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17 July 2008

a gluten-free pregnancy

a gluten-free pregnancy

Last night, the Chef and I sat in our backyard, near midnight. We sat with plates balanced on our knees and nibbled at our dinner: cold roast chicken; a bacon-roasted corn-goat cheese salad; sweet wine-dark cherries. To the side, in the grass, sat saucers of chocolate-banana cake. Moonlight loomed around us.

We had already debriefed the day on the car ride home from the restaurant. Now, I turned to him and said, “What are some of your favorite memories of this last year?”

Where do we start? What a year it has been. My first book being published. Book publicity trips. A honeymoon in Italy. Time in his home town. Two more book deals. And of course, finding out in the dead of winter that we were going to be having a baby in the blaze of summer.

But, as our memories tumbled out, we realized they weren’t the big moments. Most often, they weren’t the moments I have written about here. Some stories are public, and others are private. When we first fell in love, everything felt like a story for this site, at times. (Well, not everything.) But as our relationship has deepened, and we have known each other for longer, we leave more and more off the site. The focus is the food again, not us.

So those memories we spilled out — a glass of wine on the piazza in Montefalco; a conversation at the dinner table in Breckenridge; a moment of vulnerability between us that turned into something raw and real — will stay with us on that moonlit grass.

Mostly, as we laughed and marveled at how full our lives have been, we stopped frequently, and looked at each other. “Can you believe it has been a full year?”

After we finished our meal — the cake the same recipe we used last July 16th — we stood up and held each other, in front of the Buddha in the bathtub. Spontaneously, I took off his ring, and he took off mine. I looked in his eyes and said words for only him, and he did the same. Under the moon, we agreed to marry each other all over again.

“Happy Anniversary, my love.”

And then he slapped my butt, we grabbed plates from the grass, and we went inside.

Just as we cannot believe that it has already been a year (and only a year) since we were married, we cannot believe that next week we will meet our child.

How did this all go so fast?

I have been blessed. I have loved being pregnant, including the bouts of nausea, the gas up in my ribs, the waddling toward the end, the swollen feet. Because I waited so long to be pregnant, I decided to notice every moment, to live within it with as much peace as I could.

This has been the most extraordinary journey of my life.

Now, the journey’s almost done. I’m going to let go of being pregnant, fling my arms open wide, so that I can hold Little Bean, and not the possibility any longer.

As you can imagine, after the baby is born next week, we’ll be taking some time off from this website. I’ll tell you more about this later.

But before I go — since so many of you have asked — I thought I’d write a bit about what I have found helpful through this process. Most of the books and gadgets associated with pregnancy and newborns seem silly to me. So much plastic and singing tinny recordings. I’m not going to advocate diaper genies or special creams to you.

As with everything else important in my life, my healthy happy pregnancy has been about other people and the matter of mind.

I have been part of a team through the last nine months.

No woman is ever pregnant alone. It requires someone else participating to take her there. But what has annoyed me most about the majority of the pregnancy books I consulted through this process is that the father just disappears. It’s as though his duty is to impregnate the woman, and then stay away until the kid comes out and needs the first diaper changed. Everything is about the woman.

But when I say to people that a baby is coming, I always say “We’re having a baby.” Everything has been about the we, not me. About the baby, not the mother. Not only me and the Chef, but this third person sitting in my belly. I have not felt alone in my body for months. The relationship between the Chef and me has shifted because of this. We’re partners more than ever, two people working for a common cause. We have been through this together.

I read a quote from Angelina Jolie on the cover of a magazine while I stood in line at the grocery store, something along the lines of “I have a partner who happens to regard being pregnant as very, very sexy, and that helps me to feel sexy.” Yes, that’s true. I feel pretty blessed. It doesn’t take Brad Pitt to make you feel that way.

But feeling sexy — and I have felt that way: ripe and voluptuous, truly a woman — pales in comparison to the feeling when the Chef calls me from the restaurant to talk to Little Bean. I put the cell phone near my belly, and he talks to LB. Every single time he sings or babbles or makes silly jokes, the baby kicks. Every time.

And his belly has grown bigger through the process. He’s clearly pregnant too.

Yes, I realize that the physical experience of being pregnant is mine. But I do not believe that this is all about me, a celebration of womanhood, with my oafish spouse standing off to the side. Instead, we are a team, two people whose love made a third human being.

I’ll never stop being amazed about going through this process with him.

I have an amazing family.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a strong relationship with her parents before becoming pregnant. But if you are fighting with your parents, your sibling, your in-laws? Try to find a way to forge a new relationship with them. You’ll need them.

My parents and I have been at ease with each other for years. I adore them. But through this process, they have been delighted at every turn. And in particular, the conversations with my mother through all these months have connected us even more firmly. When she was pregnant with me, there were no ultrasounds or pre-natal tests. She had to go on faith, sheer indomitable will, that I would be fine. And she was only twenty when she was pregnant with me. Good god. I have known that all my life, but now that I am pregnant, I feel for that kid she was, more deeply than ever.

And protest though we did about the money they wanted to spend, the Chef and I certainly appreciated the trip to Target they splurged on when we needed the basic items. Thanks, you two.

The Chef’s parents have been equally excited and beside themselves. Talking with them has made me feel more solidly part of their family. And he and I both cried the morning a big box arrived on the front porch. His mom and dad shipped the rocking chair they had owned for forty years, the one she had rocked the Chef in when he was a child. They sent it to us for Little Bean.

No gift registry ever lists that.

This huge, loving community.

If it takes a village to raise a child, we live in the best village in the world.

Both the Chef and I have been blown away by the comments on this site, the emails that have poured in, the gifts that have arrived by surprise at his restaurant. It’s one thing to feel the support of friends, but to think that there are perfect strangers all across the world who wish us well with the birth of our child? We feel surrounded by love.

And our friends? Oh, our friends. Thank you, all of you, in Seattle and beyond, who have given us boxes of baby clothes, enough educational toys to last Little Bean for two years, beloved books, adorable hats, and everything we need. We’re pretty thrilled that almost everything baby-related in our house (aside from that shopping trip with Mom and Dad) is recycled and already loved.

Mostly, it’s the stories we have heard, about the rough first few weeks, the delight of the first smile, hilarious mishaps, and a love so big that the heart threatens to burst. When we share our stories, we share ourselves.

We’re also damned lucky to have friends who love food, as well as us. The first two weeks after Little Bean’s birth — the Chef is taking two weeks off from the restaurant for us all to be together — we have a different set of friends bringing us meals, snacks, and fresh produce from the farmers’ market. That is such an enormous gift. (And thank you, Molly, for organizing this.)

We feel so loved. And we’re opening all of that to Little Bean.

I trust my body.

Sometimes, I read accounts of pregnancy and childbirth from women online in forums, and I feel like I’m reading the collected complaints of victims.

I’m not sick or injured. I’m pregnant.

Sure, there have been aches and pains: badly stretched belly muscles; headaches; nausea; searing gas; and overworked inner thighs that make me feel like I have been riding horses for days. That doesn’t even include the desperate need to nap, the swollen feet, or the waddling.

But this process has made me love my body even more than I did before. Deep in my bones, I know why I have this body, why I am a woman. And it just seems to me that every strange new sensation is a chance to remind me that I am growing a human being in my belly.

My perceptions of my body have stretched along with the skin on my belly. For most of my life, I struggled with my self-image, like most of us. Most of us women are held hostage by our ideas about our bodies. Luckily, I had come to terms with myself, and the body I have, before I became pregnant. I let go. That’s a large part of the reason I have loved this so much, I know. But if you feel held hostage by your body, you’re going to feel held hostage by pregnancy too.

