The Birth Story

Leaving for Induction Part One

Sunday February 16th at 9:00 a.m.

“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.

Checking into Mount Sinai

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.

Induction Part One

“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.

Back Home

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.

In Labour and Delivery

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.”

After my epidural

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. 

The Washroom in the Delivery Room – Bigger Than My Bedroom in My Condo
My Birth Partner – My Mama

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.

My Sister (AKA Birthing Partner Who Saw WAY Too Much)

“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.

Seconds After 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. 

Holding Max For The First Time

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.

Maxwell James

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.

All I Want for Christmas is a Dad?

While walking home from my OB appointment I couldn’t believe how cold it was. I tucked into the mall to take a shortcut back to my apartment.

A little girl caught my eye – she about eight years old.  She was wearing beautiful black shoes, white tights, and a beautiful sparkly black dress. Her mother was by her side holding her jacket and they were about to go into the bookstore. 

“Mom, do you know what I really want for Christmas?” she asked.

I couldn’t help the smile from appearing on my face. It was just such a magical time of year and I really wondered what she was going to say.

“A Dad” she said.

I froze and could feel my eyes widen. I was not expecting that response.

All I wanted to do was to stay to hear the mother’s response yet I continued on my walk through the mall. I hadn’t even been able to capture the mother’s face after her daughter had said those words. It had all happened too fast.

I put my hand on my baby bump and thought about my little one for a minute.

Would he say something like this in the future? How would I even respond to a statement like this if he had asked me for a Dad for Christmas?

My mind started spiralling.

He has a Dad whom he’ll be able to meet when he turns 18.

But he will only see his Dad in a book that I have created. Does that even count as a Dad?

He may have a Dad in the future. I could remarry again.

Imagine dating again when you have a child? It makes everything so complicated. What if my son falls in love with a guy I am dating and our relationship doesn’t work out?

During my walk home, I was in deep concentration and nothing could take my mind off my thoughts that soon turned into obsessive thoughts (better known as anxiety). I started worrying about everything and whether or not I would have the right things to say when tough situations came up.

How did other mothers without a partner answer this question?

Whenever there is a question that I don’t know the answer to, I turn towards my community on Instagram. There are so many supportive people on there and a lot of them are doing the solo parent thing.

Here are just some of the amazing responses I received:

“Not all dads are great ones. Supportive men are everywhere…grandpas, uncles, family friends, cousins. They can act as a Dad. I wouldn’t know what to say either, but thinking about this in advance is why you’re already an amazing Mom Sarah.”

“I know baby but you do have a dad. He helped mommy make you from far away. Unfortunately, I don’t know him, but I wish I did so that you could know him. We can look at pictures of him together and maybe one day we can know his name. For now, it’s just you and me.”

“I wish that you had one too because I always want you to have the things that make you happy but I wanted you so badly that I made the choice to have you even though there was no “dad” in my life. I just couldn’t wait and having you was the most important thing in the world. We are so lucky though because you are loved even more than a lot of people who have dads (some of whom aren’t so nice). People saw you and were able to see how perfect you are and wanted to be part of your life so that they could love you too.”

The last message I received was from a former student I taught years ago. She is now in her mid 20’s and wrote me this:

“I actually grew up just Mom and me as well. I’ve never actually met my dad or anyone on his side of the family. I’m positive that I asked my Mom a question like that at some point – not just about having a father but also about his side of the family. I don’t remember her saying something specific but I just remember feeling really loved after we talked about it. She said something like ‘I was just so excited to have you here. I love you twice as much.’ So I guess it doesn’t matter what you specifically say because your little one is going to feel so loved.”

People were sending me messages telling me that they were taking screenshots when I posted some of these responses because they wanted to be ready to have beautiful answers when their child asked them about a father.

Here’s the thing though – kid’s love questions and it is only going to be a matter of time before these questions start coming up.

When I have announced my pregnancy to some people, a few have said: “I didn’t know you were seeing someone Sarah.” That’s when I respond that I am “doing it on my own.” But here’s the thing. I am not really doing it on my own.

I am living with my parents, I have my sisters and my brothers-in-law, I have two sweet cousins for my little one to meet, I have an extended family, and so many friends.  Plus, I have this amazing community that I would have never met had I not started this blog/social media account.

Some people have sent me messages asking me how I respond when people say that being a single mother by choice is “selfish.” How can one possibly decide to bring a baby into the world knowing that there is no father or male role model?

I have realized that you can’t plan how to respond to situations like these or even situations when a child asks for a Dad for Christmas. Every time that I get asked a question I try to never respond in an angry or aggressive way. I take a deep breath, and let the right answer come out. Sometimes I am shocked by how I answer questions or statements. A lot of people just say things because they don’t understand enough about the situation. I take it upon myself to use these moments as teachable moments. 

When I say teachable moments, I don’t mean that I act as a “teacher” and teach them what is “right.” Instead, these moments are when two people exchange information and truly try to understand one another. Nothing is said in a hurtful or harmful way. Instead, you speak from the heart.

I’ve found that as long as I speak from the heart in all of the questions I have received since beginning my journey, people can’t really be that hurtful in response. Sure, some might be more aggressive but as long as I stay cool and calm and just speak from the heart, things have never really turned that ugly.

For the past couple of days, I can’t get the image of that little girl with her mom going into the bookstore out of my mind. She was so angelic and I am sure that her mother answered her question in a beautiful way. Mama’s somehow know how to answer the tough stuff. In times when they don’t, they can always come back to the question and answer it how they wished they would have from the beginning.

So when it is my turn, what will my answer be? I have no idea but I promise my answer will come straight from my heart and will be full of so much kindness, grace and love.

So let the questions begin.

