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

18 weeks

This week, I saw midwife Em and I got to bring my mom and dad to my appointment. She said they were welcome and I had no idea how it would go. We sat down and Em said she loves to get a chance to talk to the mom and asked her a lot about my birth. My parents did Lamaze classes in which my mom was empowered to refuse interventions in the hospital and to have faith in her ability to birth her baby naturally–her labor was fast and manageable and the overall experience was incredible. Em said that my mom’s experience bodes well for my own, especially since I was raised knowing my mom’s body could do it and therefore so can mine.

Em asked my dad about his experience and he completely choked up and couldn’t talk for a minute, and Em said her dad is the same way. Both parents expressed the mindblowing awesomeness of having their babies and how happy they are for me. Em said I am very strong and we’re going to have a great birth.

We did some paperwork stuff and then she took some of my blood for testing (the first bloodwork I’ve done since getting pg) and then we listened to the heartbeat, which she found right away. The baby’s strong heartbeat at 144 beats/minute, with my fainter and slower heartbeat in the background, created a mesmerizing syncopated beat. I looked over at my dad and he made a face like OMG this is so crazy.

Before we left, Em gave me a thick file that UCSF had sent over, most of which wasn’t useful to her. It included documentation of every ultrasound I ever did there (including the actual scans), along with doctors’ notes like, “Sx: a little emotional, some hot flashes, mild nausea.” Fascinated, and looking for subliminal love notes from Dr. T., I paged through the file when I got home. And suddenly I got to a page on which my eyeball perceived an “XY,” and I gasped and closed the file–the genetic testing results of my embryos, including genders! I had them black out the genders on my copy because I didn’t want to know early on…but what to do now, when the information was in my hands?

I decided not to look. The critical info is the gender of embryos #2 and #3 which were transferred together on the round that worked–if they were the same (two boys or two girls), it would be a definitive conclusion, but kind of an unceremonious way to find out. If they were different (one boy, one girl), I would still have to wait until the anatomy scan. And, while looking at the page, I would see the genders of embryo #1 (failed IVF#1) and, more importantly, embryos #4 and #5–I would really rather not have this info now.

So, a couple of nights later, I had a brilliant idea. I had seen a YouTube video of a woman who had the doctor write “girl” or “boy” on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope, and then she took the envelope to a baker. If it’s a girl, put pink icing in the middle of the cake, and blue for a boy. Then she threw a party and everyone, including her, learned that it was a girl when she sliced into the first piece of cake and saw the pink.

Well, I wasn’t going to the trouble of throwing a party or ordering a cake, but I thought it would be cool to learn at the same time as my family, who are in town, with the exception of one sister who would be Skyped in. On Saturday morning, I decided to ask my friend J on our way to prenatal yoga, if she would look at the paperwork and first tell me: are the embryos the same or different? Then, if the same, I’d give her money to go into Natural Resources and buy one little pink or blue item and have it wrapped. Then I’d open it with my family.

I picked her up this morning with the paperwork in my bag. I explained the whole thing and that she could be the first human on earth to know the gender of my baby, and she was honored and willing to help. So, before we walked into our yoga class I said, OK–I want you to look at the paper before we go in. She did. And the embryos were one XX and one XY–different! Inconclusive! We have to wait.

It was a nice idea, but in a way I’m relieved that the eventual big news will come from a scan that I will see with my own eyes, rather than a code on a piece of paper. It will be totally conclusive and we can celebrate with certainty. So let’s give it another couple of weeks!

My sister took this awesome photo at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes. Prego sur la plage.  xo


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

17 weeks

This photo is taken by my dear Dad! He and my Mom are visiting this week and for the first time they have their own room with a door at my place. I think we can agree that I am finally a grown-up!

We went out for a walk from my place through the Presidio at dusk yesterday and this is my Belly by the Bay, from Inspiration Point. Somewhere behind there is Alcatraz.

photo (6)

We walked down the dimly-lit Ecology Trail through the cool eucalyptus air and connected over to Lover’s Lane. I got 9,000 steps on my Fitbit and we emerged at Presidio Gate at dark.

