I won’t lie; when I first found out that I was going to be a father, I had just gotten home from the bar and was more than half in the bag. I sat down on the couch, and immediately received a text from my wife. I was confused by this action, considering she was sitting right next to me at the time, but I opened up the text message and there was a picture of a pregnancy test. Showing positive. Jesus Christ, I thought. What IS this?
It took me some time to actually understand what was happening, but when it hit me, I just looked up at her and asked, “is this what I think it is?”
In hindsight, I’m not sure what else I thought it could have been, but it seemed like a logical question at the time. I got up and hugged her, but I was not feeling much excitement yet. The whiskey in my system seemed to be numbing me to the events occurring, and I was probably in more shock than I realized at the time. Still, there is video of me opening up that text message, and if you didn’t know the back story, you wouldn't be sure if I had just found out that I was going to be a dad, or if I had just seen that the final score of the Leafs game had ended in yet another goddam loss.
But before I go any further, perhaps a little backstory is needed to make a little more sense of my nonchalant reaction to this life changing event. Context, if you will.
Almost a year earlier, my wife and I had been out all day at more than one party, drinking beer and wine continuously for what must have been twelve hours (which was not exactly common place, but I digress). We arrived home and put the TV on, and I continued to pour myself whiskey. She had disappeared for a few minutes, when suddenly she walked back into the living room holding something in her hand. I wasn’t paying attention that whatever was in her hand, however, as her right eye had swollen itself almost completely shut, and coupled with the bizarre grin on her face, I thought she had gone mad from too much wine.
“Babe, I’m pregnant!”
I couldn’t understand her words; I had no idea if she even knew that her eye was swollen shut. What had HAPPENED to her eye? And what was she saying about being pregnant? At first, I was happy, and hugged her. But this was only a home pregnancy test. How accurate can these little buggers be, fifty percent at most? Sixty? This news seemed amazing, but I would wait until a real Medical Professional actually tested her and confirmed her hypothesis.
“No babe, these tests are accurate to something like 99% - if it shows positive, then there’s little doubt that I’m pregnant!”
Jesus, I thought. Was that true? I consider myself someone that watches a fair amount of TV, and most of my knowledge of things like this come from what I learned on Grey’s Anatomy. How did I not know how good these fucking tests were? These shows are really doing us a disservice by not giving us the full story. Fucking Shonda Rhimes.
When it finally hit me, I got teary eyed and immediately dumped out any remaining whiskey. I was going to be a motherfucking FATHER. The next 30 years flashed before my eyes and I vowed to get my shit together.
It’s unfortunate that miscarriages are still a taboo topic of conversation. They happen, and they happen more often than any TV show would have you believe. When we lost our first little one at the seven week mark, I was devastated. I also happened to be having major surgery on the same day that we found out, and so had little time to process the news. A steady flow of Percocet for the next week or two didn’t help, at least in terms of losing the little one. But nonetheless it was a difficult time.
All of this was in the forefront of my thoughts when I received that text message on the couch, drunk as I was. I wanted to be excited, that much I could be sure of. But I just couldn’t let myself get there.
That was three months ago, and my wife and I just passed the 20-week mark. Slowly, I am coming to grips with the fact that I might actually be a dad this time. Maybe it’s the tequila talking or maybe it’s the fact that we have a bedroom already set up with a crib, changing table, and at least three hundred books for me to read to my not-yet-born son, but holy shit this is starting to get GOOD.