family, gratitude, homebirth, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

12 weeks

Today my sister and I went on a hike through the Presidio, with a cold wind blowing in from the ocean adding a chill to the sunny and previously warm afternoon. I was glad I brought my fleece. She remembered that Off the Grid takes place on Sundays in the Presidio–dozens of food trucks pull up all around a green space overlooking the water and it’s a huge picnic with a DJ, tiny kids playing everywhere, and guys in ties pulling little wagons full of bloody marys, champagne, and buckets of beer. What’s not to love?

I started with lemon ricotta doughnuts and then moved on to fancy pork nachos that made my belly happy. Then we took this week’s belly shot (yes, I seem to time this after eating) with the festivities in the background. I know, it looks big–I swear all I do is relax for the photo. It also kind of inflates throughout the day. Goal is to cover this with cardigans and jackets at the office for two more weeks at least.

12 weeks: Presidio Off the Grid (10/20/13)


I ran into a guy friend on the street whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, and when I told him I was pg he said, “I was going to ask! I mean, I wasn’t going to ask, but I was wondering.” My first indicator that other people can see it and internally speculate.

So, in totally surprising news, I met the second midwife and loved her even more than the first one. The fact is that you don’t know what you don’t know–by meeting the second one, we’ll call her Em, I learned about many aspects of her practice that I didn’t know were possible. I also felt overall that she was authoritative, professional, and very confident. Not necessarily the bear hug Earth Mama, but warm and practical and…almost fierce. Fiercely in love with what she does, and her opportunity to help empower women to trust themselves and their bodies and open themselves up to this life-changing experience. Here are some things I learned about her practice:

  • She has “caught” over 1100 babies in 28 years.
  • She’s a certified EMT in addition to licensed midwife (midwives here are certified by the Medical Board of CA)
  • Based on her experience, she believes that good fitness and nutrition during pregnancy lead to smaller babies and faster labor.
  • Due to this theory, she offers monthly cooking/nutrition classes, monthly hikes, weekly Zumba classes, and twice-monthly new parent groups–all included in her fee. (And you get a fitbit!)
  • She has an office. I thought I was into the home visit but ultimately liked being in her office which had sunlight streaming in the window and a little exam room in the back. Legit.
  • She has a website full of helpful links, testimonials, and a personal blog (I learned that she just married her female partner of 19 years in July) and she handed me a folder with articles on home birth, stats from research studies, how to make pregnancy tea from scratch, and post cards with a montage of all the babies she helped be born in each calendar year.
  • She will set me up with an intake appointment at UCSF (less than 10 minutes away from my apt.), which is where I would transfer, so I’m in their systems and they will be prepared for me if I show up. (The vast majority of hospital transfers are first-timers who are failing to progress, exhausted, and/or wanting pain relief.)
  • She was delighted to hear that I’m across the street from a hospital, where we would go in case of emergency.
  • She supplies a list of volunteer doulas looking to boost their hours and experience. (The doula is important because she will arrive in the early hours of labor and stay focused on the mama the whole time.)

I walked out of there completely blown away. I learned so much. I had no intention of changing my mind when I walked in, but by the time I walked out I felt more secure with Em, like I will be in the most experienced and capable and confident hands. My decision was made. I slept on it for two nights, then I let them both know my decision.

Bee of course was gracious–after all, she had nudged me to talk to more than just her. Fortunately, she happens to be Em’s backup so chances are very good they will both attend the birth, and I’ll probably see them both at a homebirth collective potluck next Saturday. My initial appointment is a week from Tuesday and I can’t wait to get into the fitness and nutrition program after weeks of sitting on the couch and eating ice cream and crackers for dinner.

Yesterday, I went to my first prenatal yoga class with the famous Jane Austin. Wow, she deserves her glowing reputation. I went with my sweet new friend J whom I met last week at the homebirth workshop. She is 16 weeks and we both felt relatively self-conscious about being more flat-bellied than the others so it was easier going together. There must have been 50 women in the room with every size and shape belly possible. We went around the room saying our names, # of weeks, and how we’re feeling. I learned a lot just from that. Somehow Jane remembers everyone’s name. Also, the actual yoga kicked my ass whereas I thought it would seem too easy (I guess limiting my “exercise” to restorative yoga, which is basically shivasana 3 ways over 75 minutes, means that even gentle yoga is going to feel like an intense workout.) I went to a lovely Indian brunch with my SMC friends B and R and baby S, and came home to a heavy nap.

Today I canceled some plans to take it easy… feel like I’m overscheduling myself somewhat and I want to be sure I’m getting enough rest and have the energy to put my clothes away and run the dishwasher and feel at least semi-prepared for the week.

One more plea for maternity clothes. I got a huge bag from M (thank you!) and some jeans from E (thank you!) and my sister is shipping a box (thank you!). Who else is sitting on a goldmine? I went shopping and everything was just so stinking overpriced I didn’t buy a thing. I won’t ask again, just want to help make more room in your closet if possible 🙂

This definitely feels more real all the time. Baby is only the size of a lime but is supposedly dancing around in there gleefully in his or her sensory deprivation tank. I was telling my sister it must be one of the best times of life!

For me, too. xo


9 thoughts on “12 weeks”

  1. Midwives really are the best! I feel so happy for people who have that as an option. On top of my midwives, having a doula was pivotal. She took such good care of me! See if you can find one who is an RMT!

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey from the start. It’s so much fun to read.

  2. Hurray!
    All sounds really great and the second MW sounds perfect; that she’s an EMT and believes in contingency planning makes my left brain–most importantly YOUR left brain!! Hehe–happy!!??
    Smile lots, schedule less, yoga lots and still kick butt at work: so not-so-evolved guys don’t knod sardonically at one another, implying, ‘yea, that’s what happens when they’re pregnant’!!
    I heard that once at work from a guy about a woman colleague (just so happened when my wife was pregnant) and I really wanted to smack the tar out of him!!! As if guys don’t get moody when their golf games suck or their college team is beaten by the Division 3 Tinseltown Elfs?!
    Anyway, enough of that: give gratitude, love all and know that your Boulder cheering-pep-love-summer-free closet-good champagne-music-by-Stevie squad is thinking of you warmly, lovingly and daily!!!
    L’chaim!! T

  3. It sounds like you are finding a great team! One confusion–smaller babies? I thought low birth weight ( for the baby) is a bad thing. Moms also need to gain weight.

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. There’s a real lesson in the midwife story: take the time to explore before you commit. She sounds very experienced Nice belly!



Leave a Reply to Marbella Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s