A false alarm

My wife just turned to me a few minutes ago and said she’s feeling contractions. I momentarily felt lightheaded and weak. Could it be finally happening? Is my life as I’ve known it thus far coming to an end in the next few hours? I’ve been preparing myself mentally for the new reality since a pregnancy stick showed the fateful pink streak back in April. But really, for a dad-in-training like myself, nothing changed since then except how I relate to the inevitable future. For wifey, it’s a different story. Her body changes over the course of 40 weeks. She’s already caring for my unborn child. She’s literally and figuratively carrying a fetal burden. But for me, I can be in denial all these months.

Soon, as the baby will pass through the parturitional membrane, from the comfortable and soothing confines of her mother’s womb into a rugged and cold world (it is December in the Bronx), I will really have to start sharing the task of raising a child. And nothing will ever be the same.

After about 3 seconds of waxing philosophic on the momentous transition period I find myself in, she tells me she’s been feeling these contractions for a while. “Wait, how long is a while?” I ask. “Oh, about a week,” she answers nonchalantly.

About a week! Phew! I’m already feeling the blood flowing back into my face. It’s not time yet. I can still pretend. Okay, she’s been having Braxton-Hicks for a few weeks already. Which is more reason for momentarily freaking out when I hear about contractions. “Woman, why are you telling me that you’re having contractions if I am fully aware that you’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions these past few weeks?”

But now I can’t help but think. I see it coming. At some point in the next few days, these contractions will be real, and she’ll go into labor. I’ll be driving with her down to the hospital, and along the way I’ll turn to her and know full well that this is the very last time it’s just the two of us. And the next time that I step through the threshold of our apartment, it will be three of us. And I’ll be Daddy.