1 Boy + 16 Girls x Estrogen = Awkward

Monday, April 21, 2008

Most of you probably know that the Normal Mormon Wife and I are excitedly expecting our third child at the end of May. LDS fathers tend to be on the supportive, involved, helpful side of the parenting continuum (guys, raise your hand if you read What to Expect When You're Expecting along with your wife during your first pregnancy), which provides us with some unique experiences as we assist our wives through the belly-swelling ordeal. One of the ways in which we show our support is by accompanying our wives to the regularly-scheduled prenatal checkup visits at the OBGYN, which I'm pretty sure is an acronym for the hospital's policy of "Over Billing Girls Yearning for Nurses". This is especially true when you enter the tail end of the pregnancy. I would not be surprised during the last two weeks of the pregnancy to have an appointment end at 10:00 a.m. and hear the nurse then say, "Okay, we'll see you at your next visit, which is today at 2:30."

I had the privilege last week of going to an OBGYN visit with the NMW and I such a surreal experience that it deserved a running diary:

8:30 a.m. - Enter the lobby and quickly realize that I am the only male in the room. Between the office staff and mothers in the lobby, I am outnumbered 16 to 1. So this is what it feels like to be a female going to BYU Idaho. Creepy.

(On a side note: I felt like all of the women were judging me as to why I was with my wife at the appointment. It seemed as though they were mentally placing me into one of the following categories:

-Loving husband showing support for his wife.
-Slacker husband who is only at the appointment to get out of work for an hour.
-Fearful husband who was told the day the test came back positive, "You did this to me and I will hurt you if you don't pull your weight until this baby comes."
-Trapped husband who is married to a high-maintenance wife who would think he doesn't love her if he did not show up for every single appointment.
-Disoriented male who took a wrong turn in the office complex and instead of finding the vending machine, he found 16 judgmental pregnant women and their support staff.

Just for fun - take the poll on the right hand side as to why you (guys) or your husband (ladies) goes on the OBGYN visits. I think I'm a cross between "loving husband" and "slacker husband" because I secretly enjoy escaping the office for these visits.)

8:32 a.m. - I can literally smell estrogen in the air right now. If you have never experienced the aroma, it is a blend of the following fragrances - Bath & Body Works, Tide, oregano, velum, maternal instinct, and a large Arby's melt.

8:34 a.m. - A television is playing and a very happy-looking young woman on an infomercial tells me that by taking the Seasonique pill, "You can only have four periods a year!" Feeling. Really. Out. Of. Place. Right. Now.

8:35 a.m. - Since the television has betrayed me, I begin rifling through the magazines. Lets see. Cookie? Nope. Pregnancy & Newborn? Pass. Conceive Magazine? Ewww! Country Home? Bohhh-riiing. Golf Magazine? Sweet!

8:36 a.m. - Rats! It's Golf Magazine for Women. The nurse just called our name, preventing me from reading enthralling articles about how to control your 90-yard drive and how to talk loudly with your girlfriends while the foursome ahead of you is trying to putt.

8:42 a.m. - We have a really friendly, funny ultrasound tech named Tammy. She and Andrea have been chatting non-stop for the last five minutes as if they were best friends since high school. Neither of them has taken a breath since the conversation began. I am sitting on the stool in the corner smiling and politely nodding my head at the appropriate times, but am not contributing to the conversation at all. I sort of feel like Alan Colmes when Hannity gets rolling, although unlike Colmes, I am both sane and rational. After engaging in a forty-thousand word conversation with Andrea over the span of a few short minutes, Tammy, who is obviously very articulate, makes eye contact with me and says, "...close...that..." and motions toward the door. What just happened? Does Tammy so rarely interact with human males in this female sanctuary that she has forgotten how to speak with us, or do I just look like a dumb, ape-like organism? Obeying her request, I close the door and then proceed to drum on my chest and hoot like a silver back male gorilla.

8:46 a.m. - Tammy just squirted Andrea's belly with an ample amount of the goopy, clear gel needed for the ultrasound. The gel came out of a large squeeze bottle that closely resembles the mayonnaises bottle used by my local Subway sandwich artist. The NMW suddenly looks like a 5'9" Cold Cut Combo as she lays on the table. Mmmm...Wife-a-licious.

