So it’s been a while since the last post. Once again, I was out of town for the weekend, so we missed the Week 14 picture. At this point, it’s too late, so we’ll do the next pregnancy picture and post this weekend.

I’m beginning to understand that this whole having a baby thing is really a process of bringing you way out of your comfort zone. I’m certainly not saying it’s a bad thing, but the more we dive into this, the more I realize it.

Last Wednesday, we decided to start attending weekly Bradley classes. Being a guy, when Carrie first introduced the idea, I thought it meant we were moving to Illinois and going back to college. As it turns out, it’s a 12-week class on a natural childbirth method. Yes, women, I know you’re probably bored reading this by now because you already know all about it, so bear with me.

Essentially, what Carrie wants to get out of this is a greater understanding of techniques to improve the natural birth process, and for me to learn them as well since I’ll be a vital part of it all. I agree wholeheartedly since I know about as much about childbirth as she does about the intricacies of Rich Rodriguez’s offensive system.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t super excited about going to the first class last Wednesday because I thought it was way too soon to start it. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I envisioned sitting at a desk watching a teacher put slides on a projector, and taking notes. Then we got there and it was in a woman’s apartment and there were mattresses, pillows, and big rubber balls all over the the floor. Cool, apparently the natural birth process involves going back to kindergarten.

We sat indian-style on the mattresses and did introductions and talked about nutrition. The first class was very basic. It was just us, one other couple about our age, and a 40-year old girl whose boyfriend lives in Florida and, therefore, isn’t able to attend the classes with her. So while the first session wasn’t anything like I thought it would be, I found it interesting and was excited to come back.

Tonight, there were two more couples there, both a little bit older, in their mid-to-late 30s. I must admit, it was nice to have a couple more guys there who are in the same position as me. One is a Michigan State fan whose wife is a Notre Dame law school grad, so we have some big bragging rights on the line in the next couple of weeks (Michigan plays Michigan State next Saturday).

Tonight’s class was certainly a first for me: the first time I’ve ever been in a room with 10 random strangers talking about breasts, breast feeding, and breast pumps for an hour. Talk about stretching the boundaries of your comfort zone! But you know what, probably 99 percent of guys know nothing about it, yet it’s something we’re going to have to learn about in the coming months. I know it will be beneficial for both Carrie and I in about six months, and sharing those awkward moments with three other husbands made it not quite as bad.

To tell people at work that I can’t go out for drinks to celebrate their birthdays because I’m going to a birthing class doesn’t exactly sound like the most manly thing in the world. But to be there with my wife and to be amongst three other couples (and the one woman whose boyfriend is in Florida) who are all committed to helping the birth of their first child go as smoothly as possible, is definitely more manly than a night of drinks at a pub in Hoboken. And I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Today really hit me how we’re entering that new world. The one of the stroller brigades in Starbucks and shopping for groceries with an infant strapped to your chest. The one of screaming babies and extreme lack of sleep. The one that the single friends and co-workers don’t understand. And it’sone that I’m really looking forward to.

I hope that we can really get to know these other couples in the next 10 weeks even though they all have due dates earlier than we do (late Nov, Christmas Day, Jan. 17, and Feb. 2 to be exact). I also hope to learn as much as I can about how to help Carrie deliver this baby and how to support her all the way.

So bring on the breast talk and push those comfort zone boundaries to the limit. Here we come.