In my previous post, I asked for parenting advice and many parents delivered with some solid–and touching–pearls of wisdom. One of the most common refrains was that everything about parenting goes way too quickly, so you need to do what you can to preserve memories and enjoy every moment. Looks like the first trimester is no exception, as last Thursday marked the beginning of week 14 and the official end of the first three months of my wife’s pregnancy.1
While there are many moments from the first trimester that have been, um, flushed away forever, I want to record some of the better memories for posterity. After all, this is our last first first trimester!
The Realization and Reveal
We weren’t expecting to end our tumultuous 2015 with one last front-page headline, but there we were on December 6 with a plus-signed pregnancy test–once in the morning and once in the evening–guaranteeing that this was for real. Stop the presses. As I struggled to hide the biggest secret of my life, we began making preparations for entering a new stage of life.2
It was determined3 that there was no way we could wait the apparently requisite three months to share this news, especially when Christmas was right around the corner. There couldn’t be a more perfect Christmas gift than telling our families about their newest member! Plus, that means we would only be making the announcement right now? No thanks.
To reveal the news to my family, I reached back to an old tradition that my parents had once told me about, in which a cousin on my Mom’s side would pull out a pipe at the end of a meal with extended family to signal that they were expecting. Apparently my Dad used this technique to reveal my existence to my Mom’s family, so I had long planned to return the favor whenever we finally had similar news to share.
I know that America is a great country and we live in an incredible age because–if you ever need to–you can have a fake pipe shipped to your door with next-day delivery. On Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, we were about to sit down for dinner when I pulled out my newly acquired smokestack and awaited a reaction. My youngest brothers chuckled, later telling me that they weren’t aware of the pipe’s significance and just assumed this was my usual brand of tomfoolery.
“You know what that used to mean, right?” my Dad asked, as soon as he saw it.
“Yeah, I know…” I replied.
My Mom let out a shout and burst into tears. She also disappeared from the room and came back a few moments later with a present for Theresa. Apparently she had been holding on to a “Future Cubs Fan” maternity shirt for whenever this occasion might come to pass.
It was perfect though, as that shirt became the obvious method for telling Theresa’s Cardinals fan family that support for the Cubs was slowly infecting the family tree. Despite this side effect, her family was thrilled as well, and excited to welcome niece or nephew #25.4
A Pregnant Couple
It’s funny how quickly your senses awaken to all the pregnancy and child-related things in the world around you after you find out you’re expecting. We catch ourselves instantly stalking nearby families in any public place–watching how parents interact with their kids at meals or seeing how they deal with mid-Mass meltdowns. When I’m not straight up asking people for advice, I’m filling my mental notebook with anecdotal evidence and questions to ponder about the best ways to go about this whole fatherhood thing. Other people are seeing me for the new dad that I am as well–sending me baby-related links and tagging me on Facebook.5
I’m also more than willing to share the news of our pregnancy with anyone–whether or not they care and whether or not it’s even relevant.
Do I want fries with that? Sure…Also, my wife is pregnant.
Can I pay with a credit card? Good, because my wife is pregnant.
Have you seen any good movies lately? I wonder if there was anyone pregnant in the movie…like my wife is.
I have graciously and fully accepted the title of Dad, with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. I’m tempted to keep walking around with the fake pipe, just so people will be more likely to assume I’m a dad.
The Morning Sickness
Well, it can’t all be fun banter with cashiers about my wife’s pregnancy. Beyond the excitement of repeatedly sharing the news, the first trimester’s most distinguishing feature has been my wife’s seemingly endless battle with morning sickness. Since the horrendous opening rounds and the ensuing prescription drug to lessen her agony, the fight has ebbed and flowed. Unless she consistently eats and sleeps, the monster returns with a vengeance.
This difficult aspect has especially prepared me for the child-rearing life to come, however, as I’ve managed to put my wife’s needs ahead of my own and learned some useful lessons about where we keep various things around the house. It turns out that a lot of the chores that I thought our magical house elves were completing are actually done by my wonderfully attentive bride.6
While I hate it when she is uncomfortable or incapacitated, I have relished the opportunity to serve her and do what I can to make her feel better. That said, neither one of us would mind if Week 14 means that morning sickness is firmly in the rearview mirror now.
The Zika Virus
What are the odds that the first time we are expecting, there would be a terrible mosquito-borne, birth defect-causing virus running rampant through South America and most likely heading toward the United States just in time for my wife’s most pregnant moments in the heart of the summer? Maybe we should have played the Powerball after all.
The mounting regularity of Zika virus headlines is scaring my pants off on a daily basis, which is coincidental, because pants are exactly what I will be forcing Theresa to wear for the duration of the spring and summer months. I’m also considering hanging mosquito netting around our bed and installing a circle of permanent citronella torches around the perimeter of our house. But seriously…this sounds like a real threat and something we will have to continue to watch closely as the pregnancy progresses.
Onward to the Second Trimester!
While our first first trimester was without a doubt the most exciting trimester we’ve ever experienced, I have to say that I’m even more pumped for the second trimester, which I’ve heard referred to as the “honeymoon” of the pregnancy, since Theresa will be both pregnant and feeling good…something we didn’t have too much of in the first trimester. There are also a lot of very exciting developments happening in the second trimester:7
- Theresa will start to show! Brace yourselves…baby bump photos are coming.
- We’re taking a babymoon to Arizona! The plan is to cross two items off of my bucket list: A Chicago Cubs spring training game and seeing the Grand Canyon. Suggestions welcome for other fun things to do in the Phoenix and Sedona areas in March.
- We’ll learn the gender! I’m not sure if I’m more excited about finding out my child’s gender or finally being able to use the appropriate pronoun in these blog posts.
Overall, I’m looking forward to the second trimester making the pregnancy feel more real.8 So much of it still seems theoretical, even though there will be a new person in our lives and in our home in just six months!
Of course, I also want us to enjoy every moment and not get ahead of ourselves. If those three months fly by as quickly as these first three, our baby is going to be graduating from college before we know it.
- Google and pregnancy experts seem to disagree on when the first trimester is actually completed. Some say Week 13, while others say Week 14. Now we’re in the clear by any measure.
- By which I mean we downloaded the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” app and watched some videos.
- by me
- In Chicago, this kid will be a spoiled brat. In Indiana, just another face in the crowd.
- Keep up the good work!
- I figured that out soon after we ran out of clean forks.
- Probably even more than these…I just haven’t learned about them yet…
- A baby bump is pretty real.