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Diary of a Dad-to-Be

Friday, October 25
Last night I played poker with friends, and didn't win a cent. Today: royal flush. I awoke to discover that Liza is pregnant. (She announced the news this morning over a bowl of cereal.) We've been trying for a month or two, carefully timing the act, raising Liza's legs into the air afterward to speed the sperm toward their elusive goal. It's stunning to see firsthand just how efficiently biology works. We're pregnant! Good God. What do we do now?

Friday, November 1
I can't believe it's only been a week since we got the news. It feels like we've been pregnant forever. It's all I think about: having a boy, having a girl, what kind of father I'll be. And how the hell we're going to afford it. Who cares? We're having a baby.

Thursday, November 7
The first trip to the obstetrician. The due date, according to the slide-rule-like gadget Dr. C. wielded, is July 2. We also got to see the first murky moon-landing shots of the embryo, which is exactly the size and shape of a single grain of rice.

Saturday, November 23
I dreamed our baby was a girl, and when I awoke, I remembered her name, one I've never even heard: Deanna Fabrice. So, inevitably, Deanna Fabrice has become the baby's latest nom de womb, as in "How's Deanna Fabrice feeling?" and other such insufferable stuff that would force any but the most tolerant of souls to leave the room.

Tuesday, February 11
The goop the technician squirts on Liza's belly is clear blue. The second the sonogram implement starts spreading the slime around, images appear on the screen, and to my surprise the pictures are vividly clear. The technician takes all sorts of measurements, and shows us such essential elements as the four chambers of our child's beating heart, and the spine, and the head, and the grasping fingers, of which there is a full complement. The legs, clearly crossed, are long and, one would presume, graceful, which the technician notes in her most practiced flatter-the-eager-parents manner: "It's an athlete  -- or a dancer." Overwhelming as these squirming images are, this still seems a painfully poky prelude to the main matter of importance. I keep craning my neck, turning my head this way and that to try to make out a certain telltale lump. Finally, the tech points to an area on the screen and coyly asks, "And what's that?" I don't see a thing. But I timidly venture the obvious: "A penis?"

"Yep. It's a boy."

Deanna Fabrice is a boy!

I spend the rest of the day telling anyone who'll listen  -- a co-worker, my Dad, Liza's grandparents  -- that I got a damn good look at those pictures, and, by God, my boy is hung like a horse!

Saturday, February 15
Liza's sister and brother-in-law had us over for dinner tonight. I was sitting next to Liza on the couch when suddenly, without interrupting what she was saying, she reached over, grabbed my wrist, pulled it toward her belly, and held it there while I gawked in dawning comprehension. I felt a tiny, light pulse, and then another. Kicks!

Mark Jannot is executive editor of National Geographic Adventure.