Saturday, December 26, 2009

So This is Christmas...

Mindy is sleeping beside me.

We're in a hotel in Terre Haute, Indiana. We've actually stayed here before...the Thanksgiving before last. We ate at the same Lone Star Steakhouse. It was better than it should be both times--probably because it feels like a date.

So, anyway, here's Mindy, right here. I wish you could see her: white tank top, bra, underwear. She wears a bra a lot now because her boobs are heavy and hurt her. I read in the pregnancy books that a woman's boobs can go from weighing 7 oz. to 24 oz. Ouch. And no thanks.

Last night I was watching Ghost Adventures on the travel channel while Mindy slept in the other hotel bed. It was around midnight. (we've been sleeping in separate beds and rooms because her snoring is so loud lately). I had an urge to crawl into bed with her. I pictured the peach-sized baby inside of her and felt mushy.

In my half sleep, I dreamt that we were having an ultrasound and we accidentally saw that it was a girl. I felt overwhelmed and warm and happy.

This morning Mindy told me she had a dream too: it was her first time seeing our child. It was a girl who was just old enough to walk. Mindy said she had her eyes and she felt so warm and fuzzy and mushy.

When people are offering advice and opinions to us it usually goes like, "Your life is going to change forever." The next thing we hear is: you don't know what love is until you have a child.

I'm usually annoyed by both of those. Duh. I know my life's going to change in huge, horribly wonderful ways. That's why deciding to have a baby is a big deal. I'll admit that I can't understand those ways yet, but I know they're coming.

And about the love of a child. Gross. And just shut up.

But this past week I've been with Mindy and her family. We see her mom not too often (since she still lives in Alaska). Mindy's relationship with her mom is weird to me. They kiss each other on the mouths. They hug a long time. They touch in ways I've never wanted to touch my family.

Last night I was sitting beside my wife, watching her mom stroke her back and look at her with watery eyes. At first I was like, "sheesh." Then I thought, like, this woman shoved this child out of her body. And for the last 35 years of her life she's had to worry about her. And love her.

This time next year, if things go as planned, we'll have a 5 month old baby.

Mindy will have created inside of her, a small human being. She will have endured heavy boobs, mood swings, nausea, hunger, and horrendous pain.

I'm really trying to ignore the snoring that wakes me every hour. You know, because she's growing a baby. I'm tired. I only know it gets worse after the baby comes along.

Mindy has a peach-sized human inside of her, sucking her energy.

And for all of that, the least the baby could do is have her eyes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Love it When You Call Me Big Poppa

We are more than halfway through Mindy's 10th week of pregnancy.

Last Tuesday we had an appointment with the doctor. The real doctor. The woman who will deliver the baby. Of course, I've been going with Mindy to all appointments. But maybe that's not an "of course."

Every time Mindy goes to the doctor she has to pee in a cup (to check for proteins) and get weighed and blood pressured cuffed. No big deal. Twice now the nurse/doctor/whomever will not look me in the eye until she's asked Mindy, "and who do you have with you today?" Mindy says, "my wife/partner." Then, like a switch, I'm acknowledged, spoken to, though only about 10 percent of the time. Every other question and statement is directed at Mindy.

Last Tuesday was the big day. Or, one of many big days we'll be having. Let's say, one of the biggest so far. We'd heard it from other mothers that the dil-cam ultrasound might be done.

Mindy was directed into a room with a table and stirrups. Of course, there was lube and tubes lying out on the table near the sink. The doctor came in to talk, was very friendly, and then asked when Mindy last had her pap. As is turned out, she needed one.

The doctor left, and I didn't know what to do. I knew we were going to get to see the baby, so I wanted to be there for that. I didn't need to be there for the pap, though, and I had a moment of panic. Should I leave the room? Should I stay and act cool? What did the father usually do?

I stayed, but I took off my coat as it was getting very hot. Mindy said I should leave if I was going to cry like last time, but I promised I'd be tough.

