Monday, October 22, 2012


The vast array of pregnancy symptoms thankfully eluded me when I was pregnant with E about thirteen years ago. I always say that God gave me an easy pregnancy considering that I had some trauma going on in my life at the time. So the morning sickness, constipation and copious amounts of gas didn't plague me as it did other pregnant women. In fact it wasn't until my last two months of pregnancy (after gorging myself on bread and pasta) that I even began to feel uncomfortable as I gained nearly twenty pounds in those last months totaling my weight gain to nearly fifty pounds. But all in all when I would be asked how my pregnancy was I had no complaints. Little did I know that I would no longer be able to utter those words ever again.

I was excited for my wife to be pregnant and not for the reasons that most would think; no weight gain, no discomfort, and most of all no pesky pregnancy symptoms. I was happy to be on the supportive end. The dotting wife who would be taking care of S as our unborn child grew inside her. I was prepared for snack runs, massages, and positive words of encouragement when emotions would run high. But what I was not prepared for was a little something called Couvade Syndrome or in layman's terms, sympathetic pregnancy. Google it my friends, this is an actual thing. Sympathetic pregnancy is when the partner of a pregnant woman experiences some of the same symptoms as the mom to be. Initially I thought this was all in my head but then I started to notice that I was complaining about the very same things that S was.

The first obvious symptom was morning sickness. During her first couple of weeks of pregnancy S was not feeling the queasy stomach, in fact she kind of welcomed it as if it was some sort of right of passage. But before she was feeling nauseous after each meal or vomiting in the morning I was noticing a sour stomach of my own. Damn it! Mornings became a horrendous game of what food would make me clutch my stomach and take a salt lick. For those of you that don't know me very well breakfast food is almost like the black plague for me in the morning. Once I became an adult I no longer stuck to cereal or eggs and pancakes. I would eat whatever my body felt it wanted and nothing was off the table. I've been known to eat asparagus, couscous, chicken, salmon, whatever looked good and seemed right for belly went in my mouth (and mostly without heating it up in the microwave which my wife really can't understand). But four weeks into S's pregnancy and I could barely keep a cup of coffee in my stomach without wanting to keep an eye out for the bathroom just in case. I never actually vomited but there were some touch and go moments.

Next major symptom that has plagued my body was insomnia. Initially I didn't complain about this symptom too much because there have been many nights when I like to stay up and play video games or watch television. I always considered the night my personal time when I could relax and be by myself. But after a rough summer semester in school I've been much better about getting a good night's sleep. It was only in the past couple of weeks that this symptom began to rear it's ugly head. I started to notice that I would wake up multiple times throughout the night and find it nearly impossible to fall back asleep. I counted backwards, slowed down my breathing, erased all the thoughts of the day from my mind, but nothing seemed to get me back to lala land. By the time my alarm would wake me back up I suddenly felt the weight of sleeplessness hitting me. It seemed as though the Sandman would say Oh I thought you said you wanted to sleep at 9AM not 9 PM. Oops!

In addition to the nausea and lack of sleep I have managed to include indigestion, dizziness, back pain, bloating and headaches. I became a walking mirror to all of the things that my wife had started to complain about. I took all of these signs for granted until I came across a baby magazine that had an article about partners of pregnant women and the Couvade Syndrome. What?! Could I really not be making this up? It all started to make sense. As the weeks passed and my wife would read about new symptoms she was experiencing from the various reading material she acquired my ears perked up. I began reading more about the symptoms of pregnancy not so much for my wife's sake but for mine.

As we approach the end of the first trimester I have started to feel a bit apprehensive about what I would be expecting for the second trimester. My wife is a trooper and has managed to not only feel all of the same things that I feel and not complain (unlike myself) but she is also managing work on top of it. I would have to find some magic potion that would muster up some energy in my body so that I'm able to get through this pregnancy and labor. I mean if she can do all of this I can certainly get it together for her; I mean I'm not even pregnant. I started to read up about the second trimester to prepare for the road ahead and was pleased to find that at around this point relief would be coming for the mommy-to-be. YES!!!! That means relief for me too!

Hats off to you babe for getting through all of this and making it look easy. And I hate to make this all about me but I can't wait until we go into I can get a break.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What in the F&CK am I going to do?

So the other day I was driving E home from piano practice, when some MUTHA F&CKING A$$WIPE cut me off.  In my typical fashion, I yelled several expletives after driving up to the side of him.  As I zoomed away, I thought yet another epic fail in my attempt to end my love affair with profane language.  Since I feel I need to end this comforting relationship prior to baby Z's birth, dejected, I drove home wondering what in the F&CK am I going to do?  Three months into my pregnancy, I realized curbing my cursing is more of a marathon in the Sahara than a sprint down the street.

Anyone who is a close family member, friend or even acquaintance of mine knows that I have had an intimate and close relationship with cursing.  For the past 30 years, since the age of 5, I have used words such as A$$H0L3, D1CKH3AD and SH1T on a regular basis. From Pre-K with Mrs. Liberman, to Advanced Placement English with Mrs. Mason and throughout my professional career, profane language helped to shape my existence.  When I first confessed my sins to my mother at 9, she rationalized my use of swearing as a release and response to stress.  I've experienced lots of stress throughout my life so, I've always had a valid reason (from my mother's perspective) to swear.  I curse more than most marines, cops, soldiers and ex-cons, I love me some hanky-panky with F&CK and all of it's derivatives. 

It's not something that I'm proud or ashamed of.  I've lived by George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" monologue and Bernie Mac's "The Word Mutha F&cka" routine. There are times that I don't even realize I used a curse word until it's said and the three second delay in my mind informed me that I just used one. I also get clues from folks who don't appreciate the beauty of F&CK and I see their faces scrunch up.

Now in no way am I bragging and by no means have I meant any disrespect in using these words when speaking, it's been part of my diction and has been a fundamental part of who I am.   I have been around people who have said I curse because I'm lazy, but in no way is my vocabulary limited and I enjoy word play being both staccato and eloquent and verbose with my verbal communications.   Sure there have been times in my life where I've tried to limit or even quit, telling my love F&CK that we have to part ways, that we can no longer be.  But I am weak and F&CK knows my previous attempts to severe the relationship was a farce.  I have been as unsuccessful as Chris Brown and Rih Rih in staying apart from my beloved. Can I love both F&CK and have the desire to not curse at the same time...

Well now that I'm expecting, I feel like I have to do something radical, this thing has to end. Since the day of implantation, Baby Z has a first row seat to learning the fundamentals to a well placed "Get the F&CK Outta here." By time we reach the ninth month, Z will graduate with honors with a Master in "Are you F&CKING Kidding Me."   My first fear is that toddler Z will have the same zest and affinity toward Mutha F&CKA and will use it as interchangeably as I do at both the right and wrong times.  My second and greatest fear is that Little Z will ask Mommy why she curses so GOT DAMN much.  So now that I know what I need to do, I'm trying to figure out how to do it.  I wish it was as simple as not cursing, but it's not some freaking simple.  Maybe it truly is...