Since the moment my wife told me she was pregnant, each week has been a countdown to Thursday.
Why Thursday? Well, Thursdays mark a new week in our baby's growth progress. Each week I receive an email from a website dedicated to pregnancy and children that updates me on the baby's progress.
When that email pops into my inbox, it's like Christmas morning. I get to see what's new and developing this week compared to the previous and even approximately how big the baby is. Usually it's compared to some sort of fruit or vegetable; at the time of this writing, my baby is about as big as a spaghetti squash.
I found out the week that the baby's fingernails started forming, when its teeth buds were in place and when it could hear my wife's voice.
More importantly, it gives me information on how my wife might be feeling that week or what she's experiencing. There's no way I can fully sympathize with what she's going through, but I do my best to make it a little easier on her.
And then there are the ultrasounds. At about 20 weeks, we had the opportunity to see our baby's full anatomy, minus the gender. (We're opting to be surprised.) But I got to see the baby's bones, brain, heart and other attributes, along with it moving its little arms and legs.
My wife can now feel its kicks and flutters, but seeing it move around and listening to the heartbeat really was my first opportunity to see that something truly was alive in there. Well golly gee, she really is growing a baby!
In talking with my parents and even grandmother about this, I realized how lucky we are to have the technology there is today. Ultrasounds weren't done regularly when my parents were pregnant with my sister and me, unless something was wrong, and they certainly weren't done when my grandparents were experiencing it.
Plus, I have a sea of endless information to educate me during my wife's pregnancy and prepare me for parenthood. As long as you stick to reputable websites, there are a ton of great sources to get you up to speed on what to prepare for when having a baby.
Sure, we realize most of this will go by the wayside when the baby is born. No amount of planning or education can truly prepare a person for a baby, but it's still a lot of fun.
As the weeks go by, I'm getting more and more anxious to meet this little guy or gal. Who will it look like? Will the poor thing inherit Daddy's red hair? Will it grow up to be the NFL quarterback I've always hoped and dreamed for?
No pressure or anything. But it's really the only retirement plan I have going right now.
Patience has never been a virtue of mine - thanks Dad - but I know this is something I can't rush. In the meantime, I'll keep looking forward to my Thursday update emails as the weeks tick down.
The effects of technology on society may be considered as negative sometimes, but this is one area where I would have to disagree.
I'll miss those emails when the baby's born.
Beardsley, a native of Loyalsock Township, is a former Sun-Gazette reporter. His column is published on the third Sunday of each month. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.