Barbie and Jeff

For months, Jeff and I looked forward to December 10th, 2005, our baby’s due date.  Our midwife Nancy Myrick suggested that we schedule a nice evening on the town on that date so that we wouldn’t be disappointed if our baby did not arrive on time.  So that night, Jeff and I went to one of our favorite spots, Firefly Restaurant in Noe Valley.  After we arrived at the restaurant, Jeff noticed that they had shirts with the number “11” hanging in the hallway.  He thought this had to be a sign that our baby would be coming soon.  I was so hungry that I kind of shrugged off his premonition and focused on the menu, hoping to order soon.  Oh, the green curry dish looked so good!

Then ten seconds later....GUSH!  My bag of water broke!  I was completely soaked.  I jumped up from the table and tried to find something to dry myself.  Jeff was temporarily paralyzed thinking, “Oh my gosh, I am going to be a father.”  The waitress gave me a couple of napkins and Jeff steadied himself.  I was so hungry that I asked if we could stay for dinner.  He said we had better get home and went to get the car.

My contractions started in the car at 7:20pm.  By the time we got home, they were getting a little stronger.  Fortunately, my mom was staying with us and she whipped up a delicious meal.  I ate as much as I could because I knew I was in for a long evening.  Nancy, Ami (another midwife), and Chanti (their assistant) arrived at our condo and checked me.  They said I was progressing well.  Then they asked if they could take a nap in the spare room because they had been up for 24 hours attending another birth.  I woke them up a few hours later with my loud moans as the contractions were getting more intense.  Fortunately, I had coaxed Jeff to a prenatal massage class where he learned how to massage me during the contractions.  This helped the pain immensely.  My sister Jenny and my mom also helped immensely with massage and words of encouragement.

It was so nice to be at home and have such a supportive birthing team.  Even when the labor sensations became intense, I always felt comforted and soothed.  I labored on my hands and knees, in the shower, on the birthing ball, and squatting on the birth stool.  When it came time to push, the sensations grew even more intense. Everyone cheered me on as I sat semi-reclined on my bed and pushed.  Nancy suggested I change my position from time to time to help the baby move down the birth canal.  It worked.  After about two hours of pushing and everyone admiring the hair on top of her head, Tenzin Wong Petersen was born.  At 4:17am, she announced her presence to the world with a loud cry.  Jeff pumped his fists in excitement, Jenny cried, and I stared astounded at my wriggling baby.  We named Tenzin after the Dalai Lama, whose name means “protector of the Buddhist faith.”  

The midwives stayed with us for four hours after Tenzin was born.  They did one final check on her and then left us alone with our new baby.  I was exhausted and immediately went to sleep.  Jeff took Tenzin to the other room where he put her on his chest to keep her warm.  For the next four or five hours, he looked at her every couple of minutes to be sure she was breathing!

Nancy and Chanti came back every few days to check on Tenzin and me.  They gave us great support and guided us through six weeks of postpartum care.  I attribute my speedy recovery to their amazing care and my mom’s good cooking.  We also had a pediatrician come to the house to check on Tenzin.  He said she was doing great.  To this day, she is a healthy, strong little girl.  As of March 31st, Tenzin weighed about 16 pounds and is 25 inches tall.