I just received a text message from my wife. Confused by this, I went to the living room from my desk in the adjoining room (not 10 feet away) and asked if she’s ok. She was resting on the couch, fighting nausea, 7 weeks pregnant, and texted me because she needs some water. Like it’s completely normal to text someone in the next room of a smallish Philadelphia rowhouse.
So I got her some water and I thought about how I will probably get her thousands of cups of water for the next 9+ months. I don’t mind. Really. She’s carrying our baby and her body needs rest after a long day at work and a rough commute home. Plus, after four IUIs at our local fertility clinic, four vials of frozen sperm from the Irish-German anonymous donor (known at our house as “Mr. Generous”), dozens of home pregnancy tests and countless ups and downs, I’ll gladly get her whatever she needs.
I’m still pinching myself to see if this is really happening. Although four months is not a long time – it felt like uncertain eternity when we experienced it in two-week intervals. Since it’s our first baby and we were new to the whole process, everyone’s advice was to “take it one day at a time.” And finally that’s exactly what we learned to do, because honestly, that’s the only way to survive the rollercoaster of trying to conceive.
Yes, at 7 weeks pregnant, I finally do believe it is really happening. We’ve got the ultrasound photos to prove it. You can’t really see the little one yet (maybe next time), but our doctor seemed to be satisfied when she looked at the screen and printed out the little baby’s first photo. We also have the symptoms to prove it. Sweating, anxiety, fatigue, restlessness at night, weird dreams, changes in appetite and mood swings. And that’s just my list of complaints – the non-pregnant expecting mother. My wife’s symptoms are exactly what you would find in that book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Good book, I guess, but I don’t see a section explaining what type of symptoms the expecting mother’s female partner may experience.
It wasn’t until my wife began texting me from the sofa that I really started to think about what life with a pregnant woman might entail. For starters, who will take care of me when I’m taking care of my pregnant wife? We have a very delicate system in place to manage the division of household duties. Without it, our house becomes really unpleasant. For example, just this morning, the dishes were piling up, the dogs hadn’t been walked, the cats were meowing and my poor pregnant wife had a pants emergency while getting ready for work because the laundry wasn’t done. She doesn’t have much to choose from now that she’s sort of in between regular clothes and maternity clothes with an early-pregnancy bloated tummy. When this happens, I just do my best to offer a solution and stay out of the way in case it doesn’t work.
We need a solution that does work, though. Maybe this imbalance could be fixed if I work less, sleep less, sit less and do MORE. Being pregnant is what my wife has been looking forward to and what we’ve been planning for a long time. I want her to have a wonderful pregnancy and I feel truly grateful to be her partner in life and in parenting.
I think I’ll just try to relax a little and curl up with my sleepy, queasy, pregnant wife. We’ve only been planning this for years and now’s a good time to enjoy some peace and quiet before everything changes.
The dishes can wait.
Shannan lives in Philadelphia with her wife, dogs and cats. One day, Shannan’s wife said, Let’s Be Moms. It’s been a crazy journey ever since and she welcomes you along for the ride.
When she’s not writing, reading, rooting for the Phillies or engrossed in the contents of her DVR, she works as a marketing director for a telecommunications company.