A journal of trying to have a baby on my own at the age of 38.
After being married at the age of 31, I thought we were on our way to starting a family. Unfortunately the marriage didn't last, but the longing to be a mother continued.
After dating for several years and not finding a suitable partner, at the age of 37, I decided it was time to have a baby on my own.
With the support of my family, friends and my online readers, I am ready to begin this process and would love you for you to join me on this journey called "sarahseekingbaby."
Once Max was born, people asked me if I was going to change the name of this blog to something else. I was no longer “seeking a baby.” I had my amazing little boy. But what would I call it?
This blog originally started out because of a meeting with a friend/literary agent where we realized that this story – a woman on her own having a baby, needed to be told. There were only a few books out there at the time about being a single mom by choice. I was to produce a manuscript and get a social media following (in order to be able to better sell the possible book).
I did write half a manuscript but stopped because something didn’t feel right. I found myself constantly changing my mind as to whether or not I should share my story.
I also found myself getting so much out of just connecting with people via my blog/Instagram.
Up until I temporarily disabled my Instagram account (two weeks ago) I received anywhere from 25-50 emails/direct messages daily. It was less about writing a book and more about being able to answer people’s personalized questions. That was really all I wanted to do – help others.
My blog and Instagram kept me sane through a very difficult pregnancy. It allowed me to connect to people while bed ridden. I felt like I was receiving far more than I was giving.
People were not only coming to me for support but they were actually rooting for me. They wanted me to have a baby and were so excited for me.
After Max was born there was a shift.
The first issue was that I no longer had enough time to devote to Instagram/my blog. Max required all of my attention and my inbox was becoming too much for me to handle. I could no longer send messages to so-and-so’s cousin who was debating becoming a single mom by choice and I didn’t have the time to explain the entire process of an IUI to a married woman needing to use a donor. I started feeling terrible that I couldn’t help everyone.
I also found that my greatest quality – being sensitive was now becoming my greatest downfall.
Yes it took me no time to emotionally connect to people but it also was too hard to emotionally disconnect to any negativity I was receiving via social media.
I had heard of “mommy shamers” before, but hadn’t experienced it. Before long, I started to get messages telling me that I was doing things wrong (such as holding Max the wrong way and developing a poor sleep routine).
Recently when I would see that I had a message, my first instinct was to panic because I was afraid that I was going to be judged for something.
There was no way that I was cut out for the life of Instagram.
After having Max, something also stayed in the back of my mind.
When I first started everything, a woman had said that she thought it wasn’t right that I was talking about my child when he was too young to have a voice of his own.
Now, when I look down at Max’s innocent face, I can’t help but wonder if I am writing way too much and that other people will know all of the details of his story before he has a chance to learn about everything himself.
I was debating disabling my account when someone wrote on an Instagram picture and shared my full name and my former married name (from years ago) on my public account. I instantly deleted it but knew many had already seen it.
Although I have shared pictures and personal details about my life, I had never released my last name. It made me feel as though everything was not completely public knowledge.
There were also a couple messages that were sent on that same day where it was clear the person(s) following me was/were not following me because they supported me.
I temporarily disabled my account and wanted to make sure I thought about everything before I shut everything down.
Sarahseekingbaby has been so much of my identity and it allowed me to connect with so many people – especially incredible people on their own trying-to-conceive journey.
I just know in my gut it is time to move on. I need to protect my son and the lines are so blurred being a teacher and exposing myself too much.
It also makes me nervous knowing anyone will know Max’s face and can track him down. I totally respect other mama’s who feature their kids on their public social media but I have become an anxious and protective mama. This is especially true now that I have moved to a smaller town.
I just know in my gut that it is time to close this chapter.
This will be my last blog.
The point of this post today is to tell you that both Max and I are doing really well (several people reached out when I temporarily disabled my account and asked about us), and to thank you for everything.
Thank you for being there when I first started this journey and doubted myself on a daily basis.
Thank you for being there with me when my first fertility procedure didn’t work.
Thank you for sharing so much love and happiness when I found out I was expecting.
Thank you for being there when I became very ill throughout my pregnancy and dealt with so much loneliness.
Thank you for answering all of my questions about pregnancy, motherhood, what products to buy, etc.
Thank you for showing so much support when I doubted that I could do this without a father in the picture.
Thank you for being there for Max and for celebrating in his birth.
Thank you for being there when I started struggling with my new postpartum life.
Thank you for being there as I have become the Mom I always hoped I would be.
You have no idea the impact all of your messages have had on me. There have been about 20,000 of you amazing people who have been with me along the way. I can honestly say that I don’t know where I would be without all of you.
I know in my heart that this chapter is now closed. It’s such a mixture of emotions and maybe someday I will write again. As for now, I just want to be the best mom I can possibly be and give all of the energy (not much these days) to my son.
Thank you for being there and for helping me as my dream became my reality. I love you.
It is time to officially say goodbye to this blog and to my social media presence as Sarahseekingbaby has officially found her baby.
It took me one week to write 3/4 of a blog post and I still couldn’t get it out for Sunday.
To be honest, it is a HUGE deal if I can take a shower yet alone write a blog entry.
Writing has been so therapeutic for me and has allowed me to connect with so many people.
This blog has had 24,508 views and 14,244 visitors which has been absolutely amazing.
My goal was to write this blog to show women that they can do this on their own and to explain the process in becoming a Single Mother by Choice to anyone who wanted to learn about it.
More blog posts will be coming. They are just going to become a little more scattered – perhaps once per month so that I have time to really devote to a solid blog entry instead of something that is really rushed.
Thank you for reading this blog and it honestly amazes me that so many people have read this.
I will continue writing on Instagram and will continue to post any new entries on Facebook under “Sarahseekingbaby.” Please also know that you can subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss the next entry.
Looking forward to writing the next blog which will be out within the month.
