gratitude, outdoors, parenthood, pregnancy

26 weeks

No time to write! I will say I have rounded a corner on planning, having made a dent in my registry and given actual thought to things like diapers, breast pumps, and swaddling blankets. It is truly overwhelming how much there is to learn. My inventory of hand-me-downs people have dropped off reads more like a registry than my actual registry, what good fortune! The joy of having a baby when so many friends are wrapping it up and excited to free up some closet space. I have an army of consultant moms.

I’m leaving for my last x-country biz trip on Wednesday, the gentlest way I know how: a direct flight on Virgin America where I will order endless bottles of water and possibly even wear a mask. But before I go, I didn’t want to neglect this week’s belly photo gallery, shot by Dr. B at Fort Funston where I had somehow never been despite having moved here in 1997:



Baby boy has gotten the hiccups twice!

Love y’all!

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


Now that I know I’m having a boy and it was instantly pre-destined and perfect the minute the blue(ish) onesie came out of the box, the whole world is offering boy generalizations and ideas and advice (and clothes, thank you A!!!). Before I knew what I was having, my stated line was that my whole family is girls, we know girls, we would adore a girl, and a boy would be a whole new exciting and mysterious adventure. I never had a brother or even a nephew. I don’t have that many close guy friends, don’t keep in touch with exes, and have gravitated more and more toward female communities of SMCs, pregnant ladies, midwives, and moms. The only man in the house is still in utero. I have a lot to learn!

And I guess I will learn it all from him. The generalizations are sweet and well-intentioned and probably grounded in some truth but may not apply to all. For example:

  • Boys love their mamas. While my brain instantly plays devil’s advocate and says, “well I love my mama and I’m a girl,” I know that this is really getting at what is unique about the mother/son relationship–they complement each other as opposites, the nurturing feminine and the protective masculine. I really know so little about this and am going off what people are telling me. I love the idea that the baby chose me and we already love each other a lot.
  • He will love going backpacking with you in national parks. I like to think that my kid would dig this either way, and maybe there’s an equal chance that he or she wouldn’t. But it’s a smidge easier to picture a boy getting deeply excited about tearing up a muddy mountain trail and encountering wildlife and learning how to start a fire. (Even if not, I’ll probably force him to go anyway…)
  • Finally, someone to carry on the family name. With all the girls in my family, our surname is perceived to be in some jeopardy. But it is important to notice that I am carrying on the family name by giving it to my son and have no plans of changing it, ever. My single sister seems to be in no hurry to ditch her name in the near future either. So let’s not give this boy all the credit just yet!
  • He will come out with a crown on his head. This one is from J, who was the last-born in a huge family of mostly girls. I think that when his family looks at him, there is indeed a crown on his head. When he goes to visit his family in Venezuela, his grandmother starts crying days before he gets back on a plane to the US. However, even with all us girls, my parents have never once even minorly alluded that they ever wished for a boy or anything different than who we are, and their reaction to this boy is no different. This boy will not be treated as royalty but instead as the fantastically perfect addition to the family that he already is. Period.
  • Yay–I won’t have to go through the pink, sparkly, fairy princess phase! As much as I would like to believe this is true, I know that my boy might be girly. If he wants to grow his hair and wear a skirt, you know me well enough by now to know that I will let him. I guess I’m glad that at least if he goes this direction it will be a sign of individuality rather than conformity, and I won’t say more since I may have another baby and it may be a girl who is obsessed with Disney!
  • Boys are more of a handful as kids and girls are more of a handful as teenagers. Really? It just seems like every phase of development has its challenges, some easier to handle than others, and it’s totally different for every kid. But if you subscribe to this one, tell me why.
  • Boys are pretty straightforward. I get a lot of reassurance from thinking this is true although, again, they didn’t seem so straightforward whenever I was dating them. Are they pretty straightforward and I’ve been overcomplicating things? There’s a good chance this is true (hoping so).