And then there’s the fear. Sure, the first trimester, I fought the urge to turn every little flutter into a disaster in the making. But after the fail-safe point passed, I have relaxed into my body. Instinctually, I have felt that the more at ease I am, the more Little Bean will feel at home in my body. So I have thrown away the notion that every single little ache and pain is either a sign that something is going wrong, or that I am suffering.

It’s surrender. And saying yes.

Every one of us arrived on the planet through this process. I think our bodies are stronger than we believe.

I have not eaten gluten.

Being diagnosed with celiac sprue over three years ago not only paved the way for me to become pregnant, but it also made eating well through pregnancy an easy task.

I have heard this story from many of you: once we are diagnosed and stop eating gluten, the body seems to need about nine months to heal before a baby can be conceived. Isn’t that funny? We have to give birth to our new selves before we can make room for another self. But it works.

Undiagnosed celiac is the leading cause of unexplained infertility. If you’re trying to become pregnant, you might want to look into this.

Once I became pregnant, I never once ate gluten, deliberately. I haven’t “cheated” once since I was diagnosed. And after three years of experience, and even more caution on behalf of the baby, I didn’t get any gluten by mistake.

Except once.

We were at a friend’s birthday picnic on the Fourth of July. We were all sprawled on the grass, talking and laughing, eating casually. Someone pointed to a bag of potato chips, which I really haven’t eaten much during these past nine months. Thankfully, they were made by Frito-Lay, who have taken the trouble to identify gluten-free products on their website. I knew from that, and from reading the back of the package that I could have the thin slivers of potato and salty fat goodness. A few moments later, someone suggested the sweet chili Doritos. I took them into my mouth without thinking.

It was only the next day I looked them up online and found out they contain soy sauce.

The weirdest part is that it took me until the next day to realize I had gotten some gluten. Normally, I’m the canary in the coal mine, the one who can tell within ten minutes if any gluten has crossed my lips. I blotch bright red, I suffer from an instant headache, my intestines start to hurt, and I’m in the grip of it right away.

But this time, I didn’t feel anything off until the results of it left me in the bathroom for hours on end. What happened?

Apparently, during pregnancy, our immune systems relax. Otherwise, our bodies would reject the baby. And so, it became clear to me that I can’t tell immediately if I’m getting gluten.

And some of us, I know from hearing, decide to eat gluten while pregnant, because we don’t feel that bad.

Ooh, I wouldn’t.

The internal damage continues on. From what I have read, one or two accidental doses of gluten won’t damage the baby. (However, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know for sure.) But an entire pregnancy of eating gluten? No damn good.

I have eaten better than ever in my life.

I’m also really grateful that I found out that I cannot eat gluten long before I became pregnant because I have learned so much about food in the past three years.

Years ago, I ate my share of junk food, preservative-stuffed snacks, and meals out of a box. I’ve been there, and I don’t want to go back.

Just after I was diagnosed with celiac, I decided to regard the food I ate as a way of feeding myself, and healing myself.

I don’t need to write it all again. Check out the archives of this site, the Monday ingredient posts, the exuberant discoveries of new grains and vegetables if you want to know more. Over this time, I have fallen in love with real food.

That’s why, for the most part, when I have experienced cravings during this pregnancy, I have craved grass-fed beef, cold organic milk, bitter arugula, and sharp local cheeses. I’m not saying that to sound sanctimonious. That’s honestly what my body has wanted.

(There was the two weeks of needing a Tootsie Roll every day. And you know what? I listened to my body.)

There have been times this past month when I have stood at the farmers’ market or the grocery store, and thought “Oh, go ahead. You’re pregnant. Get something crazy.” I searched, and reached for candy bars wanting to want them. I thought about milkshakes and big packages of snacky salty food. But when I really allowed myself whatever I wanted, I found myself stretching out my hands for a pound of Rainier cherries.

mint and lemon water

For example, I can’t stand the thought of soda pop right now. My idea of beverage heaven?

This lemon-mint water that my friend Francoise made for me last week. She simply threw in ice cubes, tap water, several slivers of lemons, and a few sprigs of mint from her garden. Gorgeous.

I’ve made it since with sparkling water, ice cubes made of coconut juice, ice cubes of strawberry puree, and lemon verbena. They’re all wonderful. And they all feed us.

A few gadgets and creams aren’t bad.

Here are a few of the books and bobbles that have helped me through this most:

Bella Band

On an obstetrician visit, the doctor lifted up my shirt to hear the baby's heart and saw my white band beneath it. "You know, if I had been smart, I would have invented this years ago and retired."

I laughed. Seriously. I could not have made it through this without this slight restraint, a way to hold my belly muscles in close, instead of stretching painfully outward.

Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor

About month four or five, I just didn't like vegetables. It was the end of winter, and I couldn't stand one more root vegetable. I learned quickly that the only way I would get the produce nutrients I needed was to buy a juicer. This one rocks. So does apple, ginger, carrot juice, first thing in the morning.

Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow

Oh gad, without this long pillow in the shape of a question mark? I imagine there would have been far more sleepless nights for this pregnant woman. But being able to clutch it, and rest my belly upon it, from month four on, has meant that I have slept through nearly every night without a problem.

(And I can't wait until I can put it away and snuggle up to the Chef again instead.)

Queen Helene Organic Fair Trade Certified Cocoa Butter Body Crème

Look, let's face it. Nothing can stop stretch marks. I already had some before I got pregnant, so maybe my belly simply grew into them, plus more. But I never grew new ones. That's probably genetic. Or maybe it's because I didn't gain too much weight.

I'm not sure this cocoa butter prevented them. Unlike the exorbitant creams that promise miracles, this lovely organic, fair-trade cream doesn't claim anything. It just smells good on the skin and feels good too.

It's also the least expensive of the bunch. I'm using it forever, now.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week

This was the most scientific of the books, the least fluffy, the most helpful. It' s wonderful to think what might be happening in my body at each week. This one told me.

The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy

Parts of this are pretty silly. But at least it had a sense of humor. And a real voice. Unlike most of the other books.

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth, and Everything In Between

This book is clear-eyed, kind, and doesn't inspire hysteria, as so many pregnancy books do. I felt good reading it, like an adult had written it for a fellow adult.

Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach

About my sixth month of being pregnant, I realized I could read about the nature of pregnancy forever. But the point is not to be pregnant, but to have the child. I started reading books about newborns and children. This one is so damned lovely and based on common sense that I can't wait to read more and more as Little Bean grows.

“let all go dear….so comes love.”

Over these nine months, I have learned one lesson most clearly: let go of my expectations. They stand in the way of true joy.

How many of you who have been pregnant were convinced that by the baby came, the house would be perfectly organized, the finances arranged perfectly, the nursery bright and gleaming, everything in its place, and every single surface dusted? I’ve never cared much about creating a sterile field in our house. But about two months ago, the nesting instinct kicked in and went off like a time bomb in my brain.

I imagined that perfect house, ready for a magazine spread. But professional work kept piling up, I found I needed more time for private writing, and I needed to see friends for lunch and walks. Pair that with a rapidly de-escalating energy level, and much of what I wrote out on lists simply didn’t get done.

I have a feeling Little Bean really won’t care.

What’s going to make me relaxed? Crossing everything off the list, even if it meant me being exhausted and running the Chef ragged on his mornings off? Or letting go of some of those silly expectations and allowing the fact that the baby will live in the same house we live in?

I have learned to say yes to that too. It took me longer to come to that calm conclusion than I would have hoped. But I have let go.

Here’s the big one.

When I had the giant fibroid tumor removed, five years ago, by the doctor who saved my uterus, she told me in the follow-up visit: “Because of the huge vertical incision we had to make, if you ever get pregnant, you’ll have to have a c-section.” Thrilled that I was still capable of becoming pregnant, I nodded and thought nothing of it.