39 and Pregnant

For the past several years, every time I have blown out a birthday candle I have made a wish to find someone to build a family with.

Since I was a child, birthdays have always been a big deal. My Mom is the super creative type so every birthday we would get to pick a theme. From there, all games, decorations, and prizes were related to that theme. Some of my fondest memories of growing up involved having so much fun while being surrounded by those I love on my birthday.

In University, and in my 20’s, my birthday was always a big night out. It fell at the perfect time – midterms were done and/or Halloween was over and we needed an excuse to party.

My 30th birthday was one of my most favourite memories – my boyfriend at the time proposed while I was surrounded by all of my closest family and friends at my party. My birthday cake came out with the words “will you marry me?” It will always be one of my favourite moments in my life. 

After all of those incredible birthdays, nothing could live up to the past. 

My birthday suddenly became a time where I reflected and realized that my biological clock was ticking and time was running out. 

It seemed like with each passing moment, I was getting further and further away from my dream.

I like to be in control of everything. It just seemed like I couldn’t get in control of the type of life I wanted to lead. 

I wanted the husband and two kids and it felt like the more I tried looking for it, the more it was further away from my grasp.

Every year I blew out a birthday candle or every year I celebrated New Year’s Eve, I would tell myself that “this would be the year.

But the year would come and go. Perhaps I had a relationship at that time but it had never lasted. I would put so much pressure on myself because I really wanted my plan to work.

It had worked for other people but then I wonder if it really had.

I knew people who lied to their partners about being on birth control to try to get pregnant.

I knew people who got pregnant so that they could get engaged.

I knew people who were in horrible marriages who were just sticking it out to have kids.

I knew people who lied to themselves and tried to pretend their partner was great because it meant that they were getting closer and closer to their dream.

I also knew people who were in loving, beautiful, relationships where they had made a decision with their partner to have a child.

On my 38th birthday, I didn’t wish for a man to have a child with. I realized that my dream was going to come in a different form and that for the first time ever, it didn’t involve a man.

As soon as I took the pressure off myself to find a man, I became happier. I had to grieve the fact that I was never going to find a partner to start a family with, but it was still going to be okay.

My 38th year was the absolute best year of my life. Don’t get me wrong – it was the most challenging year of my life as well. 

Going through the trying to conceive journey was tough as hell. I give credit to absolutely anyone going through the journey because it is not for the weak.

If I didn’t have a supportive family, friends and a really good therapist, I don’t know if I could have gone through with it.

At 38, I became pregnant though which has been the biggest blessing to have ever happened to me.

On November 7th, 2019, on my 39th birthday, a cake was placed before me and I just kept staring at the candle. What could I possibly wish for? I had everything I had ever wanted – I was pregnant with a baby boy.

“I just want my baby boy to be healthy and happy” I said.

This was my first birthday in eight years where I haven’t felt sad. I was surrounded by my sister and her family and it was everything. I looked around the table at my niece and nephew and just thought “life really doesn’t get better than this.” 

Who would have thought that being pregnant at 39 would give me so much joy?

Years ago, it would have been my nightmare. A baby without a husband? Gosh, I have changed.

People sent me beautiful messages on my birthday such as “you’ll have help blowing out birthday candles next year” or “this will be your last birthday on your own. Make sure you celebrate it well.”

I had the best birthday and I didn’t need anything special. All I needed was family, a gluten-free brownie cake, and the knowledge that this year was going to be a year unlike any other.

I am 39, single, and pregnant and have never been happier in my life.

Can I Just Have a Glass of Wine? Make That a Bottle. I Am Way Too Stressed.

(One of us hates the long waits at the clinic.)

“Aunt Sarah let’s race our cars now. Right now” said my three-year-old nephew beside me.

Everything was happening so quickly.

My Dad was rushing to put things into a backpack, my sister L was packing up food so my parents could eat something, my Mom was heading out the door to go to the hospital.

“Aunt Sarah. We need to play” said my nephew having absolutely no idea the emergency that was happening around us.

I pretended to race my car but what I really wanted to do was to run into a room and cry.

Minutes before, my Mom had told us that she had passed out the night before but didn’t know why. She could see that her heart rate was getting too high and had finally decided it was time to go to the hospital.

That was on Sunday and thus began events that nobody could have expected.

This week was A LOT for everyone. Because of her heart defibrillator, the team at Toronto General, and my Mom’s strength, she was able to get out of the hospital by Thursday evening.

My parents had come down to Toronto for a Jays game and my Mom was planning on attending two appointments with me this week – my 20-week anatomy ultrasound on Monday, and my OB appointment on Wednesday.

What was so odd was that she was so close by – just across the street at Toronto General. She explained how sad she was at missing the appointments and I just stated over and over again that I didn’t care. I just needed her to be healthy.

Because my Mom couldn’t make the appointment, my sister J came with me. Throughout the day, J had been to Toronto General to see Mom, went to my appointment at Sinai, worked an eight-hour shift, and went back to Toronto General in the evening. I told her that she didn’t need to come to my appointment but she was so kind and was there by my side.

Because I was so stressed, I had no idea how the anatomy scan would go. To be honest, all of my thoughts were on my Mom and it wasn’t really registering that I was having my ultrasound.

Throughout the ultrasound, I tried to talk to both the nurse as well as J. The nurse was too busy and didn’t want to chat. J would talk to me for a bit but I could tell she was also tired and stressed about Mom.

I wasn’t able to see the monitor either so I was just laying down, sitting in a dark room, and trying my best not to be too stressed out.

After about ten minutes I knew I had to ask a question.

“Is he there?” I asked the nurse.

“Yes” she said.

“Does he have a heartbeat?”

