First Doctor Appointment

As soon as she could my wife called for an appointment to see her doctor.  Many home tests had confirmed she was going to be a mom but we wanted to make sure everything was kosher and we were on the right track.  I thought her head was going to explode when they told her they couldn't see her until her 8th week; about 2 weeks from when we found out!  She didn't like it, but she passed the time by taking more home pregnancy tests (?she already knew she was pregnant?) and reading all about our new baby.

I have decided that I am going to go to every doc appointment I can, so I cleared my schedule and went with her to our first one.  We went in and met the nurse, got some of the basic tests and stats out of the way and waited for the doc.  In actuality, the doc is really a midwife who my wife has been seeing for all her womanly needs since she has had womanly needs. She was nice, answered all of our questions, and gave us plenty of info and a parenting "starter pack".  All of this was great, but we were there for one thing: the ultrasound.  Normally they don't do the ultrasound unless you request it, and yes it did cost us $45!  Are you kidding me?  $45 to see a picture of my developing baby?  I'm in!

I won't walk you through the how (it gets a little graphic), but eventually, we got to see a picture of our baby.  Of course I had no idea what I was looking at so the doc had to show me what was going on.  So without further ado; here's the first pic of our kid:

More importantly, it looks like the baby is healthy and growing according to schedule.  We also dodged the twin bullet (they run in my wife's family); so only one baby!

Til next time,

To Tell or Not to Tell

If you read my post on telling our parents about the pregnancy, you know how stoked my wife and I were.  The day we found out is the day we told our families.  But a lot of people wait to tell anyone, especially those outside the family.  Unfortunately, a lot of things can happen to a pregnancy in the first trimester.  Studies show that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.

My wife and I are new to this.  We didn't honestly think about anything bad happening, and were so happy we told the families right away.  After talking to them though, we dicided we would wait until after the doctor's appointment to tell the rest of the family, and after the first trimester to tell most everyone else.  Sometimes we stuck to that and sometimes we didn't.  When news this big hits your life, you want to share it with everyone close to you.

So if you're still in your first trimester think long and hard about who you tell and when you tell them.

Cravings, Sickness and Exhaustion

No the title is not a reference to me after a night of dancing with my old friends Jack Daniels and Bud Light, but instead refers to my poor wife during the first trimester.

Cravings: It started with Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream.  No other kinds would do.  I went to DQ more times in a 4 week period than I have in my entire life.  Then it was Chipotle Mexican Grill for a bit.  Now it's just different things all the time.  She can't eat something unless "it sounds good" to her.  Eating anything else than what she is craving does not work.  One time she called me as I was leaving work and wanted me to bring home food from place #1, then changed her mind to place #2, then back to #1, no, now place #3, no "I feel gross, I don't want food from anywhere" and then finally she settled on place #4.   I asked her, "are you sure?  Because I can't return it once I buy it".  Which leads to the next subject. . .

Sickness:  I'll bring the object of her cravinghome only to have her eat half and then say "Uhhh, I feel sick, I can't eat anymore."  Apparently morning sicknessis an incorrect terms, as it can be anytime of the day. It also strikes in a variety of forms.  Not everyone vomits; my wife gets nausea, dizzy and just feels over all crappy.  It does seem to be worse in the morning, but can hit at any time.  Beware!

Exhaustion:  On top of all of this wonderfulness, my wife is exhausted all the time.  She comes home at 5, takes a nap and still wants to go to bed at 9!  This is a classic first trimester side affect of pregnancy.  We have been told it goes away during the second trimester only to return the third.  I will keep you updated on that one.  But for the time being she is beat all the time.

This trifecta leads to a miserable wife, which usually makes for a miserable husband.  I just do my best to accommodate her and make sure she has what she needs when she needs it.  There's not much more that you can do; just weather this storm of nastiness as best you can and help her do the same.

Name Stealers and Ruiners

So if you read the last post, we had decided on names we liked, but you're not going to find out.  Why?  Is it because I'm spiteful and evil and don't like you?  No, not at all, I'm sure you're a good egg.