8:49 a.m. - Just caught a great glimpse of Caroline on the ultrasound monitor. I can't wait to meet this little girl!

9:02 a.m. - We have finished with the ultrasound and are now sitting in another waiting room for our time with the midwife. While waiting, Andrea tells me about the book club book she is reading called, Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, and the disturbing questions it has given her about organ donation. We are both organ donors. I am even willing to let somebody else implant the Unicorn Hair that grows out of the middle of my forehead. The NMW asks me, "So if I die, can they just carve me up and take all of my dermis? How could I have an open casket with no skin?" This is the first time in my life that I have had to reassure another person that their dermis will not be stolen from them when they die. A really odd moment.

9:09 a.m. - We are now sitting inside our consultation room and a nice nurse named Glenda enters the room. She immediately apologizes to us for not having her name tag and photo ID clipped to her scrubs because she left them at home this morning. Hey, wait a second! I just saw a Dateline segment with Stone Phillips about people who pose as nurses to snatch children from the hospital. With catlike reflexes, I grab Glenda, wrestle her to the floor, and deftly incapacitate her. I call Security to tell them I have heroically apprehended the perp who is responsible for all of the unsolved baby snatchings in Guilford County.

9:10 a.m. - Whoops. Security confirms for me that Glenda, did, in fact, leave her ID at home this morning. My bad.

9:17 a.m. - The midwife is reviewing the ultrasound results in more depth with us and assures us that, "Andrea's fluids are looking good." Whew! That's good news. I just had her fluids changed four months ago, so she should be set for at least another two months or two thousand miles.

9:28 a.m. - With the appointment complete, we head out through the same lobby where I began my journey 58 minutes ago surrounded by 16 women. There is another man in the lobby at this point. He has the "what have I gotten myself into" look on his face and I can detect a trace of panic in his eyes. I look at him and silently thump my heart with my fist and mouth the phrase, "Be strong, brotha", to him. As strangers in this strange female land, we need all of the support we can get.

I wonder if my next visit to the OBGYN will be as eventful. Fortunately, I won't have to wait long to find out. It's scheduled five hours from now.

(On occasion a comment gets posted that deserves to be highlighted or instigates a response from me. In order to help these side conversations not get buried in the usual comments section, I'm going to post about them here.)

-Bracken96 - You asked, "I wonder if your title is more correct for married men?" You have a very good point. The formula "1 Boy + 16 Girls x Estrogen = Awkward" only holds true for the following situations. 1) The "boy" is married. 2) He is single and pushing thirty while all of the ladies are single and in their early twenties, but they think he is "too old" to flirt with. 3) They are at a party, he is the only guy to show up, and the 16 girls talk about the Twilight books all night. I think a better formula for a single guy and 16 single young ladies his age would be, "1 Boy + 16 Girls x Estrogen = Duuuuuuuude!"

-Anonymous & Lindsey - You both raise a good point - sometimes the husband is the MVP of the OBGYN visit by staying home with the kids instead of actually accompanying his wife to the appointment. It sounds like a fair share of women may prefer to go alone to the non-milestone visits (heartbeat, 20-week, etc.) so that they can actually get some privacy and not worry about the kids for an hour. In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense since most SAHM's have a hard time doing basic life necessities, like taking a shower or browsing Craig's List, without being constantly bombarded by the demands of little children.

-Mama Cow - Which Chilean mission did your brother serve in? I was in Antofagasta from 1994-1996. If your brother served in one of the three Santiago missions, I don't want to hear about it. You see, there were seven missions in Chile at the time and the three Santiago missions were each baptizing over 1,000 converts every month. Antofagasta? We were lucky to have 250 in a good month. If the Chilean missions were a family with seven children, six of them would have turned out to be highly successful professionals with picture-perfect families. We were the seventh child who is 26, still living in the basement, bouncing from dead-end job to dead-end job, dating shallow women, and rarely shaving. Your brother may be the reason I suffered from an inferiority complex for two years.

