into silence

Posting from BWI where I am about to head to a 5-day meditation retreat with Tara Brach. Can’t believe the awesome timing of this. I signed up the day before learning I was pregnant…what foresight. Dharma talks, sitting, walking, nourishing food, yoga, and mostly silence. Time and space to contemplate this big new year ahead. This is why I will be unresponsive on the phone and interwebs until 1/1!

Just got the ultrasound report from UCSF and all is well with the baby- what great news and a relief to hear because I can tell you that ultrasound seemed pretty comprehensive. They wanted to let me know that the placenta is low, near the cervix, and they want me to do a follow-up at 28 weeks, most often it moves up, and I am not worried. Just happy the boy is fine!

A big Happy New Year to friends near and far, online or off, in close touch or not, wishing you all a 2014 full of love and beautiful moments. Ring it in big on my behalf- I’ll probably be sleeping 🙂



It’s a…


We had everyone together for the gift opening and the onesie came out blue (actually white with very pale blue letters and trim so no one was sure until I yelled IT’S A BOY! with tears rolling down my face).

It was everyone’s hunch confirmed, the first boy in two generations, it instantly felt right. My only real intuition was that boys’ names have been coming to me much more than girls’ names, and the amount of wild movement has made me picture a boy. I was awake in the night actively trying to stay ready for anything, but it was really starting to lean one way.

Many reasons to love a boy, most of all because he’s mine.

Here is the cutie!



A leetle delay

So….we will be held in suspense a bit longer. My sister’s plane was held on the tarmac for 45 minutes and then her luggage was delayed just long enough that my nieces had just fallen asleep when she walked in the door.

Yes, I’m beside myself, but you know what? We’ll all be together in the morning and that’s just one sleep away. And it doesn’t change the outcome. So, the zen practice of patience continues. (My dad just suggested doing a sonogram of the box.)

Merry Christmas, all! Till tomorrow! xo

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


Merry Christmas! It is 6:30am and I’ve been awake for a while–jet lag seems to cause these random wake-up times lately–and I’ve already eaten, had some water, and been to the bathroom twice…I’m writing a blog post in my head so I though I’d actually write one. It feels like this period of my life is like Christmas, and now it’s actually Christmas, so there’s a lot of awesomeness to write about.

I dreamt tonight that I gave birth to a snake–and this wasn’t the first time. Is this a phallic dream that means I’m having a boy? The bigger issue in the dream was that it wasn’t time yet, so I was very happy to wake up to find myself not the mother of a premature snake and instead with a little moving pod still happy inside.

I’m in the last hours of not knowing whether this babe is a boy or a girl and they feel sweet, almost bittersweet–I can already feel how all the beginnings bring endings and this first phase of pregnancy and not-knowing will soon be behind me. I feel love and protectiveness for this neutral as-yet-unknown being and sense that once the verdict is pronounced and the onesie is pulled out of the box, that connection will intensify. It’s not so much about pink or blue as anticipating the person who will be my new life partner, learning one big fact about the person he or she will be.

The ultrasound was truly incredible. My friend S and I had lunch beforehand and both got teary about the momentous event ahead. We stopped by the 7th floor so I could give a box of Christmas treats to the doctors, nurses, and staff I got to know so well over the past year and a half, to show my gratitude to them for their compassion and wonderful care. I was amazed to find all of my key players present and available (with the exception of Dr. Tran)–they ran out to greet me in the empty waiting room to ooh and aah over my belly, obviously this is the big payoff of their hard work and it was this hugely heartwarming moment. S snapped a bunch of pictures and, being a reader of my blog, intuitively knew the importance of a photo with Olga–here’s she is, thank you, ladies!


Then we went downstairs to the 2nd floor for the ultrasound. We had a friendly woman named Marta and a big, quiet, dim room with a lotus flower on the ceiling. I told Marta the gender reveal plan and that if she saw something that was maybe but not definitely a problem, I didn’t need to hear about it–she assured me that as the sonographer she would not be interpreting. She would leave that for the radiologists to do afterward. I felt so much more relaxed after that.

She pulled up the images and I saw the many beautiful parts of this developing baby, in awe of a) how Marta could read various shapes and blobs like reading in a foreign language (gall bladder! liver! kidney!) and b) how somehow my body and nature and God had created a new person with all the key parts in the right places–the skull, the brain hemispheres, the heart chambers, the nostrils, the ribs, toes, femurs, and OMG the beautiful, beautiful spine! She had me look away when she measured the pelvis but S said she couldn’t tell what was what anyway. The baby was moving a ton. At one point, when the screen was mostly blank, we saw head-on a fist followed by a foot–punch-kick, kapow!

Toward the end, Marta swapped in a different camera and took a few photos of the baby’s face–at first obscured by a belligerent fight-the-power fist. I haven’t taken photos of these yet and I think they are in the room where my parents are sleeping so I will have to post later. It’s a sweet, sleeping baby face, snuggled against it’s little fist. It sure is different, and totally mind-blowing, to know that this little baby face is my own flesh and blood.