“Yes” she said.

That was pretty much all of the small talk I could get out of her.

I could feel my anxiety increasing as I sat there.

“Is he moving around a lot?” 

“Yes” she said.

After that, I gave up.  We weren’t going to be friends and I would just use this time to breathe deeply.

“You are done” she said. “But we need to look at your cervix.”

My sister was sitting at my feet and upon hearing that, jumped out of her seat.

“I am moving” she said.

The nurse left and I took off my pants, hiding so my sister couldn’t see anything.

(A pic of the ultrasound of baby boy. He looks still here, right?)

“You know that you are going to have to get comfortable with me seeing things” said J. “I am going to be there at your labour so I’ll see a whole lot more of you. Be prepared.”

The nurse came back in and after about two minutes I was done. Overall, the anatomy ultrasound took about 1 hour and fifteen minutes.

“You will have to come back” said the nurse. “I couldn’t see much.”


(I took this picture from her screen. I guess Baby Boy did move around a lot.)

From there, I was asked to sit in the waiting room until about 20-30 minutes later, when I was given a new date and time to come back.

On Wednesday I had my ultrasound for the research study that I am in at Mount Sinai. 

“I’ll try and get what the nurse didn’t get in the anatomy ultrasound” said the physician.

This time I could see the monitor and watched as baby boy flipped around and kicked the entire time.

“I am trying but I just can’t get pictures of him. He is one of the most active babies I have seen.”

“What?” I asked. “I have no energy. Why does he have so much energy? Why can’t he be more like his Mama?” I laughed.

“When they are like this in the womb, they are like this when they come out of the womb” said the physician doing the study.

“What?” I asked.

(Baby Boy at the research ultrasound. This is the only time he was still.)

After my research ultrasound, I was off to meet with Dr. Snelgrove.

While in the waiting room, I watched as a man spoke on his cell phone.

“It’s a girl Mom. She is in the washroom and I’m not sure if I am allowed to tell you. Actually, here she comes. She can tell you herself.”

I can’t even begin to express how excited I was at watching this all unfold. 

“Congratulations on your girl” I said. Before long, we were chatting about a variety of things including how much we loved Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic and how much we loved Mount Sinai.

“Sarah?” asked the nurse.

I couldn’t believe how fast the two-hour wait went because of the kind couple I had met. I made a mental note to talk to everyone around me next time.

Dr. Snelgrove welcomed me, asked how I was doing and looked over my anatomy scan.

“Wow…thanks a lot guys” he laughed. “They were only able to measure the head” he said. “Your baby was moving around way too much.”

“He is a soccer player” I said.

After that, we discussed my health and how I am still not gaining any weight or keeping any food down. I asked if something was wrong with me because I was sleeping 12-16 hours a day. I also discussed other gross pregnancy symptoms that I won’t write about here. Every time I talk about it my Dad says “TMI.”

So through all of the events of the week, baby boy made it through this week with his mother being completely stressed out. It’s so hard going through such a stressful time knowing that you have to remain calm.

This week got a lot better because on Thursday night, Mom was released from the hospital.

I felt really bad because I wanted to be with my Mom 24/7 at the hospital, but my body wouldn’t let me. I would start getting sick and knew it was time to go home and to rest. It was really hard to find a balance.

Now that she is home, I am resting and have cancelled everything so I can just be in bed. This week took so much out of me emotionally and physically.

My Mom is everything and it was amazing watching her strength through all of this. The whole time I just kept thinking “you need to get healthy. You need to be with my son.”

So now if anyone ever asks me where I get my strength from, I’ll always be sure to say “I got it from my Mama.” 

If I can be half the Mom, my Mom has been to me OR if I can be half as strong as my Mom, I know I will have made it as the most incredible Mom. 

I love you Mama.

(Mom leaving the hospital.)


I Totally Know That I am Having a Boy

Just after M found out the sex of the baby

“Are you hoping to have a boy or a girl?” 

I’d get this question at least once a day and my response was always the same.

“As long as it is healthy and happy, I don’t really care.” People would just roll their eyes – they wanted to hear “boy” or “girl.”

Then I started to really care.

For two months people kept telling me that I was having a girl so then I became attached to having a girl. At night I’d talk to my little girl “Hey Girl! Hope you had a great day today. Mama is super tired.”

Earlier this week, a friend sent me a direct message on Instagram about a study she was doing regarding the placenta. She asked if I would want to possibly be part of the study and as a result, I would have an ultrasound every four weeks and I would get more ultrasound pictures.

Helping out with medical research and getting extra pictures of my little one? It was a win/win!

Before long, the forms were signed and on Thursday I went to the appointment.

“Please don’t tell me the sex” I told the nurses.

“Thank goodness you told us because we would have totally talked about the sex in the ultrasound.”

My friend M was with me at the appointment. She was close by, knew I was at Sinai, and wanted to meet. As a nurse practitioner, M could look closely at the ultrasound screen and began speaking in what I could only describe as “nurses talk” to the other nurses in the room.


Then came some words that I finally could understand.

“So you can see right here the gender of the baby” said the nurse to M.

She zoomed in and printed out a pic for M. I still haven’t seen the picture that M has. I don’t even know if anyone wants an ultrasound picture that has been zoomed in on the genitalia.

“Oh my gosh. It is a boy” I said.

Both M and the nurse laughed.

“Why would you say that?” asked the nurse.

“Who zooms in on a pic and says that ‘you can tell by looking right there?’ It is a boy. You two are busted and now I know the truth.”

I watched their faces looking for a sign.

“I have the best poker face” said M. “You won’t find out from me.”

