16 Weeks: Sex of the Babies. We’re Having…!

I HAD to add an addendum to week 16 ’cause since I posted this yesterday, we’ve had an ultrasound and know the sex of the babies!!! The US tech (Katie…LOVE HER) asked me what we thought they were before hand, and I told her, “If you tell me anything other than Baby A is a girl and Baby B is a boy, I’ll be floored.” And sure enough, IT’S A GIRL…and…IT’S A BOY!!!

Baby Girl (formerly known as A) was sucking her finger, and Baby Boy (formerly know as B) did a full flip for us. Healthy baby twins, a girl and a boy. THANK YOU UNIVERSE. I might just go hug a complete stranger…

Now back to your regular scheduled programming…  Baby(s) Watch Week 16 on birth is just below.birth-pic

16 weeks. Pinch me. I am so psyched to be moving into month 5 with 4 months “under my belt” so to speak. (and that’s one long belt…) I’m not quite as big as the chick in this picture but as my belly grows with each passing day, I can see those days are getting nearer… and I’m loving it.

This week for me has been all about thinking about BIRTH. The birth of our twins?… yes, in part. Will we have them at the same hospital as we had our other two? Will baby “A” be head down when the time is right? Will Baby “B” follow “A” right on cue? Will we deliver in a Labor & Delivery room or in an OR (as I was recently told is often the case when birthing multiples.) But even more than the details of our babies’ births, I am thinking about our birthing trends as a nation… alarming. Let me give you the stats:

– Our big hospital in town boasts a 44%  cesarean-section rate

2007 US birth statistics show that 31.8% of births are via cesarean section.

-The percentage of cesarean deliveries has increased by 50% since 1996 and is more than double the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of 15%.

-Research conducted by the World Health Organization shows that the risks of cesarean outweigh the benefits when the c-section rate exceeds 15%.

Don’t get me wrong. I value the notion that if my babies and/or I are in crisis, we will be managed with the best emergency care the world has to offer. But it dawns on me… this over medicalization of birth… these declining natural childbirth numbers… could it be that our doctors and our nurses are being trained for crisis?


There’s a wise old saying that goes, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Could it be we are handing our medical professionals only a hammer with nary a birthing ball in sight?

Let me give you a little back story on my week and WHY I am thinking about all this heavy stuff. I just saw this amazing play by Karen Brody called BIRTH (a group of us here in St. Louis, including MyMommyManual I am proud to say, sponsored this showing.) The play is part of a larger, global arts-based movement called BOLD, a movement that is ALL about one thing: inspiring communities to put mothers at the center of their birth experiences. I’m SO all about this movement. SO.


As a woman, I have to say the single-most-important, the single-most-formative experience I’ve had in my life has been giving birth. Going through natural childbirth with each of our girls was a trip, one I can only fondly describe as Zen Buddhist Meditiation meets mountain climbing with a 70 pound pack on your back. 😉

Thorough childbirth, with my husband and doula at my side, I came into my own. I moved, I grunted, I got down on all fours and squatted and moaned. I swayed holding my husband’s shoulders, soaked in hot water and sat on the birthing ball. Mostly, I learned to listen to my body and to trust it. I also met some of my greatest fears along the way… self doubt, fear of all kinds… and I overcame them.

After the birth of our first, coming at 2:22am (26 hrs start to finish) I was high. I didn’t sleep for another 17 hours. My husband on the other hand was out like a light not two hours later in the empty hospital bed beside our new baby and me (sweet memory!) I was seriously high on life. And yes, also high on those great post having-a-baby-endorphins! In those hours just after Reilly’s birth, I can literally remember stepping into my power, stepping into the realization that I was a powerful woman; that each of us are born with this potential, each and every one of us. I remember reflecting on the awesome-ness of what I had just been a part of. I had given birth to another human being, something women have been doing for as long as humans have walked the earth. I felt at once connected to the deep roots of women throughout all time, and I drew on this strength. I drew on it not only in these sweet euphoric moments after delivering our first child, but later during some of the more difficult first weeks and months, and again during the birth of our second child. I’m still drawing on this realization today. We are connected.

Birth helped me to trust my body, to marvel at it, to realize there is an ancient wisdom that resides within me, there to guide me through birth and beyond. It has been no small thing for me to realize I am connected to women through out all time. And this gift I got, through birth. It has had many, many ripple effects in my parenting, personal and spiritual life… all empowering.

Sound insane? I hope not (but I’m OK with it even if it does.) I’ve talked to other woman, good friends of mine, that have also had positive, empowering birth experiences. My births were both in the hospital and non-medicated. Many of my friends with these similar feelings also had their babies naturally. For some it was a home birth. But for still others it was with an epidural… even following an emergency C-section.


There is a common thread, but not only that it be “natural”. The thing I’ve come to in all my discussions with countless moms on empowering birth experiences is that it’s important to be heard, to have a say… to feel supported. The women I talk with, even some that ended up getting a c-section, experienced the transformative powers of child birth when they felt “in the center” of their birth experiences.

This is why I flipped when I read the vision and mission of BOLD. It is this very thing, getting women back in the CENTER of their birth experiences. It’s important. It can have far reaching effects on our self love, our parenting, our relationships, our nation and our world.


The most important thing we can do as women (and men!!!) preparing for the birth of a child? For me it is this… GET IN THE CENTER OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE YOU ARE CREATING. :) Get education and support. Have a team around you that you trust.