After someone finds out a baby is on it's way they ask if you know or are going to know the sex, and what names you have picked out.  Usually, we just lie to people and tell them you haven't picked yet, or if they are closer we tell them we're not sharing the names.  Why? Because a whole bunch of stuff can go wrong.

If you choose to be honest someone close to you might really like your name, and if you run in circles with a lot of pregnant gals they just might snake the name right out from underneath you!  Crazy I know, but it can happen.  Our friends (who are not pregnant or married, but been dating for years) were talking about names they like, and sure enough his older brother and sister-in-law stole their name.  The girl who is our friend was PISSED!

It may also just happen by bad luck.  We really liked the name Ella for a girl. A couple we know had a baby a few months ago and had already secretly chosen that name.  My wife really liked Eva and the next baby born to one of our friends was named that.  My wife had never mentioned she liked those names so there is no malice there, just bad luck.  But had we mentioned we liked those names, it might be weird for the couples who had already chosen them, and no one needs stress in their friendships over something like that.

You also get the person who will pipe up and say, "Oh, I can't stand that name" or "I knew a (insert name here) in high school.  She was a giant whore and such a bitch".  Great, now when I think of that name that's the image I get in my mind.

So due to name stealers and name ruiners, our name selections are staying under wraps.

Picking Baby Names

Agreeing on baby names was rough to say the least. 

First, we started looking at names right away (which I think is the first impulse for many couples) so we had to duke it out on two sets of names since we won't know the sex until week 20.  Second, there were family traditions that needed to be considered.  The first born male in my family always takes his dad's name as his middle name.  So that limits the names you can name a boy (since my name is Adam, the kid would be Something Adam, so for example all A names don't sound too good.)  Third, and most importantly, people have a lot of baggage when it comes to names.  Take the names of all of the ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, assholes, whores, sluts, idiots, burnouts etc that you and your partner have ever known and toss them out.  You don't want a kid that reminds you of a weekend in Vegas and some bad choices you made 7 years ago do you?

To avoid a lot of pointless back and forth: 

My wife and I bumped heads for weeks on baby names until we did this during a long car ride to the lake for a vacation with her family.  We sat back and selected names we liked, then talked about the mutual choices, and as a bonus got input from her family.

So what baby names did we choose?  Sorry, can't tell you right now.  Check out the next post as to why!

Telling the New Grandparents

The initial shock has worn off; a second positive pregnancy test has proved it. . . .So what now?  I love my wife for many reasons; but one of the biggest is how she balances me out.  While my mind is going a million miles a minute thinking about all of the new things I am going to be exposed to, how we are going to deal with them, and how many years the stress of all of this is going to cut off my life my wonderful wife is thinking "What would be the cutest way to tell the parents?"

After a couple stops at local stores and some arts and crafts work done in the parking lot, we are ready to spread the news.

We get to the house a little earlier than normal, and her mom, grandma and one sister are all hanging around.  She brings the bag in and sets it down on the counter, "We got you and Dad some thing, where is he, I want you to open it together".  We are informed he is sleeping, and will probably not wake up until dinner. . . .2 hours from now.  OH my God!  I can't take the stress of 2 hours of keeping this secret inside. .. It's too much.  Without a word, I look at my wife and can tell she is feeling the same thing.  She takes her sister upstairs; when they come back down I get the look that tells me she knows. The decision has been made by the sisters that it is ok to let Mom find out first.

"Well just go ahead and open this by yourself then. . ."  Her Mom and Grandma are standing side by side as she opens the bag.  She takes out a silver frame that has engraved bottles, rattles, and other baby paraphernalia, there is Stork sticker on the glass that my wife has written "Coming in March 2009".  Its fun to see life changing information sink in.  Her Mom starts yelling, "AHHH", and as it sinks in with Grandma she starts "AHHHH"ing too.  Pretty soon they are taking turns;

"AHHHH" (mom)

"AHHHHH"(grandma)

"AHHHH"(mom)

"AHHHH"(grandma) 

It was hysterical!!!!!  After congratulations and hugs all around, the decision is made to wake Dad up, some news is important enough to interrupt naps. . . and I think this qualifies.  Her dad is roused from his sleep and comes downstairs, sleep still engulfing his brain.  The gift has been repackaged and he opens it.