Just before I had my appointment for the study, I messaged my family and asked them what everyone was up to on the weekend. I explained that I was taking part in the study and was pretty sure they would be able to tell the sex of the baby during my ultrasound. My logical sister had planned that we would have a gender reveal party during Thanksgiving weekend (since we were all going to be together anyway). I knew that Thanksgiving would be WAY too long to find out and WAY TOO LONG for me to keep a secret.

My entire family was crazy busy. Everyone had at least 3-4 important things going on during the weekend. Somehow we all agreed that Sunday at 11:00 a.m. we could have our little gender reveal party.

Once M knew the sex, I realized I needed to know. When we walked out of the appointment I kept quizzing M and kept trying to get her to slip up on identifying the sex.

No luck.

Instead, she walked away with the picture and said she would tell my brother-in-law (who I am sure doesn’t care about the sex of my baby). From there, he would get a box and there would be both pink and blue balloons. He would put the corresponding balloons (pink = girl, boy = blue, super stereotypical) in the box.

Since Thursday, I have totally thought I am having a boy. On Thursday night I headed to bed and said “hello boy?”

Over the past couple of days, I have totally gotten used to being a boy Mom. I’ve started to envision attending his hockey games and being a hockey Mom early to the ice on the weekends (yes, again, totally stereotypical). Other women have told me about their connection to their sons and how there is nothing better than being a “boy Mom.” 

I also had a girl’s name picked out for my baby girl and was about 99.9% sure of it. Have tossed around a couple of ideas with regards to boys names but I just can’t settle down on one. Since Thursday I have been taking in every boy’s name. When I went to a restaurant on Friday, I started to listen closely to the different male names of the servers looking for some sort of inspiration. 

As a teacher, you are blessed with some incredible students and other students may be a bit more challenging. You also usually remember the names of the best kids and the kids that have given you a tough time. When I hear a name, I instantly think back to that student. So many beautiful names are out for me because of the connection to the good/challenging student(s).

As you know, my pregnancy hasn’t been the easiest (currently off work which I will get into another time) so this news has totally made me all excited about being pregnant again. To be honest, Thursday was one of my most favourite days being pregnant. As soon as I saw the little one, I felt this intense love.

It was so crazy to get such an in-depth look at all of the body parts. This is a picture of the foot of the baby that the nurse took.


“Are there two feet?” I asked completely frazzled.

“Yes,” said the nurse with a laugh. “I could only get a picture of the one.”

“Look at the cute face” said the nurse as she zoomed in on the face. “Would you like a picture of it?”

“Oh no” I said. “The baby looks like an actual alien. Maybe next time?”

I can’t wait to have so many ultrasounds and to see how much this baby progresses month to month. I also can’t wait to find out the sex because then I might start thinking about what to buy him or what to name him. There are so many exciting things ahead.

On next week’s blog, I will share the sex of the baby with you and will be sure to take some pictures at the gender reveal party. Right now I am 99.9% sure it is a boy so we shall see! What do you think – boy or girl?

What Is Really Going On?

There have been so many times where I’ve had questions during the process of being a single mom by choice and I’ve reached out to friends, family, and the Instagram community.  Everyone has been there for me and I decided this week I’d give back.

Below are a series of questions that people messaged me on Facebook or Instagram this week.  In fact, I received so many questions (30 thus far) that this is going to be Part One of questions and next week I will answer Part Two. Some questions deal with topics related to becoming a single mother by choice. Other questions are just things that people are wondering about regarding my pregnancy or pregnancy in general.  Please know that I am such a huge fan of learning and of being open. Feel free to ask me anything and if you would like your question featured on the blog next week, just send me an email.

Now for the fun part….

  • You said you love your donor. Is it someone you personally know? Just curious.

It is not someone I personally know yet somehow I feel like I know him. I felt that using sperm from a friend might really complicate everything and was worried that the donor might change his mind once the baby was born and want to become part of the child’s life. Yes there are court documents to ensure that you are the sole parent but my social worker suggested that these documents don’t always hold up in court.

As a result, I decided to find a donor from a sperm bank. It was so hard choosing a donor and I even had a little breakdown while finding one (am I really that horrible that nobody wants to have kids with me?) After my little pity party (which I think everyone is allowed), I was very limited in my selection. I always thought I’d get a book and could select a donor from the book. Instead, I got a few matches online that I got to select from. After seeing a baby picture of the donor, reading the essay he wrote, hearing him in an interview, reading his genetic health history of his entire family, and seeing a current day silhouette of him, I knew he was the one. 

When I saw his baby picture I actually cried (only donor I cried about) because he looked so much like my sisters and I when we were kids. His voice and calm demeanor just drew me to him but it was hard to get him as a donor. In fact, I only used him as my donor on the second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) because I was on a waiting list and the timing didn’t work out the first time.

  • How and when did you commit to being a single mom by choice?

There was not a specific moment where this happened.  There were a bunch of key events that made me realize that this was something that I wanted to do.  Some of these events include: my grandma saying she was sad I was never going to have kids, a boyfriend who (during our relationship) told me he didn’t want kids, a motherly instinct that I have always had since I was a little girl, two friends that decided to become Choice Moms that inspired me to begin the process, my 37th birthday and realizing that time was not on my side anymore, spending time with kids and realizing how much joy they brought me and how my life would not seem fulfilled without children in some way.

I always wanted children and I’d say that if I had to pick an age where I started to think about it, it would maybe have been at the age of 34 (and it took me three years to talk about it with my doc).

  • Baby names?  Have you picked them?

I am terrified of coming up with a name this early in the process. I am so afraid of having a miscarriage because it is so common.  After 20 weeks, I feel as though I will really think about this.

In the meantime, I will tell you some names I feel a connection to right now.  As a child, I loved to write stories and every protagonist in my stories was named Abigail Jenkins. Have always loved the named Abigail but who knows.