-Natalie - I'm so intrigued about your comments that you and David have very different opinions as to what should be done with your bodies when you pass away. You mentioned something about fertilizing a tree? Are you serious? What other free-spirited alternatives to a normal burial are you contemplating? I've never considered anything other than a traditional burial, so I'm curious to hear what you have thought about. Please elaborate.

-Mike H. - I clicked on your hyperlinked name, and you are an honest-to-goodness professional writer for the Albany Democrat-Herald. Given your background, I really appreciated your compliment. On occasion the gals from the Mormon Mommy Wars post comments on my blog, which is a huge deal to me since they are among the rock stars of the LDS blogosphere. Now all I need is a comment from Eric D. Snider, Brandon Mull (my mission buddy turned popular author), and Orson Scott Card (my favorite author and just happens to live in my Stake) and I can retire a happy blogger.

-Sandy - Just to clarify, I do not attend every single OBGYN appointment. My apologies if I left that impression. I normally go to the first couple to hear the heart beat and make sure everything is okay. The 20-week visit is a must, but after that visit I rarely attend. If there is something that worries us, like the baby measuring small or some other physical concern, then I definitely go.


Anonymous said...

Hilarious. As a father of four, I feel your pain (awkwardness, etc.)

Best to luck to all of you (especially NMW) as the birth comes closer

9:29 PM
Megan said...

Dude, you made me snort out loud at my desk. Totally hilarious as usual. Nice to understand that it's as awkward for you as it is for us... the women size each other up (but for different reasons), the hand that feels unusually large (and cold), the Subway sandwich moment (BTW, it's usually warm goo--hot mustard?), etc. :)

9:39 PM
Denny & Joe said...

Funny, funny, funny. I love the part about reassuring Andrea her dermis will not be stolen from her. You're a riot!

9:56 PM
Natalie said...

Ah ha ha ha. This post cracked me up! And David and I totally had the conversation about what to do with each others bodies after the other one dies. It did not go so well. Let's just say that I am no longer in charge of his body after he dies! What? I really like the ferterlizing a tree idea!

7:30 AM
Mike H. said...

After reading this, I will head back down to the toy blog department where I belong. I'm not worthy to be here.
If I piddle at my desk because I'm laughing so hard, then I'm blaming you.

10:56 AM
normal mormon wife said...

My favorite part was Tammy motioning for you to close the door. I was so wrapped up in my conversation with her, I didn't even realize that she had completely ignored you.

Thanks for keeping the belly laughs coming. And they are BIG belly laughs at this point.

11:11 AM
Julie said...

Stop! You are making me pregnancy hungry, and my husband is NOT going to like that! :D

2:16 PM
Sandy said...

Loved the part about Andi not getting her dermis stolen, haha.

You really go to every single appointment? Wow - I think you're the only guy I know who does that - or who can take that much time off work. We live so far away from the doctor, Jake'd have to take 1/2 day off work every time I had an appointment (1/2 hour to drive there...1/2 hour in the waiting room...10 minutes in the office...1/2 hour to feed the pregnant wife who can't make it home...a total of 20 minutes to make bathroom stops...then 30 minutes at the grocery store since we're there anyway...then 30 minutes home) and use up all his sick days before I hit the third trimester:) I just make him go to the ones that make him feel sorry for me (the majorly uncomfortable first one, ultrasound, last one where they do mean things to make you go into labor).

3:32 PM
Ang said...

Drew, I love how you imagine yourself with catlike reflexes. Yes, you're a 6 and a half foot tall ninja . . .

(But you are a good husband and dad, which is much more important than stealth, flexibility and speed. Promise.)

9:06 AM
Queen of Chaos said...

I didn't think tears and pee could be so welcomed! Laughing way too
loud {and obviously too hard}

Oh, you forgot one of the categories women {other then LDS, of course} may think:
"Over bearing, Controlling husband you can't leave his woman's side for one moment and will endure even the most uncomfortable situations of all- The OBGYN appt."

