Attic Conversion, Triple Crown and Dad on the same day

We got married in June 2002.  The wedding was fantastic with only close family and friends attending.  We even had visitors from Japan, doing a 2 hour cameo, before catching a flight to Paris. They had to see Europe in 5 days.  Good luck was all I could think of.  But, it was really nice of them to pop by.  Anyway, the wedding is a blog of its own.

As soon as you get married, people start to ask you “so, when is the baby due?” or “when will we hear baby feet?” or “I want to see grandkids!”.  OK, I don’t mind talking about these things with my mates, but when your dad talk about sex, then it’s just wrong.  I’m still his son, but certain things we just don’t talk about – and sex is one of them.  So, I just gave people the standard line “we are working on it!”.

A year went by and we had just returned from our wonderful and adventure packed honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.  It was a year after our marriage I know, but we had some work and college committments that prevented us from goin.  That said, 2 weeks in the sun can do wonders for you … and others.

One Saturday morning my wife said calmly, while having breakfast, “I think I’m pregnant”.  The blood initially drained from my head and I felt slightly lightheaded.  Not because I was scared or paniced, but because this was something completly new and not something that I could ever have prepare for.  We were trying (he he) and I knew it was bound to happen, but when it actually happens, and hits you, it’s really scary.  My hands started shaking, coffee squinting on my hand.  I quickly dropped everything I had in my hands, grabbed the car keys and went to the pharmacy to get the pregnancy tests – little did I know that I was still in my boxershorts.  Slightly embarressed, I arrived back to the house and forced my wife to pee on the sticks – gently reminding her not to pee on her fingers.  The first 7 tests were positive, so no need to use the remaining 13 tests.

A visit to the local GP confirmed that she was pregnant.  Wow, we are adults now!  It became more serious when we registered at the maternity hospital and were assigned a doctor and he quickly got down to business, touching and squeezing my wife all over.  Initially I thought he might be hitting on her, and felt like punching his lights out, until my wife kindly informed me that he was just doing his job, so no need to be jealoux.

The first scan was amazing.  The mid uses this weird alian proper thingy, loads of lubricant on the belly and then scanning the stomach.  Funnily enough, the picture on the screen is a  bit like the scanners in the Alien movies, when they are looking inside Bishop.  Suddenly the mid wife said “there it is”.  What?  Where?  I must admit, I was just smiling like a fool at first, pretending that I knew exactly what I was looking at.  My wife recognised my confused stare and gently pointed on a white dot on the monitor.  I nodded, but had to admit to my wife afterwards that I couldn’t seen anything – but this changed once we got the printouts and I could study them myself.  Then I saw it – I think!  The freaky thing was when she turned on the sound and you heard this tiny little drum, the heart of course.  That’s when it hit me again and I passed out! … somewhat cold on the floor in the hospital and people were starring.  I swear that the other men in the room were laughing at me.

The weeks went by and my wife got bigger.  Not fat, she just developed a nice round beerbelly – just like mine.  Now we looked alike, apart from her boobs of course, and her height, and her being a woman and I a man.

She constantly demanded that I had to touch her belly, feeling something that felt like trapped airbubbles travelling around her belly.  Women have no idea how difficult it is for us men to understand how it feels to be pregnant.  We can see the belly grow, but it is not easy to share the female experience.  The child is growing inside the woman, so the woman is naturally developing a special bond.  The point is, don’t get too upset if your husband / partner doesn’t seem over-excited.

“Nine Months” with Hugh Grant is brilliant at showing how lame we men look during pregnancies – we just don’t know what to do.

But, I was so excited about the idea of becoming a dad.  All the hours of playing with Lego, war games, cars, etc.  Just the thought of being allowed to play again was great.  It didn’t even occur to me that I had to change diapers and wipe up vomit!  Bloody hell, I didn’t even know how.

The most fun was prenatal classes.  Basically classes for becoming parents that teaches them how to act during labour.  I knew how I was going to act. I would pass out cold on the floor in the delivery room.  There was one husband  who managed to embarras his wife at the first class, by asking “when can we have sex again?” and “when can she drink again?”.  That was obviously how she got pregnant!

One of the amazing things about pregnancy, especially for men, is when their wife’s boobs develop the Dolly Parton syndrome – increasing 10 fold in size.  My wife couldn’t fit most of her shirts anymore and they had a funnny spongy feeling when poking them.

Like any excited parents to be, we invested in the latest digital equipment; web site, video camera, camera and new car.  It all had to be ready.  We even bought designer furniture for the room from Mamas & Papas, just in case the baby became an interior designer!