As for a boy, I keep being drawn to the name Finn. The only issue is that it is a lot like my sister’s married last name so it may not work in the long run.

  • What will you tell your child?

After seeing both a social worker (because it is mandatory as a patient of Mount Sinai) and my counsellor (because I love keeping my mental health in check), I have made a decision to be open and honest as much as possible.

I will be creating a book for my little one with all of the info from his/her Dad. It will contain pictures at the fertility clinic and will include his/her dad’s essay, etc. I’ll follow what my counsellor suggests (when looking at appropriate age/language to use). I also plan to invest in many books about kids with single parents/kids with donors.

There is also a sibling registry where my child will be able to decide if he/she wants to get the names of his/her siblings and meet them. My child will also be given information about his/her Dad at the age of 18 and the Dad has agreed to have contact with him/her.

  • Did your doctor tell you to lose weight before you were pregnant?

According to the BMI, I am considered “obese.”  Through tears I asked my fertility doctor if I should try to lose a bunch of weight before getting pregnant. I asked if I should put everything on hold.

She informed me that studied show that when a patient puts a hold on the process and tries to lose weight, this almost never happens.  She indicated that we were against timing already (with my age being 37 at the time) so she determined that we needed to start right away.

I did try and lose weight but I have such a complicated relationship with food.  When I start restricting food I binge. I also eat when I am stressed, and have been stressed and challenged more through this process than with anything in my life.

I am also reminded that women all over the world with a lot of different sizes get pregnant every day. They even have healthy pregnancies.  I have no idea if weight will become a major issue during my pregnancy but I will keep you posted.

  • How do you handle the judgement? Has everyone been kind to you online and in real life?

I would say that I am VERY surprised that most people (about 99%) are positive.  I worried about hater/ people responding negatively to my blog.

There have been a couple times where I have been hurt by the things that people have said but I think over time I am building a tougher skin (which is crazy to say because anyone who knows me knows that I am an overly sensitive person).

When I started the process, I was totally embarrassed at the doctor’s when the receptionist told me that she couldn’t fax my form to the fertility office because I didn’t have a partner. After indicating infront of everyone in the waiting room that I was using a donor, she finally faxed the form.

About a month later when I called Mount Sinai to see what the hold-up was in becoming their patient, they explained that the didn’t process my form because under “partner info” it read “N/A.” Once again, I had to inform them that I was doing it on my own.

I also had a “friend” on my Facebook write something really negative about how I shouldn’t be writing any of this because my child wouldn’t want any of this to be published.  For the first couple hours, I didn’t even do anything. In fact, I didn’t even know she had posted that. My other friends started protecting me and came to my defense. They started writing things under her post and I realized that I really did have an army protecting me.

Eventually I gave her about six different reasons as to why I was sharing this info and reminded her that I thought long and hard about publishing this type of info. My child will know his/her story and I can remove everything if he/she wants me to. I just feel like this is such an important topic and one that should not be ignored. If I could help someone else out, I would try my best.

Have also had people that won’t talk to me about it or say that they aren’t interested in any of this which is TOTALLY fine.

  • Will you stay in Toronto? It is crazy expensive there. What is your plan?

Plans make me very nervous so I *think* I have a plan for the first year. As of right now, the first year of the baby’s life will be spent in Toronto.

After that, I will most likely be moving.  Everything really depends on my job and if I were to go somewhere new, I would lose all of my seniority as a teacher. It sounds a little crazy to leave a full teaching contract position of 15 years to start somewhere new.

That being said, I plan to give my child the best life he/she can have. If it means taking chances and moving to somewhere much more affordable, it is not out of the question.

  • How did you tell your parents?

This seems like so long ago! I feel like I started by making little jokes about it to see the reaction on their face.  That lasted for a couple of months. From there, I called my Mom up and explained that I was seriously thinking about it. I knew she was going on vacation and I wanted her to tell my Dad. I figured they could talk about it while they were away.

When they came back from their vacation my Mom told me (infront of the entire family) that she asked my Dad about it. She announced that Dad had said that “if your baby makes you as happy as the three of my girls have made me, it is worth it.”

It was very sweet and reminded me that you never know how people will take the news. I was so worried about what he would think of me and I didn’t need to worry at all.

  • No one is supporting me. What do I do?

I am so sorry that this is happening to you and know that it is totally normal. I’ve been VERY lucky to have this much support. I would suggest you invest in a good counsellor. A counsellor will be your biggest supporter and fan. When you start to doubt yourself, he/she will be there to help you.

A counsellor will work on all of your fears with you. He/she will help you process the feelings of others as well as any feelings you have yourself.  I have also heard of many people who didn’t support the single mother until she had the baby. Once the baby was born, she received a lot of support from people who were against the whole process.

  • How did you tell people you were pregnant?

Well everyone knew when I would find out if I was pregnant (I posted the date of my second IUI). They knew it would be a two week wait.

I told my family over Facebook messenger and recorded their responses. You may remember that a little while back, my Mac died and I haven’t been able to afford a new laptop. As a result, I was storing all pictures and videos on my phone but before long my iPhone storage had reached the limit. I emailed the videos to myself and just assumed they would always stay in iCloud. It turns out that videos are only stored for 30 days. I have now lost all of the videos I made with reactions I received when telling my closest fam and friends about my pregnancy.

I am sure there will be some sort of video made before the baby is born but I might just interview fam and friends about the arrival of the baby and have my bro in law (master of technology) put something together.

  • How are you feeling?

I am not feeling well at all. Morning sickness/all day sickness has been A LOT to handle. I am now in week 11 and can barely keep food down. I have one random day out of about seven where I feel okay and able to do something.

