A Singaporean Father's Pregnancy Diary: Should we find out baby's gender?
Singaporean father-to-be, John Ng, shares his bewildering and euphoric experiences along the path of daddyhood.
(Editor's note: While John has now become a father, this article shared by him is timeless. It never fails to bring us back to the exciting (and nerve-wracking) times of imagining life as a dad. Read on till the end for other parts of the Pregnancy Diary Series.
I may be a father-to-be but truth be told I haven't the slightest iota of what I will be up against for the rest of my life. Since discovering Michele's pregnancy I haven't allowed impending fatherhood consume me like how I had imagined it would be. Perhaps it's the slightest bit of innocence and immaturity and ambiguous dreams of a large Father Devil clutching at my collar as I am being dragged away into the fiery pits of fatherhood.
No, I absolutely am not ready to be a father.
I want the tranquil, the video games, the nights out with the boys, the DVD nights with Michele and having no tiny bub to fuss over. Babies? I'd rather have the authorities remove my creature comforts, strap me into a chair and force me to watch every episode of Singapore Idol.
On second thoughts, hmm...
My silly fears aside, Michele and I have had many weeks of blissful introspection as we cruise through the first trimester. Baby hasn't started growing yet, so Michele's hardly pregnant visibly. During this time we've had time to pick out Baby's furniture, read up on parenthood, doing our household finances after checking on the cost of nappies (read: $$) and listen to advice from friends and family.
We've also had time to stock up a second kitchen on Michele's bedside table to address her snacking pangs, laugh at Michele's frequent trips to the bathroom and realising sexy maternity outfits are really worth every penny!
Which brings me to this very moment of Michele's pregnancy - our Week 20 ultrasound. The big kahuna of all ultrasounds that all parents look forward to as it comes complete with 3D images of the baby and the perennial $64,000 question: Do we want to know the sex of the baby?
For many weeks we had struggled to come up with an answer. Michele felt a baby gender reveal would be the right thing to do so we could purchase the appropriate clothing and colours, while I, on the other hand, have always liked surprises. However, as we started counting down the days to our appointment we got nervous, reversed our roles and ended up arguing. A disagreeing couple, how charming!
We couldn't reach an agreement until the moment we were ushered into the waiting room, where another couple was seated across the room. They were having an ultrasound too and the mother was several months bigger than Michele.
As I was staring at her belly, I had an epiphany. Michele was still waiting for my decision, but I immediately decided not to find out as the suspense would be worth waiting for. It's like a gripping thriller, complete with a red herring, sans the final chapter. The "I-can't-wait-anymore-so-I'll-turn-to-the-last-chapter" situation. Well I'd have none of that. I figured since Baby's all ours for the rest of our lives, waiting another four months or so isn't too bad.
I turned to Michele and said, "Let's wait this out. We have always liked surprises, no?"
And that was what we told the sonographer as she greeted us. After all, we knew it would come to this eventually.
It was the coolest thing watching Baby in 3D. I have never seen anything so vividly touching before. There’s my Baby! On the monitor! It’s alive! Oh my God! I don’t know how to express myself! Shall I jump? Shall I cry?
Baby was rolling around, gesticulating at us, making awesome arm movements and generally being a very naughty kid. We even spotted Baby sucking its thumb, crossing its legs and giving us a Victory sign, how much more awesome could it possibly get??
All this while, I sat there transfixed at this miraculous gift, holding Michele's hands and squeezing them ever so gently each time Baby did something interesting. I turned to her, and for the first time since discovering that I was about to become a father, felt a wave of emotion and yet at ease with the responsibilities given to me as a father.
Michele was crying.
It was a rare moment of true love and longing from my wife, and I just had to pull myself away from her to snap the picture. I had never seen such a raw, tender emotion from Michele before, and it surprised me somewhat.
It also left a permanent, indelible mark on me. As I continued watching Baby's silly antics being played out on the television, I felt a curious concoction brewing within me. It was one part Love, one part Responsibility, one part Protectiveness and one part 'Mate, you are about to be a Father! Man up!'
I don't know what I would have named it as a drink, but I knew it tasted refreshing, sweet and left a minty aftertaste in my mouth.
Witnessing my wife shedding tears of love truly stood as one of the most defining moments of my life. It was at that point, that very moment as she sniffed and blinked her way through a series of images, did I realise my days of sleeping in, video games and coming home to a quiet home were over.
They say a father doesn't feel like a father until the very moment the newborn is placed in his arms. Mothers have an instinctive, nesting instinct honed from nine months of physical and physiological attachment but fathers often feel left out from it all. They also say it's hard for a father to feel the special bond a mother and child have as they are often stuck only in a support role until the actual birth.
Well I'll call their bluff and challenge that. Fathers are capable of feeling that bond. It takes all sorts, but for me it was my wife's tears that did it. I know now I am absolutely ready to be a father.
I have never told Michele the emotional highs I felt after witnessing her cry. I suppose the cat's now out of the bag.
I love you Michele, and I love you too Baby. Daddy can't wait to see you.
Part 1: Trying to get pregnant
Part 2: We are pregnant
Part 3: The first ultrasound
Part 4: Baby gender
Part 6: Waiting for the birth
Part 7: Baby is born