In 1994 we found out we were pregnant again. Baby number two was on the way. The biggest difference this time was I was going to have to go through the whole thing. All 9 months of it. Trust me, I looked into being attached to a ship for a few months just to miss it, but apparently the Navy doesn’t just send guys over seas because their wife is pregnant, unless of course they don’t want to go, then you get your one-way ticket FedEx’d to you.
Ok, seriously, I didn’t go looking for a way out of being there for this baby (and if you think I did, you might only be slightly right). Unlike our son, I was going to be there for the whole thing. Watch my wife grow in size (and impatience) and enjoy all the weird quirks that come with what a baby does to a woman. The nesting phase, the morning sickness, the odd food issues, the emotional drama that makes Pretty Little Liars*** seem like a comedy. Yes, I was going to have a front row seat to that roller coaster. Yippee…
Admittedly, it was fascinating to watch my wife morph from this cute, petite little red-head into this very large, bubble-bellied emotional basket of crazy… who was also cute (hi honey, love you). I got to say goodbye to her wearing those Bongo jeans I loved her so much in too wearing this elastic banded shorts and pants that would be the envy of any man on after a Thanksgiving dinner.
I will reminisce about one moment in that 9 months that still holds massive fascination for me. She was about 8 months along, sitting on the couch, resting, her belly just… well… there. So, me being me, I walked up and just poked her stomach with my finger right about her belly button. Not hard, but apparently hard enough. The baby got scared, and according to my wife, stretched every appendage the baby had as far out as possible, pressing on everything inside my wife. The look on her face was priceless, a mixture of scared, awed, and angry… all at the same time. I honestly think the only reason she didn’t kill me was because she was laughing so hard… I think she was laughing… ok, in my mind she was laughing and that’s what matters.
Anyway, we went through the entire 9 months without ever finding out whether our baby was going to be a boy or a girl. Now, where as I would have been ok with either male or female, my wife would have been fine with anything as long as it was healthy and had ten fingers and toes. I was at least being a bit more specific and praying for human… because, I’m a realist and I know my gene pool.
The day came, and we headed off to the hospital. She was having a c-section, so after they got her all strapped down and prepped, they had me come in. Now, I honestly can’t think of anything more useless during the birthing process (especially a c-section) then the father of the child. Seriously, I think a bump on a log would have been more useful. But there I was, sitting next to her face, a Kodak Disc Camera in hand (yeah, I said disc camera)…
With the anasthe.. anastesiolo… that dude who gives you the sleepy drugs sitting on the other side. He says to me as he sees the camera, “I’ll tell you when to get some good photos.” And me, being the naive, trusting guy (because, he’s a doctor, we trust them, right?) agreed and sat there, trying to make myself useful to no avail.
Some time goes by, the gas-dude says, “Hey, now’s a good time.” and being the trusting guy, I stand up, aim the camera, and take two photos and sit down. As I’m sitting down, my smile starts to turn to a perplexed look as my brain processes what it was that I just took two photos of. And to this day, I have these lovely two images of my child’s head sticking out of my wife’s stomach like something out of Alien…
And people wonder why I don’t trust doctors. Oh, and because my wife is an awesome person, it’s in the front of our daughter’s baby book.
Did I forget that part? We had a girl.
How We Found Out
So, the procedure is done, the OB/GYN, Dr. Pillow (seriously, that was his name), mumbles something about a girl, but not to either of us, so we aren’t sure if our child is a girl, he was talking to one of the nurses, or what. But, then, Dr. Carlson, the pediatrician, walks over and says to us… “Well, one day she might grow into a beautiful young lady, but right now, she looks like a grumpy old Irishman.”
And that’s how we found out our baby was a girl. Who had ten fingers, ten toes, and was healthy. And human (whew, dodged a bullet there).
Thankfully, she didn’t stay that grumpy old Irishman for too long, but has, in fact, become a beautiful young lady. Sadly, the Irishman still makes appearances from time to time. She calls it her ‘Resting Face’.
Hey, I’m her dad, I can pick on her. It’s my love language, after all.
***I have, in fact, never seen Pretty Little Liars, however our daughter watches it all the time and I am subjected to glimpses of it when I emerge from my man cave to refill my drink or have to pass through the living room. That is enough subjugation for me to form and informed opinion as to the matter of the show.