Last night I lay down next to my sleeping wife and put my arm around her and got kicked and punched. Not by her, of course, but by the little life-form dwelling in her abdomen.
I'll admit at times that being an expectant father sometimes feels like being in a Sci-Fi movie. Somehow, through some strange magic beyond my comprehension, my wife has been implanted with a growing, cognizant creature which will eventually burst forth in traumatic fashion and change our lives forever. At times, it's just felt, well... weird.
It hasn't been weird for Kristie though. At each stage of the pregnancy she gets more excited, more attached to the baby inside of her. Every week she announces the child's size, weight, and length, what she has developed physiologically, and the exciting new activities she is engaging in - like say, hiccups.
And then there is the nesting. All of our furniture got painted, re-arranged to fit the bassinet and changing table, and she has a written a list of needs and wants a page long that are organized by priority and the respective time frames in which they will be needed/wanted. She is in full-on mother mode.
Not up until very recently, the start of the third trimester, have I been anything other than a happy observer of all these "weird" changes. In my head, I've already wrapped myself around the idea that change and responsibility are coming. I know I have my work cut out for me. But Kristie has had a totally different experience, she's been developing a relationship. She feels the baby moving and kicking and turning over, growing inside of her! She's got this beautiful love for our unborn child that I've felt guilty at times for not sharing. I suppose it's natural for dads, that up until they hold their kids and gaze into the faces of their offspring, there is a sort of disconnect which disallows them to match the natural love of the child's mother. But still, I've felt a little guilty for my inability to get as excited as she does.
Kristie is reading this childbirth guide the mid-wife gave her. Every night she sits on the couch, grinning, pointing at diagrams and pictures, quoting facts about how our little girl is doing and where her head is now and how we're going to have to feed her when she gets here. She giggles and sniffs through her nose, staring at the book with one hand on her stomach, and I watch her.
As I'm watching her I start to imagine scenarios; like what it will be like to wake up every morning to this warm bundle in the living room, to hold her close to my chest and whisper to her. To smell her baby smell and put my nose on her baby head and tell her she looks pretty like her mommy.
And suddenly I feel this thing in my chest, and my heart pounds, and I get butterflies, and I tell Kristie these scenarios, and I'm grinning, and she looks at me like I finally get it, like I can finally share in this miracle with her. So I'm slow on the uptake, but I'm getting there.
I used to think having kids was the easy way out, the cop-out alternative following your dreams in your twenties. Now I realize it's a miracle and an adventure and perhaps the most important thing two people can do together. I'm excited for this new adventure and new calling in my life, and I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about before long.
She is due November 28th, 2011.