This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
Now that we’re nearing the pregnancy finish line, it’s kind of fun to look back on some of the things I was thinking when I first found out MJ was pregnant. To be honest, my first reaction was fear. Not because I was afraid to become a father, but because we had been trying for a child for the last six months and we had some bad luck. Twice we just couldn’t seem to get past 4 weeks and it was very hard on both of us. So when she told me one early August morning that I had to make more breakfast because she was eating for two, I smiled and I hugged her but all I was really thinking was “Please work this time because I don’t think we can take another disappointment.” So a little bit of the joy was sucked out of the moment initially, but that all changed on August 20, 2007 when we went for a six-week ultrasound and the doctor assured us everything was going great. It was that day when I realized parenthood was definitely coming and I allowed myself to start writing down some thoughts. Here’s what I was thinking that day:
I wouldn’t let on to my wife that I was nervous, but how could I not be?? After two miscarriages here was our big chance. The HCG levels had matched up and now it felt like it all came down to this. But first a few notes…Looking back on that entry I’m jealous of my earlier self. I wish I could go back to that day and not know what I know now, about nausea and crankiness and mood swings. About a pregnant woman’s sense of smell being so pronounced that some days I would have to sit all the way across the room because she didn’t like my scent that day. Not to mention watching my beautiful wife stuff her face with the weirdest combination of foods, such as grapefruit and Kit-Kat bars all at the same time. But all in all it’s been pretty fun, although I admit we both want this baby sooner than later. I want it because the anticipation is killing me and she wants it so she can stop peeing every 15 minutes.
All I know about ultrasounds comes from movies. They rub the jelly stuff on the woman’s stomach, then press down with that thing that looks like it scans groceries at the supermarket. Then the picture of the baby pops up and you “ooooh and ahhhh.” But that’s not what happened. So I’m all prepared for the jelly on the belly when MJ disrobes and jumps into a chair with stirrups. I’m confused but before I can ask what’s going on the lab tech comes in and says we’re ready to go. Imagine my surprise when she pulls out this long, thin rod and covers it with jelly. I was horrified as she bent down and prepared to impale my wife with this crazy contraption. I had no idea the ultrasound at this stage had to be internal. My wife said she knew I had no idea, but didn’t want to tell me because she wanted to watch the look on my face. Sweetheart isn’t she??
Anyways, my shock quickly subsided when the picture started to come into focus. It took a few seconds but all of a sudden there was a black circle that just appeared out of nowhere, like someone had just pushed aside some space to make room for the baby. And in the middle of that circle was a tiny, circular mass of something. That’s my kid. No more than a speck right now, but as she got a better view, I saw something flash ever so slightly. The lab tech must’ve heard my breath catch in my throat as she read my mind and answered the question I couldn’t seem to lodge from my throat.
“It’s very faint, but that’s the baby’s heart beat,” she said knowingly.
At only six weeks it wasn’t strong enough to even register a beat count on their instruments, but the doctor said everything is in order and as it should be. In two weeks we’ll come back for another ultrasound at the fertility clinic and then it’ll be off to find our own OB/GYN.
Words really can’t describe the feeling you get when you witness your unborn child’s heart beat for the first time. It felt like coming through the tunnel at Fenway Park and taking in the sight of the field for the first time. You’re awestruck and everything hits you all at once and you never want to leave the moment. I couldn’t control the smile on my face as we took our ultrasound picture out of the office. When we got downstairs I slapped MJ a high-five and then picked her up and twirled her around in the parking lot yelling “We’re gonna have a baby!!!!” She got a little dizzy because she wasn’t feeling well, but it was worth it.
What a feeling of relief, pride and anticipation. We immediately went to tell our parents who were all in different places. First my Dad, who shouted “I’m going to be a grandfather” proudly to his whole office. Then to my Mom who jumped up and hugged us tight as soon as she realized what was going on. Both had tears in their eyes and I think my Mom was still adjusting to the word “Grandma.” Then we told MJ’s parents, along with her aunts and cousin who were visiting, who were as happy as people can get when they heard the news. And of course I called everyone I know to tell them. I even yelled out the car window at passing motorists and informed the guy working in the toll booth. Unfortunately he still made us pay.
The point is, the feeling overwhelms you but in a great way. You’re not thinking of how you’ll afford day care, renovating the second bedroom into a nursery or 3 a.m. feedings. You’re only thinking of the life you created out of love with your significant other, and the joy on the faces of your closest family and friends. It’s been an incredible day and I love my wife so much.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of this experience will be like!