Maybe it’s because I knew this long before I even met the Chef, but I have never found this hard to accept. I’m convinced it’s a miracle that I have him in my life, that I’m pregnant at 41 with such ease after such struggle, and that Little Bean is almost here.

But it saddens me, deeply, to read other women talking about c-sections, as though they settled for a secondary birth when the surgeon cut them open and pulled out a baby. It’s rampant, this feeling that “natural” childbirth is the only way, and anything else is only a pale comparison.

Next week, on a particular day we don’t want to share here yet, the Chef and I will walk hand in hand into the hospital, calmly check in, settle into our room, listen to music we love, talk to the doctors, and talk with Little Bean about what this birth experience might be like. And then we’ll walk to the OR and meet our child.

This feels so calm and intentional to me. No drama. No trauma. Sure, there will be recovery from surgery, but that’s small price to pay for a child to be born. And besides, I don’t have to go through labor.

People have been asking lately, “When’s the baby due?” When I say the day, and they seem surprised we know the exact date, I say, “Oh, it’s a planned c-section.”

It still amazes me that everyone has one of two reactions: I’m sorry, or why?

Why? Do I really have to explain to the bank teller my medical history? When I say it’s medically necessary, people are mollified, no longer about to lecture me about the better way to be born. But why should I have to explain that?

And I’m sorry? I refuse to believe, with every fiber of my being, that my child is having a stunted or muffled birth. Little Bean will be in the world. That’s all that matters to us.

This isn’t about my birth experience. It’s about a baby being born.

“What in this world is perfect?”

Silence on the site.

Next week, when we are ready, we’ll make an announcement, sharing our joy with the world. We’ll let you know that Little Bean is here and healthy (one hopes). We’ll tell you who Little Bean is. And share photos.

And then after, no more photos of Little Bean on this site.

We hope you’ll understand why. This little one isn’t even in the world yet. Little Bean isn’t capable of choosing to be an internet presence. In these times, with some of the nastiness of the internet, we have decided it’s right to keep the child to ourselves.

I’m sure I’ll be writing how being a mother has changed me. It already has. But this won’t be a mommy blog. This is still a food site. Food is the deepest inspiration here. Stories related to food and the kid? You bet. Constant reflections on being parents? Not here.

After Little Bean arrives, we’ll be taking at least a month’s hiatus from the site. We need time to learn our family, to revel in exhaustion and stare at the baby. We need time to figure out who we are in the midst of this enormous change, without having to document it.

But not everything will be dormant. There will be thrice-weekly posts on Gluten-Free Girl Recommends. (psst…. I’ve written them ahead of time.) And here, dear friends whom you have read about many times — Sharon, Tita, Nina, and Brandon — will be doing guests posts, about food and love and pizza, on Thursdays.

We’ll be back when we can, when it feels right.


So that’s it. For now. When I write again, Little Bean will be in the world.

We can’t wait for everything in our lives to be changed by this.

Yes, please.

The Ponds

I’d like to leave with the Mary Oliver poem that has been running through my head for months, and particularly right now. This is where I found the line “But what in this world is perfect?”

What day doesn’t need a reminder that imperfections are nothing, the light everything?

And it sure feels like a kind way to raise a child.

"Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them --

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided --
and that one wears an orange blight --
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away --
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled --
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing --
that the light is everything -- that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do."



At 4:47 PM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Godspeed my friend!

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Just a girl said...

Thank you for that post.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger maria said...

From a longtime reader, infrequent commenter: my very best to you three, Shauna, the Chef, and Little Bean. What a wonderful world you have made for this new person, and what a joyous time ahead. You've made me deeply excited to grow a little person, one day.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger chris said...

First birth was an emergency c-section after a long labor. Second was planned (with twins). Both were an incredibly easy recovery, particularly the planned one where I literally had maybe an hour of two total of real discomfort. I only took the painkillers for two days. Back to doing everything (including driving) within four days.

Natural birth is a beautiful thing, but it's not possible for everyone. Look at it as your first lesson in being a mom: There's always another mom out there who will be happy to make you feel bad about something you're doing. Ignore them. They probably give their kids cheetos for lunch anyway.

Whatever you do, after your c-section, just walk. As soon as they allow you, walk as much as you can. It does wonders. A good nurse can show you the best way to get up those first few days (you don't realize how much you use your torso until you can't use it).

Good luck. It's going to be incredible.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger terry said...

another astonishingly gorgeous, moving post.

i can't believe it's been a year since you married, either! and what a year it's been. i'm so glad i got to meet you during your trip to SF... last fall? i can't even remember now.

good luck next week. enjoy this time. little bean's a lucky one!

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Polka Dot Bride said...

What a beautiful entry!

Wishing you a beautiful birth :)

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Much love and happiness to you, the Chef and Little Bean! Keeping you in good thoughts!

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I hope your time off to revel in your new family is more delicious than any food could be.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

Wishing you a joyful, peaceful, and wonderful birth. Enjoy this special, special day, and don't forget to save the newspaper from the day Little Bean is born. It will be a relic some day.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger EatPlayLove said...

Wishing you the best and a wonderful welcome to Little Bean into your family. What a lucky little bean (s)he is! Thank you for sharing this, it was once again a beautiful journey.

May I offer up a recommendation, something that I just loved to lather my girls in for the last 5 years, California Baby Body Wash and Calming Cream in the tub. It's beautiful, smells divine, and is one of the least toxic baby products you'll find on the market. I am sure you already have some, but just in case.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Meg said...

You are truly blessed. Thank you for all the wonderful thoughts you shared in this post. I pray that everything goes well with little bean's arrival.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger K said...

Good luck! Chris is absolutely right about walking too.

My last child (of 4) was a c-section and the others were vaginal. Guess what! We still loved him to pieces, we were still thrilled he was here and healthy and we were still new parents again. It was a truly wonderful birth experience with docs who cared because we all chose to see M's birth as the true celebration it is, no matter how he came out or which exit.

Best of luck and don't be afraid to poop! (you'll understand next week!)

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Shelly! said...

Your post made my eyes water and my chest swell with pride for being a mom. Not everyone can be and not everyone wants to be - and I am glad that for some strange wonderful reason of fate I was in both categories. As you've, no doubt, already be told, it goes fast. The days you have described on your blog over the past months have reminded me of a time when I too roared with pregnancy. Thank you.

Wishing you all the best and everything sensational in between.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Milhan said...

A beautiful post - thank you for sharing.

Enjoy the birth of your Little Bean - it is the single most magical moment in a lifetime, when you bring a new being into the world.

Peace, love and happiness to all 3 of you!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Mandee - I Think You Should said...

Wishing you all the very best!

At 7:03 PM, Blogger P MacGillivray said...

Don't feel like you have to justify your birth choices. You do what is right for you and we should all be glad that you have the medical support to work for your best interests.

Rest and eat LOTS of fiber while in hospital.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger beatgrl said...

Thank you for the beautiful post, Shauna. It's been touching to share all these experiences with you. My eyes teared up reading about the rocking chair chef's parents sent. You will probably be nursing 6 hours out of each day at first- you'll be glad to have it.
Best wishes for little bean's birth and a blissful family time over the next month
I'm looking forward to reading the guest postings until your return.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Julia said...

much love and good wishes for the three of you.

everything you wrote here is exactly why i can't wait to get pregnant and be a mother, and a family. what you described here sounds like absolute bliss and i thank you for your beautiful and inspiring words (as always).

At 7:24 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Hey: Go. Have fun. Blessings.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Welcome welcome, Little Bean. You already have quite the fan club.