Marta printed the photos (including a souvenir shot for S!) and we were done. She handed S the envelope with the gender verdict. We went down to to the beautiful courtyard where I once sat with A after a sad ultrasound two summers ago, and I felt how far I have come since that time. I left S alone with the box of onesies, the envelope, and some tape. When I came back, I was totally tripping on the fact that she knew the verdict and I still didn’t! She just smiled mysteriously and gave me hugs goodbye. She carried out her mission beautifully and I’m so grateful!

My nieces here in Chicago are so lovey and intrigued with the belly. When the 5-year-old saw the ultrasound photos, she said, “The baby is really taking shape!” The 2-year-old decorated about a dozen presents for various family members and handed me each one, saying, “This one’s for the baby.” (Their responses are especially amazing given that they were seemingly so recently babies themselves.) The rest of the family is orienting themselves around the new year and the approaching due date–who can travel out to SF for the shower? who will be there for the birth and after? I feel how such a big life event can push the occasional button in the planning of it, and also feel strongly my family’s willingness to be there for me in whatever way I need. Plus I have an amazing supporting cast. Thank you, all of you–I couldn’t do this without the community that reads this blog.

Last night, my parents and I watched my midwife’s documentary, “My Baby, My Body, My Birth” (recommend) followed by “The Business of Being Born” (my third time–highly recommend). My dad and I cried over every baby born.

Celebrating a baby born is what we’ll be doing tomorrow (or at least that’s how it started!) and I wish you all a joyful day with your loved ones!!!! Love: that’s what it’s all about. xo


Buddhism, family, gratitude, meditation, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, writing

heading east

Guys! I have been wrapping up the year at work and sleeping a lot, and somehow have slipped into a less frequent writing schedule–but, as with so many things (exercise, meditation, baby prep), I intend to improve my writing habits in the New Year! Many more reflections to come; for tonight, I need to focus on packing for my 2-week trip: to see my family, to a 5-day silent meditation retreat, and to a sales meeting. (hoping I can get away with the same outfits to all three–possible?). But first:

I still have my belly shot from LAST Sunday, taken by my sister in Japantown right before we saw Catching Fire–so this shot is 20 weeks. It looks here like I’m ginormous–in reality, I think we can still say the belly is “cute.”


Tomorrow is the ‘big’ ultrasound, the 20-week (actually 21) anatomy scan. For all the excitement around the gender reveal, I (of course) only care that the baby is healthy. I feel good, and babe is doing backflips a lot (including right now), so as far as my internal checkpoints, all is well. Just bracing myself for what can be a LOT of information (the scan takes up to an hour) and hoping we come out with a great report card.

My dear friend S is accompanying me and I think the universe aligned to send me this particular friend for this particular event–just seems perfect. We’ll have the radiologist write down the gender. After the appt, S will read the result and, of the two onesies I’ll have with me, she will put either the pink one or the blue one in the box (with the radiologist note for confirmation!), and take the other one home so I can’t see it and deduce the result by the process of elimination. I’m bringing lots of tape so I won’t be tempted to peek. I don’t actually think I’ll be tempted to peek–I’ve waited this long, what’s two more days? On Christmas, with the whole fam together, my nieces will open it. This will be a very exciting moment which I can barely think about without bursting into tears.

OK–I wrote more than I had time for–stay tuned for Christmas belly shot, gender reveal, 2013 gratitude, and reflections on 2014.

I wish each of you a joyous holiday season full of peace and love!




family, gratitude, homebirth, IVF, meditation, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

more on how it feels

As I sit down to write after an action-packed biz trip to NYC, I’m reminded of how I’d like to set a New Year’s intention to slooooow down. The evolving pregnancy will require it and I’m craving it. Fewer plans on the calendar, please. This whole fall has felt like a blur as work has required so much of my time and energy, with only the rare quiet moment to sit with my belly and contemplate the life ahead. I need time to be (we are human beings not human doings), especially as I approach 20 weeks and realize we’re already halfway through. And especially as I have a little being on the way who may have an agenda that goes beyond peace and quiet.

The trip was truly great–friends and colleagues all seemed delighted with my news, and for the record not one person who doesn’t know about my process ever asked about the father (sometimes I share, sometimes I don’t, but it’s nice that people are leaving it up to me). Also, not one work person has asked who is going to cover for me while I’m out, how I’ll handle this job with a baby, how long I’ll be out, or when/if I’m coming back. It’s all about how joyful the news is, how I’m feeling, when I’m due, and if I’m finding out if it’s a girl or a boy. Everyone says I look and seem happy. Which is always a lovely thing to have reflected back to you. I do feel happy!

One of my favorite comments was from my work friend JB (famously not a fan of kids) turned to me at the end of a drunken holiday dinner and said meaningfully, “I want to be the friend you turn to when you need a break from talking about the baby.” She also offered to take the kid out for her 16th birthday (she’s sure it’s a girl).