We as woman NEED to have people around us giving us good information, supporting us, not with fear and convenience factors, but with compassion and understanding of the importance birth can play in our lives, not just in a day, but in and for a lifetime.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on BIRTH, BOLD, and your own birth experiences. It’s important for us to witness each other’s births. Joyful or painful, transformative or tragic, will you share your birth story(s) with me?

“Hailed “The Vagina Monologues for birth”, Birth is a documentary-style play based on over one hundred interviews playwright Karen Brody conducted with mothers across America. It tells the true birth stories of eight women painting an intimate portrait of how low-risk, educated women are giving birth today.”                      – Learn more at www.BOLDACTION.org.

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Baby Watch is published in partnership with Kolcraft

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri  where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.


  1. ZenMommy, I am SO with you! I had that euphoria and cosmic connection with all the women before who had been the vessel for another human to come into being. As well as a connection to all their fear…. like a deep understanding that this journey was often life-threatening, and you may reach a moment during your pregnancy or labor when you are looking into the abyss.

    Empowering, yes. And also very ordinary, and everyday. Funny, isn’t it?


  2. hi gina, i was thinking of you when i tweeted this, hoping for your thoughts.

    birth IS a cosmic experience as you say… and in the same token “ordinary”. happens all the time i can only sum it up this way:
    “Simple as a flower
    And that’s a complicated thing”
    -Love And Rockets “No New Tale To Tell”

    thanks for your comments mama.


  3. Suz,

    This is an empowering read. I too learned so much about myself, my will, my body and my voice in my pregnancies and labors.

    Last month, I had the honor or watching my sister deliver her son. It’s so overwhelming and all the phantom feelings, even pains and endorphins, come back.

    Thank you so much for bringing it back again with this piece. I remember being pregnant for the first time and being pleasantly surprised at how women, mothers, bong through others’ pregnancies. Almost every mother I met took the time to share at least part of their birthing stories.

    You’re so right. It connects us. How awesome. Which makes our Bad Mother conversation even more interesting, right? Why do we bond through pregnancy and labor, but divide in rearing our children?

    Love the growing belly stories!



  4. I too was very moved by BIRTH (the play)… although there were so many different stories, I found myself getting angry as I listened to some women talk about their lack of choices in the hands of doctors, hospitals OR midwives who’s agendas were not in alignment with the birthing mother’s. It obviously touched other people in the audience as well who were moved to tears in grieving about what I can only assume were less than positive birthing experiences. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have been able to create the births that I wanted for my children. I hope that my daughter has the same choices that I did… and I applaud and fully support BOLD for their advocacy efforts… which seem like a way to secure this future for her.


  5. thank you jen and ria both for your comments. two deep, intentional and powerful women. i really value your feedback on this. ria, a beautiful wish for your children, to hope for them to exerience the empowering nature of birth. your son too, as the dad. he’ll prob be right there catching the baby if i know him…

    and jen, so true about how when your pregnant you feel like you’ve joined this club of women you did;t even know you signed up to be in. people just welcome you and the fact that your belly is sweelig with ope rms, loving smiles, their birth stories, and the occasional (unwanted) horror story. this is the best of the female tendency to bond and connect. let’s keep it going right on into motherhood, right?


  6. Thank you for sharing all of you in your moving posts about your pregnancy and your growing belly. It is a gift what are bodies go through to produce these magical beings. I am looking forward to many more stories and thoughts from you. love kim


  7. Way too many cesarean sections these days. I don’t understand it. I know lots of women who would RATHER have them. Why? I had to have one. Walker was 9lbs 4oz- he wouldn’t fit. His heart rate kept dropping and he pooed. It was a HORRIBLE experience for me. And one girl had the nerve -that’s what I’ll call it- when I was talking about the experience and how I would have rather had a natural birth- how I’ll try to have a VBAC- to say that I had it SO much easier than she did because she had an episiotomy and had to use a doughnut thing for a week or so. Oh yes, that must have been so very rough in comparison.

    Cesareans come with so many risks, such a long recoup time, pain-pain-and more pain. Yuck. (Ps. Pardon my ranting. But that really got me. I think a vaginal birth is a beautiful thing. I couldn’t believe the comparison that was made.)


  8. jennifer, thanks for sharing your birth story. i feel like we NEED to share ’em, important. we get to listen. that’s it. keep our mouths shut (for fear something silly like what this other person told you might slip out!!!) and just LISTEN to one another. I loved hearing about yours.

    our summaries or conclusions about another women’s birth? not really the point, is it?!?!? i’m so happy to know you and would love to hear more about what it must have been like to work most likely for hours at pushing a 9+ pound baby out!!! wow-za. and then what a c-section was like to recover from. i am prepared to go for a c if that is what is required on the day, but keeping fingers and toes corssed babies are locked and loaded and ready to enter the world head first come delivery time….


  9. Congrats on your boy and girl! I am so happy for you.


  10. thanks jeni!!! ^_^


  11. I came all the way from south of Rolla to see this production of BIRTH in St. Louis. It did not disappoint! I’ve wanted to see the play for years. Giving birth to my first son was the most empowering and transformative event of my life (at that point), giving birth to my second son was powerful and triumphant. Irreplaceable experiences and irreplaceable treasures :)



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