From Here to Paternity

Pregnancy, revealed—from a father-to-be’s perspective

A few years back, Mrs. Closer and I had our own Knocked Up moment. Though we were, and still are, married, Sarah and I were every bit as clueless as the couple in the movie-I kept a journal of the experience as evidence. Every bizarre, scary, and embarrassing detail is in there; no sexual frustration or bodily malfunction is omitted. Now, to the wife’s dismay, I have released the journal as a biweekly column called Push. It doesn’t qualify as a blog since it’s not happening in real time. Like the nine months themselves, it’s more of a slog. Either way, here is a taste.

WEEK 9

Before she got pregnant, Sarah’s dreams were laughably literal. If she was worried about work, she’d have a stressful dream about work. If she watched a Madonna video, circa True Blue, she’d dream about Madonna, circa True Blue. If she’d packed herself a sandwich for lunch the next day, more often than not, she’d dream about the sandwich. But now her dreams are Buñuel films on three hits of acid. She’s swimming in a pool filled with green Jell-O. Housesitting a talking dog, rabbit, and cockatoo. Reading Chicago magazine’s next cover story, Best Ways to Frighten Children.

According to babycenter.com, dreams are more vivid during pregnancy due to increased progesterone and to awakening more often during dream-filled REM sleep. Common variations involve skyscrapers (representing a woman’s sensitivity to her size), water (awareness of the fluid inside her), driving a truck (awkwardness, lack of maneuverability), and giving birth to a full-grown adult (just plain freaky). Men still dream of sex, of course.

In her latest, we’re on a plane together, and it’s getting pretty dicey. She’s always been sure she would die in a plane crash-so certain that, every time we board a plane, she pats the side of it and says a little prayer. This time, the turbulence is so drastic, everyone is screaming.

“I’m sorry, folks, we’re going down,” the pilot says on the P.A. “There’s no avoiding it. And I just want to let you know: it’s going to be awful.”

Sarah turns to me in the dream and says: “I love you. And I told you so.”

WEEK 13

No one goes out of his way for a woman who isn’t visibly pregnant, a lesson Sarah learned the hard way yesterday. While running errands downtown, she couldn’t find a parking spot, so she parked illegally, as she has been known to do. On her way back to the car, she saw a policeman putting a ticket on her windshield.

She begged. She pleaded. She may have even beseeched; I don’t know. But the guy just smiled and slipped the ticket under the wiper. Then he saw that her license plate had expired.

Jackpot. Another ticket.

As Sarah fumed, the cop looked her newly curvy body up and down hungrily before adding the final insult. “You know what, though?” he asked. “You’re lookin’ fine.” Then he towed the car.

Was Sarah upset? Obviously. Was she put out? You bet. But was she insulted? After all, she had been the recipient of sexual harassment, courtesy of one of Chicago’s Finest, a man sworn to serve and protect.

“I was about to lift up my shirt,” she told me last night as we were walking around Lower Wacker in search of the auto pound. “Hell, I would’ve shown him my tits if it would’ve kept him from towing the car.” Pregnancy does weird things to a woman’s brain; this much I know. But when a world-class liberal who refuses to watch the E! network because it’s degrading to women is a mere parking ticket away from her own Girls Gone Wild video, you know life has officially turned upside down. 

Read more about ultrasounds, Slurpees, ballooning breasts, and the fowl we absentmindedly left in our oven for two months on Push: The Closer’s 40-Week Stumble into Fatherhood.

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