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful post. Joy and best wishes for you as your family expands. One of my favorite Mary Oliver lines would also apply in this time of new beginnings, as your little one enters a world of possibilities: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Peace!

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Dana Treat said...

I wish you the very best of luck. I had a long labor with my first which ended in a c-section as he got "stuck" and was starting to seem as if he was in distress. I was a total zombie through the surgery and barely had the energy to look at him after he was born. My recovery was long and very diffictult. My second was a planned c-section and I enjoyed the whole thing and got to nurse him very soon after I was stiched up. My recover was MUCH easier and faster. You will do great!

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am de-lurking once more to wish the three of you all the best next week. My sweet boy was born via c-section after a long and difficult labor and, truly, all that mattered was having him here and healthy. In fact, I was the one who said it was time to do the operation and I felt very empowered and in charge when I did. Welcome to the shores of time, LB!
- Odetta and Isaiah and Todd

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, I wish you the best of luck! I believe that you got married around the same time we did last year, and I hope to follow in your footsteps with a baby soon!

At 9:43 PM, Blogger nellbe said...

I never knew that as a pregnant coeliac I *could* eat gluten... I never would either.

All the very best with the 3 of you and enjoy getting to know Little Bean, it truly is the start of a wonderous journey.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Good luck and congratulations! Little lives are such unbelievable blessings. Your hearts' have never felt so heavy as when you get to see them and hold them.

Strange how everyone has an opinion on how a birth should go. I believe that every mother knows best, every mother's body knows best. What's the difference - a being is brought into this world - AMAZING!

You will be missed during your time off, but it is completely necessary. Trust yourself as you've so eloquently learned to do. Good luck and happy meeting for you two and your new little bean (mine isn't finished cooking yet).

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Hannah S-Q said...

Very much enjoyed your post.

You know, I'm kinda jealous of the c-section thing! Hehee! Out of all the birth stories I've heard (horror and happy alike) everyone basically said the same thing: You cannot predict exactly how a birth will go. So really you are lucky that you have some measure of security in that you do know to a large extent how it will go.

I had a very long and difficult labor (not trying to complain but it was 33+ hours, much of it hard,constant, painful labor). I am not gonna lie. I was scared and unfortunately my midwife was not the best. I grew up as one of five children born at home and my expectation was that things would be relatively normal. Expectations can be a dangerous thing! Furthermore, when we got to the hospital we wanted to be discharged after one day, and then one of the nurses called social services on us because we wanted to leave early and they wanted to keep her under some special lights, etc etc! That was the most traumatic thing. Being judged by an institution like that. Being judged by other parents or people in general is definitely not fun--but I guess it's human nature.

In the end, as you said as well, the important thing was that my lovely daughter was born healthy and I was healthy as well. Still I wish I had come into things with a different mindset--but I still learned a lot from the experience and so perhaps I wouldn't change it.

The best of luck and love to your family. It really seems like you've come into this experience open-eyed and ready...


At 11:05 PM, Blogger Ask A Life Coach! said...

thank you. thank you for being 41 and pregnant and healthy and gluten free and relaxed. I am 38 and I want want want a baby and we I hope will try next year.

also, please a recipe for bacon-roasted corn-goat cheese salad

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

So beautifully written. Enjoy your babymoon.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger House of Jules said...

As always Shauna, beautifully, breathtakingly written. Much love to the three of you.
House of Jules

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Aww, Shauna that was lovely. Thank you. I am so thrilled for you and the Chef.

I wish you best wishes on an easy delivery and recovery. And for you both, the greatest joys possible as beautifully imperfect as they will be.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best wishes to all 3 of you! Congratulations!

I had 4 c-sections that I loved! My kids were born safely, healthy and I recovered just fine. For some of us, that's just the way we were meant to deliver and I personally wouldn't want it any other way.

Also, I don't share pics of my kids either on the net so I know what you mean.

P.S. I love your site, your writing, your photos and the way you two are with each other. Thank you!

At 12:19 AM, Blogger PublicationsAdviser said...

What a lovely post. Enjoy every minute of Little Bean, and good luck!

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember that most reactions and questions such as "I'm sorry" and "Why?" are a reflection of the asker's baggage, and don't really have that much to do with you. (And that's worth holding onto as the world and her husband start telling you exactly how you should be raising LB)

You've had years to accept the fact, other women have beautiful vaginal deliveries planned, with the music for each stage carefully programmed and knowing that they will do it all with breathing and a TENS machine. And then something happens during the pregnancy, maybe during labour itself, and their beautiful dream is taken away from them. That's when it's hard. (And why the best two pieces of advice I had when heavily pregnant were: "Don't plan - it'll happen as it happens." and "Oh just have the epidural.")

You have a very exciting week ahead of you - all three of you. All the best to all of you.

At 1:47 AM, Blogger Melanie Tyler Kanz said...

Wow... your post takes me back to all the feelings I had before delivering my kids - because it is such a momentous time in life. I was induced each delivery and I actually liked knowing the date. It took us six years before we finally got pregnant the first time so we were so thrilled! But I admit that I still got that...let's turn the car around feeling each time on the way to the hospital. I didn't expect that. People will give you all sorts of solicted and unsolicted advice, tell you about all the things that will change in your life and how things will be - but it really is your own experience and joy to behold. Enjoy!

At 1:55 AM, Blogger Anne said...

I was born with a planned c-section, and my mom says it was the best she's ever done :) She had my two sisters the regular way, but with me, she was much older and the doctors thought that I was upside down - or well, the right side up, really, but the wrong way for being born. :) I really think it can be a very, very positive experience, and definitely no second-hand option. Have a great birth, and I look forward to seeing Little Bean :)

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Tiara said...

Well said, as always. Births happen in all sorts of ways, both with babies and with ourselves through life. You are joyfully surrendered to this process and that is the most amazing start you could give your little one. Enjoy your month away nesting with your honey and the sweet life the two of you created together.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Kat said...

What a wonderful post. You really said a lot of things that I have also felt during my pregnancies. My second birth was a scheduled c-section and it was a very calm and peaceful experience. I loved being pregnant. There is just something about that fullness of your belly and the fluttering and movement inside you that really makes you say wow I helped created this miracle.

This is my first comment on your blog, though I've been reading since I found out I was gluten intolerant. I love your stories and the wonderful way you write.

I am wishing you all the best.

At 6:56 AM, Blogger E! said...

OK, aside from the million other reasons I love you and your world, this post really hit home. I have 2 kids, age 3 (July 12!) and almost 5 months (March 6). First let me say that "natural" to me is anything that occurs in this life, planned, unplanned - nature is all around us - and so I regard a C-section to be just as 'natural' as a vaginal birth. My first was born vaginally and I can honestly say it was the most horrible traumatic event I've ever had the misfortune to experience. Yes, I have a wonderful son whom I adore - but I don't associate him with what I had to go through to bring him to this world. Following that awful experience, it was documented in my file (many times!) from my first post-partum doc visit onward that if/when I should ever have another child, it would be a scheduled C-section. And so when two years had passed and we were *able* to start trying again (yeah, it was that bad), I was delighted at the thought of a pregnancy ending in the OR. Like having my cake and eating it too!! But of course life always has its own plans, no matter how failsafe you think yours are...and so even though my section was scheduled a full week before my due date, my daughter decided to start making her exit a full week before that! But in all truth - the C-section was GLORIOUS. It was the best medical experience I've ever had, despite that uncomfortable fact that I was in heavy labor while getting into the OR. But seriously, I was *singing* on the table. I didn't feel a thing. I delivered my daughter on a Thursday and went to work that following Monday. Yes, that's totally insane and crazy and NOT the norm - but really, that's how great it was for me. She chose when, I chose how. I'd do it again in a heartbeat (though after I win the lottery to afford another kid - hah).