I am so sorry that I didn’t write a blog this week. Max is keeping me so busy and only sleeping for a maximum of two hours at a time. Hoping to have a blog for you next week. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week ahead xoxoxo
“I have an appointment for 10:00 a.m” I said to the receptionist at the window.
“You are twenty minutes late” she said. “This is your first appointment so perhaps you are not aware that we want our patients to be on time. If you are late again, you will no longer be a patient here.”
“I am so sorry” I said. “This is my third day as a Mom and I had no idea how much work it would be to take my newborn out of the house.”
“Well because you are late, the doctor may refuse to see you” she said.
I looked at my son and knew he was really sick. His face was yellow, his eyes were yellow. He was very frail and not eating.
That’s when I started to cry. I didn’t just cry a little – I sobbed.
My son needed help and because I couldn’t get it together, I worried that the doctor wouldn’t see me.
During our stay at Mount Sinai, it was determined that Max was suffering from jaundice. They said they would only release us if we promised to see our family doctor in my hometown. This was my first appointment with my new family doctor and already it was such a mess.
I sat down beside my Mom and Max and told my Mom what happened.
“Maxwell?” asked the nurse coming around the corner.
She looked at me and saw that I was not okay.
“I am so sorry”I started. “The receptionist said that we may not be able to see the doctor because I am late and I am so sorry.”
“Oh honey” she said. “You are a new Mom and it is okay. Don’t worry. The doctor won’t even care. Let’s take care of your little boy.”
Once in the room in the doctor’s office, I thought my tears would stop but they wouldn’t. The nurse was getting my information and I just couldn’t stop sobbing.
“I am so sorry I am such a mess. I moved from Toronto yesterday and Max is sick and -”
“It is okay sweetheart” she said. “You are in the right place. Everything will be okay.”
“Sarah?” asked the doctor as she walked in.
“I was late” I started. “The receptionist was angry with me and I promise that I am a responsible person.”
“I am always late” she laughed. “It is totally okay. Now let’s take a look at your son.”
When she started looking at him, I knew something was wrong. She weighed him on the scale and I could see that his weight had dropped from 6 lbs 8 ounces at Mount Sinai to 5 lbs 8 ounces in two days.
“He has lost 15% of his birth weight and he is suffering from jaundice” she began. “I need to make a call to the hospital. He will probably have to go there for a bit.”
That made me cry even more.
“I don’t have postpartum depression” I started. “I know you probably think I am mentally unstable but I am just scared.”
“You are a Mom on day three of your journey. You are allowed to feel this way” she said.
She then looked at my Mom.
“Promise me you will watch her and make sure she is okay. Sarah, if you start feeling really anxious or sad for a couple of days, please call me.”
She left the room and I spoke with my Mom.
“She is the best doctor” my Mom said. “The only issue is that receptionist. She should have never said that to you. That should have never happened.”
“Thanks Mom” I said.
I could hear my new doctor on the phone with someone at the hospital. She spent about 20 minutes giving information to the other person over the phone.
She walked back into the room and started giving me information very gently.
“Max will be admitted to the hospital in the paediatrics division. He’ll probably stay there for the weekend and you will be with him Mama. They will place bright lights on him and he will get better. Please go home, pack your things, and head to the hospital right away.”
I cried the whole way home. We had just come from the hospital. I had only spent one night out of a hospital since Max had been born.
Once I got to the house, I just grabbed a bunch of things for Max and myself. I was packing for several days but I don’t even think I was mentally there packing the things I needed most.
We headed off to the hospital and I pulled right out front. It was freezing and I didn’t want Max to get cold. My Mom went to park the car.
I walked into the hospital completely terrified.
“My son is named Max and we are supposed to check in” I said to a nurse through tears.
“Your room number is 653” said the kind nurse. “Are you okay?”
“Yes” I lied as I took off with Max in his car seat and headed to the room.
The room was massive and nobody was in there. I set Max’s car seat on the ground and sat down with him.
“I am so sorry” I said to Max. “I have already failed you. I suck as a Mom and can’t even breastfeed. I am sorry that I got you here.”
That’s when another nurse walked in.
I turned around and she could see I was a mess.
“Oh my gosh. What is wrong? Are you okay?” she asked.
“I have failed as a Mom. I am so scared and know my son is sick. I can’t even breastfeed.”
“We have got you. We have got him. He will be so much better here, I promise. Things will get better” she said.
And things did get better.
Max was seen by so many nurses and doctors. He had an IV and was placed in an incubator. At first, I was fearful of it and hated that he had to wear a patch over his eyes to block the light. I thought he’d hate it so much and it would be extremely difficult to calm him down.
I was so wrong.
He loved the incubator because it was 35 degrees. Babies with jaundice are often really cold and because they try to keep their body warm, they lose weight because they are burning so many calories.
During our hospital stay, I went from being super scared and sad to amazingly happy and calm. When the nurses came in we would joke and talk about reality stars.
“You can go home now” said the nurse. “I don’t want you to go though.”
“I don’t want to leave” I said.
“I’ll always remember you sitting on the floor crying. I went to the nurses station and told them that my patient was on the floor crying. Everyone was worried about you. Look at how far you have come” she said.
“I went from never wanting to come to the hospital to never wanting to leave the hospital. Max gained so much strength here and has become a different person. He loved being in the light and is finally breastfeeding” I said.
“You are leaving because you have a healthy boy. Never wish to be in a hospital” said the nurse.
“You are so right” I said.
Although the hospital had become Max’s favourite place, I recognize my privilege. I got to leave with my son in my arms. My son was leaving healthier and would slowly get better.
I started to think of all of my friends who stayed in the hospital for long periods with their little ones. Moms who lost their babies or who had extensive stays at the NICU, Sick Kids, Ronald McDonald House, etc.
How did they get through it?
I only had a sick baby for a couple days and I couldn’t function. How the hell do other people get through much more difficult times?
