It was an hour into our newborn basics class, and the scene looked like a case for Child Protective Services. The dad-to-be held the lifelike rubber baby doll by the foot, its head dangling about 6 inches above the table, while he grasped around for a diaper with the other hand. He dropped the baby on top of the diaper, pancaking it. His own head swiveled back and forth as he considered his next move. His eyes darted sideways to his wife, who, if the previous hour had been any indication, wanted to murder him in front of the entire class.
“Not like that,” she spat, snatching the doll from his hands.
I looked to my other side at JT, who also was watching the World’s Happiest Couple in action. Our own baby doll sat safely diapered on the table in front of him. There was no question he’d won the Daddy Diaper Derby, but based on Angry Wife’s wrath, there was no way we’d be pointing that out to our teacher who was on the other side of the room, helping another dad-in-training with his own diaper disaster.
“Remind me again why you said you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to babies?” I whispered to JT.
He just shook his head and picked up a pamphlet on swaddling.
We’re just weeks away from Baby LaBar making her debut, and while I thought we’d both feel totally insane and overwhelmed by this point, I think we’re actually, dare I say it, doing OK? Neither of us has had any kind of meltdown, least of all attempted homicide in the middle of a parenting class. No one’s stormed out of Babies R Us in a frantic rage (and I shopped there TWICE during the holiday season). We’re getting along, getting things done, making decisions and, at this point, just really excited to meet our daughter.
(Note how I didn’t say the word “ready.” I know “ready” doesn’t exist in the world of preparing for a new baby. I don’t care if the nursery is stocked with enough clothes/diapers/wipes/boogie suckers to get her to her third birthday. “Ready” is a myth.)
The class was money well spent and included three hours of learning about everything from safe sleeping techniques to what to expect in the hospital. This was the only time JT got a little iffy. It was all the vernix talk that did him in, I think. When the teacher tossed in some umbilical cord chatter, he turned a shade whiter than the diaper he’d just put on the doll. I can’t blame him. I genuinely believe he has a phobia of anything related to hospitals, health care and general gross human body stuff. I’ve watched him nearly keel over when my ER nurse mom told a story about a patient with a necrotic toe who woke up to find it missing. The only logical explanation was that the man’s dog had mistaken it for a Snausage. Granted, Mum probably shouldn’t have told us that particular tale over dinner, but JT about passed out in his salad. So basically, labor should be fun for both of us!
Other than worrying that my husband will require more medical attention than me during the birth, I feel pretty good. Getting and staying comfortable is definitely more difficult than it was sans bowling ball strapped to my midsection, but I manage. Work is where I’m least comfortable, when hours of sitting with all that extra weight take their toll on my hips. I try to get up and walk around as much as possible, but when the baby starts moving around, the only thing that helps is getting my body as close to horizontal as possible. I lean so far back in my chair, it would be easier to balance my keyboard on my bump.
In all honestly, at this stage, there’s rarely a time when all my basic needs feel fully met. I’m either tired or hungry or have to pee or feel like I can’t breathe or have to pee or thirsty or have to pee. My mom friends tell me this is just to prepare me for the baby, who will feel pretty much the same way for the first few months of her life. I’ll try to remember to be sympathetic, but for now, I’m really excited for the day when I can go for a long run or even a brisk walk or up a flight of stairs or from the couch to the kitchen without needing to rest immediately afterward.
But enough complaining. Right now, I'm all about focusing on all the joy happening in my life, and one of my Top Five Favorite Pregnancy Moments happened the other day. I was visiting Mum who was watching my two nieces. Raina, who’s 4, was snuggled up next to me on the couch when I felt the baby kick. Raina jumped back, her eyes wide.
“Did you feel that?” I asked, and she nodded.
“That was your cousin,” I said. “She must have wanted to get your attention.”
Raina smiled and went back to snuggling, her tiny hand resting on my bump while Mum ran to grab the camera.
It was the sweetest moment and one I’ll never forget. I know so many more are on the way and honestly, at this point, I just can’t wait.