot of things to talk about that have nothing to do with secrets or pregnancy or anything even close, so I’m hopeful that I can pull this off. But these friends very intuitive, too, so it’s gonna be touch and go all night.
Of course, with pregnancy there comes a whole new list of worries. Although my view on the world has brightened and the way I feel inside has vastly improved, there are a whole new set of concerns to consider. Obviously the health of my wife and the baby is a constant thought. I am sure that this is going to be another seven and a half months of pure elation mixed with utter terror.
The first time we took a drive after finding out, I had a very specific moment of fear as I realized it was the first time I was on the road with both of them.
Here is a link to an article titled 9 Secrets Health Insurers Don’t Want You to Know, and there is great information in there for budding parents.
And although there is plenty to worry about, there is even more to hope for.
A strange thing has happened since I found out that we’re having a baby. I’ve stopped worrying so much about a lot of things, and I’ve found a sense of happiness and calmness that has eluded me for a while now. I would have thought the opposite would have happened. I expected that the huge responsibility about to transform my life would have me even more concerned, more worried. But that’s just not the case.
Yeah, I still get extremely pissed off when I read about politican shenanigans perpetrated by this terrible administration or the candidates that hope to replace it. I still feel sad and empty when I read about the death and destruction that is ravishing Kenya, the Middle East, Darfur and so on. I worry about finding a great job I really love, and I am still disappointed when another day goes by where that hasn’t happened. I’m concerned for my Mom who will be going into surgery to remove a lump from her breast in a few days, and for my Dad who has not been feeling well for days now, and the tests reveal nothing. I listen to the echo chamber of the media as it amplifies the doom and gloom of our economy and I still go bug-eyed when I see our bank account up against our bills.
But in the last week and a half there has been a fundamental shift in my internal landscape and in my view of the world. See, there has been an alarm going off in my brain for several months now, and it was getting louder and more persistent with every passing day. It was like a dog-whistle alarm, though. I couldn’t really hear it so much as feel the brainsplitting soundwaves vibrating me to my very core.
My wife had stopped taking birth control over a year ago. We expected to be expecting several months ago. But we were also in transition moving across the country, finding an apartment, getting set up and starting work. It was not until January 1, 2008 that I finally said to myself, okay, this is it. We need to get pregnant NOW. I could feel the pressure building from her and from within myself as month after month went by and it still had not happened. Each month the tension increased and my worries grew that we wouldn’t be able to conceive, that we would never have kids of our own. That stress made my concerns about the world, about work, and about my parents even more difficult to bear.
All that has changed now. I still feel those pressures and worries, but their weight is far less, and their sharpness has been dulled. I start getting pissed about our dumbass President and all I have to do is think about my wife and what she’s carrying within her and that anger vanishes into a smile as warmth suffuses me. I think about my Mom’s breast cancer battle and grow tight with concern and then I remember the shout of joy she let out when we told her the news. She will beat this disease because she has to, because she has a new wonderful grandchild on the way. I read the paper and see the photos of people tearing their country apart and it drains my soul right out of my skin, but then all I have to do is go over to my wife and wrap my arms around her and smell her changing scent as she transitions from woman into mother and I am overcome with joy and filled up once again.