Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to be a Lady

Mindy is still pregnant. 2 months, actually.

The little embryo has already developed a beating heart; (s)he has little webbed hands and feet, the hands resting across his/her chest. (S)he is the size of a kidney bean, but already causing problems.

Mindy hasn't thrown up yet, but she feels like it...all the time. I've had to quit wearing perfume and burning candles around the house because the smell is too overpowering. She's eating less. Apparently, everything looks good and then she gets going and then feels pukey.

She's also really tired and tends to fall asleep around 8:00 on the couch. Though she was already a snorer, it's gotten louder. I'm pretty much setting up camp on the couch. I hope that doesn't last for 7 more months.

Thankfully, I'm off on Tuesday and Thursday, so I clean. I've pretty much been cleaning everything. Mindy's too tired to do anything when she gets home from work.

Other than that, nothing has changed. We haven't bought anything or fixed the house in any way. We haven't discussed names since before the baby was made. Except for the sleeping and nausea, everything feels normal.

Except for the waiting. Last night we just talked in the quiet of our house. The cats lounged around, totally unaware of how their lives will be affected in the coming months. They don't suspect a thing.

I suggested we start up our "date night" again, before we lose each other to the screams and diapers, to no sleep and coffee breath. The only problem is Mindy staying awake long enough for me to take her out.

No one has called us squealing into the phone. I mean, my family knows: all of the Holzhausers. No one has really said anything. Well, that's not entirely true. Last night my aunt Connie asked me to meet her at Hobby Lobby to pick out a baby cross-stitch quilt. When I first saw her, she hugged me and then started talking about her day at work, neighbors, the family, how she hated Wal-Mart for taking out their fabric section. I guess I was expecting more, so I said, "Can you believe that Mindy is pregnant?" She said something like, no, 'cause I thought you said you were going to have the baby...that you wanted a baby. I'm sorry, guys, but I've never said that I wanted to have a baby (come out of my body). I gave her my usual line, "You can't drink beer and play rugby if you're pregnant."

Again, she talked about herself and other random things. Minutes later I tried again, after I picked out the quilt pattern, "I'm nervous," I said. "Oh, you'll be good parents. You'll teach it..." (and here I thought she'd say how to love, how to be open minded, how to care)... "how to play sports, and Mindy'll teach it (and she pauses) to be a lady."

Yes, those are the two most important things to teach a child.

So once again, I realized how much my family doesn't get me. I was sad. And hurt. Do they really think that all I have to offer is athletic ability? What about my love of music? Literature? Films? What about my strong sense of know, the reason I was able to get out of town. What about my intelligence? Love of animals? The way I love my wife. I guess sports is the most important trait.

And Mindy has more to offer than her fabulous hair and beauty mark, as you all know. She's smart and funny. Nurturing and tender. Spontaneous and loving.

My family has never taken the time to get to know me, either. No one ever asks me anything. Never my opinion. Never.

When Connie and I parted at the Hobby Lobby, I told her I'd see her on Thanksgiving. Then, I asked who would be cooking (since Grandma will have dialysis). She mumbled some things. I mentioned that I could be handy around the kitchen. That I was the cook in our house. I asked what I could bring. I got a vague answer.

I walked out, the rain spitting and the sky dark. An old man sat up against the building, his face was red from cold or drink. He was dirty. A dog curled on his lap. He was petting him and talking to him. Reaching into my pockets, I found nothing.

So I went my car, closed the door, and started to cry.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For Sale: One Unused Pregnancy Test

Well, it's been a little over a week since we found out that Mindy is pregnant. Here's a picture I took of myself just minutes after I found out:

So, for a week now, we've known we're going to be parents. Our lives haven't changed much yet. All we've done is buy more fruits and vegetables. Oh, and Mindy quit drinking half decaf and now goes all the way. By doctor standards, Mindy is 5 1/2 weeks pregnant. The fetus (at least I think it's a fetus now) has a heartbeat...kind of. I know this because we've both subscribed to It sends us weekly updates of what's going on inside of Mindy. That link tells you a lot. Mindy has been complaining about her boobs hurting and feeling heavy and lifting upward...she says. I've noticed that she's tired a little earlier. Oh, and she gets nauseous a couple of times a day.