Since the hospital, Max is now very healthy. We have had more visits to the doctor. I gave her a card and bought her staff Tim Horton’s (as an apology for making a bad first impression).
After going back to the hospital for breastfeeding class, I can say that as of today, I can successfully breastfeed. I am saying “today” because one never knows what can happen with breastfeeding. I do have formula stocked up just in case.
We are staying home and just enjoying our time together despite this Covid 19 Crisis. We have an appointment with the doctor on Friday to look over his jaundice. I am so excited to show the team at the doctor’s office that Max now weighs 9 lbs and has no more yellow in his face. His eyes are still a bit yellow but he has made so much progress.
I just have to end this blog by saying that doctors and nurses are AMAZING. I respect them so much and think they should be paid millions. Not only do they deal with the physical issues of their patients (and the families of their patients) but they deal with the emotional issues of their patients/families as well.
Since leaving the hospital I sent about twenty thank you cards and gift cards out to the staff at the two hospitals I was in. Everyone was so lovely and helped me so much.
When I left the hospital I was so thankful for our healthcare system and now with everything going on with Covid 19, I am even more grateful.
Thank you to everyone who helped us so much while we were struggling.
To all of the families in the hospital right now (especially with little ones), I send you so much love and admire your strength.
To the doctor and nurses in the hospital right now – thank you for all that you do. You are the most hardworking people of any profession and I can’t imagine what you are dealing with right now.
To my amazing friends and family – thank you for being there.
Twenty minutes after delivering Max, I was wheeled back into my beautiful room in labour and delivery.
My family was there and they gave me the most beautiful gifts (Mom/Dad – two necklaces. One says “Max” and the other says “Mama” that they had made at a local jewelry store). J and her husband – a bunch of Lush products with a lavender scent to help with sleep.
They each took a turn holding Max and it was so beautiful. They *may* have even celebrated with champagne.
“So we need you to go to the washroom and for Max to latch for breastfeeding and then you can go up to your room” said Nurse Olivia.
“Can I just stay here?” I asked. “I love it here.”
The whole time I was in labour, everyone was checking in on me. They made sure that I had everything I needed. All of a sudden there was a shift from caring about me to really being focused on caring about Max.
I found myself only caring about Max as well – my health didn’t matter to me. All I cared about was that my baby was okay.
“They are ready for you on the floor above us” said Nurse Olivia.
I was wheeled into my room and greeted by Nurse Alex.
“So are you going to change him?” Nurse Alex asked.
“Sorry….what?” I asked.
I don’t know what I expected. Maybe something like I had seen on sitcoms? The baby goes to a room and is cared for by the nurses until the baby leaves. Instead, I was now responsible for my baby (which I should be) but I just felt entirely unprepared to do anything.
I was so exhausted that everything that I knew about newborns no longer registered. I started worrying. How does one change a diaper? How do I breastfeed? How do I move around my room while still on a pitocin drip and while Max has an IV?
Nurse Alex was there but she had so many other patients. I had sent home my family members (as it was 3:00 a.m.) and I was alone with Max for the first time.
Every fifteen minutes someone was coming in and out of my hospital room to either run tests on Maxwell or myself. They were constantly checking our sugars because they wanted to make sure I no longer had diabetes and that Max didn’t have diabetes as well.
I had been up a full 24 hours when my sister J came to visit in the morning.
“How are you doing?”
“Good” I said. I immediately got up and started cleaning and organizing things. Because there was another person there, I was able to unpack things.
“Are you sure you are okay?” asked my sister watching as I was in serious pain but rushing through my room trying to get everything done before I was alone again.
“I just need to get everything done” I said.
We now laugh about this moment because I was so frantic. I could no longer hide that I was stressed, my hormones were completely messed up, I was running on no sleep, and I was terrified that I may not be able to do this on my own after all.
“You will be staying another night” said Nurse Alex. “You didn’t really stay a full night here so you get another night in the hospital.”
“Thank God” I said.
The thought of bringing home a newborn so soon was making me so anxious.
There was also another layer of anxiety. As soon as Max was discharged, I would be leaving Toronto and driving two hours (with my parents) to move into my parents house.
There were so many changes.
It felt like way too much.
Mom and Dad came to visit later in the day and I had mellowed out a bit. I was sent to a breastfeeding class and I had my parents watch Max.
Before I left for the class, I looked in the mirror and laughed. I looked hideous. I still hadn’t had a chance to shower, was running on zero sleep, and was looking like a beast in a hospital gown.
After class, I went back to my room and enjoyed my time with my parents and Max. It was a great day but I feared the night when I would be alone again.
That was when Nurse Sylvia appeared and she was an angel.
“I have an idea” said Nurse Sylvia. “You have not slept for 36 hours. Can you put some colostrum in this cup and I will take him to the nurses station and watch him for the night. You need to sleep and need some support.”
“For real?” I asked. “You would do that? If I had a million dollars right now, I would give it to you. Thank you!”
That night I was finally able to get some sleep and was a little less manic.
In the morning I thanked Nurse Sylvia by providing her an Ubereats menu and having anything she wanted delivered for breakfast, She had Starbucks for the first time and was so cute. Ubereats actually delivered right to my hospital room.
“I am done with my shift” said Nurse Sylvia. “Tori will be here to take my place.”
“Please don’t leave me” I said. With tears in my eyes I thanked Nurse Sylvia for helping me out so much.
Nurse Tori came in and helped me get ready to go home. She helped me bathe Max, get more breastfeeding tips, and helped me put Max in the car seat.
As I checked out of Mount Sinai, I was probably the most stressed I had ever been in my life.
As we walked to the car, a woman fainted beside us, the door to Sinai became locked and nobody could get out, it was absolutely freezing and Max was shaking, and we had a bit of a walk to the car.
I started crying. It all seemed too much.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking leaving the hospital and moving directly two hours away.
