My duties at home have changed dramatically over the past nine months. My job description now reads like that of an assistant to a demanding celebrity. Applicant must not only perform the function of supportive husband, concerned father, and invested partner, but is also expected to transform into chef, porter, chauffeur, deliveryman, errand boy, and birth coach at a moment's notice. That last one is where I would get stuck in the interview.
I get queasy when I cut my toenails, but I'm not nervous about fainting during crunch time. I'm not scared that my wife is going to scream nasty things at me when she's having a jackhammer of a contraction. I can picture it now, we're breathing, I'm attempting to sooth her, and all of a sudden, she screams, "You're a fat ass momma's boy!" Using two of my biggest neuroses against me at her most vulnerable time. That would hurt, but I can take whatever she can dish out. That's not really her style, though. But if it were, I like to think I can rise to the occasion.
No, I'm really hung up on the whole coach thing. I understand why I am the birth coach. Since I was fortunate enough to have participated in the conception, it only seems right that I play a major role in the birth. I just don't feel I'm qualified. Four years of college don't qualify some people to be accountants or stock brokers. So how do ten hours of classes give me the tools I need to help deliver a baby? From the time that first contraction hits, to the time she's ready to push, it's pretty much my game to lose. Things are not in the hands of the doctor who has had all of that schooling and experience. Why is that? What am I going to do? Write my wife a joke? Sing her a funny song?
I can see myself someday wearing a visor and a whistle, walking a real sideline at my daughter's soccer or field hockey game. I'm looking forward to that. Can't wait to be imploring a group of 6 year-old girls to dig deep and run 'til it hurts. But for now, I am my wife's coach. And she is my disgruntled player, demanding a new contract.
She wants to renegotiate her deal, and I don't blame her. She's uncomfortable, cranky, gassy, and clumsy, but what's not to love? The woman I married is still in there somewhere. And she'll be back before I know it. She obviously has the tougher job, but she'd be making a better case for herself if she cooperated less like Terrell Owens. No, there have been no sit ups in our driveway. Possibly because we live in a condo, and therefore do not have a driveway. Even if we did have a driveway, I don't think she'd be doing those sit ups.
We are going through Lamaze, attending the classes, doing the breathing. At least, I am. I practice along with the instructor so I can help my wife in her time of need. One night, as we're learning a new technique, I turn to see if she is doing it correctly. Not only was she not doing it correctly, she wasn't doing it at all! When I gave her my best "drop and give me 20, soldier" look, she wrinkled her nose, and shook her head no. That's what I call teamwork!
There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to Lamaze, and delivering "naturally." When I told one of those new moms who likes to share her horror stories that we started classes, and that we have been pleasantly surprised, she said "Oh, that doesn't work." She obviously doesn't read my blog. And good thing, too. She's providing scores of valuable material.
But did you know that "natural" child birth means the baby comes out of the place where it's supposed to? Meaning, the mom's happy place? I'm such a child, I can't even say vagina! There, I said it. Vagina. Now I can't stop, it's too much fun! Vagina. O.K. I'm done now.
That's right. It has nothing to do with drugs. You can take all the drugs you want. That is, the mother can take all the drugs she wants. Legal drugs. There will be no bong hits in the delivery room. And it's still as natural as peeing in the ocean. Like you've never done it before. We all know it's a long walk back to the house.
So all of those smarty pants who want to submerge themselves in a bathtub or hang from a tree like a chimp or float at zero gravity at the Kennedy Space Center because they want it to be 'natural,' can just sit on it, Potsie. They're wrong.
You see, I am not here merely to entertain you, but to inform you as well. Natural = vagina +/- drugs.
So if all goes right, we will deliver naturally. My route to the hospital is mapped out. I'm taking my game plan into that delivery room, and am prepared to execute it. I know what plays I'm going to call early, I know which ones we're going to run after halftime, and I am also ready for any wrenches the opposing coach - whomever that may be - is going to throw at me.
Who would be the opposing coach, actually? Our parents? The nurses? The doctor? God? That's an imposing thought. I'm coaching against God? That's reassuring. Shouldn't He be on my side? In the long run, I'm sure He is.
The Jets pay their coach about $2.5 million a year. Joe Torre gets more than $6 million to manage the Yankees. My paycheck? A beautiful, happy, and healthy wife and baby girl. That's enough for me.