Birth of a Friendship
When Amanda Sabean gave birth in October, Kim Bochy stood at her bedside. And when the Sabeans baptize baby Aiden this spring, Kim will stand with them at the baptismal font.
This is the story of how Bruce Bochy’s wife came to be the doula for Brian Sabean’s wife and godmother to their baby.
Seven years ago, when Bochy was managing the Padres, Kim saw an ad seeking women to volunteer as doulas at UC-San Diego. A doula guides a woman through the birth of her baby. She’s there to hold her hand, keep her comfortable, offer support and advice to the mother and her family members. Kim was immediately drawn to the job, perhaps because she remembered how alone and nervous she was 29 years ago when she gave birth to her older son. Bruce was on the road with the Astros, and the hospital wouldn’t allow anyone else in the labor or delivery room.
But she set the ad aside. Her younger son was only 14 and still needed her to ferry him to school and sports practices.
Then at a dinner party four years ago, the host asked everyone to name something they would like to do in their lives but haven’t yet done. Kim surprised herself by saying she wanted to be a doula. She hadn’t thought about the ad in years. Her son by then had his driver’s license, so she went through training and began volunteering at UC-San Diego’s hospital, working almost exclusively with indigent women.
“I was amazed at the bonds that formed,” Kim said by phone the other day. “There are women who still send me photos of their babies.”
Fast-forward to December 2006, after Bruce Bochy was hired as manager of the Giants. Sabean had married Amanda a year earlier. “We clicked right away,” Kim said of meeting Amanda. “And that doesn’t always happen between the spouses of the manager and general manager.”
Said Amanda, “We related to each other because we understood each other’s lives. It’s so different from most people. We had an instant bond.”
Their game tickets are in a different section from the players’ wives, so Amanda and Kim began sitting together at Giants games. “We weren’t really hanging out with the players’ wives because of the nature of our husbands’ jobs,” Kim said, “so it was great to have each other.”
With their husbands working almost 24/7, and with their apartments one floor apart in the same San Francisco building, the two women soon were eating lunch and dinner together, shopping, visiting the nail salon. When Amanda became pregnant, she told almost no one because her previous pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But she told Kim. During spring training last year, during Amanda’s first trimester, she had to fly back to San Francisco for a crucial test to determine if the fetus had abnormalities. Brian couldn’t leave Arizona, so Amanda was going alone. Kim quickly booked herself a flight. “I’m going with you,” she said.
They spent so much time together throughout the pregnancy that Amanda joked that the baby was going to think Kim was her daddy because it was Kim’s voice he heard for nine months.
Amanda went into labor September 25 at 5 p.m. Aiden was born 36 hours later. Brian, Amanda’s mother and Kim stayed at her side through almost every hour.
“Brian and my mother were wonderful but honest to god I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without Kim,” Amanda said. “She provided such a place of calm and peace for me.”
When Aiden finally arrived, Kim said, “Amanda and I were both crying.”
Before the birth, the Sabeans and Bochys went out to dinner one night. Amanda surprised Kim by asking her to be the baby’s godmother. Kim knew Amanda had lots of girlfriends, all of who had been in her life longer than she had.
“No one was more involved in my pregnancy than Kim,” Amanda said. “She is really invested in our little guy.”
It was the first time Kim had been asked to be a godmother.
“I was blown away,” she said, “and very honored by it. I take it very seriously.”
Kim has seen Amanda and the baby several times since the season ended. She spent the weekend with Amanda at the Sabean’s Arizona home when Brian was out of the country, and they were together in Las Vegas for the winter meetings last month. They will see each other again in Arizona next week.
“She was there for everything,” Amanda said of Kim. “She’s been as good a friend as anyone could possibly be.”
Kim Bochy with Aidean Sabean:
Brian, Aiden, and Amanda Sabean: