Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The calm before the storm.

Here's a brief guide to (some of) what being an expectant father involves.  If you took the stereotypical route like I did, you married a beautiful woman.  Your love drove you to abandon your bachelor pad, to plan a wedding, and to forget shooting pool and drinking beer on work nights.  Or most any nights, for that matter.  In fact, you can't remember the last time you did those things.  You had a very nice wedding (in your case, a small one in a foreign country with your closest family and friends).  You graduated from school together, got jobs together, moved into a nice place together and planned your future together as a family.  Along the way, you figured out how to deal with each other's moodiness, shortcomings, and countless idiosyncrasies and imperfections.  When all this happened, you began to feel an enormous sense of satisfaction with your married life.  So naturally, you decided to shake things up a bit and have a baby.  There's a reason pregnancy is divided into three trimesters.  Each is distinct and comes with its own set of challenges.  Obviously, your lady love does most of the work.  You do not get out of the ordeal without some sacrifice, however.

Trimester 1:  Try to imagine what getting up every morning with a massive hangover is like.  This is how my wife described her first trimester, whilst lamenting the fact the she wasn't allowed to drink.  She was tired all the time, achy, and irritable.  Fathers will often try to tell expectant fathers their wives will experience a moderately heightened sense of moodiness during the first trimester.  If you were to ask me about this, I would tell you that these fathers don't know the half of it.  There were multiple occasions when heated arguments would occur (read: explosive arguments).  Ask me what these arguments were about, and I would not be able to tell you.  As for the tiredness, let me tell you that if you were ever considering leading a double life, the first trimester is a good time to adopt one.  My wife would routinely lose consciousness shortly after, and often before, dinner.  All of a sudden, I found myself left to my own devices during the week outside work.  I read books.  I watched every episode of Scrubs on Netflix.  I went to the gym.  I was awake alone so much I considered fighting crime at night.  Obviously I did not indulge this impulse.  I have a family to think about.

Trimester 2:  Right after month three, you get her back for a time.  She is more energetic.  The moodiness is gone.  The hangover lifts.  Everybody loves one another again.  As an added bonus, certain female parts begin to augment a bit.  She will be more able and willing to sleep with you.  In short, life is grand again.  Appetite increases, however.  I found myself packing on the calories along with my wife, perhaps unconsciously attempting to match her weight gain.  Once we noticed what was happening, I was able to start tagging out of the sympathy eating so that I could maintain a legitimate shot at a follow up pregnancy.  This is a challenge many of you are likely to face, too.

Trimester 3:  Somewhere around month 5 or 6, my wife "popped."  All of a sudden, the miracle of our growing child made itself apparent.  It's really amazing how your wife can appear a little pregnant one week and BAM! full of baby the next.  Oddly, for me at least, the whole thing made her even more beautiful.  I wonder if every expectant father finds his pregnant wife attractive in this state.  Along with the popping, however, comes the end of the second trimester.  The result is a return to the exhaustion you saw in the first trimester.  In fact, I wouldn't be blogging at all right now were it not for my wife's inability to remain conscious.  Added things you may notice are more back pain (she may benefit from a nightly back rub), the inability to get comfortable and/or sleep and the return of some moodiness.  I have learned to take all this in stride.  I also responded to her first strange craving of the pregnancy tonight.  It was Crunch 'n Munch that she craved.  I brought it to her moments before she lost consciousness.

So that's all I have to share tonight on the baby front.

In other news, my wife and I both sat for the FSOT, the foreign service written test, earlier this month.  I did it because, why not?  It's free and it behooves me to keep a second candidacy alive.  She did it because we both think it would be cool to be a tandem couple, an FSO couple working together in the service.  Results came in this afternoon.  I passed again, this time under the political cone.  Unfortunately, she didn't.  She only missed it by less than 4 points, due in large part to the mysterious biography section.  Hopefully she'll take it again next year.

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