As my Dad drove us, I couldn’t help but look at all of the sights of Toronto and feel so overwhelmed and sad. I knew I was doing the right thing for Max and myself by leaving Toronto but it didn’t make it any easier.
On the way home we stopped at my sister L’s place and introduced Max to her family.. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever had. It was incredible to watch my four year old nephew and two year old niece become so excited that “Aunt Sarah had ‘Baby Max’”.
After our visit, we headed to my parents house. It felt so wonderful to sleep at my parents house that night. Yes I was up every 1-2 hours but it felt amazing sleeping in a familiar bed.
The next morning, my Mom, Max and I all got into a car to drive to the doctor’s in my hometown.
Things were starting to feel better and I finally felt like I could handle things.
That is when everything took a drastic turn.
Little did I know, Max and I would not be returning to my parents place. Instead, we had to go somewhere else – straight to the hospital.
“What would you like from Starbucks?” my sister texted.
“Egg bites” I texted back. I needed all of the food I could get. People told me that once you go into labour, you are not allowed to eat so I wanted to make sure I had some food in my system (total lie).
It was the morning of my induction (had to be induced because of Gestational Diabetes). Although Baby Boy was measuring in the 50th percentile for weight, my OB was adamant that I get induced.
My sister J came with me because we divided the whole labour process into various rounds. My Mom would cover the next shift. It was crazy trying to figure out timing though because I had no idea how long my labour would last.
Sunday February 16th at 10:00 am.
While checking in at Mount Sinai, the admin assistant kept asking me if I got the time right for my induction. They had me scheduled to be induced at 4:30 p.m. with five other people (please note that Sinai was right with their time. I have no idea why I put my induction in my phone for 10:00 a.m.)
“I can just go home” I said to the nurse wanting to put off my induction. I was dreading being induced so I was eager to postpone it.
“It is your lucky day” said nurse Sandra. “It is not busy at all today so you can be induced now. Dr. Rebecca will be here in a moment.”
All of a sudden Dr. Rebecca emerged and immediately I knew she was a badass. She was pumping breast milk under her hospital clothes.
“I have a nine month old baby so I have to pump” she said.
I loved her already. I also loved that she had pictures of different uteruses on her scrubs.
Dr. Rebecca, Nurse Sandra, my sister J and I totally hit it off. We laughed about so many things and joked about television stars, people giving birth, motherhood, and being in the hospital.
Sunday February 16th at 12:00 p.m.
“Are you okay?” asked my sister J after Dr. Rebecca and Nurse Sandra inserted a balloon into me in order to start the induction process.
“I have cramping but I am fine” I said with a smile.
Nurse Sandra and Doctor Rebecca left the room and J and I were alone just chatting.
“I can’t stop sweating” I said. The sweat was pouring off me and I was getting more and more uncomfortable. The cramps were really starting to hurt.
Nurse Sandra came back to tell us that we could leave and come back the next morning.
“Am I supposed to be this sweaty?” I asked.
Apparently, everything was normal and I got dressed and left the hospital with J. The cramps hurt a lot less but it was so weird having the “tail” of the balloon hanging out.
When we got back to the condo, my other sister L had arrived and my Mom and Dad were there as well.
I went into the bedroom and said I’d be there for a while.
Sunday February 16th 4:00 p.m.
After a couple hours I went to the washroom and the balloon fell out.
“Guys, the balloon fell out” I announced to my family. “This means that I am at least 2cm and I think this baby is coming tonight.”
Boy was I ever wrong.
Monday February 17th 10:00 a.m.
Thankfully I was able to sleep a bit and woke up thinking my baby boy would be born on Family Day – how fitting.
I got ready to go to the hospital and this time J and my Mom wanted to both come with me for the second part of the induction.
After signing in (again), I was directed to go to “labour and delivery.” When they said that, I knew that this was happening ASAP.
“Sarahseekingbaby!” shouted Dr. Rebecca. She was sitting with about 20 nurses/doctors who were just getting started for the day.
I wondered how she knew about my instagram account.
“My friend took a screenshot of your instagram account. She saw that you were praising Dr. Rebecca and asked if it was me.”
I could feel my face turning red because I was in front of so many strangers and I didn’t want them to think less of me.
Monday February 17th at 11:00 a.m.
“I’ll be your labour and delivery nurse” said Nurse Rebecca. “I actually picked you because you and your family seem pretty cool.”
Dr. Rebecca AND Nurse Rebecca? The dream team was formed and I could not be happier.
“We just need to start the pitocin” said Nurse Rebecca. You can move around, eat, sleep, anything.
She started the pitocin at noon.
“I can feel the contractions” I said to my Mom and sister.
Monday February 17th at 12:30 p.m.
Soon my Dad and my sister L stopped by. They had picked up some things for me – diet ginger ale along with test strips for diabetes because I had run out of mine. The nurses wanted to watch my sugars throughout the labour process and right after delivery as well.
At around 4:00 p.m., I decided I had enough and asked for the epidural.
“You are 4 cm” said Nurse Rebecca.
“So I am a wimp asking for the epidural now?”
I had heard so many stories – some people were too late for an epidural, some people had to wait so long for the anesthesiologist and missed their epidural. I needed my epidural.
“Can you sit still for twenty minutes?” she asked. If you can, now is the time for your epidural. If you think you will be in too much pain to sit still for twenty minutes shortly, do it now.”
My labour and delivery room was MASSIVE. It felt like there was a party in there. Dad and L had left but I was still hanging out with my Mom and J.
Nurse Sandra (from the day before) came to see me because we had bonded so much. Dr. Rebecca was making jokes coming in and out of the room. Nurse Rebecca was the sweetest person in the world and would get me popsicles provided my sugar was low enough.
“You can’t feel the contractions?” my Mom asked. “I am watching them on the machine and you are having a lot of them.”