We wait. . . . . .and wait. . . . (mind you this is less than a minute but it feels like an eternity!) Finally, his eyes widen and he says "Wow. . . . congratulations." (A few days later he made sure to clarify that he was very excited about the news of his first grandchild, and that his muted reaction was only a result of being woken up.)

Since my parent live on the West Coast we were going to send them their frames, but after all the excitement, I couldn't wait so I called them and told them the great news!  Not as fun, but you do what you have to do when you are 1600 miles apart.

The True Danger of Tornadoes

I am a west coast kid; born and raised in California.  Because I enjoy punishing myself I sought out and accepted a promotion that brought me to the Midwest, Nebraska more precisely.  I grew up with earthquakes and they don't bother me.  Usually my family would not even get up from the dinner table if it was a "little one".  So in addition to dealing with this mysterious white powder that falls from the sky you call snow, I had to learn to cope with tornadoes.  I remember once joking as a teenager, "Why would anyone live in a place that has a 'season' for natural disasters?!"  And once again the universe has punished me for my shortsightedness.

After a couple of years here I am OK with tornadoes.  I have a nice finished basement I can hide in,  the news does a good job of tracking the storms (street by street actually), and the national weather service sounds sirens whenever you might be in danger.  More often than not the tornado is on the other side of town and you don't have to worry.  I'll even go as far as to pop my head outside to watch the storm blow by.

The last group of storms that came through though were a bit different.  There was a succession of tornadoes that came through town and they were barrelling down on my neighborhood.  Our streets are numbered and a tornado touched down only 20 streets away.  So this was one of those times I was hiding in the basement.  My wife and I were down there for a bit and all that was on TV was news about tornadoes.  Well without DVR and nothing good on cable you get a little bored just watching the Doppler radar. . . .

Fast forward 6 weeks:  My wife and I have just discovered she is pregnant and asks me "When do you think it was that did it?"  She went online and found this Pregnancy Calculator; it helps you figure out when you conceived, when your trimesters end, and when your due date is.  It's pretty handy.  Well we tracked it back to a date in June. . . .that's right boys and girls the night of the tornadoes! 

So yes, tornadoes can cause property damage, even hurt or kill people but there is something that the National Weather Service and news outlets all around tornado country don't tell you. . .tornadoes can cause conception!

The Best Hangover I’ve Ever Had

My wife informed me we were going to have a BBQ with some of her work friends, of course being the fun loving guy that I am, I didn't argue.  It was a cool night of grilling, chatting with her friends, beer, some booze and eventually some drunken Guitar Hero.  Two of the gals were pregnant; one so pregnant it looked like she was going to pop in the middle of my living room.  (You haven't lived until you watch a woman in the 9th month of pregnancy play "Barracuda", by the way). So my wife got to live vicariously through them in all things baby.  All in all it was a fun night, and I settled in for a nice night of blissful uninterurpted drunken sleep.

When I used to drink back in the day I would always sleep in late.  If the boys and I had torn it up the night before it was a miracle to see me before noon.  The morning after one expectionally crazy night I slept until 7 pm the next day.  But for some reason, in the last 2 years or so, I wake up early when I drink.  The day after the BBQ was no different.  I woke up around 7 and began my hangover routine: pound some water, take four Advil and settle into a comfortable position on the couch to wait it all out and contemplate where I will dining on greasy breakfast food.  Recently, my wife had been sleeping in more than usual, so I let her sleep and enjoyed some DVR'ed shows.  Around 11 or so I hear a bunch of rukus going on upstairs; it sounds like two racoons wrestling. . . . I then hear my wife scream "ADAM!!".  Slowed by dehyrdation, my brain was slow to process everything. . . could two racoons have broken into the room and started a Battle Royale?  It's possible, right?  I got up from the couch and started upstairs only to see my wife standing there holding a small plastic stick in her hand.