Happy to be home from my business trip–saw many folks who have known me for years and didn’t hesitate to ask me about my new round belly (isn’t that always a no-no? at least they were right), including strangers like the taxi driver from Egypt who wanted to know if I knew the Arabic word for “pregnant” (it is “hamil”). After tomorrow I will take a long overdue and necessary break to relax and eat with the family. They are already being so helpful by cooking dinner, fixing the window that wouldn’t shut, and lighting the pilot light in the heater–lots more to do! Need to find room for the piles of baby gear that have materialized in my bedroom.

This week, I started feeling the baby move. Little hello taps, tiny punches–weirdest and best feeling ever.

Midwife appointment with Em tomorrow, bringing Mom and Dad. UCSF midwife appt next week, followed by the ultrasound big reveal!

Gearing up to give monumental thanks this Thursday for my pear-sized little love and so much more!

Actually, I’ll start today.



anxiety, donor sperm, gratitude, homebirth, IVF, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

full disclosure

I woke up this morning at 6:15am and was so awake (despite having gone to bed at 11:45pm) that I decided to get up and write. So, I had a bit of plain whole-milk yogurt and checked in on some blogs (my midwife just sent me her food blog with great recipes, it’s here), and I’m back in bed with my laptop.

This week I told my team at work the big news! For almost two years, the solo mama project has been kept entirely separate from anything work-related; whereas all my friends and family have followed my every step (largely through this blog), the work folks knew nothing. When they asked me what’s new, I made something up. I’m not used to keeping such a big secret, especially one that is so central to my life–as you know, I’m not the most private person in the entire world. Clearly, though, it was smart to keep this one to myself. Even if it was difficult through all the appointments, the disappointments, the tearing my hair out over wondering if a conference was going to overlap with my fertile window, etc.

I know that disclosing a pregnancy at work is a pretty universally terrifying conversation. I’ve wondered why this is. I mean, how many managers really say, “How DARE you!” In my non-scientific sample size of friends’ anecdotes, the conversation usually goes fine, and managers are congratulatory. But I think it’s terrifying because it’s the very first time (of many) when this new child is inserting itself as an important enough priority to be discussed as something that will eventually conflict with work. And, knowing that this is a conflict that is essentially unresolvable, that, for the rest of our lives there will be tension between our careers and the needs of our children, breaking the ice on this just feels huge. HUGE.

So, I decided to tell my manager on our regular weekly phone call (she is in NY), with as unquavering a voice as I could manage as I paced around with my heart pounding. Once we had run through our list, I said, “Well, if there isn’t anything else, I have really big news from my personal life.” She said, “Uh oh.”

I told her I was 15 weeks pregnant. There was a pause. She said, “WHAT?!” in the most incredulous voice, then WOW!, then Oh my God, K, I am so happy for you! She asked a few questions about how I’ve been feeling as she absorbed this big news and I told her a bit more of the story, that I decided to become a single mom, used an anonymous donor, and couldn’t be more thrilled. We talked for a while longer, and she said how she knows I’ve wanted this for a long time (I shared this back when I was still dating) and she’s so impressed that I went for it and made it happen. She said she hoped I’d tell the rest of the team soon otherwise she wouldn’t be able to to explain her big, dumbfounded grin.

I got off the phone with a full heart. Ultimately, it felt like the disclosure wasn’t about work, or how this affects or fits in with work, it was purely about me and my life-changing news. I had kind of lost track of just how huge the news is, and her heartfelt reaction reminded me. It really couldn’t have gone better.

I went on to call the rest of my outside-of-SF team, one by one. They were all similar conversations and I realized that whether or not someone has kids, wants kids, or even likes kids, the story that rose to the top was that I wanted this and I made it happen, and they just loved that. There was only one co-worker who said, “I *thought* you had a lot of doctor’s appointments!” and I was like oh, honey, and I only called about a third of them doctor’s appointments!

The next day, I told the local team here in SF, and they had actually been speculating about my growing mid-section and all-day crunching at my desk. Apparently there was a meeting where I had my hand on my belly. They were less surprised but also extremely happy for me, some of the parents even got teary.

