Pregnancy Without a Partner – The Truth

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.

The Results Are In!

Wed June 12th 2019

I was standing in the line waiting to pay for my two pregnancy tests and the man behind me wanted to chat.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to chat.  I had tunnel vision and all I wanted to do was get home and take a pregnancy test.

“How does this watch work?” asked the man holding up a watch from the store. Who knew that Rexall Pharmacy sold watches? Not this girl.

“I have no idea” I said (totally lying).  Normally, nothing gives me greater joy than to help someone out but I was on a mission and I needed to know if I was in fact, pregnant.

Once home, I decided it was time.

Yes the nurse told me not to take an at home pregnancy test.  Yes I googled about how one should not take an at home pregnancy test after taking fertility meds as it usually results in a positive.  Yes I was having my blood test at 7 am the next morning but I didn’t care.  

I needed to know the results.

I also didn’t want to see the results on my own.  I have promised to share everything with you on this journey and thought it was fitting that you were with me in that moment as well.

RESULT TIME

After the test I called my sister J. I facetimed her with the positive pregnancy test beside my face.

“No way” she said.

“Way” I laughed. 

I then went on to explain that this was hopeful but didn’t mean I was necessarily pregnant.  I didn’t want to get too excited and wanted to keep all of my feelings in check.

But I wanted to celebrate.

I took the pregnancy test and decided to sleep beside it. 

I couldn’t put it under my pillow because I was afraid I’d break it.  My logic said that if I slept beside a positive test in the night it would be positive in the morning. If you haven’t realized it yet – the fertility process makes you lose your damn mind. Fully aware that I sound like a lunatic. 

Thursday June 13th

Just before I was about to leave for the fertility clinic at 6:30 a.m., I realized that I still needed to take the pregnancy test.

I took it but nothing showed up.  I didn’t really have to go pee so the stick wasn’t fully pink (turns pink when it is fully wet).  A little too much TMI?

I kept checking to make sure that my cycle hadn’t started and went off to the clinic with a smile on my face. 

Something told me I was pregnant.

After getting my blood taken, I stopped and got a decaf coffee. I was finally able to use the restroom and in Café Dineen, I took the pregnancy test.  After that, I put it in my purse.  I couldn’t wait to look at it until I got home, I checked it and it was positive.

Cafe Dineen – the perfect place for a pregnancy test.

Then I waited. And waited.  And waited some more.

By 4:00 p.m., I knew that the clinic was closed and all of the calls were made for the day.  How could the clinic not tell me whether or not I was pregnant?  This was a true test for a really anxious person.  I had the vision of telling my family on Thursday night and I couldn’t tell them, or could I?

After arriving home from work at 9:30 p.m., I decided it was time to call my parents.

“Congratulations” they said.  They were so happy and I recorded the whole thing.  My super kind and talented bro in law promised to make me a video of all of the reactions. My parents were so happy and also a little worried since I hadn’t heard from the clinic so they were afraid to celebrate too much.

Then I called my bro-in-law D and sister E.  They completely freaked out and I was so happy to record their faces.  E indicated that on this date two years ago, she told D that she was pregnant.  That made me cry (again for the 100th time). E said her little one was crying and I begged her to let me see my niece.  The camera revealed that my niece stood up in her crib for the first time.  Then my niece saw me on the phone and started to blow me kisses.  It was the sweetest moment and something I’ll never forget.

My other sister J was sending me a lot of messages and I spoke with her explaining that there was no news but that I was really feeling like I was pregnant.

That night the Toronto Raptors won and there were so many celebrations outside my apartment.  Everyone was cheering and fireworks were going off.  The game brought everyone in the city together and nothing made me happier than falling asleep to the sound of so many happy people.  It was a great night.

Friday June 14th

I woke up and got ready for work and saw that the clinic was calling at 7:00 a.m. (right when they first opened).

“Sarah….the test is positive” said the nurse.

“For real?” I screamed.

“For real” she laughed. She then explained that I needed to wait until Saturday at 10:30 a.m. to take my final test to make sure my levels were high enough.  She said that levels should be anything above 50 and that my levels were at 200 so everything looked “really good.”

On the way to work, Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” came on the radio.  It was part of a mash-up of songs on 92.5, and I started sobbing.  If I were to have a baby, it would be the “greatest love of all” and it was “happening to me.”  HOLY EMOTIONAL.

That’s when I decided to start telling people.  I wanted to tell my closest family and friends before they found out on my blog or Instagram so I decided it was okay to start telling people.

My co-worked filmed my sister J’s reaction and the reaction from my parents.  Hopefully one day I can share that video with you.

Every person I told was so happy.  Every person had believed in me so much. Every call gave me the greatest joy. I laughed and mostly cried when I got to speak to some of my favourite people in the world.  Life was so good. 

Saturday June 15th

I went to the clinic at 10:30 a.m. and every time I went to the washroom I kept checking to make sure that my cycle hadn’t started.  Truth be told, it just felt too good to be real.  Getting pregnant after your second IUI was something that I never thought would happen.

Fertility is completely a game of chance and I have so many friends who have had such difficult journeys in getting pregnant.  I have locked eyes and smiled at so many women in fertility clinics who go there every single day. I have watched as several of my friends have struggled through miscarriages.  I have heard so many stories and I didn’t expect to be lucky.  Yet here I am. Please know that I am fully aware of how lucky I am. I feel so blessed.