My days have been spent taking diclectin (now up to three a day), sipping ginger ale, avoiding most foods, having to cancel plans with friends/family, and watching a lot of Netflix.

It is totally worth it but in the meantime, people have given me A LOT of tips to help with the morning sickness. These include things such as taking meds at night, taking ginger gravol, eating ginger candies, eating jolly ranchers, carrying bags with me, acupuncture, eating a variety of small meals every day, talking to my OB, etc.

I also need to keep saying “no” to things and to not feel guilty about it. Right now, I feel like that flaky friend that always bails. I keep having to remind myself that I am doing the right thing for me and my little one.

  • Have you received your results for the Harmony test?

Yes! My baby has tested negative for Down’s and for a couple other genetic abnormalities. I found out on Friday.

I also want everyone to know that I have two friends who have children with Down’s and they inspire me every day. Their kids are the absolute best and bring them so much joy.

I just wanted the information to have the testing done. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I wanted to know.

Some of you also know that you can find out the gender by doing this test. Personally, I don’t want to know the gender until later. As someone who is constantly worried about pregnancy loss, I am just not ready to know yet.

Thanks for sending in your questions and please know that next week I’ll be answering more. If you sent me a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please know that I’ll answer it next week.

Wishing everyone an amazing and healthy week ahead!

My First Appointment with my O.B.

Trying to look really casual but inside I am freaking out.

“What anything from Starbucks?” I texted my sister J.

“Would love an Americano so much. Thank you.” she wrote.

“The directions that I got to the OB’s office are crazy so just meet me on the third floor and we can find the office together” I texted.

It was Wednesday and J had agreed to meet me for my first appointment with my OB at Mount Sinai.

I was super nervous.  Why couldn’t I just stay with Dr. Jones at the Fertility Clinic? She was the nicest doctor ever.  Instead, I was to meet a new doctor named Dr. Snelgrove and was about to explore a new building – the Ontario Power Generation building.

“Good morning” said Julia as she came out of the elevators to meet me.

“I am so nervous” I confessed.

What was going to happen at this appointment? The nurse on the phone suggested it would be a “long” appointment but how long was “long”?

After making twists and turns down the hall, we finally found the admin assistant in the hall.

“My name is Sarah and this is my first appointment” I said.

Celine was so lovely and explained that I could just take a seat.

Both J and I commented on how everyone we saw around us was pregnant and going to the washroom. Most pregnant women were going at a leisurely pace but I could tell that some were going to throw up.  I felt like I was really among my people.

“Sarah?” asked a really cute nurse.  She had the exact same style as my sister J. She was wearing a white shirt and a really pretty pastel pink flowy skirt. 

“You have the exact same shoes as my sister” I said to her looking at how both she and Julia had on the same shoes.

“I also own the same skirt” Julia laughed.

The nurse’s name was Daniella and she was so lovely.

She talked about how Dr. Snelgrove was super nice and she just asked a lot of questions about my health. She talked to me about how many pregnant women crave carbs but how one should avoid eating too many carbs.

“But please note that now is not the time to go on any type of weight loss diet “she said.

That made me happy.

J and I laughed with her as we discussed many issues involving pregnancy and later even had a debate on whether Starbucks iced coffee really was worth the price.

About ten minutes later Daniella gave me an entire booklet of info and said “welcome to the low risk pregnancy program.”

“Low risk?” I asked. “I thought I’d be high risk because of my age and I think I have high blood pressure.”

“Your blood pressure is great” she said.

This made a lot of anxiety disappear.

From there, J and I waited for about an hour. We laughed through the entire hour killing time making fun of the art on the walls or various things that we were seeing.

The perfect artwork for the low risk floor.

At one moment we saw a couple who were obviously going through a lot and the man was cradling his partner’s head. They both looked as though they were crying.

“Stop staring” I said to J.

“What do you want me to do?” she asked. “I am an empath.”

J also saw someone she knew and pretended not to see her. In fact, J ran into people she wasn’t “supposed” to see because various friends were going through fertility issues/treatments and wanted to keep everything private. J respected their space and would only go up to people she knew if they seemed as though they wanted to chat.

“This is the reality” said J. “Many people are going through fertility issues around this age.”

“Sarah?” asked another nurse.  “We are ready to see you.”

“Want me to come in with you?” asked J.

“Of course” I said.

J sat in the chair and I sat on the examination table.

“What is that sound?” asked Julia. “It sounds like we are in a birth canal.”

J and I still haven’t figured out where the sound was coming from. It was either a weird sound coming from the vent or the sound of someone having an ultrasound done near us that sounded like the heartbeat was on a megaphone.

“Sarah?” asked Dr. Snelgrove.

“This is my sister J” I said.

“I can see the family resemblance.”

“You can?” I asked. “I personally don’t think we look anything alike.”

I can’t possibly go into all of the things that Dr. Snelgrove said because a) it went over my head b) I didn’t write anything down c) this would be 5,000 words longer.

Some things I did note were the following:

  1. I haven’t gained any weight.
  2. My OB only works at the clinic on Wednesday’s so all appointments will be scheduled on a Wednesday.
  3. You don’t get to pick your appointment time. You are just handed a card that goes over the times you must attend.
  4. Dr. Jones was Dr. Snelgrove’s Chief Resident while he was in training so I know I am in good hands.
  5. You should bring something to write everything down. There is so much information that comes at you very quickly. J and I could not possibly process everything that was said to us.
  6. Because of my age and the fact that I have used a donor, Dr. Snelgrove suggested that I have what is called a Harmony Test. It uses one vial of blood to screen for Down Syndrome and two other genetic disorders (Dynacare). Since I was ten weeks on the exact day I saw him, he ordered the test for me. It did cost $500.00 but he said that it is a very accurate test and that my results would be ready within a week.