SO -

I hope your experience is as glorious as mine - and I think it will be, because half the battle is mental and if you believe you are in a good, positive space, well then, there you are.

I can't wait for you to see the Chef's face when they pluck LB from your womb, as he cuts the cord, and gets handed a snuggle-wrapped bundle of your love to show you.

You think you've fallen in love this year...but oh, wait until LB gets here. It's the most wonderful thing, ever. YES!

lots of love to all three of you,

At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am listening to the laughter of my two sweetpeas as I type -- and you post reminded so much of their births. The first was an emergency c-section. Obviously, not what we planned -- but between me, my husband and our doula that moment of great anticipation was no less beautiful and meaningful. For a variety of reasons, pea #2 was a planned c-section (which in comparison was a very easy recovery -- I was home after two nights, but then again my doctor is a friend and lives 3 miles away -- lucky us!). Again, it was beautiful and the perfect entry into the world for the pea. I am certainly not an expert in childbirth, but I think the most important thing is to be aware and present - and that is possible for any "style" of birth. Our great joy was that they were healthy and we were meeting them, naming them and very aware. (Incidentally, both peas latched on immediately -- I left the OR with nursing even that is possible :))

Sorry, for such a long post, but I finally decided to stop lurking and wish you joy and peace for the birth.

You will be beautiful parents -- and a beautiful family. All blessings. . .


At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm chiming in as another reader who has had 2 c-sections, one planned, and the other scheduled.
One benefit of a planned c-section is you know your Dr. will be there, which isn't always the case with a "traditional" labor delivery.
So excited for you!!!

At 9:41 AM, Blogger katie stone said...


thank you, thank you, thank you, shauna.

i'm so happy for the three of you i could just explode.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Zoomie said...

I can only imagine your joy when you first hold Little Bean and the Chef in your arms at once. Can't wait for the picture and more of your warmth but it will be lovely to read the guest posts, too! Sending positive energy from California.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Debbie said...

What an amazing post! It brought back memories of my children when they were babies. Now I am waiting for grandchildren.
You are so wise. What can I add to all of these wonderful comments? Love, hold, delight in your little bundle of joy. Yes, you will be sleep deprived (when the second one arrived, I knew that if I was to get ANY sleep, I brought him into our bed.), but don't sweat the small stuff. Each moment should be enjoyed because the only time you will have such a moment is NOW.

As for the C-section thing, you have changed my perspective. I was (am) one of those crazy "natural birth" people, but you are right; it doesn't really matter how the baby is born. Just take care of yourself and the baby. You will need the rest.

So here's to you, the Chef, and Little Bean.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

no gluten free mommy blogging?
You've already learned a huge lesson in mothering: nothing is perfect.
What a fabulous post.
May all expectations for a healthy baby be exceeded!! :)

At 2:20 PM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Wishing you and the Chef a healthy, safe, happy delivery!!
All the best to the 3 of you!!
And Happy Anniversary :)

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Mouse said...

Another wonderful and inspiring post Shauna. Congratulations on your first anniversary, I hope everything goes as smoothly as planned this week and I'm sure that Little Bean is anxious to get out into the world and meet Mum & Dad.

May Little Bean's arrival be surrounded by lots of love, light & laughter.

Much love & blessings to you all.
x Mouse

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful family time...and what an inspiring post. Your voice continues to get stronger and your personality just bounces off the page. It was refreshing to read your thoughts about being pregnant. My husband and I are choice-a long deliberative process but right for us. The questions and comments that I get about that subject reminds me of your experience regarding having the C-Section. Anyway...have a bliss filled, yes inspired time away from this blog and we will eagerly await your return...

At 4:28 PM, Blogger mando said...

Your comment about people's reactions to C-sections rings very true. My parents are still hurt by a comment my sister-in-law made some months ago, that my brother (who was born by c-section, as was I) will never know his "true" birthday. It must be hard work for some people, going through life constantly passing judgement.

Every baby and every birth is a blessing, whichever way it comes. Enjoy your babymoon and evey moment of parenthood.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a moving, wonderful post! I read everything you write - plus your book - but seldom comment. The very best to you, the Chef and Little Bean! How fortunate Little Bean is to have parents like you two promise to be!!


At 4:50 PM, Blogger Gluten Free Anna said...

That was such an amazing post! Like others on here, I'm a longtime reader and have never posted a comment, but I just HAD to say congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to write it!


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Maria said...

Congratulations! I'm like many here, read but don't comment. Really, have a wonderful journey! I thought I would add to your list....breastfeeding, like childbirth, is not always natural. In fact it was the hardest thing for me to do. So I stopped, later than I should have for my sweet pea. But I learned my lesson with the second. What a joyous experience to feed my child even if it wasn't from my breast!

God Speed!

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Ms. George said...

Blessings on the three of you! Beautiful poem that I may share with my class, so thank you.
Beautiful reflections on life and the miracles you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing, as always, with us.

Both of my Beloved Offspring were Csections. I, too, find it interesting the myriad reactions to that disclosure (one medically neccessary, the other the doc was concened about my having complications with a vbac). My doc said to reply "of course it was natural...he didn't come out of my nose!" Of course, it sounded better when she said it.

Although I'll be curious about how LB 'gets all big' I totally respect your rights and wishes to keep that to yourselves. The internets can be an unkind world at times too.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Ms. Moniker said...

Respect for the no mummy blog thing. I think that can often be a little unfair on a kid to be so well known without having made that decision.

A good friend of mine gave birth not long ago. It was a c-section based on medical history things. She also found people intrusive about asking why.

The biggest thing that's happened afterwards though? They chose to pump breast milk and bottle feed the child most of the time so that her husband could share the joy of feeding the child. They have both loved this choice and the fact that he is far more involved in this stage of life. One unpleasant thing? Waitresses in restaurants will tell them that feeding formula to a baby that young is a stupid idea.
People presume you're bottle feeding because you don't want to breast feed. Perhaps not everyone thinks about involving both parties in feeding and giving life to their little one. This also doesn't mean that she doesn't sometimes breast feed, just that she wanted her partner to feel connected too. I don't think it's fair to judge others choices- or presume that you know better than they do about child rearing. Whatever your choices, the people that know you won't care if it's a c section or not- just that there's a new little person in the world.

I am not a allergy person, but that hasn't stopped me from loving and reading your blog every week. I've never posted before, but I was very ill in the beginning of this year and when I was in bed, feeling crappy, I would read your archives and you would give me hope for the future.

And then I stole a whole bunch of recipes (oh my god potato hashbrowns!! amazing!) and found myself feeling optimistic about things because I was eating well, cooking was a joy, not a burden at the end of the day and you were the one who changed that for me.

I just thought it'd be nice to hear that. I will wait to hear about Little Beans entry into the world (I don't know you, but I want to know it all went well and no problems arise) and then relax knowing you won't be back overnight, but sometime I'll get to read some new writing of yours. Maybe in a month, maybe more, but it'll happen.

And until then perhaps this will motivate me to actually buy your book instead of just looking at it on amazon!!

At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I hope you chose Thursday, since that's my birthday and all.

Good luck! Enjoy your little one!

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish you, Chef and Little Bean nothing but the best. Your lives are about to change in the most beautiful way.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Lisa Johnson said...

Congratulations to you and the Chef on the imminent arrival of LB! What a happy time! ; )

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Lola said...

Congratulations, Shauna! I had a baby four months ago by planned c-section (similar "medically necessary" situation as yours)and it was so much better than I ever dreamed. The pain was not so bad with the edge taken off by Norco...:) Enjoy this sweet time with your husband and baby.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic and engaging post. Congratulations and good luck!

