“I love big families. I’d totally love to have 4 or 5 kids, that would be so awesome”, my wife said to her friend Lisa as she paced around the kitchen on the phone.
“Holy motherfuck, she’s off the reservation, dude.”, I said to myself, as I backpedaled into the shadows surrounding the basement door, just around the corner from the kitchen. I’m not a big eavesdropper, but I had to get the latest intel. The last conversation I remembered having with her, we talked about 3 or 4, which I didn’t completely agree to OR deny, despite what she may say.
It was March of last year. The month of March contains my birthday and we all know what that means. Sex will most likely occur at some point during those calendar days. It’s pretty much a given. Whether it be the obligatory ‘birthday sex’ or the ‘we never have sex anymore and I’m worried about us sex’. And sex…could potentially lead to more kids, especially since we were having a birth control stand-off.
Either way, a speeding locomotive had left the station and even Superman couldn’t stop it. For a few quick moments, I considered ducking into the basement while she was on the phone, hustling down to my workbench to grab the needle-nose pliers and perform a DIY vasectomy I’d found on YouTube, but reality settled in.
Please don’t mistake my self-deprecating and sometimes bitter humor for anything legitimate, I love kids. I LOVE my kids. I would love to have more kids. But the initial thought of adding a newborn in with two toddlers and a dog left me gasping for air in the stairwell that evening.
Just like clockwork (and for the third time), my wife told me that “We should just have fun and if it happens, it happens.” She said, “Things may have changed since the last pregnancy, who knows if we’ll be as fortunate as we were with the first two.” Once again, there I was, flailing around helplessly on the floor like a fresh catch that just got hauled into the boat–hook, line and sinker.
That night, I was downstairs watching TV when I got a text from her (she was upstairs, that’s how we roll) that said ‘I’m getting in the shower, you should come up 😉 XXX’
WELL. We all know what that means, don’t we? NO and neither did I. Was that a ‘wink and a kiss’ or ‘come up here so we can finally shoot this porno?’
I rolled the dice and walked upstairs. There were no Old Yankee candles lit by the bed or lingerie hanging from the door jamb, so I stood there confused. And that’s when she said, “Hey, I’m in the shower, come in with me!”
Sex in the shower? How old are we? What about my back? I remember trying to have sex once in a swimming pool in my 20’s and it was forever emotionally rattling. Why was she thinking I could go for the gold when all I’ve ever been successful at was winning the bronze? (EDITOR’S NOTE: See what I did there with the Olympics reference?)
…and that was it. The most awkward, contorted, fall-down-smack-your-shampooed-head-on-the-tile-break-the-towel-rack sex ever.
But it was too late. All because I couldn’t resist taking a shower with my wife, dropping the soap and asking her to pick it up. It was a done deal, even though we ‘weren’t really trying’.
It took until about halfway through April for us to find out. Evidently my boys were swimming the backstroke instead of the freestyle.
Was I really ready for another child so soon? I mean, I’m still drawing dicks on our Easter eggs for chrissake.
As a full-time stay-at-home dad (who also writes), I need to figure out some serious time management. This pregnancy seemed to fly by and be much easier than the first two (says the guy who doesn’t carry the human in his stomach). The days and months of this past year raced by as we experienced so many things – stories that I haven’t even had the time to write about yet. Stories that I cannot leave untold (foreshadowing–get ready for a ton of stories as I brain-dump the last year onto the page) because they’re too funny and fill in the blanks of this journey I’ve started in writing this blog.
But for now, forgive that tangent and allow me to continue telling you about this ‘shower baby’.
It was obvious to the kids that either mommy was eating way too many Potbelly Subs for lunch OR perhaps, they would soon have a new little brother or sister.
With Ava, my wife and I had found out the gender somewhat anti-climatically. The doctor showed us the absence of a penis on a grainy ultrasound, then we went out for Italian food and talked about how many different shades of pink there are (for the nursery).
With Charlie, Jen decided that we should keep it a secret from everyone, including ourselves and our parents. We should have the doctor write it down on an index card, put it in an envelope and then give that envelope to the complete stranger that runs the bakery and have him put the answer underneath a blanket of sugary fondant in the form of pink or blue cake. Then we should have a bunch of people over, cut it open and proceed to get drunk.
This time around, we were in a different spot. We’d moved across the country, away from the majority of our old friends. The kids were now our friends (Seriously. My only friends are kids.) and we wanted to share the news with them first.
Over the course of nine months, we continued engaging Ava and Charlie about the new baby. We’d ask them things like “What will his name be?”, upon which my daughter would answer “Ava!”. Little does she know that we’re unanimously against having a boy and a girl named Ava.