All I know is he is a boy and he has a sweet face and a fight-the-power fist and is thumping the heck out of me right now. I really do picture a soccer player which everyone says but it’s hard not to when you’re the soccer ball. Em has encouraged me to set up daily “fetal love breaks” where I sit and connect with him and count his kicks and develop an intuition about how he’s doing. So far, even through all my illness over the holidays, I’ve always felt like he is thriving in there and a happy little bug.

I’m in the phase of making epic lists, mapping out projects on the calendar, and feeling like time is growing short… I did, however, learn that the third trimester starts at 28 weeks, so that bought me a little more second trimester time to be really productive. Still feeling good (minus the killer charleyhorse from 4 days ago that still has me limping!).

Here is my growing boy at 25 weeks in the Dolo, courtesy of Ms. R:


Grateful for the opportunity to learn how to raise a good man for this world.

Happy MLK Jr Day, peace!



family, fertility, gratitude, homebirth, IUI, IVF, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

wellness and gratitude

After I got back to SF, I went to see my regular doc’s NP on Thursday with my same barking cough and story of woe. How can one really recover while traveling on airplanes at this time of year? She agreed that the original antibiotic seemed to only be kind-of working; no more ‘junk’ in my lungs but still wheezy. No fever, blood pressure normal (so glad). I switched to a Z-pack, Mucinex, and an inhaler and took the next few days to rest at home. So much for minimizing meds, sorry babe. All the coughing had resulted in pain in my rib cage equivalent to getting stabbed, my first-ever hemmorhoid (eek!), and a deep commitment to do whatever necessary to get well.

After a lot of rest, Harry Potter, West Wing (I’m on the last season), More Business of Being Born (did you know they made an additional several hours of documentary?), all those meds, Vitamin C, fluids, I woke up today with clearer lungs–the cough is improving. My ribs feel slightly less painful. I’m concerned though about a new symptom that I discovered last night. I was watching The West Wing and I suddenly realized that the theme song was out of tune, like it was being played by an amateur symphony. I thought something was wrong with my iPad. Then I turned on my computer and the notification sounds also sounded tinny and off. I thought–uh oh, maybe it’s my ears. I booted up iTunes and put on an Arcade Fire song. It sounded like it was being played on an out-of-tune old bar piano. If I plugged one ear it sounded OK, and when I plugged the other it seemed to go down in pitch by a half-step.

This has continued today. It feels like one ear is slightly plugged which certainly should be cleared up by the meds I’m on, but wow how weird. Even the notification that I have a text on my cell phone sounds flat. Voices sound fine. Did a bacteria eat my ear drum?

I am going to get out of the house today, after canceling many plans yesterday and the day before–at a certain point, it’s the inactivity that causes the discomfort. I’ll see some SMC friends and then go on a (mild) walk in the Presidio (if not raining) with my friend S who guided me through Glacier National park 2.5 years ago and is in town!

I woke up this morning and was reading on my iPad in bed, ending up going back in my blog to the beginning of last year. I reviewed last year’s resolutions which could be the same again this year word for word (I had frankly forgotten about most of them)–undercommit, write every day, get out in nature once a week, be on time.  I did OK with undercommitting, shifting into a more fertility-friendly pace. I absolutely did not write every day and almost immediately forgot that resolution as soon as I wrote it down. I mostly got into nature once a week-ish. I moderately improved on punctuality. These are still a work in progress! (Of course I did get pregnant in August, so no complaints here!)

Just after the New Year in 2013, I was also reeling from my 3rd positive that went negative, and gearing up for two more (ultimately failed) IUIs before going ahead with IVF: Mt. Everest looming on the horizon. I got so into the moment, reading those posts, reconnecting with myself a year ago and how it felt to be in that stuck and frustrated place, and then the baby would start kicking and I’d be zoom-fast-forwarded to my new apartment and my soccer-ball belly. I hadn’t looked back in a while and it was the perfect thing to do while sick because it made me enormously grateful all over again to be here with bouncing baby boy on his way, remembering all the hard work and patience and faith and money and time it took to get here.

