The Fatherhood Chronicles VIII

T-Minus 48 Hours till Launch Sequence

Not ready for this. In the next forty-eight hours, or less, Anna will be in labor, and we’ll be smack-dab in the start of parenthood. Houston, I repeat: not ready for this.

I mean, c’mon. There’s no instruction manual. It’s pretty much weather-forecasting by moistened finger held aloft. And everyone, so far, it seems, has conflicting opinions on what to do about various situations.

Some folks really make me wonder why they’re parents. These are the “Bad News Hendersons.” They so very much want to emphasize how little sleep we’ll get, how bad sex will be afterwards (please no public responses on that!), how much more stress over money there will be. Geez! Remind me to call you folks just as I’m ready to jump!

Then there’s the “Know-It-All Andersons.” You’re life is going to change. Yeah, I know. No, you don’t know. Well, I mean I know but I don’t know, you know? No, you don’t know; you don’t know at all. Oh, sure, I hear you: I can’t know by way of experience, yet, but I think I have an idea. Nope, you have no idea; you have no clue. And so it goes. What’s in it for these folks, anyway? Okay. So I’m a cretin. I couldn’t find my backside with both hands, if I didn’t get a little help. Sheesh.

And there’s no warranty. I checked. If anything goes wrong, we fix it. Period. Kid doesn’t want to go to sleep till midnight? Got a paper to write? Sorry, buddy, you’re going to be up for a loooooong time. Oh, and the baby will wake again at two for a feeding. Babysitter cancel on you? Didn’t find a sub to teach your class? Little Johnny (or Janey) will be catching his (or her) first Aristotle lecture safely ensconced in the carrier. Oh, and he’ll (she’ll) decide that just about the time you’re really getting into the distinctions between voluntary, involuntary, and nonvoluntary actions it’s time for a feeding. Can you hold a baby, feed him (or her), lecture and write on the chalkboard? Aiyaiyai!

Oh, and by the way, I have never been more of an audience to conversations on the bodily details involved with pregnancy and labor. Imagine if you will (true story here) that you’re on the phone with your sister-in-law. Keep in mind that you’ve known this person since she was eleven. She’s now a mom and has called (for the bazillionth time that day) to see if Anna’s gone into labor yet. You tell her no, she’s napping just now. The sister-in-law wants to know how Anna’s doing. Just fine you say, remaining pleasantly, civilly vague. Oh, the sister-in-law says, I heard she’s dilated another centimeter. Why, yes, that’s true, you reply, not wanting to sound as though you’d really like to get off the phone right now. Sister-in-law sez: She told me–and here we enter the TMI zone–that she’s feeling more pressure on her rectum. Um, yes, you reply, wishing you’d already gotten off the phone. Well, that probably means she’s dilating more. That’s what happened to me, man, the more pressure I felt on my rectum, the more dilated I was getting. At which point, having lost all hope of leaving the TMI zone, you are reduced to wimpering jelly.


Well, the countdown has begun. I know by Thursday, I’ll be a dad. Anna might go sooner; there’s been a little progress. But it’s more likely she’ll be induced early Thursday morning. Oh, and we’ll finally know if it’s a boy or girl.