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Genie, I Wish For....

If I found a bottle and in it happened to be a genie, my first wish would be for Andy to experience pregnancy and childbirth.

The first time around I credited ignorance for Andy's inability to empathize with me. How or why would anyone understand the trials and tribulations of creating and growing a human if
you've never been around a pregnant woman or been one yourself? While Andy can now speak volumes about being a witness to childbirth and an active member of a parenting team, unfortunately, he still has absolutely no clue what it is like to "take the ball and run with it" when it comes to the nine months leading up to a baby's birth.

I always say that a couple can talk all they want about when is the right time to have a baby but come on, the woman has the power to seal the deal and with that power starts the hard work. She really decides (or her body decides) when the magic moment should occur. The poor, naive man spends maybe five minutes doing his part and is probably on a mental vacation while he's contributing. Meanwhile, it is possible that the woman has carefully calculated her temperature, the time of day, quality of certain bodily fluids and alignment of the moon and stars. This will be on her mind the whole five minutes and afterwards she will do a shoulder stand, letting gravity do its work and will follow up with a detailed charting of the incident.

The guy will then forget while the woman spends the next four weeks buying 7 different varieties of pregnancy tests, taking the ones that claim to "know the moment you are pregnant", checking the toilet repeatedly and staring at her belly in the mirror thinking maybe it looks like it's popping out a bit.

And when those sticks finally read YES and PREGNANT and show a plus sign or two lines, the woman will forever be changed. The guy won't know what to think of the stick or really have any idea of the true power the stick holds. Or the power of that stick holder.

A series of events began to take place once I held the mighty stick in hand. Both times, it was in the late afternoon. As the sun set, I said good bye to non-pregnant life and hello to Mommy mode. It took five minutes for the magical mental and physical lifestyle shift to begin.

I'd love to see Andy give up Diet Coke. I'd love to see Andy give up beer. I'd love to see Andy give up beer. Wait, did I just say that? After a long day of Caroline grinding at our every nerve, Andy cracks open a beer. He cradles it in is hand, smells the hops, malt, wheat and sips. I drink a tall glass of water (they told me to cut out juice, too, those bastards!). Like the brewski, it is cold, I smell it and it smells like plastic cup. It goes down slow and I'm reminded I need to drink four more glasses before bed to complete my daily recommended amount. Gotta stay hydrated!

I'd love to see Andy go on a glycemic diet and cut out sugar. I'd like to see Andy eat hummus and carrot sticks and fro yo. I'd like to see Andy's reaction as he gained 5,10, 15, 20, 40, 65 (in my case) pounds. I'd like to hear how his back feels from carrying the extra weight all day long or how he feels about his cankles, chafing, hemorrhoids and leaky breasts.

I'd be curious to see how he handled putting on his socks and boots in the morning or the clever way he'd get his shirt to stay down over his belly. I'd like to know how tired he is after nights waking up every hour to pee, to combat acid reflux, to massage cramped calves or to turn from side to side.

I'd like to tell him to suck it up after puking it up, over and over again. I'd like to tell him to eat some crackers and stop being so sensitive when he turns green from opening the freezer and smelling TV dinners. I'd like to drink a beer while I tell him.

I'd like to see him suffer through an outrageous head ache, tooth ache or cold without anything more than children's Tylenol and some tissues.

I'd like for him to be able to see my face as I watch him try to pull pantyhose up over his belly. I'd like to know how he feels going from being an object of sexual desire to an untouchable, ever-expanding baby incubator.

I'd look forward to rubbing his back while he breathed through body wrenching contractions. I'd hold his hand while he pushed. I'd give him ice chips and take pictures as he moaned. I'd wipe the sweat from his brow as they stitched him up.

My second wish would be for Andy to be able to recover from childbirth for at least six months. We could compare notes about how our toes curled when the baby first latched on. We could exchange recommendations for the best nipple cream and least irritating adult diapers to be worn with the weird netted underpants they give you at the hospital. I'd be there with the warm water squirt bottle the first time he has to go to the bathroom. I'd refill his giant water bottle and cheer him on to keep hydrated. I'd stay awake with him at night for the feedings and diaper changes. I'd remind him to work on his Kegels after the first time he peed his pants from laughing.

I'd tell him it's not his fault when the baby cried after he ate something he probably shouldn't have. I'd reassure him he's not crazy when he cries every five minutes because he is just so happy and so sad at the very same time. I'd tell him his body looks great and that no, you can't really tell that his hair is falling out in giant clumps. I'd review the Ergo online instructions with him and help him wrestle the baby into the pack to go for a five minute stroll before the baby had a big blow out and we had to go home and change them both.

I'd call him every hour on his first day back to work and tell him that the baby was fine and that he was going to be fine, too. I'd help him sterilize bottles and breast pump parts that night after we got home. I'd let him go to bed early while I fed the baby and rocked her to sleep.

Let's be real. I wouldn't trust Andy to be the diligent, self-sacrificing baby grower that I am. I'm not sure he could survive it. My third wish would be that Andy would not actually have to go through pregnancy, child birth and the first six months after delivery. My wish would be that he would understand what it's like for me, empathize with me and appreciate me for being the attentive, caring nurturer of his children. Or at least rub my feet every night and tell me I look super hot with my baby belly and cankles.


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