Sarah’s nausea has dissipated, and various essential areas of her anatomy are no longer stamped “fragile.” It’s possible, if the stars are aligned, that she could be ready to give sex a go. I’ve tried to improve my chances by telling her that sex will help keep her pelvic muscles toned in preparation for childbirth. Of course, now she is suffering from the worst headaches of her life. Go figure.

What I’ve gleaned from the contingent of Expectant Fathers Goons lucky enough to have sex with their pregnant wives is this: it’s a weird experience. On one hand, she’s got new curves, there are all kinds of creative positions to try, and the increased blood flow to her pelvic area has the power to make her orgasms mind-blowing and mulitple. On the other, it may be tough getting in the mood now that they see their wives as mothers, not lovers. Some women find it excruciatingly painful. And to those who think that sex will damage the fetus, I say: don’t flatter yourself. Your precious little Babu is sheltered in an amniotic fluid–filled cushion, so unless you’re Tommy Lee, the kid is perfectly safe.

And, in case you’re wondering: she still wouldn’t have sex with me.

We’re officially out of the prenatal closet now, and many phone calls and e-mails have criss-crossed the country. The responses basically fell into four different categories. The first camp was genuine expressions of joy:

  • “Yippeee!!!”
  • “You will be great parents!”
  • “You guys are going to have so much fun.”
  • “I’ll look forward to toasting y’all tonight-you are going to be one of the world’s greatest dads, my man.”

The second camp included those who nudged me in the ribs for being a stud.

  • “Jeff, you dog.”
  • “You dirty devil.”
  • “You ol’ bastard.”

The third was the folks who couldn’t seem to hear the news through all the technological noise out there:

  • “You may want to update your email address book with my current address as the domain name goes away at the end of the year.”
  • “Did you write me an e-mail today? I got a message from Earthlink that it was quarantined because it had a virus.”

The fourth camp was full of messages that said more about the writer than the baby-to-come:

  • “All the married dudes I know are proving their boys can swim. You’re really turning the heat up on me!”
  • “Thanks for telling me two minutes before everyone else found out.”
  • “I actually heard this news from Mamére several days ago.”
  • “The following birthdays in February are already taken by family members . . .”
  • “I make everything cool by doing it first.”
  • “Wow . . . I get way too excited over babies. I would have one now, you know, except, well, yeah. I am 19 and very, very single.”
  • “I didn’t have a clue. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own drama.”
  • “Happy pregnancy, etc.”

On Friday night, my softball game started at 6:00, and my flight to Vegas for Brad’s bachelor party took off at 9:20. I was determined to do both. Sarah, ever the sport, sat on the first-base side and cheered for me even though she would have rather been in bed. She even promised to rush me to the airport after the game. How did I get so lucky?

Our bats came alive, and our defense was resplendent. We were up 12-2 in the fifth when Sarah started pointing at her watch. I pretended not to notice. At the end of a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the field, she called me over. “I’m too tired to drive all the way to O’Hare,” she said. “If we leave now, I can drop you off at the Blue Line and you can take the train.”

“Come on, it’s only 7:45. We don’t have to leave for another 20 minutes.”

“Jeff, you have no idea how exhausted I am.”

“One more inning. Please?”

“Fine.” She arched her back and winced. “But don’t blame me if you miss your flight.”

Ecstatic, I returned to the bench. Jonathan, a level-headed father with a 13-month-old daughter, put his hand on my shoulder. “Jeff, what are you doing? She’s pregnant.”

Ten minutes later I was on the train, having kissed her goodbye at the train station, sweaty and feeling like an insensitive jerk. Sarah had sat on an uncomfortable patch of dirt, struggling to keep her eyes open so she could watch me play a meaningless game. That’s love. And she currently holds the ultimate trump card, one she can play as often as she wants. Other people can even play it for her. Only an unmitigated putz would try to overrule it with a softball game.