“I love my epidural” I said.
At that moment, I decided labour wasn’t really that bad. I heard women screaming and various codes (along with nurses and doctors running to various rooms) nearby but thought that labour couldn’t be that painful because of the epidural.
I wish that I knew then what I know now.
February 17th at 6:30 p.m.
“How far along am I?” I asked Dr. Rebecca. “I know your shift is over so can you just tell me that I am at 10 cm and you can deliver my baby?”
“You are 5 cm” said Dr. Rebecca. “I promise to come and see you tomorrow but unfortunately, you won’t be having a baby while I am here unless it is in the morning.”
“This isn’t fair” I said. Dr. Rebecca was the best and I NEEDED her.
“I am so sorry but I also have to leave at 7:30 p.m.” said Nurse Rebecca.
“NOOOOOOOOOO” I screamed. “I can’t lose both Rebecca’s. You two are like my family.”
“I am texting my friend Olivia and telling her how cool you are. Hopefully she can take over.”
“But she is no Rebecca” I said.
“I promise to come and visit you tomorrow” said Nurse Rebecca.
When Doctor Rebecca and Nurse Rebecca left, I cried. They both gave me the most beautiful speeches (Dr. Rebecca’s speech was about three things – breastfeeding (how hard it is), recovery (some tips on what helped her), and mental health. She made me laugh through the entire speech and it lasted about twenty minutes.
Nurse Rebecca then gave a little speech about what an amazing day she had and how much she loved our family. It meant the world.
Before long, a blonde blubby nurse entered my room.
“I have heard so much about you. I am Nurse Olivia.”
“Are you as cool as Nurse Rebecca?” I asked.
“I can try” she laughed.
Nurse Olivia was amazing and a little bit more strict than Nurse Rebecca. Gone were the moments where I could eat popsicles. My sugar was totally at the normal range but Nurse Olivia was watching me like a hawk.
“If you had to guess, when do you think I would have the baby?” I asked Nurse Olivia. It was already 9:00 p.m. and the whole labour thing was taking way too much time.
“If I had to guess, at the rate you are dilating, I would say 6 or 7 am” she said. “But please don’t hold me to it. You are pressuring me to give you a time so it is just from my own personal experience.”
“Okay” I said. By this point, I was frustrated. I knew labour could take a long time but this was getting a little ridiculous.
“Go home and have a nap” I directed my Mom and sister. They were absolutely exhausted and needed a break.
After begging them to leave, my Mom and sis went home to have a quick nap so that they could support me throughout the wee hours of the morning.
“Let’s watch The Bachelor” I said to Nurse Olivia. We watched the show together while other nurses and doctors drifted in and out.
“I am going to take my break now” said Nurse Olivia right as The Bachelor was ending.
“Take your time” I said. “This baby is taking forever.”
Olivia left and I started to feel A LOT of pain. I kept trying to move so that it would go away. I figured it was just the way that I was positioned on the hospital bed. Ever since my epidural, I was not allowed to get out of bed or move around.
I knew that I could call a nurse but I didn’t want to disturb anyone. I also knew that I could press a button for more pain medication but wanted to save it (just in case).
“Hello Sarah” said a different nurse who I hadn’t seen before. “Nurse Olivia is on her break so I am taking over.”
“I am in a lot of pain” I admitted.
“Well let’s see how far along you are.”
Monday February 17th at 10:30 p.m.
“You are 7 cm” said the Nurse.
I could also see that the machine with the baby’s heartbeat was beeping and I was getting scared.
“7 cm” I texted my Mom and sister.
“Be there in 10 minutes” texted my sister.
I felt so bad because they didn’t even really get a nap.
The nurse checked me again and said “9 cm.”
All of a sudden the new nurse picked up the phone and I could tell it was something serious.
“We need to take you to the operating room” she said.
“What?” I asked. “I thought I was delivering here” I said.
All of a sudden I was greeted by a lot of nurses and doctors as they wheeled me out. Nurse Olivia came back from her break and was beside me.
“Going to the operating room” I texted my Mom and sister and gave Olivia my phone.I knew they would panic but I thought it would be less nerve wracking than coming into my room only to find me gone.
Somehow in the matter of twenty minutes, I went from being 6 cm to 9 cm and the pain was real. I kept pushing my button for pain relief but it didn’t seem to be helping.
“We are putting you under” said a very concerned doctor.
In fact, inside the operating room were about 20 nurses/doctors. I was in a total panic. Just minutes ago I was enjoying The Bachelor and now there was so much commotion in the operating room. It felt like a dream and I didn’t know what to do.
“I know you are scared” said a woman who looked like an angel beside my bed. “I am Dr. MacArthur – the anasteogislist. “Do you want anyone in the room with you?” she asked.
“No” I said in extreme pain.
“Let’s just try something” suggested the doctor. “Let’s see if you can push. Try it on three. 1…2….3.”
I gave them three pushes and nothing happened.
I knew that something was wrong though. There were just way too many people in the room and I could see that they were watching a screen.
“I am just asking this question again because I am worried you may regret it” said Dr. MacArthur. “Are you sure you don’t want someone in the room with you?”
“Sure” I said. “Either my Mom or sister.”
I could barely speak because of the pain. I also wondered if my Mom and sister had even arrived at the hospital yet. Everything was happening so quickly.
“You have got this” said a voice beside me. As I looked, I couldn’t help but laugh. My sister J was in her hospital clothes ready to be my birthing partner.
“I need more drugs” I said to her. Then I started swearing.
I could hear Nurse Olivia requesting more drugs on the phone but I also heard her get denied.
“You need to start pushing again” said the doctor.
“Everything is fine babe” said my sister. “Look around the room. You are having a regular delivery. There are only six people in the room and they are so relaxed now.”
“I can’t push” I said to J. “I am in too much pain.”
Then I started to realize that if I just pushed, this pain might go away.