The release of all that held energy was so cathartic and also exhausting. I shared more of the back story. I sent my blog to a couple more people, although keeping a general boundary there (and my anonymity) seems like a smart thing to continue.

Life went mostly back to normal except now I can wear more form-fitting clothes and we talk about what fruit I’m  on (avocado) and people make references to how I won’t be needing drink tickets at our conference event.

Meanwhile, my midwife experience continues to be awesome (I’m going to her house for gluten-free crepes in a couple of hours), but my transition out of UCSF IVF and back into UCSF OB (as backup) has been a bureaucratic nightmare that reinforces my decision to have my primary care outside the system. I needed my medical records sent to Em, and the woman from whom I requested them was on emergency leave and no one checked her email–delay of 2 weeks. Then I called the OB dept and they couldn’t find me in their system at all, acted like I never existed and could find no records or scans, and insisted my midwife fax over my “file” even though she hasn’t received medical records from the IVF dept and had only had one appointment with me… Every time I called the OB dept and tried to get past the script in the call center, they blocked me–I tried dropping the midwife story and they just couldn’t believe that I hadn’t had prenatal care before now, or that I haven’t done any prenatal testing (which I haven’t, outside of genetic testing of the embryos). Finally, Olga came to the rescue and I think we solved it (so far).

I have an appointment with a midwife on 12/4, I’ll get set up in their systems and can make my appt for the 20-week ultrasound. Also, at my midwife appt next week I’m doing a blood test but I can’t really tell you which one…I’m enjoying paying less attention to the testing. I’m going with it because by checking out, I’m not feeling too worried.

And finally (because I’m starving), I hosted my first SF Single Moms by Choice meeting yesterday. We’d gotten kind of out of the habit of monthly meetings, and now we’re back. My best SMC friends were all there (B, C, and R, minus JJ who we think was in labor across the street), plus friends I’ve gotten to know more recently (T, J, L) and others I met for the first time–a couple of thinkers, many tryers, a few pregnant ladies, and moms with 4 babies and one toddler. My place is party-ready! And it was great to catch up with everyone’s stories.

Later today, dear friend and mom-of-three J is bringing a car load of baby gear over and I hired two Task Rabbits to carry a heavy changing table up the stairs. Welcome to baby furniture.

As I share my story with more people and get it reflected back to me by people such as the call center operators at UCSF OB, I realize just how niche-y I am as an SMC who is planning a homebirth… So sue me! It’s going to make a fascinating book! And I gotta be me.

Must eat. Love to all and happy Sunday xo


15 weeks

Hey party people,

I had one busy work week working mad hours but am now rounding the corner to what looks like will be, Buddha willing, a calmer schedule. At this precise moment, however, I really need to go to bed as I am craving sleep deep in my tired bones, so I will save the intention to write more for a later (but not too much later) date.

Tonight’s brief update is that I am feeling great and my belly is growing and J is visiting from NYC! Although he and my sister and I were in the Dolo earlier today in the glowing fall sunlight, we forgot to take the belly shot. So, again, here I am in the evening next to a landmark placeholder, this one being the state of California being warmly embraced by a bear. Aka a bear hug.

Which is what I am virtually sending to each of you. More soon, for realz. xo


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

14 weeks

My sister B took this week’s photo next to a framed picture representing a San Francisco landmark (Crissy Field, it’s gotta count because it was already nighttime!) and then took it upon herself to write some rhymes to go with it, right on the spot. Great creative energy flowing, my sister, and beautiful sentiments. Thank you!


She bent her head down behind the flowers
and thought of the time..
the hours and hours
of praying and planning and writing and more
to share with the world one beautiful more
photo of mystery, of excitement and of might
to let the world know that all is alright
one day at a time 
with love in this shot
a dove
an egret in fact as Audobon would say
it takes a village to care and to say
thank you to each one for this and for that
I truly appreciate as a fine diplomat
I thank each one equally and my arms open wide
 to wrap you up and bring you inside
my heart is full of all of you out there
I cherish you all
for you are my air.
~guest blogger B
peace. xo