When I went to the clinic it was completed deserted except for one other woman wearing a “Mama Bird” t-shirt.  I loved it and realized that if I am a Mom, I am going to wear all the Mom t-shirts and have all the Mom mugs. 

“Sarah?” asked the nurse.

I went into the room to get my blood taken and wondered if it would be my last time in the clinic not knowing 100% whether or not I was pregnant. Then I got teary eyed.

When I flipped my arms over to expose my veins, the nurse said “wow….you are really bruised on both arms. You have had a lot of blood tests done.”

“It is so worth it” I beamed.

From there, I went to the LCBO and bought my sister J and her husband D some champagne.  Little did I know that they had champagne and the cutest sign for me at their place.

Not sure if I am laughing or crying here. HOLY EMOTIONAL.

When I got in their apartment they popped the champagne and J made me a sparkling non-alcoholic drink but put it in a champagne glass.

“Thank you so much for supporting me on my journey” I said as we toasted.

About thirty minutes later my phone rang.

“Sarah?” asked the nurse on the phone.

“Yes?” I said.

“You sound really worried” said the nurse.

“I am so worried” I admitted.

“Everything is great. We will see you in three weeks for your first ultrasound.”

I cried.

It felt amazing.

The world seemed right. 

I AM GOING TO BE A MOM.

My baby is due in February 2020!

Ready, Set, Impregnate?

As of Wednesday, my sperm vials are all officially at the sperm donor clinic in Toronto.

Buying sperm reminds me of how there is always that one product at Christmas that everyone wants to buy.  People fight over it, go to the store to buy it, even try to buy it online and it eventually sells out. Who knew sperm was one hot commodity? I can’t believe I am comparing sperm to a Christmas toy that everyone wants.  What is happening to me?

Maybe sperm donors should be paid in Canada.  They are paid in the United States but are not paid in different countries around the world.  I was lucky to have a bit of choice because some women from other countries have mentioned on Instagram that they have had 1-3 choices. THREE. Luckily I had about ten options and that was after I refined the search (Open ID Donor, CMV negative, etc).

So now I am just waiting.  I have one vial of sperm at the Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic and I have two vials waiting for their “shipping dates” from the sperm donor clinic in Toronto to Mount Sinai (where I get the procedure).

I am just waiting for day 1 of my cycle and will call into Mount Sinai.  Fingers crossed that they have funding. If so, I have to wait until day 15 or something to have my IUI (sperm placed inside my uterus).  After that, I will wait two weeks to find out if I am pregnant. PREGNANT. Gosh, that word feels great to write.

If everything goes according to plan, I’m going to try three IUI’s total (one in May, June, and July.)

Stats show that only 20-25% of women get pregnant from their first IUI.  Fertility stats are absolutely terrifying me right now. In having an Instagram account, I have become part of this amazing group of people who write about their fertility experiences.  I see the numbers. I see that so many of them struggle so much. Perhaps I am just protecting my heart and preparing myself for the worst but hoping for the best.

My social worker and my fertility doctor both say that three is the lucky number and that many women get pregnant on their third try with IUI.

So even though I may get pregnant on try one or two, I have paid $2,490.00 for all three vials. At Can-Am Cryservices they will buy back sperm but I ended up choosing Repromed because they had a vial in stock of my donor and knew they could get the other two vials quickly).

So it is now all up to the universe.  

I am also trying to understand what is making me so emotional these days (and I am an emotional person to begin with).  I don’t know if it is stress or excitement (maybe both) but I can cry at a random song playing, a child walking down the street, and/or a baby that I see in his mother’s arms.  The bottom line is that I am a mess and I am not even on fertility drugs yet.

Friends around me keep getting pregnant and it is making me more and more excited.  Maybe I will be off on maternity leave with them. Time will tell.

I also don’t know if I will be emotionally prepared to have all of my IUI’s in a row.  It seems like it may be a lot to find out that I didn’t get pregnant and I may have to lean on some of my amazing friends and family (with some wine and ice-cream) when/if this happens.  This may start to be too much and I may need a break.

Overall, I’m also so freakin excited.  

I could know by the end of summer if I am able to get pregnant through IUI.  Can you even imagine?

No matter what happens though, this experience has been a blessing.  It’s helped me to connect to people I haven’t talked to in a while who have reached out when they saw my facebook status saying that I was trying to have a baby on my own and starting a blog.  It’s honestly been like a public school/high school reunion complete with both my peers and the teachers that I have adored.

It’s also been a University reunion as so many kind friends have reached out with stories of their own supporting me in every way possible.  

Friends and family have also been there for me so much and have provided so much encouragement. They ask thoughtful questions and also say the most beautiful things.

There have also been people who have said some hurtful things but it keeps making me stronger. I have to thank them because each time I hear something negative, it only makes me want to pursue this more and only makes me better able to handle negativity in my life.

I just feel really lucky.

I feel blessed because of science (lucky that this is even an option).

I feel blessed that I am lucky enough to be able to afford the fertility fees.

I feel blessed that I am becoming emotionally stronger every day.

Thank you for reading this and for being there for me.  Even reading this shows that you support me and this decision. I REALLY hope I have some exciting news to share with you really soon.