Moving to San Diego from Marin was a challenge. My husband had already been here for two months working, then me and my two children, with a third on the way, followed. My daughter was starting middle school and was nervous as this would be her first public school experience; she had been attending a Montessori school for 10 years prior. My son had also been attending the same Montessori school for two years and was not thrilled to be moving to San Diego where he was to be home with me for one year until Kindergarten started. I was two months pregnant and sick as ever with “morning” sickness that lasted 24/7.

We moved to San Diego to be closer to my sister, my brother & his two children, and my mom who lives in Baja. We also wanted to be closer to a beach where we could swim in the water, without putting on a 5mm wetsuit with a hood, gloves and booties, as was the case in Northern California. The beach lifestyle was calling to us so we made the leap, not knowing what challenges, lessons and gifts were about to be presented.

My daughter started school and everything was great. She met her best friend on the first day, loved most of her teachers and felt confident in herself. I was proud and relieved. My son and I had a wonderful time visiting the beach everyday and finding our favorite places to play, then going home so I could nap and he could watch his show. My husband was struggling at work though, working long hours, not really fitting in to the systems that were in place and having no creativity allowances or say in making beneficial changes to the company. After five months of employment and many challenges with human resources over a sexual harassment case that he reported, my husband was let go, just before the holiday season. Yikes.

Over the next few months my husband worked very little, we had to go on unemployment, our car was repossessed and we started taking the bus. Through it all, however, we stayed positive, loving and faithful.

My appointments at the county clinic were going okay, but I was getting nervous about my birth. I wanted a different experience than I had before. I didn’t want to deliver in the hospital. I knew my body and didn’t want to take the glucose test. I knew I was going to gain more weight than the ridiculous weight gain chart they had and didn’t need to be told I was an overachiever at weight gain. I wanted to call the shots during my birth and not have anyone to battle during my labor.

I read ‘Hypnobirthing the Mongan Method’ and it changed my life! I left the clinic, decided to have a home birth if I couldn’t find a birthing center, and felt free and happy. We also started going to Dance Church, by the recommendation of a new friend, and loved it. It’s a place to be with yourself and with others, to connect to yourself and others through dance, and to make new connections while surrounded by like minded people. We were all hooked!

My husband and I also started going to a type of group therapy to support our growth through challenging times and to help us both let go of past hurt and move forward with our lives in the most positive and loving way possible. Wonderful, tough work, and so worth it!

I found a birthing center, Babies by the Sea, and absolutely loved the midwives there. I planned my birth to happen in the water, and was able to tell them exactly what I wanted. They listened to and supported my every decision. I also met a new wonderful friend who did energy work. Throughout the last month of my pregnancy, she helped to clear our living space of negative energies, helped me clear some of my own negative patterns, worked on my husband, daughter and son, and was there when I went into labor after clearing the final hurdle of fear I had about giving birth. It was incredible!

Also, my husband found a job and everything was working out. 🙂

At Dance Church, the Sunday before I delivered – when I was already nine days overdue – although I felt highly uncomfortable, swollen, and a little depressed and anxious, I was welcomed with loving arms and given beautiful gifts of words of encouragement and empowerment. I was also given a phone number. This phone number was the icing on the already delectable cake of my life. I had asked for someone’s number so that I could let everyone know when I delivered and instead of giving me her own phone number, the director of dance church told me about Cara’s the First 40 and gave me her number instead. I reached out to her when I was in labor and she gave me a brief summary of what she was doing and what she needed from me. I was so excited!

My birth was truly awesome. I was gifted an acupuncture induction which put me into full swing. I labored at the beach for about an hour and my friend was there with me, timing my surges and encouraging me to call the midwives. I was enjoying my labor so much I had no idea how far along I was. When I got to the birthing center the midwives were still on their way – it was a Saturday – so I had some surges in the car and the parking lot.

The midwives arrived, my husband, children and support team showed up and the birthing tub began to fill with water. And, surprisingly, I was already 8cm dilated! I laughed with surprise, joy and relief. I labored in bed for about an hour and then got in the tub. Amazing! I labored in the tub for about 40 minutes until my water broke – I kinda freaked out because the urge to push was so intense and I had never felt it before. I pushed about four or five times and the baby came out!

“It’s a boy!!!”

Best surprise ever.

I was in shock from the extreme pain and relief of him coming out but turned over to grab my baby boy, bring him out of the water and up into my arms. Incredible.

When I got home, four hours later, I ate, drank another highly beneficial placenta smoothie, and processed as much as I could from the day before falling to sleep with my new baby boy in my arms. I reached out to Cara after the birth and she set up my personalized First 40 experience. What a joy it was to have my friends, family and complete strangers come into my home with love. They brought food, stayed with me to talk, did my dishes, folded my laundry, took my son on a much needed play date and supported me with whatever I needed. Baby Darwin even got an in-home chiropractic adjustment!

My husband had to go back to work almost immediately, thus he felt so grateful that I had people looking after me and helping to take care of me. I can’t say enough about this First 40. I had heard about the postpartum care that other country’s governments provide and dreamed about it. Especially since my circle of support was small after moving and I was desperately desiring a village to help me through this healing time. I found it.

The First 40 is something that every family should have after the birth of their baby, whether it’s their first or fifth. What an incredible gift to give to yourself, a loved one, or to be a part of.