When I pushed I could feel the baby coming out. Holy hell, what a weird feeling. I also can’t even describe the pain to you. It was horrendous.
Everyone around me was praising me which gave me more courage to push like crazy.
After eight minutes of pushing, Max was born.
“Do you want to cut the cord?” the doctor asked J.
“No thanks” she said.
“I don’t want to either” I said.
They cut the cord and gave me Max.
“He had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. We are so lucky that you went into labour when you did” said the doctor.
Tuesday February 18th at 12:05 a.m.
I always heard that the moment I held my baby would be everything. As someone who is very sentimental, I knew I would sob like a baby.
“I don’t want to hold him” I said.
It was so unlike me. I was getting sewn up and was in so much pain. I felt so much pressure to have this beautiful moment with him and I just needed to close my eyes for a few seconds.
“You hit the pain button 70 times” my sister said reading the machine. “You only received three units of pain medication” she laughed.
Because I went into labour so quickly at the end, my epidural was not providing me with enough pain relief. Everything was timed and they didn’t expect me to be in that much pain in such a short amount of time.
I opened my eyes and watched my sister in the corner with Max and the nurses. I could actually watch him on a tv monitor and couldn’t help but think he was cute.
“Are you ready to hold him?” asked the nurse about two minutes after I gave birth.
“I am ready” I said with a smile. That was the moment I will never forget. I looked into his eyes and the whole thing felt surreal.
How did I have a baby? I was now a Mother. All of this was so worth it. I was now responsible for another human being.
“How did your eye makeup stay on the entire time you were in labour?” asked my sister.
“It’s from Fab Fit Fun” I laughed.
J could always get me out of the super serious moment when my head would start to spin. She always provided the comic relief that I needed.
After a short amount of time (I would guess 20 minutes but I have no concept of time), I was wheeled back into my labour and delivery room and was greeted by my Mom, Dad, and J’s husband (my bro in law).
They gave me gifts (which is insane because they had already done so much for me).
My Mom told me about how she has never felt so sick in all her life trying to make it back to the hospital in time for the birth.
“I am so sorry” she said.
“It was my fault” I said. “I was super stubborn and told you guys to go home” I laughed.
Then I got to watch as each family member held Max.
Watching him getting handed off from family member to family member felt amazing. Not only I had fallen so in love with a brand new human being but everyone I loved was also falling in love with him as well.
“Thank you for everything” I said to my family holding back tears.
“I love you Max” I said. It is so cliche but so true – I never knew that a love like this could exist. I love so many people and so many things. The love I have for people in my life is so extreme but this felt so different.
And that is when it hit me.
Max was worth every single appointment I attended.
He was worth missing my colleagues and my job.
He was worth every single time I projectile vomited.
He was worth staying in bed for my entire pregnancy.
He was worth all of the pain – emotional and physical.
This beautiful boy was mine and I was now his Mama. My dream – that I had for 39 years finally came to life. He was worth the wait. The wait and the difficult journey made him that much more special.
I looked into Max’s eyes and promised to protect him as much as possible.
And that was the moment I felt whole. For so much of my life there was something missing and I couldn’t figure it out. I had spent years trying to fill that void with various things and nothing had worked. Nothing until Max was born.
Now I knew my true purpose in life – to be the best Mama I can to my beautiful baby boy.
And that was when my life changed for the better. The feeling of missing something in my life was completely transformed and I felt whole. Max and I are now the best team and I could not love anyone more than my amazing, beautiful boy.
Six days before my grandmother passed away she met her great-grandson, Max.
My goal this week was to write a blog about my birth story and I will still do that. Unfortunately, I just don’t have it in me to write that blog just yet.
My grandmother passed away on Friday morning at 5:15 a.m.
Many of you may remember my very first blog post on sarahseekingbaby because it was all about my grandmother.
It was Easter Sunday four years ago and she remarked that she was so “sad” that I was “so good with kids but would never be a mother.”
Growing up with my grandmother was everything. We loved our days being with her and my grandfather and looked forward to eating Tim Horton’s donuts, watching game shows, enjoying her amazing food, and watching as everyone called her/stopped by. Everyone adored her.
After her stroke, my grandmother changed and said whatever was on her mind.
It was hard to watch her transition from being so kind and generous to her being very blunt and often times insensitive.
After my divorce, I was in such a fragile state and every time she said how she felt (and I wonder if it was actually how she even felt), I would become so upset. Before long, I was crying every time I spent time with her and needed a break. Everyone else could just let her words roll off them but I couldn’t. I just loved her so much and wanted to make her proud. I kept feeling like I was letting her down.
When I came back to her after our break, I felt so much stronger and my Grandma never said anything to hurt me again. She actually did the exact opposite – she accepted the fact that I was becoming a single mom and using a sperm donor. She just wanted to meet the donor but we told her it wasn’t possible.
We said Max could meet his donor when he turns 18, but she just didn’t seem to get it. It was also asking so much of her. What 89-year-old fully understands that her grandaughter is Single Mother by Choice?
Somehow though, she fully accepted everything and loved seeing me pregnant.
She always thought I should become a Mom and it meant everything that I was actually doing it. It just wasn’t the way we had both planned.
Last Thursday I was admitted into the hospital with Max. We were in our hometown and on Saturday my grandmother was also at the same hospital because she was having eye surgery.
“How do you feel about your grandmother visiting Max?” my mother wondered as she packed her things from my hospital room in order to be with grandma.
I looked at Max in his incubator looking bright yellow from jaundice but something in me told me to make sure this meeting happened.
“She can meet him” I said.
On Friday afternoon, my Grandma was wheeled in by my Mom in her wheelchair and upon seeing me, she lit up.
She was so happy to meet Max and wanted to hold him.
Unfortunately, her arms were too weak for him to hold him. Instead, I took Max out of the incubator and held him close to Grandma so that she could see him.