I am pregnant and I also have coeliac. I was releived to read about small amounts of gluten.

I have been tempted and succumbed.

I would be interested in your opinion and experiences of introducing wheat to your baby. I am coping a lot of slack about this at the moment. And all I usually say is I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Ahh good luck again

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Cherry2005 said...

Congrats, and enjoy every moment! You're absolutely right that it doesn't matter how the child enters the world (or your family, for that matter - I had 3 "naturally" and 2 by marriage) - just that you love them and you are family.

My first-born made me a mother at age twenty and, not knowing the first thing about babies, I was pretty scared. A very wise pediatrician gave me the best advice I've ever heard, even to this day. You will be going through some amazing experiences with L.B. and I hope you can draw from his advice - "Don't drop him. And if you do drop him, just don't step on him and he'll grow up anyway."

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Sammi said...

Glow on, bright star =D Glow on!

At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my good friends was hoping for a homebirth with her first child but things did not go as planned and she had a c-section. She sang opera during the entire operation, filling the room with doctors and nurses who could not imagine a more beautiful birth. You CAN hold tight to the birth experience that you want!

At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful post, shauna. amazing to believe that its due time for Little Bean to join you and the Chef one day this week. what i love about your writing about food is how you share your (along with the Chef's) passion and love for food which nourishes your soul and spirit and inspires the same for the rest of us. what i love about your writing about pregnancy and impending parenthood is how you share your passion and love for a Little Bean who has already transformed your life in wonderful and immeasurable ways and how you and the Chef have embraced those changes. it is refreshing, exciting and inspiring to read your posts, view your photos, and smile while nodding along with others' comments...

wishing you a most amazing birthing experience with Little Bean arriving safe and healthy. take care and may you, the Chef and Little Bean truly relish your upcoming first month of parent/babyhood together and getting to know one another. happily awaiting the announcment!

cheers! carol

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post brought me to tears, your writing is so beautiful, moving, honest and real. As my first born goes off to college this year and I'm in the throws of sadness/excitement I just want to say, be in each moment of LB's life with awareness because it goes so fast! Also birth is one moment but your lives are made up of many moments of joy and love and sadness and fun. Embrace all the moments! All the best wishes for the three of you.

At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just have to defend the people who have made you feel bad about having a c-section. I bet most people didn't mean to make you feel bad. I think my reaction would have been, "I'm sorry" too if I didn't know the way you view your life. Before I had kids I always thought a c-section would be a relief & a disappointment. Thankfully I was able to deliver 2 healthy children with minimal medical interventions, but of course I have no idea what the third birth will be like. Your c-section is necessary as are some others & thank goodness for that option, but there are so many unnecessary scheduled c-sections in this country. It does make the recovery harder on the mom not to mention costs much, much more & that costs everyone.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely thing the internet it. I get to be touched by your writing, and write back as though you would know me from a doorknob! I love it!

I wish you all the best. "All" meaning all three, and "all" meaning as much of "the best" as you can possibly handle!

I'll miss your posts, but will look forward to the guest contributors, and perhaps focus on making more of the recipes I've been writing down.

I want to comment on the C-section, etc. As a celiac, I'm sure you know that doctors can't always be trusted to know the answers! I am wheat-sensitive, but not celiac. The blessings: spelt, rye and barley. The curse: it can't be proven and I've had a neurologist literally laugh at me! So take that mistrust, and look at the rates of elective c-sections in the U.S. Add those occasional OB practices that require setting an induction date for vaginal birth (sometimes only days after the EDD), and hospitals giving away formula samples. The asking may feel like (and be) an imposition, but it's more for our own questions--is it by actual need or the medical establishment's encouragement of more intervention.

I wish you a wonderful, wonderful birth day, and the years to follow.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger ~ Kris ~ said...

My very best wishes to you, to the Chef, and to your Little Bean. I, like many, can not wait to meet your little one.

Being a mommy really is the best thing in the world. =)

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Tay said...

tears spilled over reading this post, Shauna. Thank-you for all you choose to share with us. I always feel a moment of groundedness when I visit here to read your words.

I'm so happy and excited for you and the Chef and LB! May your time off be healing and all the good stuff.

Your circle here is holding you~

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Priyanka Cooks said...

Congratulations and best wishes to you and your soon-to-be family of three! Natural birth? What is more natural than two people that truly love each other bringing a very wanted child into this world?

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your last post made me smile. I look forward to 'meeting' Little Bean. Best wishes to you both!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Best wishes to you three. Have an easy c-section and quick recovery. I agree with the advice about getting up and getting walking as soon as you can. You may have to hold a pillow over your tummy for a little while when you do that. If being born via Cesearian is the worst thing that happens to your child, then that's not so bad. :^)

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and good luck on your new adventure.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are so excited for you here in our house.

I'll never forget after each of our children came into this world, how my love would spontaneously rip off his shirt to feel the newness of our child against his skin. I loved your "we are pregnant". When I was carrying ours, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Breathe it in, the whole thing and always savor. That is the best advice I could give any mom. You and the Chef just be you. That's all Little Bean will ever need. That and an affinity for red currants.:)

Blessings upon you.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Bowl of Soul Gal said...

God Bless you all and my very best wishes to you for a beautiful, and HEALTHY little bean. I thought that this post was just lovely and inspirational, just as you are.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Jennwynn said...

Though I know you will even without my wishing, I wish you much joy in this!
I will miss your words, but look forward to your happiness spilling over onto these pages in the future.
Thank you for sharing your experiences and bliss with us!

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful Shauna, the wonderful chef and precious Little Bean. You make a fine family. I am so glad you mentioned the part about the dads getting short shrift. I have long felt that way and am hoping that the daddys and mommys of today will change that. Oh, by the way, our little Leah loves to look at the rooster and hen on your site. There are little grubby fingerprints all over my screen.
Now you will have to add a little chick. :-}

At 11:13 AM, Blogger michelle v said...

I love the Bella Band - I'm wearing it right now! I also have the pregancy week-by-week book - I look forward to it each week to see what's in store. Good luck :)

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck to you, the chef and the little bean!
These are exciting times and I am sure you will take time to savor every moment.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Gluten Free...licious! said...

Yeah, LB is almost here! I have no doubt that you and the Chef will do just fine in the delivery room! I'm sure LB can't wait to meet you both!!!

Hugs & Smooches to the "3" of you!

Lisa :)

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Hapamama said...

Bless you for being a voice to so many and now to the those of us women who have been delighted be looking forward to our planned c-sections (mine for the same reason as yours my sister!) only to experience the crestfallen looks of others when it's mentioned. I learned to increase my pregnancy buffer and smile peacefully and say "It's okay. we're blessed" and leave it... I vividly and clearly remember the mornings that each of my children were born. They were peaceful and early, we were at the hospital by 6:00a.m. The drive into the hospital. I remember it all because we knew when it was coming. It was all peace. The birth will be amazing and real and beautiful and no less of a birth... trust me, you will never forget, not even w/the drugs! light, love and blessings, we will think of you and be holding you.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to hear you are reading Penelope Leach! I've always loved her approach. When faced with so much advice from so many well intentioned friends, family, acquaintances, I found her straight forward approach to parenting much more in keeping with my personal philosophy. My copy of Your Baby & Child was quite dog-eared by the time my own Little Bean hit kindergarten.

I was also very aware of people's biases about C-sections. I'm always surprised by the expectations women place on the birthing process when one would think that the outcome should be the primary focus. Though I did not plan to have a C-section I was nothing less than thrilled when they wheeled me into the OR and I got to look into my Love's face when the doctor announced that our Little Bean was smiling at him just before being delivered (sunny side up!)! Incredible moments that might have been lost if I had been hung up on my expectations of a "normal" birth.

