By RUSSELL VJ WARD
My wife is 22 week’s pregnant. We’re more than halfway there.
In reality, she’s the one halfway there and I’m the one playing catch-up. I watch from the sidelines feeling mainly admiration and a lot of apprehension at that fast-approaching event called ‘fatherhood’.
Her pregnancy symptoms come and go, as routine as the time I spend on Google seeking out this week’s potential changes to her body and next week’s unexpected little surprises.
As a first-time dad-to-be, my wife’s pregnancy has been a real eye opener. My mind has boggled at some of the subtle changes I’ve seen. Who knew that her hair would grow this shiny? Who knew that her skin would get so smooth? Who knew that she would develop the glow of pregnancy as well as she has?
Other side effects have been less than subtle.
Who knew that she’d develop an obsessive fascination with birthing documentaries?
The British show, One Born Every Minute, is one of her favourites. Thanks to the wonders of Foxtel IQ, this undeniably graphic TV experience plays out on our television most nights, generally coinciding with dinner.
I try to ignore the feral sounds coming from the surround sound speakers. I force myself to focus on the dinner plate, concentrating hard on my meatballs and sauce. But I’m just a mere man and weak in the face of such temptation. I look up at the screen – taking in the red-faced screaming lady, bare legs up in stirrups, pain etched across her face – and I feel indescribable terror as I stare at the baby’s crowning head displayed across the entire 38-inch widescreen TV. One of the meatballs accidentally slips down my throat.
No-one warned me about these unusual obsessions. Equally, no-one warned me about my wife’s strange new sleeping habits.
At Week 22, our marital bedroom has become a haven for odd behaviours of the non-sexual variety. She sleeps deeply through the night, as I ram plug after plug into my ears. Call it pregnancy congestion or call it a good old fashioned snore but, in the small hours of the morning, I can’t hear myself call it anything over her mighty roar.
The dog sleeps peacefully in the corner, twitching through another canine dream. I, meanwhile, wrestle with a third body in the bed, fighting a life-size body pillow that seems to want me on the floor. I retreat to the cold second bedroom, banished from my domain, imaginary tail between my legs, my wife and dog continuing to noise-make next door in complete and utter ignorant bliss.