After saying good-bye to my OB, J and I departed ways because she had to go to work and I needed to get some blood work.

After taking a number and waiting for about five minutes in the “lab” area, a woman called my number. I recognized her right away.

“You also work at Mount Sinai Fertility” I said. “You took my blood on several occasions.”

She smiled at me and said “well it is so nice to see you here.”

She was right – I had graduated from Mount Sinai Fertility to Mount Sinai Low Risk.

“I love your nails” I said as I recognized the fact that she always had her nails done in interesting colours.

“I need gold and glitter in my life” she said in her Russian accent.

She then started plugging info into the machine and it no longer felt like Mount Sinai Fertility. It took about ten minutes for her to process info, get the right coloured vials, and get the correct stickers printed for the vials of blood. At Mount Sinai Fertility, things took seconds. This was taking a long time.

The ten minutes were excruciating. It had been over a month since I had my blood drawn and I had forgotten how anxious I became when forced to sit down and “relax” while having blood taken. She was concentrating so much that my small talk conversation that usually allowed me to focus on something else was not allowed.

“Make a fist” she said.

Eight vials later I was finally done. Through the whole process she kept looking at the needle in my arm and then would look right into my eyes. It felt like she was looking into my soul.

I wondered if she knew how nervous/anxious I was or if she could feel me shaking. I also wondered if she thought I might pass out.

Three and a half hours after my appointment time, I finally left Mount Sinai. In my purse was a giant pamphlet of info I was going to read along with a prescription for baby aspirin to be taken starting August 9th (a precaution to help avoid genetic diseases for the baby).

Every time I passed a pregnant woman or saw a baby with his/her parent/guardian, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes the third floor was full of a lot of medical information, precautions, facts, stats, testing, etc., but it was also full of so many miracles. We were all in this together and I finally felt as though everything might be okay.

First Ultrasound: Not At All What I Expected

It was 9:30 a.m. and the sun was already beating down on me. I had just stepped out of my apartment and I could see my Mom rounding the corner with a huge smile on her face.

“Today is the day” she said as she gave me a hug. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

“Incredibly nervous and super excited” I said with a smile.

I ordered an Uber and we stood outside in the heat talking about what we had been up to the past couple of days. When the Uber arrived, I felt relieved to just sit down. Had no idea I’d be this nervous to go to my first ultrasound at 8 weeks. My legs felt like jelly and it was nice to just sit down and relax.

Our drive was bumpy and my Mom was telling me all about going out for dinner the other night and the server that they had.

“You know. The dinner was exceptional but I think it may have been the servers first time serving.”

I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. Instead I was watching the time, watching how the Uber driver was darting inbetween traffic, and I was just trying to focus on my breathing in order to stay as calm as possible.

“What would you like from Starbucks?” my sister J texted me. She was kind enough to make sure that she changed her day at the office so that she could come with us. She had been to so many appointments and it was so beautiful that she could come to this one.

“Just water” I said feeling so thirsty.

The Uber driver finally dropped us off at the fertility clinic and I was excited to show my Mom that this was the place I had been attending for almost a year. It was also a place where I went for about 30 appointments over that time.

“This is it” I proudly said to my Mom.

We went into the elevator and I pressed seven. “This is really starting to feel real” I said. “It also makes me somewhat sad as this will most likely be the last time I come to this clinic.”

When the elevator doors opened nobody was in the waiting room.

“This is so odd” I said to the receptionist. “Where is everyone? It is a weekday.”

“It is eerily quiet right now” she said with a laugh.

My Mom and I sat down for a couple minutes before I was told that I could get changed into a hospital gown. My Mom got to come with me and suddenly all of the places in the fertility clinic that I had described in my blog were coming to life for my Mom.

“This is where I sat when the women all coached me on what to do before my first ultrasound” I said.

“I am here! Where do I go?” texted my sister J.

My Mom knew she would get lost if she went to find J so I just went out in my hospital gown.

“This is so exciting” she said as she followed me into the room with the hospital gowns.

“Sarah?” asked the nurse. “Have you had a chance to use the restroom?”

“I will go right now” I said remembering that every time before an ultrasound I had to empty my bladder.

“Your family can follow me” she instructed to my Mom and sister.

“They get to actually go in?” I asked.

“Of course” she said.

It was so exciting walking into the room with the nurse, the ultrasound equipment and seeing both my Mom and sister sitting on chairs.

“Are you ready?” asked the nurse.

“Great it is an internal ultrasound” I laughed. There is nothing like something going inside of you as you look at your Mom and sister.

“Take her picture” instructed my Mom to my sister. “We need to remember this.”

“Really?” asked my sister laughing.

“Of course” I said with a smile.

The probe was inside of me and my Mom, sister and I just started catching up about various family members and how everyone was doing. I could hear that the nurse was taking pictures and it was taking a bit of time.

From what I had heard from other people regarding ultrasounds, the nurse would not say anything so I didn’t expect to hear or see anything.

“Do you want to look?” asked the nurse.

My Mom and sister stood up and came closer to the screen. I stared closely at the screen.

“Is there a baby in there?” I asked. “Please just tell me a baby is in there and that the baby is okay.”

“Look at this” said the nurse. “If you look close enough you can see the heartbeat flashing on the screen.”

I saw it.

It was beautiful but also made me feel something I did not expect – absolute and total fear.

This was not like the movies. I was supposed to have my belly out and we were supposed to hear the heatbeat. We were supposed to all scream with excitement and I was supposed to start crying tears of joy.

It wasn’t happening.