I also want to second Maria about breast feeding. You will be given much advice (some would say "pressure") regarding breast feeding. It is definitely the most healthful option and given any concern about whether Little Bean might have issues with gluten it would certainly be more clear cut than formula, HOWEVER, breast feeding does not always work for one reason or another. This is another case for "do not place unreasonable expectations" upon you or the Little Bean. After a C-section it is not unusual for the baby to be a bit jaundiced and subsequently not real interested in nursing. Instinct is a good starting place, but surprisingly breast feeding is a learned art. Don't be hard on yourself if it seems like a lot more work than you were led to believe. I have several friends who for a variety of reasons either had to or chose to bottle feed their babies and I was always very surprised by the negative feedback they received. Without exception, those babies are now all happy, healthy tweeners who don't seem to be any more allergy or asthma prone than my breastfed Little Bean!

So, go, become a family! I'm excited to see the initial pictures and hear the happy news but agree whole-heartedly with your decision to keep Little Bean out of the daily make-up of this blog and will be excited for your return. Aloha...

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an AMAZING post. All the best to you and little bean!

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, inspirational post! I LOVED IT! My pregnancy/birth experience as an (old!) 34 year old was one of the most wonderful, awe inspiring times of my life. I was finally pregnant! (and interestingly enough a 2 year diagnosed celiac-hmmm! never knew the infertility and celiac could be intermingled, first I have ever heard)... I had an unplanned c-section and never once worried/regretted the 'turn' that the labor took. I got to take home a now almost 10 year old red hed girl! She is amazing and I thank God every day for her. I am crying as I write this because I am so grateful to have 1) found your site, and 2) that I can pray for you and your family! You both (soon to be three) have blessed ME, as well with your wonderfully beautiful life. God Bless You

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Handmade by Stefanie said...

congratulations! we are anniversary buddies! gluten free wedding cake...yum.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger SO said...

Good luck with the birth. C-section really is a small price to pay...even when isn't your first choice. Get up and moving as soon as you can...all those cords and cathaters really get in the baby's way.
Good Luck and Congratulations!

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my boy 13 years ago, a midwife, regular old canal whatever- in Seattle. And I nursed- just to set the record straight. Don't let the sanctimony and judgement of the west coast contingent get you down- bottle feeding and a c-section are not crimes against nature. Eventually they get old enough to where boobs and vaginas really have nothing to do with parenting. And as a fellow celiac- bless you for the rice pasta rec- that stuff rocks!!!!

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I am a newcomer to your blog and am LOVING it! I wish you and your family all of the best and many blessings. I am hooked on this blog and I feel like I am reading a great book just by reading one post. I cannot peel my eyes away.

I became GF recently, due to a gluten intolerance and thyroid disease. I can honestly say that I feel better in these past few weeks than I have in a very long time. I am so thankful for your site and will definitely be buying your book. I am finding that being gluten free is actually more fun because you need to be creative and sometimes inventive. I welcome the challenge.

Again I thank you for the recipies and countless information that I need to continue living a GF life. As a mom of 3 boys, I can honestly say it is the most wonderful feeling to bring life into this world, filled with more emotions than you will ever feel at one time. Savor the experience.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Love, in abundance, to the three of you, as well as to your family and friends and everyone who will catch and keep and hold you during this amazing time.

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from a longtime reader in Dallas. I rarely leave comments, but did want to say best of luck with Little Bean. Shauna, you are such a gifted writer. I enjoyed this post so much. My daughter is all grown up now, but it still sometimes seems like just yesterday when she came into this world, all sparkling new and bright-eyed. There's nothing like it, and I wish you and the Chef all of life's blessings. 'Tis a special time indeed! Enjoy...we'll all be here when you return!

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Lora said...

I am so excited for you and the chef. And I just have to say, I had a c-section (not planned but whatever) and I have NEVER, NOT ONCE, felt cheated by my son's "birth experience". I didn't care how he arrived, just that he made it here safe and sound. I don't understand how women feel "cheated" when they need a c-section...wasn't the goal all along a baby? Anyway, may Little Bean arrive swiftly and safely to your four loving arms!

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Shirley said...

You are such a wise woman, Shauna, with an equally wise man by your side, sweet Chef. I am so glad you are doing all the things to take the best care of the two of you as you welcome Little Bean into the world. It will be such a gift for you to even share those first pictures with us and tell us all is okay!

My only piece of advice and I'm certain you already have a plan for it is read ... read to Little Bean from day one. It is such a calming thing for infants to hear your voice and LB will definitely know both of yours right away. In no time it will seem, story time will be your favorite time together. That's one time I remember so fondly with my own son ... our story time and how it progressed over the years.

All the very best to your family!

At 8:52 PM, Blogger shady charbonnet said...


I cried reading your words and came to post about my own experiences, then I cried some more reading the wonderful responses you have gotten here. Birth really brings out the best in people (and the horror stories!)

Well, I can't even remember what I wanted to say, except that it's going to be wonderful. Beyond belief. Nothing you can imagine will even come close to the immense feelings that will spill forth from your hearts when the tiny life force that you two created comes to share your world.

....oh, and remember to take naps when LB does! You'll need 'em.


At 9:12 PM, Blogger Foodie said...

You are such an inspiration! As a physician (and a fellow foodie), I know what types of challenges you have faced. But you empowered yourself and others with knowledge, hope and the fullness of life through your experiences.
I love how you have such a beautiful and positive outlook on pregnancy, and I am SO happy for you. You're so blessed!

At 2:22 AM, Blogger al'xae said...

A happy and healthy delivery to come! Please make at least a short post afterwards, we're all pulling for you! :)

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I was hoping you'd say that you were taking leave!

Those first weeks are even more delicious than you ever thought possible. And the greatest thing is, it continues to get even better! Have the time of your life.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Coach Laura Reifel said...

Sending ooodles of love to Shauna, the Chef and Little Bean. As the mother of two C-section babies, the only thing that mattered to me was their health and all was well.

I did laugh out loud when you mentioned holding the phone to your tummy so Daddy could talk to LB. Right after delivery, my daughter was at my side and my husband was at the head of the bed behind us. She heard his voice and crained her neck and head around to find his voice. She KNEW him and I'm sure you'll find that LB knows the Chef already too!

Much blessings and enjoy the family time. I'll look forward to seeing the picture.


At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I too enjoy a remission of sorts when I am pregnant.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger kitchenmage said...

Shauna and Danny,

Best of luck as you start this next phase of your lives together - the one where neither of you are in control of reality anymore.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Shauna!

As far as people telling you they're sorry about the C-section ... some people are just nosy, especially about women's bodies, which they see as community property. However, some of the people may just be sorry because recovery from c-sections can be more difficult than recovery from natural births. I used to think I'd want to give birth by c-section. Then I had that same incision for an ovarian cancer surgery, and in the recovery time, I learned that if I could have a natural birth, I'd pick that! So perhaps all the comments weren't as bad as they seemed. . . . (Also, sometimes nearly all of us speak without thinking!)

I'm happy to hear that you two feel so embraced in this process.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to you this week (it is now Tuesday, perhaps you have already had LB?)
I love that you appreciate being pregnant because of all you have been through. Your baby has all the advantage being gluten-free his/her whole little life.