So, I'm at Mindy's head while the doctor did the pap. I made a joke it was the first time I'd ever been in the room for one...when it wasn't mine. We asked the doctor if the husbands usually stayed for that part. She said they normally left the room.

I felt a little stupid.

But then the cool part came (except for the vaginal probing ultrasound). Within in seconds of flipping on the screen Mindy and I saw a little, teeny fetus. "Cool," I said. But when it started moving, and not just moving, but fuckin' doing the robot, that's when I said, "Holy Shit!"

The doctor asked what I did for a living. "I'm a professor...of English." She smiled up from Mindy's spread legs.

* * *

Like a good expectant parent, I've been doing some reading. Every week I get an email from telling me what size the baby is compared to a fruit. This week a kumquat, next a lime. Of course, when I signed up, I checked the box that said, "Father."

When I'm flipping through the baby books, there are little, if any parts directed at the other half of the baby. While at Barnes and Noble looking for books, I found 3 designed for men. One was called, "The Caveman's Guide to Pregnancy." I thumbed through. It was sad. If I were a man, I would've been offended. It had some recipes to cook when mom was feeling tired: pesto and pasta. In the back I found at least 10 drink recipes.

Oh, I know, it's supposed to be funny, and I admit that I smiled once.

Other books address the father like he's a little smarter, but not much. Tips I've read recently are "being nice to her since she's pregnant" and offering to massage her back. It's not until week 16 in one book that this "dad tip" pops up:
Do you have concerns that you haven't shared with anyone? Are you concerned about your partner's health or the baby's? Do you wonder about your role in labor and delivery? Are you worried about being a good father? Share your thoughts with your partner. You won't burden her. In fact, she'll probably be relieved to know she's not alone in feeling a little bit overwhelmed by this monumental life change.

Like it would take anyone 4 months to think of these things and talk about them? Or here's this gem at week 10:

Are you concerned about sex during pregnancy? You both may have questions, so talk about them together and with your partner's doctor. Occasionally during a pregnancy you'll need to avoid intercourse. However, pregnancy is an opportunity for increased closeness and intimacy for you as a couple. Sex can be a positive part of this experience.

Oh ok, here's a tip at week 5: Clean or vacuum the house without being asked.

Oh, and this one Ask your partner which visits to the doctor she'd like you to attend. Some couples attend every visit together, when possible. Ask her to let you know the date and time of each appointment.

Well, thank you pregnancy books, for those enlightening ideas. Men, be offended. Women, be offended. Humans: protest.

Listen, I've mentioned before that I feel like I'm at an advantage over dads. I'm a woman and have female parts. However, this advantage does not apply, nor should it when it comes to general care and maintenance of a relationship. If either man or woman doesn't know when to take over when a partner is feeling shitty, then I just can't see that relationship as working.

* * *

Now, listen up, people. One of the bad things about being a woman and reading these pregnancy books is picturing it all happening inside of you. I'm almost afraid of having an hysterical pregnancy from all of this reading. What I do know is this: it's worth the extra house cleaning to not have to have a human growing inside of me.

But again, another disadvantage is this: sex. As a woman...who (occasionally) performs oral sex on women (one specifically) I probably shouldn't be reading these books. I keep seeing words like, "increased vaginal discharge." Listen up, ladies. As a woman, I know what goes on down there, and because of my attraction to women, well, I don't want to say it again. But, I'm afraid that my giving of such services may be rendered null and void, especially after a baby comes out of there.

Guys, no matter how intimate you are with your ladies, I guarantee it can't get as close as another woman (and I'm only talking about physicalities) Like, you'll never have cramps, breasts (proper ones, not moobs) a vagina or vulva. (of course women don't usually have those things that you have, either)

God, so what I'm trying to say is this: ignorance is bliss. No, I'm trying to say: being a lesbian can be tough. No, what I really want to say is: oral sex should be illegal.

noNoNO, that's all wrong.

My point is this: I'm going to be a parent.