No words needed to be spoken.  The pee stick in her hands and look on her face told me everything I needed to know.  I'm going to be a dad!

My wife comes down the stairs and says "It's positive" as I gave her the biggest hug I have ever given anyone. A tsunami of emotion washed over me and to tell you the truth, I can't exactly remember what happened next or what more was said.

You’re Not Pregnant

Not every month, but close, my wife thinks she is pregnant.  She might not even be late but she sees signs of an imminent infant everywhere.  Usually, we go through about a week of her telling me she thinks it's real this time, I calm her down, she takes a pregnancy test and it's all over.  I think her brain releases some sort of chemical that tells her womanly parts its OK to have her period, only after we have spent $$ on pregnancy tests.  Many a dollar and nervous ten minutes have been spent on this issue.

June came around and the same old song and dance got going.  "Just like last month, you're not pregnant," I assured her.  She swore this time it was real.  I've heard it all before, so no worries.  Curious about her hypothesis I found a list of Pregnancy Symptoms:

  1. Swollen/Tender Breasts: Check.  Her number one complaint
  2. Fatigue/Tiredness: Check.  Usually I'm the one pushing for laying on the couch all day.
  3. Nausea/Morning Sickness:  Check.
  4. Backaches: Check.  But she usually has these.
  5. Headaches: Check.
  6. Frequent Urination: Check.
  7. Food Cravings: Check.  We made a dozen trips to Dairy Queen in a week.
  8. Implantation Bleeding: No
  9. Delay/Difference in Menstruation: No
  10. Darkening of Areolas: No

"OK I think I believe you" I IM'ed her.  7 out of 10 was enough to make me a believer, but the thing about this site is that it gives "other explanations" for every symptom.  I could see an alternate explanation working for 1 or two symptoms, but 7?  No way.  There's only one way to tell. . . 

Test #1: Negative.  I had been thinking non-stop about what it would be like to have a little one.  When it came back negative, I have to admit I was a bit bummed.  I had gotten used to the idea of me being a dad.

Test #2: Negative.  It's been a week since the first test.  OK, this isn't happening. Two tests is enough to convince me.  I chalked it all up to her "pregnancy hypochondria" and was amazed she was able to convince me too!

The human mind has an unlimited ability to come up with theories and then seek out evidence to support them.  Even a doubter such as myself is not immune to being caught up in a frenzy of speculation.  I guess you just have to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. . .

“Not Not Trying”

My wife likes to keep me updated in all the gossip of her friends, despite the fact that I don't know 80% of these people.  But like any good husband I smile and nod and take it all in as much as I can.  One time she was talking about a married couple she knows and their plans to have kids.  "They are not not trying," she said.  What the hell does that mean??!!  Apparently, this is the fairer sex's slang for people who are not actively trying but don't mind if they have a kid right now.  Despite the grammatical double negative that bothers me as a writer, I had issues with the statement.  To me, "not not trying" is trying.  Those two negatives cancel each other out.

Is this some sort of ploy you use so just in case you don't get pregnant easily your friends and family won't be asking every time they see you?  If you tell them "we're trying" and it doesn't happen you're going to be the source of talk and concern in your circle.  So is this a way to hedge your bets?  If you get pregnant then great, if not it's ok because you weren't trying, right?  I denounced the term and criticized people who used it.

And of course; it's exactly what we ended up doing.  We talked about it and removed the female road block to conception and let the luck of the draw decide the rest.  We weren't actively "not trying", so it's not like a baby would be an Ooopppsss! type of thing.  We also weren't getting ovulation kits and measuring her temperature before sex (which by the way sounds incredibly sexy) so we wouldn't be bummed if it didn't happen.  I remember thinking, "I am just getting to the point where I feel as though I could handle being a dad, so if it happens cool, if not there is plenty of time."

So I hope the universe allows me this opportunity to take my foot out of mouth and appologize to all those people that I condemmed as double-talkers for not taking a firm "trying" or "not trying" stance.  Like many issues in life, its not black or white, only shades of grey.  We had humbly joined the masses of the ambiguously attempting couples; we were "not not trying".