My life is changing, too. On Thursday, while I was at a rainy rugby practice (with my cell phone tucked safely away in a car) Mindy called from the neighbor's phone to say she'd locked herself out of the house. Two and a half hours later, I check my phone and rush home. She has been sitting on the porch for nearly three hours. I know it wasn't my fault, but I felt badly about it.

And then Friday morning, we're getting ready for work. Mindy kisses me and shuts the door. I hear the engine rev in the truck and then I hear a smack. I'm in the bathroom and I run to the window, knowing what I'll see. The truck pulls forward, away from our car. The hood looks funny.

I run outside, pissed, but calm. "What happened?" I ask. Then, this thing happens, Mindy gets this look on her face, like a three year old, like she can't control herself. Her face contorts, she pulls her hands to her mouth and she starts crying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." And tears are rolling down her face, "I knew it was there. I saw it." I laugh and frown and look at the car, assessing the damage (it doesn't look bad, but it'll probably cost 1,000$). She laughs and cries and then really cries. I gathered her up and convinced her to go back in the house. She keeps saying she can't calm down.

You see, she has baby brain. The only experience I've had with this is a coworker, who, while getting out of our MoDOT truck, stumbled a little, giggled, and then forgot what she was saying. "Are you pregnant?" I asked. She seemed embarrassed, "How did you know?"

And poor Mindy was still crying, her hands to her face, "What if the baby is ditsy like I am?" I laughed and hugged her. She cried a little more.

I got her calmed down and she left for work. It was then that I cried. I stood in the kitchen and let some tears fall. And they fell as I drove to work, sipping my cinnamon coffee and listening to NPR. And they almost fell when I got to work.

I cried because it all hit me. I cried because I felt like I'd lost my best friend. I was devastated at the thought of losing the Mindy I know and love. I realized I had 8 months left and I hoped her brain got back to normal soon. Yes, my wife is sometimes wrapped up in her thoughts and she forgets things, but she's not silly enough to back our Tundra into our car. I kept picturing her crying in the driveway, " I wrecked your car," she had said. And her face again, that three year old deep inside of her, her expression, how crazy she looked. I felt alone, like I would have to deal with this the whole time. Like no one had ever done it before.

* * *

Since Friday, everything seems ok. I graded papers today while Mindy went grocery shopping (normally I do that). When she got home she said she wandered around lost for a little while.

* * *

I've been reading that damn website and parts in the baby book. It says that the "dad" usually feels like he's not really a part of anything yet, that while his wife's body is changing, he feels nothing. That's totally not the case for me. But, I'm not a man.

The other day in the kitchen, my arms around my wife, I told her I thought being a lesbian helped. I am a woman. I have a womb. Though there's no baby growing inside of me, messing with my body and brain, but I still feel closer to Mindy. Closer than what? Than a guy, I guess, though I hate to say it. I know what cramps feel like, I know what it means to have PMS, swollen boobs, the whole thing. You see, chemicals mess with my moods, too.

I hope Mindy doesn't have morning sickness. I also hope this wrecking the car episode is a one time thing. What if she were on the road instead of in the driveway?

I understand that right now the widget is the most important thing in our lives. I knew this would happen, but I didn't realize it would happen before he was born. I've heard everyone say, "Your life won't be about you anymore." I knew that. I still know that. In fact, quit saying that to me.

Mostly, I want my wife back. I am an only child, and I'm used to having her full attention. This little fetus is the size of a sesame seed, and already he's taken my wife and my best friend from me. He gets what he wants already. Mindy said one of her fears about having a baby would be that I'd fall in love with it, and she'd be number two in my life.

I never even though that he could get to her first.