Tomorrow I will be 24 weeks and on the precipice of the third trimester. Amazing–people have urged me to get lots done in the 2nd trimester and so I guess that ship has sailed. I am reminded that pregnancy is really 10 months–I am at 6 months and have 4 months to go. So, really, the third trimester is the longest–especially for first-time moms who go past their due date. Email me if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

I feel peaceful about my birth plans–signed up for childbirth class w/ two friends, am just about to interview doulas, just need to rent the tub and order the birth kit. It’s everything else that needs a lot of work: rearranging my apartment (J and my parents and I came up with a new scheme in AZ–I’ll have a guest room, big bedroom for me and baby w/ heater, and dining room becomes living/dining), organizing my closets, finishing my registry, going through accumulated stacks of important papers, reading about babies (diaper system? sleep strategies? child care?), creating a living will, upgrading my laundry situation… etc. Swimming, yoga, meditation, walking, writing. But first: get well.

I know many of you are sick too. May you be well! May you be free from suffering! May you be grateful! Take good care of precious you.


anxiety, Buddhism, family, IUI, IVF, meditation, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc


I made a quick recovery from the stomach bug but the cough got worse. I steamed, drank a special concoction from my dad (hot water with honey, cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper), ate cough drops, drank lots of fluids, rested as much as I could. But it was time to go to the sales meeting and I depended the cough to neatly resolve itself which…it didn’t. During the first full day, I drank much hot water with honey and lemon, but I kept breaking into coughing fits and people were starting to give me that alarmed look like I should be quarantined. By full day 2, I lost my voice. I was hosting strategy breakfast and was almost unable to communicate in anything but a growl. Finally, I texted Em who wanted me to go to urgent care to have a doctor listen to my lungs.

Fortunately, the disruption to my team was minor because we were well-staffed. I waited 3 hours in urgent care to see the doctor because they only had one doctor on and there were many people waiting. When the doc finally listened to my lungs, I couldn’t take a full deep breath without lots of coughing and he stepped away and said, “You sound TERRIBLE.” He told me that if I don’t already have pneumonia I would soon, and that if I already wasn’t in such good shape I would be knocked out. No more sales meeting–rest, fluids, and a strong antibiotic.

Of course I wasn’t thrilled to have to take medicine, but triple-checked it with Em, Dr. B., and the doctor here confirmed it was a B-class drug for pregnancy, meaning the safest. And the alternative would be to get sicker, an obvious risk in itself. So I went to Walgreens and got the prescription, Emergen-C, Ricola drops, water. Then my phone died so I couldn’t call a cab and the nice people at Walgreens let me use their phone. The hotel sent a woman named Veronica in a black car to get me and I was noting how relatively luxurious it is to be sick on a work trip with an Am Ex corporate card.

My room is comfy (I’m in a JW Marriott) and I spent a while watching junky TV before landing on the season premiere of Downton Abbey. While I had missed the third season, I heard how it ended (thanks to facebook) and found this premiere to be really tepid with no compelling storylines. I hung in there hoping it would get better (it didn’t) before falling asleep for close to 10 hours.

A series of room service orders, naps, and baths later and I am in bed in my bathrobe listening to ambient spa music being piped outside my the open sliding door to the balcony. The antibiotic will take 24-48 hrs to kick in, so the deep wheezy cough is still there, but I don’t feel too miserable. In a few hours, I’ll put on my formal dress and heels and go down to the awards banquet for a little while–there’s lots to celebrate with my team and I want to at least make an appearance and exchange some hugs and high-fives. But not overdo it. And I definitely want to be sitting down the whole time.

At this meeting of nearly a thousand colleagues, there are many hugs and congratulations and everyone seems to already know my circumstances as I’m sure that part of the story travels like wildfire (since it’s unorthodox and therefore interesting). Only once was I asked if it was intentional, and only once was I asked if I’ll be coming back to work–aren’t these question off limits?? There was one colleague who very studiously was not acknowledging my news, and I realized he was waiting for me to tell him–good policy! Another friend told me over and over how proud she is of me for making it happen. Feels nice.

