family, gratitude, homebirth, meditation, Mother's Day, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

Happy Mother’s Day!

We started the day at UCSF for our first non-stress test to check on how the babe is doing. It was a little surreal to be in the Labor and Delivery unit of the hospital after all the expectation that I’ll be doing this at home–felt very busy like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Everyone was very nice. Every single nurse and doctor I saw was a woman. They put me in such a tiny room that my parents had to wait in a (tiny) waiting room and it was really hot and I thought for a moment I might be too claustrophobic to stay in there. They strapped on the big belts and I heard the baby’s heartbeat for 20 minutes, as well as big static when he was moving, which was often. They came back and said his heartbeat was ‘perfect.’ Measured the amniotic fluid and it was a 9 (they want higher than 6). The doctor said his head is “massively down.” So, everything checked out and we were sent home. It felt great to get a good report. I have another appointment on Wednesday.

In the afternoon, we took a nice urban hike in the warm sun with a cool wind. We got a picnic’s worth of food at Bi-Rite and headed up to Alamo Square to lay around and eat and people watch. It was so relaxing and lovely. I am so BIG. The cashier at Bi-Rite said it looks like I’m “about to explode.” It’s nearly impossible to put on my shoes and makes me out of breath. When it was time to go home, I almost pulled down my dad who was trying to help me get up off the ground!

I’m sleepy after getting a no-sleep nap this afternoon because the baby was kicking so much. My mom suggested a bath which is such a fantastic idea so that’s where I’m headed.

But, first, I at least wanted to say, in a sleepy and probably inarticulate way, how much I love and appreciate my mom. WOW has she (and my dad) taken the bull by the horns in this baby-prep-mode and embraced the whole process of this waiting period. I am so lucky that my parents are here! I basically didn’t even get a card together this Mother’s Day, but I know that more importantly we are spending this exciting time together. Thank you, Mom, for all the nourishing mama cooking, for running and organizing the kitchen, for scrubbing the floors like Cinderella, for being game for any length of walk, for watching episodes of Call the Midwife while I weep over the births. And soon: for being here for my baby’s birth and all the help I’ll need afterward. I am so grateful.

Meanwhile, I must also acknowledge the equally enormous contributions of my dad, who is responsible for installing many fixtures, ordering and assembling needed items, getting the washer and dryer up the stairs and functioning, all kinds of chauffeuring and parking, omelets, Waldorf salads, expertly filling and emptying the birth tub, and more. Thank you, Dad!

Finally, without trying to be comprehensive because I’m excited to take a bath and then probably go to sleep, I am sending love and gratitude to all the mamas in my life–the SMCs, the homebirthers, those pregnant and trying to get pregnant, the dog-mamas and cat-mamas, the aunties, and those who just plain love and nurture their loved ones in a way that makes the world go round. Actually, I think that is comprehensive. I wish for all of this wonderful nurturing energy to be acknowledged and appreciated today. Love to you all.

I’ll go out with my 41 week belly shot and I know enough not to jinx it by saying it’s the last one. (Check out my amazing shadow.) I’ll be over here meditating and sleeping and buttering this baby up. xo

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Buddhism, family, gratitude, homebirth, Mother's Day, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

ready

Dear Baby Boy,

We’re ready for your arrival. We’re so excited to meet you! Here’s what being ready looks like on the outside:

20140510-222407.jpg Here are your new clothes, laundered and folded.

20140510-222703.jpg Here’s where you will spend many hours with Mommy, nursing.

20140510-222901.jpg Here’s a little birth shrine with items that will keep me feeling strong and reminded of you.

20140510-223046.jpg This is how Mimi organized the food that will nourish you through me.

20140510-223207.jpg

20140510-223216.jpg This is the new apartment-sized washer and dryer funded by generous benefactors, to keep all your baby clothes clean!

20140510-223348.jpg And the birth tub, which keeps us reminded every day that you’ll be here soon.

I’m ready in my heart, too, to move you through me and into this outside world. I will miss this lovely not-quite-one, not-quite-two symbiosis, but I also feel that you are strong and ready to make your grand entrance. It’s going to be more hospitable for you out here, baby. I’m working with my body through yoga, walking, and resting to offer you safe passage and I believe you also have some mysterious work of your own to do to make it possible. We’re ready! So let’s do it. Mothers Day would be fine, or whatever day this week works for you.

With love and great anticipation,
Mom

dating, depression, IVF, Mother's Day, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

mind/body

Just a quick hi, how are you, and Happy Mother’s Day! I didn’t mean to not write for a week–and now the ‘how are you’ texts are flowing in.

I am great. Last week was an exceptionally busy work week and I came out drained at the end of each day and not inclined to keep looking at my laptop. I also was drained enough that I started moving away from things that have proven to keep me energized–when you’re buried, it can seem like more working more now will equal less stressing later, and then when I get home all I can do is watch multiple West Wing episodes to stay awake until bedtime.

I didn’t even realize how buried I was until I went up to Point Reyes on Saturday with MM for a 9.6 mile hike among the tall trees. My body said WHOA!!! and I totally woke up. Today I felt like a new lady.

A theme in my reading and radio-listening this week was the mind-body connection. There are many mysteries about the human body but it is well demonstrated that our beliefs shape our biology (e.g. the placebo effect), and our biology shapes our beliefs (e.g. mental clarity after a run). So why isn’t the whole medical industry focused on helping us feel great about ourselves?

I’ve been reading about childbirth, in part because it’s fascinating and in part because I’m getting my head in the game (with the hope that the rest of me will follow, i.e. belief shaping biology). In childbirth, so much is determined by how the mother is feeling emotionally and how that manifests in her body. Ina May talks about “sphincter logic”–just like the urethra and the anus who can get performance anxiety without privacy, the cervix can be shy. Scare the mom and labor will slow down. Tell her she is “marvelous” and stroke her hair and you might buy yourself a couple more centimeters.