“This is Max” I said to my Grandma.
“Awww…..he is so cute” she said.
My Mom grabbed her phone and captured the moment. I will forever be so thankful that she caught this moment on camera.
My grandma spent the half-hour visit alternating between looking at me and looking at Max.
I like to think that even though she was weak and confused, she could see that Max made me the happiest woman in the world. Now my grandma could finally see that I was amazing with kids and that absolutely nothing could ever stop me from my dream of becoming a Mom.
Thank you so much for your support and well wishes. They have meant the world.
Maxwell James was born on February 18th at 12:05 a.m. This week has been an absolute whirlwind because after Max was born, his weight kept declining and he has jaundice. As a result, we have been in and out of the hospital. Max is progressing but we have daily appointments at the hospital for tests.
Being a Mama has made me the happiest I have ever been.
Next week I hope to have a blog written about Max’s birth experience because the whole thing was equal parts terrifying, painful, exciting, hilarious, and beautiful.
How fitting is it that I am being induced on the day when my blog comes out every week?
*Please note that I wrote this on Valentine’s Day because I knew that I would be too busy on Feb. 16th to write a blog.
My last appointment with my OB was on Feb 12th and went really well. My OB gave me the choice of just waiting until my induction on Sunday or having a “stretch and sweep.” For the stretch and sweep, the doctor tries a little trick (won’t go into graphic details) in hopes of causing a woman to go into labour.
“It is not always effective” my OB said. “If it were, we would never have to induce anyone ever and as you know, that is simply not the case.”
“If you think I should do it, I am in” I said.
Twenty minutes later, I was called in for the second time to see my OB and within seconds, I was done.
“But that didn’t hurt” I said.
“Sometimes it can be really painful. I guess yours was not painful” he said. “I also need to tell you that if you have your baby on the weekend, I won’t be the one to deliver your baby. I am at a conference so I wish you the absolute best.”
I knew this could happen and now I am wondering which OB I will have. Have built up this relationship with Snelgrove so I was sad to hear that he would be at a conference (but totally understood why he would be away).
I was going to hug him and say goodbye but felt he might find me incredibly awkward.
Instead, I just told him how thankful I was for his help and for his care while I held back tears.
I went back out to the admin assistant and thanked her and all of the incredible staff giving them muffins and donuts. Once again, I fought back tears.
“It’s going to be so weird not seeing you every Wednesday” said Celine (Snegrove’s assistant). “You were one of our favourite patients.”
I LOVED being their patient! They were the kindest people. Please note that EVERYONE at Mount Sinai has been the absolute best.
She was right though.
Things were going to be so different.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy and with all of my complications, I had about one appointment a week from the start of my pregnancy to the end of my pregnancy.
I hated goodbyes and graduations but I was experiencing this so much along the way.
After about 50 fertility appointments, I graduated from Mount Sinai Fertility and moved to Mount Sinai. After a number of appointments, I graduated from Mount Sinai’s High-Risk Clinic to Mount Sinai’s Low-Risk Clinic. Now, I was graduating from the clinic entirely and my next stop was going to be Mount Sinai Hospital on the 15th floor where I would deliver my baby.
It’s amazing to me how much these medical professionals become part of your life. You see them all of the time and then it just goes from 100 to zero. How does one say “thank you for giving me the greatest gift of life” yet “bye, see you never?”
I don’t want to leave Sinai and I can only imagine how much I am going to bond with the amazing labour and delivery nurses when having the baby.
Have heard that inductions can take a long time (sometimes between 24-36 hours). These medical professionals are about to see me at my most vulnerable state and I am completely in their hands. It is so scary. This also means even more bonding time and I can only imagine how incredibly kind and supportive they will be.
So if you are reading this after 10:00 a.m., I have either had a cervical ripening (It sounds so gross) or I have been given Pitocin. If I have had a cervical ripening I get to go home and wait like crazy to go into labour. If I get Pitocin, my induction should be a little faster.
The next time you hear from me, I am going to be a Mom!
Can’t wait to update you soon! As soon as everything is good, I will be posting pictures of the little one on Facebook and on Instagram. My hope is to also have some pics and a blog post for next Sunday as well.
Whenever my relationship ended with a partner, I remember being triggered. If I saw a couple hugging or kissing it would make me feel sad. If I saw a couple being really kind and sweet towards one another, I’d wonder if I might be lucky enough to have that again.
Before getting pregnant, I wondered how this would play out in my trying to conceive/pregnancy journey. Would it be a time of excruciating loneliness? Would family members, friends, or doctors treat me differently? Would I be able to detect a form of sympathy in their voice because I wasn’t able to find a partner?
At this point, I am ready to have a baby any day now and I think the answer is extremely important – especially to people who are thinking about having a baby on their own. Sure my experience will be different from you, but I think it is really important to share the truth about what happened during my journey.
When I went to my doctor to tell her that I wanted to have a baby on my own, I expected her to say that she was shocked. Instead, she just said, “do you have the forms?” I had prepared myself for this important event and had figured out various ways of how I would answer questions when she asked me. She didn’t ask me one question. The only really awkward moment was when she asked the front desk to fax off the paperwork and the admin assistant yelled: “but she didn’t write her partner on this form.”
The admin assistant yelled for me to put my partner’s name on the form and I said: “I am doing it on my own.” I still have no idea where that strength came from because everyone in the waiting room was watching me.
I then went to get my bloodwork and the kind nurse said “you are getting so much blood taken today. You really need your husband to make you a steak dinner.”
“Yes I do” I replied and laughed.
That was the first day of my journey so I just assumed that it would be like this throughout my time in trying to get pregnant.
After two months of waiting to be called by Mount Sinai Fertility, I figured I’d call to see why there was a delay in being set up with a fertility doctor.
“We couldn’t process your forms” a voice said on the phone. “You didn’t list your partner’s name.”
