Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Diary of a Dad-To-Be

By Taft Ayers

As many of you know, our first child is due, Lord willing, on October 27th. We have been labeled high-risk (the Dr. actually called it "partially" but I am not sure what that means). For 6.5 months, my wife has been instructed to "lay low."

The Dr. has recently loosened up a bit, due to "great numbers" (I use so many quotation marks due to the fact that I don't know what the majority of this stuff means). So, now that she can drive the streets of Memphis and we can breath air outside of our house, what does this mean? Are we heading down to Tunica and blowing our savings? Eating large meals at Outback? Shopping at the Wolfchase Galleria? Not a chance.

On our first night out, we went to Pre-Birth Parental Education Class, something that the fine folks at Germantown Methodist Hospital suggested. Last night, August the 4th, I was a student from 7:00pm-9:00pm. These classes always have seemed like something that I see on TV or in the movies I have watched. Most of the parents that I know personally haven't gone to these classes.

I went. Actually I should say "we went." The two of us, or should I say, the 2.75 of us?!?!? Most places that I am nervous about going, or skeptical about, are bearable due to the fact that I always have a pretty girl on my arm. Last night, being with my bride at this Parental Class, I was eager, nervous and wondering "how in the world am I here?" It was surreal. I thought I would be the father who didn't know anything (you'll laugh at my lack of knowledge later in the article), would be the most incompetent (luckily, there was no competition) and would get laughed out of the class (fortunately, they kept their laughter internal). My fears where lessened when we first got there and it was time to sign in. I was filling out a form for registration right next to another fella.

He read the sheet out loud as he filled it out. Woman's Name. Doctor. Due Date. Then he got to the blank that said "Birth Coach." He said (across the room), "hey, Honey, who's your birth coach?" Face red, she replied, "um, Sweetie, that would be you!" He looked at me, whispering, "Holy crap, that's a lot of responsibility." I knew then this was going to be a blast.

There are 10 couples in the class. We will be meeting together, Lord willing, for the next 7 weeks or so on Monday nights. This will make for some very interesting blog titles for me on Tuesdays.

Here are 5 things that I learned. The 5th, I will write the most about. WARNING: Some of this may sound crude or too graphic. My apologies on the front end.

For 28 years, if you asked me if 10 centimeters was a long distance, I'd say "heck no!" After last night, and a piece of paper with a circle on it that was 10cm in diameter, I can say, "that's freakin' huge."

When someone refers to a baby as being "effaced" it doesn't mean that his FACE is peaking out and he is looking at you with the "here I come" or "peek-a-boo" expression on his face.

A "C-SECTION" doesn't mean that they cut a "C" shaped incision in the woman's stomach and open up the flap of skin to remove the baby like a swinging door.

When the men are asked by the instructor, "ok fellas, your turn to talk, what's the most discomforting thing about pregnancy FOR YOU?" It's a terrible idea to say "she keeps me awake in the bed when she can't get comfortable." A guy across the room said it and I thought I was going to get decked by the ladies at my table just because I shared the same gender with him!

Finally, it's always important to make your wife realize how beautiful she is. I have always been of the belief that if your wife doesn't FEEL PRETTY, then YOU, the HUSBAND, aren't doing your job. Last night, I was able to see that. One man forgot that he wasn't in high school anymore. I guess being back in a classroom reminded him of his desire to make others laugh. At her expense, he mentioned how upset he was that his wife was too tired to lay laminate floor with with him in the kitchen (no one laughed). Then, all of the husbands were asked to mention ways that they felt and points of anxiety they might experience when it comes to fatherhood. This guy wrote, ON A BOARD FOR EVERYONE TO SEE, "things would be fine, if she'd stop being a pain in my a.." He looked around the room, for signs of confirmation and laughter. It was the same look that a teenage boy gives around the locker room after he has picked on the defenseless kid who hates taking his shirt off around the other fellas. It frustrated me beyond belief. She (the wife) held her head down and when we left, all of the women were so excited and enthusiasitic. After all, they had just finished their first class of this nature, learned so much about parenthood and counted it a great memory! Not the wife of this man, she had been robbed of this joy. Humiliated. She looked like she felt "un-pretty."



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