If you had asked me five minutes before I walked into the back of the OB/GYN if I was nervous, I would have given you a quick "no" as I thumbed through the outdated magazines in the lobby. The pregnancy may not have been planned, but I think it's one of those things that if you try to anticipate and wait until the right time, it may never happen.
After reading the uber-masculine articles of "The Best Watermelon Gazpacho to Share With The Girls" and "12 Ways To Please Your Man This Fall", we were called into a small room in the back.
The ultrasound technician's eyes politely asked me to take a seat in the impossibly small chair next to the examination table. It was built for someone half my height, but as I watched the gel being applied to my girlfriend's stomach, the pleather upholstery took on a quicksand quality leaving me sinking lower with each breath.
It's perfectly reasonable to feel like this, I told myself.
I tried to pace my breathing from quick shallow breaths to something more slow and deep. And yet, as the wand landed on my girlfriend's skin somehow, I forgot to breathe altogether.
It was sort of like that game you played when you were a kid, where you hold your breath until you walk entirely past the graveyard. Except this was the world's longest cemetery with no end in sight.
My eyes were fixated on a pitch black screen to my left. I was supposed to be able to see my unborn child on this screen, but there was nothing.
Just to give you an idea, here's a small glimpse of some of the thoughts running through my mind:
Google reviews said this is the best obstetrician in the area. She had four and a half stars. I didn't read the reviews, but I couldn't imagine they said,
"O-M-G! Best OB in the area. Great magazine rack especially for the expecting fathers. Everything was just so perfect! Unfortunately, I'll have to take half a star off because I don't know, THEY COULDN'T FIND MY FUCKING BABY."
Seriously lady, see where her stomach is protruding? Put the wand there already.
She did. Still nothing.
The ultrasound tech finally broke the silence with, "seems like you have a flipped uterus."
Fuck! I knew it. A god damned flipped uterus. That's as bad as cancer right doc? Is this karma coming back around for the time I stole a pack of that zebra gum when I was nine? Everyone knew that gum sucked, but the tattoos were so cool. You understand doc, right?
"No reason to worry though, it's actually fairly common. We're going to have to try this a different way."
I'll spare you the exaggerated details of the methodology of this alternative method. To keep it short and sweet, the tech made the magic wand disappear into my lady's hoo-ha.
Wait. Is that it? That's not my baby, is it?
The initial view looked more like an ink blotter test than human. "See the baby now?", the woman said.
Both of the girls in the room were cooing in delight over the sight of this particular blotter. I was just wondering if I was missing something. Like, do I need a special pair of glasses to see the baby or something?
Then a horrifying view came into sight as the woman said, "your baby is the size of a cherry right now."
According to the screen that meant a cherry-sized, predator-esque creature. Brittany wasn't going to have to give birth. This little guy/gal was probably going to extend its claws and escape at any moment.
"Don't worry. It's perfectly normal to think the baby looks a little creepy right now."
All jokes aside, I couldn't calm down for one second until I knew for a fact that my predator/baby was healthy. I'm usually a relatively cavalier type of person, almost to a fault. There isn't much that scares me, but this destroys me. An internal switch flicks on every time I sit in that little chair.
Three weeks ago or so the tech described the baby as being banana-sized. I still felt the same dread, and no it's not because this time the baby looked vampiric in origin.
It's the same dread I'm sure I'll feel when my little werewolf/yeti/gremlin is the size of jackfruit and running with scissors. Neurologically induced heart attacks. Dad dread.
As much as I think I'll do things differently than most parents, I'm starting to feel like my brain might not let me. I'm sure we all have the switch.
I'll never forget what my brother said when he became a father, and I asked him if the hype was real. Was being a father really that different?
He said, "I didn't feel any different. I was starting to think that maybe something was wrong with me. I was wondering if I'd ever feel like a father. I was emotionally detached. Then a couple hours later my son was born, and I was the one crying like a baby."
I don't even want to think about what I'll do on the delivery day. My chest is tightening just thinking about it.
I guess we'll see when our little pumpkin gets here October 31st.
Come to think of it I might be onto something with the monster thing considering the due date.