Meanwhile, I’m so aware of how this type of news can push all kinds of buttons for people, having been on the other side for so long. Behind the scenes, some are struggling to get pregnant, or are not on the same page as their partners about getting pregnant, or aren’t sure they’re with the right partner to have kids with, or aren’t sure if they want kids at all, or had a super-rough pregnancy/birth/newborn experience, or miscarried, or maybe some are where I was two years ago–definitely wanting it but with without the dad half of the equation. So I’m especially grateful to receive these joyful reactions, while feeling compassion for the inevitable mix of emotions people are experiencing, as I did while sharing in other people’s joyful news over the years while feeling like I couldn’t get my life to move forward. (I recently saw this Onion article, “Report: Everyone Starting New Exciting Stage of Life Except You.”) I also love how the reactions from parents (especially new parents, shout out to G) have a level of intensity that goes beyond words–tears, touching the belly, wanting more details, awe over what I’m about to experience.

And also the questions I get from women who haven’t yet had babies, because I know I asked these of friends in the past. “What does it feel like–is it so gradual that it just feels normal, or does it feel really new and strange?” I say both. This is a sensation and a time that I want to experience in the moment–there’s nothing like it, it doesn’t last forever, and I can imagine it would be hard to really re-access the feeling long after it’s over. It is so gradual that it feels normal–my flat belly seems like such a thing of the past (I find solace whenever I see a mom with a flat belly!). Yet the belly is new enough that I don’t know exactly where it is in space and I graze it against things like the refrigerator door. Squeezing past someone in the airplane aisle felt really weird today. It feels a lot like when you eat too much and your belly feels a little stretched (and when I eat too much now it feels super duper stretched). Also itchy. Today I noticed that my belly button is looking a little stressed. Mostly I can’t believe that my body is producing such a nice pregnant-looking belly, like in pictures. Everything’s in the right place.

I’m also so grateful that my body is embracing this process with ease so far. People ask me all the time if I’ve been sick or exhausted or had any number of weird or difficult symptoms, and the answer is basically no. I feel great. I eat more and sleep more and I have gone all soft where I used to be muscular, but I feel energetic and all bodily functions are doing their thing without any big problems. Second trimester rocks. After four nights on my friend’s pull-out couch, I was beginning to perceive achey hips but I’m going to chalk it up to the sofabed and start sleeping with a body pillow. I still can’t believe that UCSF put a microscopic embryo inside my uterus and now I’ve gained 15 pounds and there’s a moving baby in there as long as a banana. A miracle.

People also ask about the sensation of the baby moving. I monitored the feeling for about a week before I was convinced it was the baby because at first it just felt like the digestive clicks and rumbles that happen normally. But it was the same feeling in the same place with some consistency. Then it started getting stronger. It really feels like a tiny baby moving in my belly, literally. It’s usually a series of taps or a little shimmy. It’s easy to think it’s always a kick but could be a little fist or butt or head moving around in there. It’s always pleasant, and wonderful to know, viscerally, that baby’s doing fine. The strongest kick was during a company meeting this week in which I was sitting directly across from the president who was running the meeting, and I had eye contact with him when it happened–my reflex was to bend forward slightly and put my hands on it. It felt like more of a stronger swirl in the lower right, maybe two-footed. No one noticed.

I’m not craving any foods in particular but did have almost a whole glass of red wine over a period of a couple of hours last night, which was nice. After even one sip, I feel this nice glow in my extremities, and I swear the baby started doing a happy slow dance.

Just before leaving for NYC, I went to a holiday potluck of the SF Homebirth Collective. These people are rad. I have lots of new friends there who go to prenatal yoga with me and now there will be a dinner party at my friend N’s, with J, and M, and their nice husbands, and we’re all due in April/May. There is a LOT to talk about. Em walked in having just wrapped up a birth and looking sleepy but happy, and after giving me a hug she said my bloodwork results came back and all is normal. Next up is the anatomy scan on 12/23.

I couldn’t get an earlier date and you have to call the radiology dept precisely at 8am or they don’t pick up the phone! So, I am going with it–2pm on Monday, 12/23 and I fly to meet my family in Chicago at 6pm. I don’t have anyone to go with me, and this is a big one where they measure every single thing they can. Most people I know are either working or already on vacation, including my sister. Anyone have flexibility and want to come see my babe?

And, of course, this will be the big gender reveal! However, since I’ll be so close to seeing my family, and Christmas, I’m thinking I’ll have them not tell me and instead write it on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope to be opened later. I picture having my little nieces opening it on Christmas morning with the whole family beside themselves with anticipation. THAT’S going to be exciting.

This photo is overdue–here is me a week ago at 19 weeks, on my street, last Saturday, taken by dear friend C. Her little daughter S put her hands on my belly and said she feels it’s a boy (like almost everyone else!). 20-week photo to come soon. Lots of love to you!