Hey- I just met Brandon Mull a few a weeks ago. I attended the Whitney Awards {like the Emmy Awards but for LDS fiction writers. www.whitneyawards.com} along with the LDS Storymakers Conference in Sandy, UT and he was there. Brandon Mull won a Whitney Award for Fabelhaven: 2! Very cool guy and I'm so excited for his award- well deserved.

9:07 AM
mama cow said...

Love the blog! As a mommy of three in St George Utah I am always on the lookout for a way to escape reality for a while. Who would have thought that Mormons could be so funny? Actually you remind me a lot of my brother who is also your age and also went to Chile on a mission I wonder if you two knew eachother. BTW three is soooo much more fun then two you will LOVE it!

9:24 AM
Pappy Yokum said...

Dude! You just made me relive that whole uncomfortable OBGYN exam thing in a very hilarious way! Talk about flashbacks! And it has been over 10 years since I had that experience. One thing though, you are able to put words to experiences that so many of us guys have trouble explaining. Thanks!

11:20 AM
Anonymous said...

Okay, I get plenty of grief because my husband only comes to the 20 week ultra sound and the birth. My friends just don't understand that I would rather have him home watching our five children and get that appointment time alone,Plus the 45 minute drive there and the 45 minute drive back, than have my husband and 5 children come with me. Yes, people tell me to get a babysitter. But do you know expensive a babysitter is for five kids? Plus at this point I will almost do anything for alone time including go to the ob.

1:05 PM
Lindsey said...

My loving husband would gladly attend any appointment I ask him to, but I don't find the OB's office terribly fun so why would I want to subject him to it more than necessary?! He attends the 20 week appointment and the rest of the time, he makes sure he is home to watch the kids so that I can have some needed alone time.

3:35 PM
Heather O. said...

I made my husband come to only two appointments with our first--one, because I wanted to convince him that using a midwife didn't involve incense, chanting, and voodoo dolls, and two, because at the end of the pregnancy when I was 10 days overdue, I wanted him to browbeat the midwife into inducing because every time I spoke I broke down into tears. He actually literally ran down the hall of our apartment towards me when I went in for the final ultrasound, saying, "Hey, wait for me!" and I shouted, "Nothing is going to happen! They're just going to send me HOME! It's NO BIG DEAL!"

It's a good thing he came, because they ended up inducing right away and our baby was born a mere 9 hours later. Good man.

And thanks for calling us rock stars. Totally made my day, even though my brother can kick my bootie on Guitar Hero.

6:09 PM
Me said...


Loved every moment of it! So fun to read!


I will return! I will have my Normal Non-Morman husband read this. He will love it!

7:32 PM
Anonymous said...

My husband comes to all my OB appointments, as do many other men. I really enjoy sharing the experience with him, I wish more men would attend, if they could.

4:31 AM
Anonymous said...

and also, you can donate skin for grafts like burn victims, etc..., but they would take if mostly from your back and your backside...

4:32 AM
Anonymous said...

I first saw your title and remembered a conversation I had with a brazilian companion long ago. "You are a great guy Elder, I hope you date a girl whose home is filled with cats, painted flowers on the wall, and only sisters." He went on to explain that being the only guy in the house I would get pampered. However, he cautioned that this situation would change with marriage.

I wonder if your title is more correct for married men?

1:26 PM
Melissa said...

I just found your blog, and I must say that I have not laughed this hard or often for a very long time. (I found the Disneyworld recaps particularly hilarious). Did you know Ryan Smith from Bellevue, Washington? I think he served in your mission at about the same time.

2:56 PM
the AZ Allreds said...

So my hubby rocked at going to almost every single OBGYN appt. with our first. The second...well he made it to the ultrasound where we saw clearly that our little Emma was our little Leif instead. I didn't mind that he didn't go to all of them for the second...I was even over being there because I wanted to deliver after the 5th month anyways. You are too good, even if you are being a slacker.
FYI: Having a doctor that relates to the husband helps...My doctor is compassionate with the preggers to the point that you think he went through his own pregnancy; yet, he is the favorite of all husbands somehow. We(the preggers past and present) have dubbed him Dr. McDreamy (not just for looks though).

6:53 PM
Admiral Lily said...

LOL. Great entry.

1:08 PM