“I am using a donor” I said.
I was extremely frustrated because I wanted to start the process right away and I knew that Sinai had so many women that were doing it on their own.
A couple weeks later I was set up with my amazing fertility doctor, Dr. Claire Jones.
My sister came with me to every single important fertility appointment with Dr. Jones. She was the best partner that anyone could have. She’d make me laugh and would bring me little gifts such as lottery tickets to scratch while we were waiting.
The couples around us seemed frustrated and many would argue. It seemed that one of the partners was always in a rush and would become extremely anxious about the time spent in the waiting room.
My sister and I would just laugh at the length of time we waited. We’d make bets and be shocked when the wait time was under one hour.
I can’t even remember how many appointments I had at the fertility clinic – maybe 50? I think about 10 of them were very important, and the rest I wanted to go to on my own. For both of my IUI’s, I went alone and didn’t have someone with me. My friends and family members asked if they could be there, but I felt too awkward getting inseminated with them in the room.
Once I was pregnant, I was waiting for the many questions to be asked. I expected people to ask about my “husband.” I wondered how long it would take before someone asked me how my husband felt in becoming a “Dad”.
I have been absolutely shocked at how little this has happened.
Nobody at Mount Sinai Hospital has asked me about my partner at all. They have been incredibly supportive and just made sure that I have some help after delivering the baby. They have asked me about who I will have in the delivery room and what kind of “team” I have behind me once the baby is born.
I’ve only had two situations where I have been asked about my partner. The first was from a family friend who just said: “oh, I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”
“I am not seeing anyone” I said. “I am doing it on my own.”
No matter how many times I say it, I brace myself for some kind of reaction. I take a deep breath and get ready to feel insulted.
“I am so proud of you” she said.
The only other time occurred when I was getting a massage and the massage therapist asked how my husband felt about me having a boy.
“I actually don’t have a partner” I said. “I am doing it on my own.”
“I was going to do the same thing!” she said.
To be honest, I can’t get over the number of people who say that they looked into having a baby on their own. I’d say that about ¼ people I tell, give me that response. Who knows how close they were to actually doing it, but it makes me feel less alone.
There have only been four times along the journey that I really wanted a partner.
The first was when I went to the fertility doctor because I felt a sense of shame. They talked to me about my BMI, and I started crying. At the time I think everyone (including myself) thought I was crying because I felt angry that I had let my weight creep up so much. Looking back, I know it was because I felt so ashamed that I had to admit that I hadn’t found someone. I wasn’t “good” enough to have someone who wanted to have a baby with me.
Please know that this is not how I feel at all anymore. I just needed to allow myself to feel that in order to move on. I know that I could have settled in a lot of different relationships and that I could have easily convinced someone to have a baby with me. I just didn’t want anyone – I wanted a solid partner.
The next time happened when I was told that I had twins and decided to have a procedure done so that one of my babies would go on to be healthy. It would have felt a bit better to have someone hugging me every day leading up to the procedure. I think I waited something like seven weeks between knowing that I was going to have the procedure versus actually having the procedure. It felt like a huge weight hanging over me. Luckily, I had so much support from family and friends that it started to feel as though the weight wasn’t as intense.
The third time I wanted to have a partner was when I was selecting a sperm donor. I was not emotionally prepared for all of the feelings that it would bring up. I felt like I was too unloveable to have someone who wanted to have a baby with me. I think there was a lot of work that I needed to do because my ex-husband had told me he no longer wanted to have kids with me. It brought up a lot of memories from the past. Once I selected a sperm donor and worked through those issues, I haven’t felt that way at all.
The fourth time I wanted a partner was this week. It’s been so long since I have thought about having a partner along the way and it happened this week when all I wanted to do was to have one spoonful of ice-cream. I wanted to send my partner out because I was craving ice-cream so much at around 8:00 p.m. I tried everything to get my mind away from ice-cream but I couldn’t. So what did I do? I bundled up in my winter coat and got myself some damn ice-cream.
So there have really been only four times along this journey where I missed having a partner. Some of those times were only quick moments where feelings passed quickly. Other times, I had to work through some issues and had to reach out for support.
Most of the time I am thankful that I don’t have a partner.
I get to raise this little boy the way that I want to raise him. There won’t be any conflict about parenting styles.
I got to name my son with the name that I selected and didn’t have to consult anyone.
I got to remain calm during my appointments because I didn’t have a frustrated partner worrying about time and how many appointments I had scheduled.
I always say that the loneliest I ever felt in my life was when I was married. It sounds really strange because I had a partner. How could one really feel lonely while being in a relationship? There were countless reasons I felt this way (and I won’t go into them) but I was just so incredibly alone and sad.
Sometimes I get a sense that people feel a bit of sadness for me because they think that I am at a disadvantage because there is only one of me and “normally” a child has two parents. But what if the parents don’t love one another or even worse – if they don’t love themselves? What if one of the parents isn’t a good parent or a good role model? What if one of the parents resents the other one for having children?
I know there are many loving couples who have an amazing partnership and are incredible parents together. I love that and wish for that but unfortunately, I don’t think that is the norm.
As I keep getting older and hearing stories and seeing things around me, I just feel so lucky. I had a choice and I know that being pregnant without a partner has brought me the greatest joy. There were some sad days but I have never been this happy in my entire life and I don’t regret my decision for a minute.
And I will find love.
It may not be tomorrow or within the next couple of years but I know that one day I will find a partner. I will be picky as hell because I know my worth and I know that I don’t want a partner to “complete me” but to be the icing on the cake of an already amazing life.
So if you ever speak to a single mother by choice, please don’t feel sorry for her. She is strong as hell and probably feels damn good about making such an amazing decision.
Please also know that in this pregnancy without a partner I have never felt so loved, strong, happy, and beautiful. Pregnancy without a partner can be such an incredible thing.