The day she went into labour Ireland was playing rugby and had the chance to win the Triple Crown.  My wife was in some pain, but she still had 5 weeks to go according to her chart.  We went to the hospital as a precaution, and she was admitted just in case.

All the men were sitting in the aisle watching Ireland play, while their wives were having contractions or sleeping.  There was a bond building between us men and we cheered when Ireland scored.  Ever so often we checked and talked with our wives, to be supportive – and updating them on the score.

Calmly, my wife said with a weird face “I think I peed”.  What?  She was a grown up woman and she knew not to pee in other people’s beds.  The nurse came and said the water had broken.   NOOOOOOOOOO!  What do I do?  We still had two prenatal classes left, which included the video on how giving birth happens.  I had seen several programs on National Geographic, but not with humans, and I was not about to eat the cord like the lions do.  No friends to call either and I refused to call my parents.  My mum would probably brush off my questions and just ask silly PC Windows questions anyway.

Within minutes, my wife was moved towards the delivery room.  I was shitting myself.  This is when my wife turned into the amazing Hulkilina (except for the colour green).  The nurse gave me the visitor kit; green gown, lovely hat and slip on plastic shoes – which by the way get VERY slippery in wet areas.  The roar from this tiny woman scared most men in the vicinity.  The words she uttered were only suitable for 18+ movies, Exocist and Mordor.  She was put on the bed and I held her hand – stupid move my friend!  The force she squeezed my hand with was unbelievable.  All the blood left my fingers and I could hear bones crushing.  At the same time the mid wife was telling her to push. My wife verbally tore her head off for asking her to push harder.  The mid wife asked me, among the screams, if I wanted to watch.  NO!  Why did she even ask.  I had forgotten the camera anyway and is this something you really want to put on the wall or on your web site?  8 minutes later the mid wife lifted up my baby.  It was a beautiful and perfect girl.  I had never felt her during the almost 8 months pregnancy, but all of a sudden unknown emotions erupted inside me and I just cried – wuss!  She was perfect.

The weirdest moment during the aftermath was probably when the nurse asked my wife, if she wanted tea and toast, still on her back and legs on the supportive racks.  When I asked for coffee I just got an evil stare.

My wife was rolled up to the ward and I was left alone in the hallway.  Nobody to share the moment with.  The Hell with it.  I called and texted everybody I knew anyway, telling them the good news.  My in-laws had heard we were in hospital and greeted me when I left the maternity ward.  They were absolutely delighted too.

What a weird day!  We had been working in the attic earlier, watching Ireland win the triple crown and now we were proud parents.  So many things went through my head, like what’s next, how will I cope and that we hadn’t bought the car seat and buggy yet.

I had almost finished a pack of cigarettes on the way home in the car.  The light was on in our neighbours house, so I rang the doorbell demanding attention and a drink – which I got.  A few cans later I staggered home, wrecked after a long day.

The next morning I drove to Mamas & Papas again, waited outside until they opened and bought whatever buggy and car seat they had in stock.  Sorted.  Then off to see my wife and daughter.  I was an emotional wreck at this stage and started to cry when I heard U2’s “Beautiful Day” in the car and again when I saw both my girls.  Even when I saw an add for Africa, with a small hungry boy crying, the tears came rolling down.  What was wrong with me?!

As our daughter was 5 weeks premature, she had to stay in hospital a few days extra, to make sure everything was ok.  My wife had at this stage become a walking dairy factory, producing more milk than the maternity ward combined, meaning our daughter had plenty of food.  It was so much that we had to start freezing jars of breast milk.  Had we been in the dark ages, then I would have used it in my coffee, for baking and on cereal.

It was actually handy that our daughter had to stay in hospital as this allowed me to get the house ready and all her furniture assembled, ready for our princess.

I remember the first night, when she came home.  None of us dared to fall asleep, in case something happened while sleeping.  It was brilliant to have them home.  I negotiated a deal with my wife, whereby I would get SKY movies and SKY sports, while helping out with the feeds in the night.  WIN – WIN situation according to any MBA student, including me.  I won an negotiation – little did I know that the movies during the night are shitty C-rated action and horror movies such as “Revenge of Killer Slugs”.

I was one happy and proud dad – still crying over charity adds.  Next challenge: what size diapers did I have to buy? Did we need a bigger freezer for all the breast milk?

The only thing that went through my head was if I would be a good dad?

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