This week, Sarah had her third OB visit, which she said wasn’t mandatory for me, so I skipped out. (Come on, I’ve been to all the other ones.) The appointment included a triple screening for spina bifida and hydrocephalus and dwarfism and chromosomal abnormalities (i.e., Down’s syndrome). We get the results next week, which seems like a long time to wait on such scary stuff.

Dr. Harth reported that Babu’s heartbeat still sounded great, But when she weighed Sarah, she found that she’d only gained one pound. One stinkin’ pound. Considering the average woman gains 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy (1.8 to 2.5 stone for all you Brits out there), she still has a long way to go. Sarah must have looked concerned, because Dr. Harth said, “You’re doing fine. Whatever you’re eating, keep eating it.” OK.

As Sarah relayed this information to me, I was stuffing leftover pizza in my mouth. No one told me that I would be gaining weight during pregnancy, but I have somehow managed to pack on ten pounds. How is this possible? I’ll tell you.

Midway through any meal, Sarah invariably gets nauseous and pushes her plate away, and away from her is usually the same direction as toward me. Being a man and all, I eat. And the very idea of leftovers makes her want to throw up in her mouth. I love me some leftovers. So even if I don’t eat that dumpling today, I’ll eat it tomorrow. Boom: ten pounds.

But enough about my belly. We’re more than halfway there now, and Sarah’s tummy is still flat. Yesterday, one of her colleagues said, “You’re expecting? What are you expecting, a hamster?”

Such comments don’t help her state of mind. More than anything right now, she wants to be showing. Every time someone says, “You don’t look four months pregnant,” she grins, then privately runs to a mirror in search of any physical evidence that she’s actually got something growing inside her. There is none, and it makes her extremely nervous.

I can sympathize; it makes me nervous too. But what: does she think she’s not really pregnant? Was that ultrasound a dream? The puking? The kicking? The crying? The whole thing? “Are you worried that you’re not really pregnant?” I asked last night at the dinner table.

“No. I know I’m pregnant. Can you pass the potatoes?”

“Then what is it?”

She feels her tummy. “I don’t know. I just want . . .” She stops.


“Oh, I don’t know.”

I shrugged, and that was the end of that.

The next day, I figured out the rest of her sentence: I just want my pregnancy to be normal. The nine months are weird enough when things happen exactly the way they’re supposed to; when they don’t, it’s got to be absolutely terrifying. Without some semblance of predictability, pregnancy would be absolute chaos—which means, when you get right down to it, normal is the goal of pregnancy. Well, that, and a baby.