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Alright. Time for some real talk.

For the past nine months (ten months?), E and I have been anxiously awaiting our first child to arrive. For the past nine months (ten months?), we have gone to doctors appointments, non-stress tests, birthing classes, consignment shops, Target, baby stores, Target, the closets of parent-friends, oh… and Target (sorry son/daughter, Target had too many cute onesies, and that’s why you don’t have a college fund!).

Baby’s due date is Tuesday, July 26th. We found that out what seems like a long, long, long time ago. E was only seven weeks along when we had an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. So really, for 34 or so weeks, we have been anxiously anticipating this little one.

And we could not be more ready!

Seriously. The nursery is ready.

Baby D's Nursery!

Baby D’s Nursery!

Car seat base installed. Stroller figured out (I’m pretty proud of this one). Apartment cleaned (and re-cleaned and re-re-cleaned). Labor bag and hospital bags have been packed and sitting at the front door for at least a month. When I say we are prepared, it is the understatement of the year!

Yet, we still don’t have a baby. Like Tom Petty said: “The waiting is the hardest part!”

All of my phone conversations and emails over the past two weeks have started with two words: “No baby.” I can hear family members inhale sharply when they pick up the phone (I think it would be too mean to mess with my Mom on this one with a false alarm call).

We are excited! Anxious! Nervous! Scared! Overwhelmed and overjoyed! E and I have both wanted this for such a long time, that now that it’s finally here, it seems a little surreal. I catch myself oscillating between feelings of disbelief (this isn’t real life) and panic (holy crap! This IS real!).

Of course, there are feelings of self-doubt: can I raise a child?! What have I gotten myself into?!

But then I look at E and I remember what a perfect partner she is, and how much love and joy and celebration we have ahead of us. Sure, we have sleepless nights (years?), panic attacks (she gets to teach him/her how to drive), and days upon days of heartburn (pretty sure fatherhood is one long, slow heartburn). But the joy outweighs all of that tenfold.

(Also, she totally kicks butt: she’s the strongest, most beautiful, amazing woman I’ve ever known. She awes me and inspires me and loves me more than I deserve).

When we first found out that this little soybean was growing, the first person we told was the woman checking us out at Trader Joe’s. We were talking about the pregnancy a little louder than we realized while she was scanning the granola bars. She was really happy for us (Trader Joe’s employees are the friendliest, for real!).

The joy. It’s just been… so real. So raw. So amazing. The looks of surprise and celebration on people’s faces as we shared the news; the sound of the little heartbeat the first time (and the second, third, fourth… that sounds never gets old!); the feeling of the little feet kicking against my hand on E’s stomach; the rolls and stretches we watch from this side as her stomach does things you typically only see in science fiction movies. All of it: joy.

We’ll be heading to the hospital any time now. Hopefully, this baby will get moving soon! I cannot wait to continue to share the joy of fatherhood with all of you, and I pray that you all will know joy like this at least once in your lives. Pretty sure it’s going to sustain me for the rest of my days.