What to Expect When your Wife is Expecting…

Congratulations! You’re going to be a dad. Now what?

I think for most first time dads, the initial thought is a mixture of excitement, anxiety, and cluelessness. For me, my wife and I had been trying for a long time to get pregnant (about 16 months) before having to go through IVF, but that’s a story for another time. By the time it came around that we found our we were actually pregnant, I was extremely excited, but I didn’t have a clue what to expect. So we did what any normal people would do…we went to the book store and bought every book you could possibly think of on pregnancies.

In that mess of hundreds of different books, we found 2 “dad specific” books that seemed cool. We sat on the couch, my wife reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and me reading one of the dad books, and I remember her showing me page after page of “cool” things she learned. Meanwhile, my dad book is telling me things like “you should assist your wife in doing the dishes or laundry, afterall, she is the one who is pregnant.”

  • read the books your wife is reading
  • get the same baby apps
  • get a Pinterest account or at least share one
  • know that she has the same feelings that you have

First Trimester:

Being new to this whole dad/parent thing I wasn’t sure what I should expect from my wife during the first trimester. What I learned was…lots and lots of sleep. Allison was lucky enough to not have much in the way of morning sickness, but she did sleep for about 14 hours per night during this time – which gave me a lot of time to catch up on my shows while she slept next to me on the couch.


Individual hand made mugs, in the oven for glazing.

We started looking at ideas of how to announce to our families

immediately. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many different ideas

we looked at before we came to a decision how to tell our family. We finally figured out how we were going to announce the pregnancy, but we didn’t make it much past 6 weeks.

All in all, between the doctor’s appointments and general life stuff, the first trimester flew by!



Second Trimester:

Here’s where things got more fun. For women, this is the time that nesting kicks in. For us, we actually started thinking of room decorations and names for the new baby. Your wife should be starting to feel like herself again, and probably starting to feel little flutters of your tiny baby.  Second trimester is also when you find out the baby’s gender – usually around 20 weeks.


It’s a GIRL!

Being the Pinterest fanatic that Allison is, we of course had a gender reveal party.  We had the ultrasound tech write the sex down, put it in an envelope, which we handed right over to my sister-in-law.  The pink and blue party was just 2 days away, so thankfully our stubborn baby rolled right into position for us to find out.

We started our baby registry about now, too. I honestly didn’t really know what we were doing, but I was excited to scan stuff. We went to Babies R Us bright eyed and happy faced, and sat down with the registry desk. The guy was super helpful. They give you a list of what’s normal to register for and help with everything. I really didn’t think we would get 20 minutes into scanning when Allison got so overwhelmed that we had to leave.  We’ve always had this underlying guilt when it comes to gifts. We had a hard time registering for much at our wedding, too.  We were testing out travel systems – which run about $300 – when we had to go.

We were on our way home when we decided we would look into second hand items for the bigger stuff. If you’re open to this, I highly recommend it. We joined virtual garage sales, found kids-only resale shops, and cruised Craigslist looking for things in good condition. We bought a travel system with the matching high chair for $100, a savings of about $300.

This opened our world to a savings we didn’t realize was possible. We completed out registry online, but little by little we checked off our list with used, cheaper, just as good baby gear.

Third Trimester:

Right at the beginning of the third trimester was the time that I got to really feel my baby move. For the women, this has been happening for a while, but us dads finally get to feel for the first time.  My wife quotes me all the time from when I said “it really looks like there’s a baby in there now.”

Your wife is getting bigger.  She should be gaining weight pretty rapidly by now, and quite frankly, she is probably uncomfortable.  Swollen legs and feet was a norm around our house.  Regular foot massages and lotion to avoid stretch marks was my job.

If there is one thing you need to get for your wife, its a prenatal massage.  Look for a real sp

a online and splurge on the longer time available.  She doesn’t realize how hard it is to create a human – sore back, big feet, not to mention the endless thoughts and worrying about not messing up this little baby’s life.  She needs those 90 minutes of relaxation.


Testing out the new baby gear was my favorite part of this trimester.  There wasn’t much for me to do to prepare, besides being fully knowledgeable on how to use all of our newly acquired stuff. Naturally, the dog was the best test subject.  Between the carrier and the stroller, I was ready.

Our baby shower fell in week 34. The big question – do I go? Do I come and collect gifts? Everything we googled wasn’t helpful. Screw it, I’m going. This is my baby too


Lenny always being a good sport

and I want to participate. The best part of our baby shower, in my opinion, was the diaper raffle. Guests brought a pack of diapers in exchange for a raffle ticket for a $100 gift card. People took this seriously! Besides a massive pile of presents to open, we had months or maybe even years of diapers.

I was the first of our friends to have a baby, so my guy friends were kind of in the dark, but wanted to do something too. My wife planned a poker and diaper party for all the guys. We had everyone over, they brought even more diapers, we provided wings, snacks, and beer. It was a super fun way to send me into fatherhood, knowing that my days of regular poker games with the guys was likely coming to an end.

We finalized the nursery by the 36th week, hospital bag was packed and ready, we just needed our little girl.

Its Time:

“Contractions started”  I will never forget this text.  11am on Wednesday, December 17th.  I was ready to jump in the car, she told me it was “no big deal”.  NO BIG DEAL?! How would she even know? She’s never done this before. We went back and forth like this all day.  By the time I got home from work, she was acting like nothing was wrong… except for that annoying little pain every few minutes.  It took some coaxing, but I got her to start timing her contractions at about 5pm on the 17th.  We were still pretty far apart by the time we went to bed.

4am – Allison gets up to use the bathroom, like every night for the last 3 months, but this time she pops out and says “I think we need to get ready.” I know the drill.  I’ve gone over this moment in my head a thousand times. I didn’t expect her to stop me in my tracks to tell me we had some time and she was going to shower and do makeup first. Let’s go lady, were not having a baby in the car!

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