Here we are: on the eve of Week 38. The baby is more or less to term, depending on which medical professional is talking. We have built all the furniture, installed the car seat, set up all the other baby gear, and laundered all the new clothes. We’ve met the baby’s pediatrician and we’ve taken a detailed tour of the hospital. We’re keeping the house spotless in case we have to disappear for a few days, because the last thing we’ll want to do when we return from the hospital is clean the house. We’ve stocked our freezer and cupboard with easy meals. We are daydreaming about the baby on our own and talking about the baby constantly when we’re together. We’re ordering more baby supplies on the internet because it’s basically the only way we can take care of our child at this moment in time. We’re doing everything we can to stay calm.

Every day I play the same game: if the baby came today, would I be ready? I run through the task lists and inventories again, double- and triple-check to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There’s no way around it: our home is completely ready for this child. There is nothing left to do except deal with my excitement and anxiety.

I do the same thing every day at work, but the story is different because there is always something else to do. For weeks, I’ve been on a mission to tie up all loose ends, finish ongoing projects and initiate new ones so I can lay the foundation and get people set up to assume what would normally be my role. It’s not easy for me to relinquish control of projects that are my responsibility to lead. No matter how much faith I have in others to perform well in my place, my sense of ownership over my work is so strong and it hurts to think about putting it down for eight weeks. At least that’s how I feel right now. I know the baby’s arrival will change everything.

I keep thinking about how I only have a couple more weeks of being a person who is not a parent. I’ve lived nearly 37 years as a non-parent. Once the baby comes, I will be a parent for the rest of my life. The more I think about it, the more I realize there’s nothing else with the ability to completely alter my identity and worldview, in such an immediate and unavoidable fashion, the way being a parent will.

Many people have told me and Lauren that we’re going to be amazing parents. While I appreciate the vote of confidence, it strikes me as an odd thing to say. Seriously — what if we totally suck? I can see fatherhood bringing out the very best in me, but I can also see it bringing out my worst qualities: my anxiety, my control freak tendencies, my stubbornness, my emotional distance, etc. There’s no possible way that Lauren and I are going to be consistently amazing at parenting, and I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation for anyone. If we don’t fuck up sometimes, then we are not human.

I’ve had significant troubles with sleeping for a decade, but it’s only getting worse as our due date approaches. Morning hangout sessions with baby have become all-nighters. He is as active as ever, though he clearly takes up a lot more space in Lauren’s belly. Often her abdomen is skewed in whatever direction he’s leaning, making her look like an adorably lopsided penguin.

This blog post is about as scattered as my brain right now. I’m guessing this will be my last post before the baby is born — at which point I will be a legit dad in plaid.


sympathy weight is real.

I have gained around fifteen pounds since we learned Lauren was pregnant. The weight is most visible in my midsection and in my face. My jeans are tight. My large shirts no longer fit. I am strictly extra-large for the first time in a couple years.

I am constantly hungry. I am craving sweets like never before. I bought myself some vegan dark chocolate to help me avoid trips to our much less healthy Halloween candy bowl. The result is that I’m just alternating back and forth between healthy and unhealthy candy. I don’t even care. It’s all fucking delicious and I totally deserve it.

Sympathy weight is real. It doesn’t come from hormones. It doesn’t come from actual feelings of sympathy. It comes from having a legitimate excuse to eat a lot of junk food. The excuse isn’t that you’re stressed out and need a few extra treats to cope. The excuse isn’t that your partner is having ice cream cravings and needs a buddy to help her finish off the latest pint. The excuse isn’t that you’re going to be a dad and that’s awesome, so why not celebrate.

The excuse is simply that sympathy weight is real.

I was reminded of the reality of sympathy weight at some point during the first trimester. I can’t remember how — it may have been a conversation or something I read in a book. Either way, that mention of sympathy weight planted a seed in my brain that sympathy weight was a real thing that I would be dealing with soon. And so I spent the next few months realizing the inevitability of sympathy weight, specifically by eating a lot of delicious food.

Realistically, if I really put my mind to it, I should be able to gain another five pounds or so before the baby arrives. I’ll keep you updated.

morning hangout sessions with baby.

I’m an early riser. Lauren likes to sleep in. Every morning before she wakes I rest my hand on her belly and feel his movements. Sometimes it’s a quick little tap and a gurgle. Sometimes it’s like Lauren’s whole torso is convulsing. Most often it’s a limb gently protruding, just enough to push my hand up half an inch. I like to push back and see if he responds. It’s kind of like we’re high fiving.

I assumed visible kicks would gross me out, but I find myself watching Lauren’s belly to make sure I don’t miss them. It’s the closest I can get to feeling like I know him. Yes, I won’t truly know him until he’s complex enough to be an individual — and before that happens, he still has to finish being a fetus, and then a little bug-eyed poop machine.

For now, we have our morning routine, and I have my imagination. I like to daydream about the walks we’ll take and the games we’ll play, the bond we’ll forge when our hands can touch.

Due date: 64 days.
Excited grandparents: 7.
Onesies received as gifts: More than we can count.