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i never understood why people think of c-sections as less desirable. my aunt tries to keep her daughter from ever discovering she was a c-section birth, and it seems to me to be such a weird decision to make. i was born c-section, i always knew it (well, once i was old enough to know what it meant) and to be quite honest, i was always kinda happy about it - i was a cute kid in my newborn pictures, no misshapen conehead that sometimes results from vaginal birth. when i was little i figured i was smarter than i would have been had my head and brain gotten all mushed up. the only thing i used to be disappointed about was that since they only scheduled c-sections on certain days then, my mom wasn't able to choose to have me one day later, on my grandfather's birthday. because getting to schedule your c-section means that your first gift to lb is twofold - not only passage into this outside world, but also a hand-picked birthday! i like the idea of lb getting to know that mom and dad specially picked out a birthday.
anyway, best wishes to your new family.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger ZM said...

"imperfections are nothing"

Except when they are part of you and wonderful. I'm glad - and unsurprised - that you are embracing what you have and what lies ahead.

b'sha'a tova (may what happens next come in a good hour, and in the best possible way).

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your lovely words! Cherish The Chef and Little Bean and enjoy each and every wonderful moment with them!

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

All my good wishes for the arrival of Little Bean, I hope you enjoy the first few weeks you share as a family.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Allison said...

When my little guy was born I made arrangements for gluten free food with the hospital staff. Though they assured me everything was set in stone, they had no clue and brought me either nothing at all or wheat laden food. (which my rooming-in husband was able to eat, thankfully, since they do not feed the dads) I have a hilarious picture of my first meal after giving birth. I received melted ice cream, frozen juice and one pitiful bowl of green peas. Thankfully we could laugh, but we were sad that my husband then had to go out on a quest for a meal for me when we just wanted to enjoy being a threesome.

Enjoy your babymoon--it is an utterly magical, amazing time! Cover the clocks, silence the phone and pull down the shades--time will mean nothing to Little Bean and you'll likely find yourselves sleeping and waking to a new rhythm during LB's fourth trimester. And the babymoon is the quintessential ephemeral time too--it is all that's happening for a certain length of time and then suddenly it's gone. We loved it. (obviously! ;-)

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely WALK
Plenty of WATER

And -- JUST ENJOY it all -- it goes by so quickly.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger emie said...

what an incredibly well written post. i wish all the best for the arrival of little bean. maybe, one day, i'll have the pleasure of running into you and your family on the streets of seattle :)

At 2:12 PM, Blogger V said...

This is post was so beautiful. It makes me look forward to the day when I get to experience pregnancy. And your poem was not only lovely, but spoke to me today in particular.

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You look wonderful....Wishing you, the Chef, and Little Bean all my best!
Good luck to the three of you. Can't wait to hear about how your family experienced this true miracle of life.

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little bean will be a Leo. Oh what fun you will have!!
I wish you and chef and little bean the best. I'm sending wonderful thoughts your way.
Take care of yourself dear...
and realize that little bean is used to being inside you so swaddling tightly, bouncing him on his side (extended in your arm) and shushing louder than cries because it sounds like the organs he's been cradled in...will calm him and make him delightfully peaceful.
I wish for you peace and great joy!

At 7:40 PM, Blogger GroundedGirl said...

Holding the three of you in the Light as you take the next step in your grand journeys. Thank you, as ever, for your honesty and your boundaries.

Welcome to the world, Little Bean. You have joined an extraordinary family.

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Susanne said...

I am so excited for you, I feel like it is Christmas and I am five. Did you have it? Was it a girl or boy? Do you love your baby already?? Don't forget the Mommy high that lasts about 4-5 days afterwards, where you can't believe the universe gave you something so precious to raise. All my best wishes to you/Daddy/Little Bean. Love, Susanne

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best to you three. Little bean will find a place in this world as perfect as he or she needs and as imperfect as a life full of love needs to be.
Health, luck and happiness to all of you!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

If this is any comfort, at 42 my celiac husband and I are having our third child soon. First was no drugs, vaginal, and not too bad. Second was C section, heavily medicated, and I had reactions to every flippin' drug (including penicillin)before and after. My son, however, was still perfect and had the advantage of bonding with his papa in those first few hours of life as I was snockered out. So don't worry about the birth, good things just happen. But do make some good kefir for the recuperative antibodies. Works quicker than fiber and it helps prevent yeast and thrush for the baby.

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is surely nothing i can say here that hasn't already been said by many people who know you in real life. But you have been such an inspiration to me, and I am thrilled that you and your love will soon meet your already cherished child. I may not know you in person, but I too will be sending lots of good thoughts your way for all of the joy that life can possibly bring you.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Breanna and David said...

you are amazing. i am pregnant with my first child as well and i also have Celiac Disease. your blog has been such an inspiration to me. you encourage me to do things the right way. I wish you the best... thank you so much for that post. I needed to read that today...

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Congratulations!!! Lucy is beautiful. I love the second picture of her on the announcement post. It kind of looks like she is covered in cornmeal, which would be an odd but strangely appropriate way for her to be born!

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Jules said...

What a beautiful post and blog! I am so glad I found you.

Good luck, enjoy every moment as you already are obviously doing!

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Congratulations! Lucy is adorable! And I love her name!

AH! So excited and happy for you guys. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Best wishes and blessings always.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Shauna ... I really wanted to see your new post, but it isn't letting me ... is it just my computer?

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Beautiful post. Best wishes to the three of you!

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Brenna Kate Simonds, Living Unveiled said...

I had an unwanted c/s, so I can understand those looks of concern. And it still causes me pain a year later.

But having a medically necessary c/s that you have made peace with is a whole different story.

So glad the birth went well!

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna, what a wonderful guide to celiac moms-to-be. Congrats! Wanted to let those newly diagnosed and "infertile" that it only took me 6 months off the gluten to get pg. We'd been off birth control for 11 years, thinking we couldn't get pregnant. What a shock! We didn't know celiac disease could cause infertility. My dd is 6.5 years now. Also, if you are pg and celiac, one tiny iota of gluten can cause miscarriage, according to my doc, so be careful!

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody can rightly judge what a choice should be to someone else. As someone who writes about birth issues and has read hundreds of birth stories and taken part in thousands of discussions about birth, I've come to the realization that there is no one best way to bring a child into the world, not for the child, not for the mother, not for the family. I'm very sorry that you've felt judged -- oh, what it would be like to live in a world without judgment! I dream of it. But as it is, no matter *what* your choice, there is going to be someone (and likely many someones) who disagree with it and think it's their right to condemn you for it.

Judgment is fueled by divisiveness, of course, and divisiveness is often fueled by misunderstanding, so I want to offer another perspective on why some women are unhappy with their c-sections. In my experience, for very few of them it's actually about the loss of a some culturally-imposed ideal.
For most it's simply because it was traumatic and resulted in suffering and loss. And for some the experience of the birth does matter (never as much as the baby, but still, to some degree) because they have a holistic view of life, where everything is interconnected and affects everything else. And that's entirely valid. But the mistake so many of us make is rooted in egocentrism -- if it is true for me, it must be so for everyone. That's not a small mistake and there's no excusing it, but at least it's not a maliciously-based one. No mother deserves to have her own impressions and expectations and feelings about her birth intruded upon and colored by the arrogant assumptions of others. But it does help -- at least it's helped me, in dealing with it -- to know that for some people it's about them and their feelings about their own experiences rather than a judgment of me.

Love to you (hope that's okay from someone you don't even know) and I hope Lucy is home with you as soon as can be. Many, many congratulations on bringing a lovely new life into the world.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am a 23 year old woman with Celiacs and have been told since I was 16 years old that I would never be able to become pregnant. Imagine my husband and my surprise a few weeks ago when we found out I am!!! I stumbled across your website this morning and can honestly say that this post has done more to put me at ease than anything else that I have read or been told. Thanks you again for sharing your experience and congratulations on the baby!!


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