On Wednesday we talked about pregnancy phase I (I’ll never eat again). Thursday was phase II (life is back to normal or baby, what baby?).
Today is the third and final phase…Phase III – Oh my God, we’re having a baby!
You know when you’re on a roller coaster and you hit the first really tall slope. The roller coaster slows a little, building up momentum to go over the top. You have a false sense of security right at the peak of the slope (that’s phase II). Phase III is the moment you go over the top. Your stomach is in your throat. You’re being jerked around by forces of nature beyond your control. You and everyone around you are screaming like banshees.
Yep. We’re going to have a baby.
For your wife, the nesting instinct hits hard. Suddenly, the concept of having a nursery moves to actually painting the room, installing the carpet, and putting the crib together. (I tried to tell my wife that if Baby Jesus could be born in a manger without the benefit of Pottery Barn bedding, did our child really need something more complicated. I mean, it was Baby Jesus for goodness sakes.) As you might imagine, such logic fell on deaf ears.
Then it’s the child birth classes. Let me make sure I get this straight. We have good health care insurance. There will be a doctor and a nurse in the delivery room (and more on call if we need them). Modern medical technology will be attached to mom and baby. What are we going to learn in a childbirth class that the pros won’t already know? Never mind making the argument…you’re taking a child birth class.
And try to look interested.
You’ll also take the obligatory hospital tour and plan your route to the hospital. (Word to the wise…yes, I know the route to the hospital when you wife goes into labor is EXACTLY the same route you would take on any other occasion. But for some reason, you will make several practice runs just to get the timing down right. No need to argue. Just do it.)
By the end of phase III bad things start to happen. First of all, your wife is very pregnant.
Which makes it hard for her to breath, eat, walk or sleep. Everything makes her miserable. And I mean everything. She’ll hate the sound of Diane Sawyer’s voice on the evening news. She’ll hate the bed she (note, I said she) is sleeping in. She’ll hate the fact that she still hasn’t found the right nursing bra. And most of all, she’ll hate the sight of you. Somehow, during these waning weeks, dads are the only ones responsible for the pending birth. (Funny, that’s not how I remember it.)
And you will be in a state of panic. You’ve never changed a diaper. You have no idea how you will live without sleep. You wonder how you will pay for college. And the thought of using a rectal thermometer…no thanks!
It will be a regular Molotov cocktail in your house. A very pregnant wife who can’t sleep, breath, eat or sleep. And a panic stricken dad that has no idea what he’s in for.
But then the roller coaster stops. The baby is born. You laugh about the fun parts of the ride and try to forget the scary parts.
You’ve actually got a little bit of energy — the kind of energy that comes from conquering a fear or accomplishing something great.
Hold on to that energy my friend…you’re going to need it. Because the next 12 months make the last nine look like child’s play.