Does the thrill go second time around?

My wife doesn't really enjoy our private life being published every fortnight, so she'll be delighted to read this week that she's pregnant. She's obviously well aware of this turn of events; she was there when it happened. Today's column is only news to the readers that aren't my wife. That may be you.

Now, it's my fault she's pregnant, I was also there when it happened. We were keen on a second child - after all, the first one came out OK. And while I found the biomechanics of reproduction roughly the same, everything else is different second time around. It's like the sequel to any horror movie - it's less scary, less exciting and you kind of have a good idea how it's going to end.

I remember the first time around I had a hard time keeping our big secret. What made it worse was I found out we were pregnant on election night and I had to do a live cross to the half-million- odd people watching TV One's election coverage. I wanted to slip it in, just at the end, that my wife was up the duff. It might have spiced up an otherwise dull election. You see, in my world, it was all I could think about.

As the due date beckoned, I remember getting scared. I wanted to talk to someone who had been there before. I wanted them to tell me I would be OK. My male friends offered reassurance but no real details. I had the feeling they had no idea how it happened, all they knew is they came out the other side intact with a baby and a big smile.

This time I'm a little more laid back in the sense I simply forgot my wife was pregnant. Sure I've rubbed her belly a little and we decided to reread the updates once a week on what's happening down south. But for a few weeks we forgot to read the book and suddenly the thing is the size of a grapefruit. Baby-making used to be a nine-month headline, now it's lucky to be a footnote.

People's reactions are also muted. When we told some friends, they just give you a knowing look like they suspected we had been up to no good during all those Saturday nights at home watching the television. Others sum it up with two words . . . "about time".

I'm realising, as a couple, my wife and I are now yesterday's news. When we first got together we were definitely a front-page lead. "He's with her . . . She was that drunk she went home with him?" And when we got engaged, our friends seemed delighted and excited, the same with the conception of our first child.

By the time you get to the announcement of the creation of your second child, it's about as exciting as Daily Keno.

The swelling of my wife's belly is still mildly interesting to our immediate family. They ask us questions we don't know the answers to and have no compulsion to find out. What we can tell them is it's human, there's one of them and as for the gender, we'll wait and see.

In the baby-making department, experience may breed ambivalence, but what will greet us in a delivery suite in late October still promises to be one of life's great surprises.

Hadyn Jones is a journalist and a serial baby-maker. He writes a fortnightly column.

The Dominion Post