18 Weeks

Dear baby,

I am almost in my 18 weeks of knowing you, feeling you, growing you, loving you. When we were at our prenatal appointment almost two weeks ago, we got to hear your whooshing strong heartbeat again and it was, as always, pure bliss. When I weighed myself, I had to step down in shock and weigh myself again. Did it really read 115 lbs? I began this journey at 108. Granted, while I’m still weighing less that I did when I conceived Kaia (118 lbs then!), I guess it just shocked me to see such a rapid weight gain. I mean, I AM pregnant after all and that weight was gonna come sometime. Believe me, baby love, it’s worth every ounce and pound. Every last one of ’em.


I am still feeling fabulous, albeit tired (do I say that every single time?). People at work are finally staring to stare at my growing belly and ask “Are you expecting?”. Funny enough, your movements seem to be sporadic, some days slowing to barely any movement. But I know you are there, hibernating and waiting patiently.


“It is tempting to think that if only they could speak, infants could take us back to their beginning, to the force of their becoming; they could tell us about patience, about waiting and waiting in the dark.”
-Jane Hamilton



I’ve requested my medical records from Kaia’s birth and I have very mixed emotions about going through them. Part of me knows I must understand what happened to my body, and to Kaia, during that intense experience. Part of me is so very terrified about what I might found out, about the emotions it may bring up. I already feel vulnerable just knowing they are on their way. Some of those emotions are still so raw within me, and it will be like reopening the proverbial (and the very real) wound I’ve worked to heal with tenderness and time.I’ve asked Jason and a close friend to be my protectors, to review them prior to me. I hope they bring great healing and a deeper understanding, and acceptance, of her birth. And I hope they prepare me for your amazing birth, instilling an even stronger trust in my body’s ability to gently and powerfully bring you into our world.


I attended an astounding, powerful, and beautiful home birth on Sunday as a doula. The experience made me even more anxious for your arrival and I began to envision your birth over and over. I think about what the room will smell like, how dim the lights will be, the sounds and words and vocalizations that will be emitted, the feel of warm water and firm hands on my body, your Daddy’s loving presence beside me. I visualize the desert sun, or sometimes the vast desert night sky, outside of our windows. I think about the anticipation of your big sister, at once knowing everything and perhaps nothing at all. I can feel the soft sheets, and taste the cool sips of water and juice. I feel strong and empowered. I notice the gentle flicker of candles and the sweet wafting of incense, and can almost feel the rushes and waves arising in my body, encasing me and sending me traveling in birth world, in your world. And I can even visualize the sensation of my cervix melting away, and you moving down within my birth canal, and my center opening and stretching for you, and your soft head emerging from my body. My hands help life you to me. And, at last, I imagine the moment of our Earthly greeting…I taste the salt of my happy tears and the perfect newness of your skin, all mixing together.


And here, no one else takes you from my arms. You rest warm against my breast and beating heart, still connected to me, each of us learning one another’s body from the outside this time. There are no needle pricks, no bottles of sugar water, no bright lights to glare in your eyes, no immediate measuring and weighing and lifting and pulling and tugging and handling. An orchestra of love and celebration begins their symphony in a room dancing with peace and gratitude. In my mind, and in my body’s memory, it is becoming real.


I await you, my baby love.




8 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim says:

    Dearest Leigh,
    Thank you for taking some time to comment, and for being one person in this world that can relate to what Sebastian and I went through. You are very strong and seem to be working harder in this healing process than I have been. I’ve just been wallowing for so long, its time to put that energy into healing. It’s wonderful that your #2 will be here this Spring. Mine was born on May 1st, such a magickal day. I’m working on healing my body and creating the experience of a VBAC with a midwife, but after 19 months of trying to get pregnant, I know I am not ready for this. Much healing to do. Your words helped. He was born in Tucson and I was born in Scottsdale, say hello to the beautiful desert for us. We are up in the Rockies now. Thank you for your blog and your vulnerability with sharing what you shared and your love.
    Good Luck to you too and your precious babies.

  2. amygeekgrl says:

    wow – 18 weeks already! are you going to find out the gender? i always thought it’d be cool to have the surprise but i’m too impatient. 😉
    i, too, read through some of my medical records from ava’s birth while i was pregnant with julian. it helped me with healing as well, since my first birth didn’t go at all as i’d hoped it would.
    anyway, i just know you are going to have an amazing birthing experience this time around. i’m excited to be on this journey with you, even if it’s only virtually.

  3. mb says:

    i can’t even handle reading these words and not being immediately right next to you to hug you.

    i breath you in leigh and hope that somehow that somewhere inside of me is a little mirror image of your open, juicy and amazing self.

    Your birth sounds awesome. And you baby is totally miraculious.


  4. leighsteele says:

    Awww, thanks my fellow womoon goddess birthers. I totally feel your love 🙂 Amy – yep, this one will be a surprise! We aren’t finding out! I anxiously await that moment after baby is born…

  5. Kim says:

    Goddess bless you and your baby, I am so jealous I can’t really comment through the tears…congratulations and thanks for everything super mama!

  6. Brooke says:

    Oh Leigh, I can’t believe it is 18 weeks – almost half way there. Can you believe it??? I wish I could be there to watch that tiny little body of yours blossom into a baby. Please don’t forget to keep me posted with photos. I am just dying out here in California – aching to know what is happening, how you are, what you are feeling, what that little voodoo baby is brewing. I am so happy for you, so blissed out on your journey. Happy, happy baby.
    I love you.

  7. Ninotchka says:

    I firmly believe in the power of visualization. I pictured Elle’s birth in my mind over and over again…

    I want to labor at home as long as possible and the deliver almost immediately upon arriving at the hospital

    That’s what I told my doula/midwife and it is exactly what happened.

    I can’t believe you’re 18 weeks already. HOW COOL!

  8. I hope your records provide the healing you are searching for. I have no doubts whatsoever about your ability to fulfill your vision for this baby’s birth. No doubts at all. You are a strong, warrior, birthing mama. You can do it.

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