So there we were, spending the Christmas holiday in Atlanta, almost 700 miles from home, a few short weeks before Jen’s due date. We were about to add a 6th member to our family (I included the dog to raise the stakes) and I was hoping it wasn’t in a rest stop bathroom somewhere along Interstate 85 South. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a smidge nervous, but when your pregnant wife gets something in her head that she wants to do, you make a mild effort to dissuade her, then get the fuck out of the way before you get hit in the head with a kitchen plate frisbee.
I can’t remember how many times we pulled over during the 1,300 mile round-trip drive from DC to Georgia to use the bathroom and I probably went overboard using latex driving gloves and wearing scrubs instead of my normal jeans and a t-shirt, but whatever, a boy scout is always prepared.
We finally made it back home just before New Year’s Day. Jen’s due date wasn’t until the middle of January and I assumed that I had a few weeks to ‘get my shit in order’, which included anything I might not be able to do with a newborn…like, clean out the garage, take down the Christmas lights outside, pay those bills that changed colors while we’d been gone, etc.
And then, one night a few days after Kathy Griffin handcuffed herself to Anderson Cooper as the ball dropped, my wife tossed and turned for hours in her sleep. She was experiencing serious contractions and was unable to go to work the next day. I walked around impatiently asking “So what’s the deal, are you in labor or do I have time to run to Starbucks?” I was kidding…sort of.
After about 12 hours of contractions and squeezing the bones in my hands into dust, she finally said, I think we need to go to the hospital.
At this point, I realized that this was no drill. I had about 45 minutes to get my act together. This had nothing to do with taking out the recycling or making sure the Verizon bill was paid – this was about packing a fucking bag (you idiot, you had 9 months) for the hospital.
Because this was unexpected, our parents were still en route. I called our friends Andrew and Michele and asked if there was any way we could drop Ava and Charlie off to ‘watch a movie’ aka ‘spend 8 hours at your house destroying the place’ and they obliged. If it weren’t for them, I would’ve REALLY had my hands full at the hospital and we’re both forever grateful.
We pulled into the emergency parking lot and made our way inside. They had hooked Jen up to monitors to observe the contractions and determine whether or not she was ready to go. After an hour or two, the doctor came in and said, ‘Let’s do this.’
This was followed by a flurry of activity, including nurses coming in and out, preparing her for the O.R. They had asked me if I’d eaten anything all day and I replied, “Not really, but I’m probably fine.” Evidently, in the nursing world, this answer is wholly unacceptable and they replied with, “Oh hell no! You need to eat something–we don’t need two patients.”
They had offered to go and get me some crackers, but came back with an abandoned patient’s meal.
Needless to say, I felt like a complete dick-bag sitting around eating dinner while my wife screamed every few minutes.
HOLY SHIT, I’m kidding everyone. I truly did feel horrible about having to eat given the circumstances, but…doctors orders!
Not long after that, we were wheeled away towards the operating room. As always, I was left in a room by myself while Jen was being prepped. There’s nothing quite like pacing around in solitary, moments before you’re about to become a father, whether it’s the first time or the last. I thought a lot about the gift of life, how lucky we are to be parents. I thought about my ups and downs over the last 4+ years as a stay-at-home dad, my failures and successes.
Your life changes after you stare into the eyes of a newborn, so innocent and beautiful. It’s rarely about you anymore, it’s always about them and that’s okay. This is what we signed up for.
I’d like to say that I was less nervous with my third child, than I was with my first or second, but I’d be lying. I was about to meet someone new, that I had helped create (in the shower) and it was frightening, yet exciting.
The nurse brought me into the O.R. and I sat next to my wife, holding her hand, making small talk–which has become a joke of ours. Most of the time I lead with “How you doin’?” in my best Joey from Friends voice. She smiled as a tear of happiness ran down her cheek.
Minutes later, here we are…
As much as I joke around, I’m proud to be a father and I’m constantly learning how to be a better parent. Sometimes flaws and imperfections through the course of our lives shape who we are today. I know that I’m not perfect, but in this moment, THEY are.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrian Kulp is a blogger, author, TV producer and full-time stay-at-home dad. His first book for Penguin Publishing, a comedic parenting memoir, debuted in May of 2013. He currently writes Dad or Alive, as well as for The Huffington Post. He’s a member of Target’s Inner Circle and a contributor to Kids in the House. He most recently produced ‘Modern Dads’ for A&E and moderated a panel on fatherhood at Dad Summit 2.0 in New Orleans in January of 2014.