While here, I had two women tell me they’d be interested in knowing more about how I went about getting pregnant on my own because they may end up doing the same. I strive to be a good example to women like this–it helps to get serious about it when you know someone else’s story (for me, it was my friend C). I had another woman get teary and tell me how happy she was for me–and then confided that she’s been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for years and is in the process of trying to adopt. I always want to make it clear that this did not happen easily or quickly for me either–but, then again, what is easily or quickly? It’s all relative, everyone’s story and struggle is unique, and I remember looking at pregnant women on the ‘other side’ and wondering if I’d ever get there, almost disregarding how long her road had been. Does it matter how hard it was if you got there? (I recently told someone it took me “a long time” and she said, “Me too, ten years!” and I instantly felt like OMG–it didn’t take me long at all.) Rather than compare numbers of IUIs and IVF transfers, I can sincerely tell women that if you are totally committed to making it happen, it will happen, one way or another. Just keep trying.

Tomorrow, J and I will head back to my parents’ place for one more relaxing day, then fly back to SF. What a trip. I hope I can manage to stay healthy after this–extensive travel is not promoting good pregnancy health. Only one two-hour flight to go.

I had so much I wanted to say about the silent retreat but the experience got kind of blasted out of the water by all this illness–I never ‘transitioned out,’ I just barreled into survival mode. People have asked me how it went and I have a hard time putting it into words, and no one who hasn’t experienced it can really get it. In fact, I think most people think it sounds nuts to spend money on nothingness and silence. I’ll just say that while it’s happening, it’s intense, enlightening, intimidating, big–all stimulations and distractions are inside your own head. You face the stuff that stays buried underground most days but inevitably causes intermittent or unrelenting stress, anxiety, dread, etc–and it evolves and turns into an action-packed movie with rich visuals, a swirling sea of rising and falling emotions, and a series of surprising visitors, all punctuated by many, many moments of stillness and peace. All I can say is: give it a try.

My boy is growing and moving and I’m shifting into a new level of thinking and planning–it’s the new year, the year he will be born!

New Year’s resolution: clear time and space for new life!


Buddhism, family, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC


Hi! I am out of the retreat as of yesterday and, while I don’t have time to write a full post, I am inspired by friends A and V who are committed to writing every day, even if it’s short. The short story is: I am sick.

At the retreat, about which I have lots to say but will have to be bookmarked for later, I started on day 2 or so with a dry cough which graduated into a hacking cough. It felt triggered by new climates and heaters and freezing cold. Then, on the last night, I caught a stomach bug that hit 3-4 of the retreatants, plus one of the teachers, Jonathan Faust (who detailed his ordeal in a dharma talk) and also likely his wife, Tara Brach, the teacher I flew there to see and who disappeared in the last 24 hours. Yes–on New Year’s Eve, I woke up to be sick every hour and sent a mental Happy New Year to each time zone in succession. The next afternoon, mere hours after successfully keeping fluids down, I flew to Phoenix. I ate six crackers and kept drinking water and my parents picked me up and I’ve never been so happy to arrive at Sky Harbor Airport.

I made it without incident! (aside from my exit row seat back which wouldn’t recline which was terribly uncomfortable.) Now my cough is worse and I have to go into my sales meeting tomorrow (mercifully shorter than usual, running from tomorrow night until Tuesday morning), a notoriously packed event and another petri dish. All this air travel is tough on the immune system, despite militant washing my hands, taking my vitamins, and drinking as much water as I can. Looking forward to being grounded after just a couple more trips.

Baby boy seems happy despite these trials, wiggling and thumping away, and growing. It’s a lot for one body, all this!

So, more soon on everything but I am mentally good and just hoping I get all healthy again soon. Meanwhile, I wanted to share the latest belly shot since I think I’m totally off my weekly schedule: my parents and I went to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, amazing blown-glass sculptures placed around the gardens and lit up at night. My dad caught this belly shot with a sculpture in the background like a fireball and a gorgeous Arizona sunset which didn’t quite come through:


I’m going to breathe some more steam and then take my sick self to bed. Much love!