Ina May says (and I’ll take her word for it) that a bunch of men peeing at urinals in a mens’ room will all spontaneously stop when someone bursts in loudly. Shy sphincters!

She also talks about a woman who had been adopted and grew up with the fear that her mother had died in childbirth. When she was in labor, her body was holding on to the fear that the same thing would happen to her–until she was asked if anything was worrying her and she articulated it, let the fear go, and her body let the baby be born.

I’m gradually making my way toward finalizing a four-week curriculum for gearing up for transfer, in which I am fully believing I’ll get pregnant this time. I need to remember how much exercise and the outdoors are my natural Paxil. Alcohol has the opposite effect (the anti-anti-depressant). Working extra hours is sometimes necessary but has diminishing returns. Thanks go to Dr. Hawaii for helping me realize I am happy to be entirely and peacefully off the market. Same ducks, new row.

In the coming weeks, I’ll do a two-hour psychic healing session to clean out my chakras. I will make an appointment with B’s “Mayan abdominal massage” lady whom I think of as “the vagina steamer” based on her description. I will write more (promise). I will spend time with people who energize me and avoid the emotional vampires. I will be driven at work and disconnect and recharge outside of work. And I will let my body rejuvenate my mind through maybe a new set of exercise types like yoga, swimming, and extended hikes in the endlessly mind-blowing wilderness.

Some Sunday nights feel like New Year’s Eve, and so be it!

Good night, mamas!

Mother's Day, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

Happy Mama’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms! You make the world go around, you know that, right? The celebrations probably never go quite as smoothly as if you’d planned them yourself, but I hope you get a glimmer of how appreciated you are today even if the rest of us stumble a bit trying to express our gratitude for how generous you are with your time, energy, and love.

A friend of mine posted on FB: “I can’t believe that my teenage daughter had the nerve to say there should be a ‘Daughter’s Day.’ And she was serious!”

My own Mom inspires me to want to be a Mom. When she gave birth the first time, she was 30 years old and had been married to my Dad for a few years. I hope she’s OK with me telling you that for the first half of her pregnancy, she didn’t realize she was pregnant. She was already having irregular cycles, then thought she was putting weight on in the middle. That was me! She finally went to the doctor, and the famous line is, “Congratulations, Mrs. C., you’re four and a half months pregnant!” So, let’s just say it was an easy pregnancy. (noted!)

My Mom talks about becoming a Mom as an event that changed her life in an instant, bringing this new all-consuming love and absolute thrill and awe to meet this new little person. (PS my Dad says the same thing but we’ll give him his turn on Father’s Day :)) She describes the process of going into labor with this tone of woman’s-wisdom; she finished up lesson plans as my dad ran up and down the stairs saying, “we should go we should go weshouldgo!” Even though it was her first birth, she had a sense of calm. In the hospital, she had a bunch of student observers–she shook their hands wearing nothing but socks, and the doctor had a tee time or something so he ended up pulling me out with forceps (a sign of the times). Healthy first-born baby girl!

My Mom recalls sitting in the light yellow La-Z-Boy chair in the living room of our little house in the middle of the night, breastfeeding each of her babies, with the streetlight flowing in the window and just feeling so content with life.

Through my childhood, my Mom was the superhero the job requires–a working mother who pursued a career she loved but also arranged for a flexible schedule so that we always had a parent at home when we got home from school. We had various college student babysitters to fill in the gaps but my parents were a.r.o.u.n.d. Which tends to nip any brewing mischief in the bud. The huge bulk of the household chores–cooking, cleaning, laundry–fell to my Mom and we were generally very unhelpful and ungrateful–she took the lion’s share because she wanted us to have time to do our homework. When Mom went to a conference about once a year, all hell broke loose (no offense, Dad) and we really could not function without the sun in the center of our solar system.

I remember being a teenager and writing an angsty poem about my Mom in which I invented fictional clashes since that seemed like the thing to do. The fact is, I really always liked her. As anyone knows who has met my Mom, she is one of the most generous and caring people on the planet. She got to channel this nurturing energy into her career as a teacher working primarily with kids who were struggling with various problems like ADD, learning disabilities, problems at home, or not speaking English. She customized ways to connect with each of them. She more than meets people halfway and I got this from her. We both need to reign it in sometimes and direct more of that nurturing energy to ourselves (says the next generation version 2.0 after years of therapy!)…but, that’s how it goes: your weaknesses are your strengths turned up a little too high. And it’s a beautiful strength!!

Today, my Mom is one of my best friends. The major differences from a regular friendship are that a) she gave birth to me, b) she’s known me since then, and c) I wait about half a day longer to tell her something that might worry her. Otherwise, the open communication that she (and my Dad) fostered throughout our childhoods, which I credit with keeping us generally on a positive and productive track, continues to this day.

Now that my parents have iPhones, every call goes onto speakerphone within about 10 seconds so that I’m talking to them both. Lately, they say in singsong, “We’re enjoying your blog!!!!” They have supported me through every step of this process. From the day my Mom noticed prenatal vitamins in my apartment, her only struggle has been to contain her boundless joy. I know she is beside herself knowing that I am on the verge of experiencing the magic that changed her life–and then we’ll share it. And my kid will have a Mimi!

I love you, Mom!!

PS Sharing a photo of my Mom–just came in via text from my Dad as I finished this post. She’s got the purse my sisters and I sent for Mother’s Day. I know I’m on the edge of being not-so-anonymous but so be it! Lookin good!!!Image

PPS Day 28: No AF. Temp at 97.4. Hasta mañana!