Becoming A Dad – The First 12 Weeks

As I stated in my introduction, I’ve been ready to be a father for about a year. I don’t really think anyone can really be ready, but they can be mentally prepared to accept the future challenges of being a parent. Having had a spectacular mother and father as examples growing up, I can take away tips that worked to raise me. My parents, and Elizabeth’s fantastic parents, will be invaluable resources in the near future and for that, I’m extremely grateful.

What ended up being the biggest challenge for us, was hiding the fact that we were trying, and eventually that we were pregnant from our friends! We live in Denver and with our friends, love to visit the many taprooms for a couple fresh beers on weekends or on a weeknight for a beer, dinner and cribbage.

During the first two months, the two week time frame between trying and knowing if we succeeded ended up being hard. Elizabeth wouldn’t have a drink, but we’d have to fake it when we would go out for a beer. We found some good techniques however!

After the third month, Elizabeth did get pregnant and finding out was one of the best moments of my life – although it was a big surprise! Elizabeth had taken two tests previously that both came out negative. One about four days previously, another two days after that and took the third just because she had been feeling dizzy. Dizziness is a symptom of early pregnancy as I soon learned. After two negative tests in the past four days, I didn’t expect anything other than another negative test.

photoTruth be told, I had started getting in my head that maybe we could have a hard time conceiving. On October 17th, just shy of one week before our fifth wedding anniversary, I was planning for the big day with hopes that we could have some fun and enjoy a few beers in Vail (which we’d end up doing anyway, sans beer).

Elizabeth said she was going to take another test, just to really be sure, even though we both thought it would be negative. A few minutes later, Elizabeth came into my office, huge smile on her face, test in her hand and showed me that the little digital screen that just said “Pregnant.”

I couldn’t believe it. I froze for a few seconds as I processed it. It was almost as big of a surprise as not really trying and finding out. I hopped out of my office chair and gave Elizabeth a huge hug before we both stared at the test in amazement.

The twelve weeks started then. Immediately, my brain started rushing with millions of questions, ideas and random thoughts. Is it a boy? Girl? How are we going to set up this office in the basement? When should we start getting the room ready? When is the baby due? OH MY GOD, I’M GOING TO BE A DAD!

Over the next couple weeks, it felt oddly like nothing really was happening. Elizabeth found an OB, set up her 8 week confirmation appointment for November 14th, and we just waited. She did a lot of reading online about first trimester symptoms, while I just did what was asked of me.

The first trimester is actually a very strange time. Considering it accounts for one third of your total pregnancy, it feels like absolutely nothing is happening. Elizabeth obviously was feeling the changes in her body, but from the male perspective, it was pretty boring. Thankfully, Elizabeth didn’t have a lot of morning sickness. It was limited to empty stomach nausea, so we learned quickly to have lots of oyster crackers around.

Finally, after nearly four weeks of secret keeping, we went to our 8 week pregnancy confirmation appointment. Elizabeth’s doctor has two offices, one of which is conveniently a few blocks away, so we were able to walk. This is the appointment that really made things feel real. The test started my mental preparation, but the 8 week appointment felt like it set things in motion.

We got a wealth of information from the nurses and even had the first ultrasound! Getting to see the baby (which honestly really just looked like a cashew), made things that much more real. We left the appointment excited and with plans for our 12 week appointment scheduled. That night we were able to tell our immediate family that we were going to have a baby. (That’s another story, but the short version is that we’ve never had a harder time getting in touch with them than that night!)

photo 2The next day was my 30th birthday and my dad came out for a long weekend. It was great to have been able to tell him the previous night, so unsurprisingly, he came bearing baby gifts, which my mom always keeps handy. Along with Elizabeth’s brother and his wife, we had a small team to help conceal Elizabeth not drinking that night with a multitude of friends around.

The following weeks saw us power through the end of November, host our very first Thanksgiving at our house, and into mid-December. Again, it really felt like not a lot was happening with the pregnancy. Other than family asking what we wanted for the baby room, we just went about our business.

On Friday, December 13th, we had our 12 week appointment. This was the big one! We finally met Elizabeth’s doctor and most excitingly, got another ultrasound where we could really see Peanut! Peanut was bouncing around like a little Mexican jumping bean. Everything was really healthy, great heartbeat and the test results came back with the lowest percentage for any genetic disorders.

I’ve been thankful for these appointments, because since Elizabeth hasn’t shown through 12 weeks, these appointments are the only thing from the father’s perspective that keep the pregnancy real. Of course, it’s real every day, but we’re not the ones experiencing the changes, so fathers have to rely on those moments in the first term.

In terms of preparation, we decided to wait on purchasing anything or prepping the room until we were sure everything looked good – other than get a closet organization system. Now that we know we’re in good shape, the more fun aspects will be in our near future!

Next: The 4th Month and Money

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