Instead, I felt this intense feeling of protection.

When I first told people that I was pregnant, they would say “congrats Mama” and I didn’t get it. Yes I had something instead of me, but I totally didn’t feel like a Mama.

Now, looking at this heartbeat I finally felt like a Mama. It was a feeling of so much joy but it also felt like all of this weight being added to my shoulders.

Things were changing.

There was no denying it. I was no longer single independent Sarah anymore. I was a Mama who was going to do anything for that little baby. My needs didn’t matter anymore because all I cared about was making sure that little one was protected. I was going to sacrifice and do anything so that I could to be the best Mama that I could to that little heartbeat.

With that image on the screen my life had completely changed. I was now responsible for something so great and now every single decision in my life would be made thinking of that little heartbeat before my own wants and needs.

“Here are the pictures” said the nurse printing out the pictures of the ultrasound.

“Thanks” I said laughing at how there was really not that much to see in the image.

Yet one thing was for certain – that tiny little seed had a heartbeat and my life was transforming infront of me. I would do absolutely anything for that little seed.

After being in the room we saw my fertility doctor and I thanked her for everything.

“You are now graduating from the clinic” she said.

“I feel like I need a graduation song” I said thinking of Vitamin C’s graduation song that plays at literally every graduation of life.

“Do you want me to play a song on my phone? “asked the other nurse in the room.

“It’s okay” I laughed. I knew that even the words by Vitamin C would be too much at that moment. It was super emotional and I knew that I’d burst into tears.

Mount Sinai Fertility made me feel at home for the past year and it made me so sad (and happy) to be leaving and graduating from the clinic. The nurses had helped answer every single question I had ever had. They had called me and given me life-changing news. My fertility doctor (Dr. Jones) was also the most compassionate, empathetic, intelligent woman. She always had this calming nature and was there to support me through everything.

As my sister, Mom, and I all left I couldn’t help but notice that the waiting room in the fertility clinic was completely full. There were hardly any seats available.

My heart sunk and I just wanted to reach out to everyone there.

I also felt guilty that I was holding pictures of an ultrasound and that other couples had been trying so hard and for so long without their pictures just yet.

“Magic happens here” I thought. “Don’t give up.”

We pressed the elevator to go down to G and I couldn’t help but become very sentimental about leaving a place that gave me so much.

Thank you Mount Sinai for everything and thank you for giving me a little heartbeat inside of me. I promise to make all decisions based on what is right for the little one and to be the best Mama that I can possibly be.

Change of Plans?

I was once someone who always needed a plan.  A plan made me feel secure and made me feel like I was doing the right thing.  Go to school, go to University, get your first job, take no time off.  As a people pleaser I did what everyone expected of me and making them happy, in turn, made me happy.

In high school I proudly wore my promise ring from my high school boyfriend of three years.  I honestly thought that I’d end up marrying him and build a life in the small town where I grew up.  My parents met in grade ten and stayed together so why would that not be my fate?

When I went to University, my high school boyfriend and I broke up.  I dated a bit in my 20’s and always remained a happy and committed partner to whomever I was dating.  When I met my ex-husband, we were great friends for about three years before we dated.  He proposed on my 30th birthday and I had a plan. Sure I had wanted to get married at the age of 25 and had a mini meltdown on my 25th birthday when I was not engaged to be married, but by 30, I knew that I was sticking to a plan. 

We moved into a beautiful house, both had jobs we loved, and even had a bulldog named Hudson.  Things were going according to plan until they weren’t.

One year after getting married, my ex-husband and I spilt and it shattered my world.  In life, if you did everything right, you would be rewarded. Right? If you created a plan and worked hard to follow that plan, everything would work out. Right?

Looking back, I can’t believe how naïve I was back then. Having a plan made me so secure but it also sent me into anxiety mode when the boxes weren’t being checked off perfectly. With a plan, I was expecting way too much of myself as well as expecting too much of everyone around me.

After my divorce, I wanted to get a tattoo so I got the word “change” on my wrist.  The purpose of the tattoo was to constantly remind myself that change was a good thing.  There was a time where anxiety filled my stomach when someone mentioned the word “change.”  In going through my divorce, I realized that change was actually a blessing. 

It’s funny how often I’ve looked at my tattoo because change has been such a prevalent part of my life. For someone so scared of it at one time, I feel as though I have really been tested to accept that change can and will occur and the best way to deal with change is to be open to it.

In fact, my tattoo of “change” has never been as meaningful as it is right now – in being seven weeks pregnant as a future Choice Mom.

There is this commercial on television for a car and when things don’t go as planned it just says “recalculating” and I have to laugh at it because I feel like this describes my life. Another person once told me to just yell “plot twist” when something unexpected happens. Instead of getting mad at myself or anxious about my life I just try to say the words “recalculating” or “plot twist” and it tends to make me feel better.

In telling people that I am pregnant, they really want to know the “plan”. When will I leave work? When will I return to work? Will I move in with my parents? Who is going to help me? Will I stay in Toronto? Where will I live? Can I afford Toronto as a single mother? Should I leave Toronto and try to get hired by a new school board?

So many questions and unfortunately, I don’t have the answers.

If a couple people ask me these questions, I can usually just breathe through the questions.  It’s almost as though I need to help their anxiety because they are worried about me and are searching for some kind of plan. 

The issue is that I don’t really have a plan.  The old Sarah, would have never have been able to deal without some sort of “plan.” I would have had a plan as well as five back-up plans and I’d be checking off lists making sure that everything was going according to plan.

When I planned to have a baby in the past, I always just assumed it would be in a detached home with two extra bedrooms – two babies (the perfect family). 

Now I live in a beautiful condo but it is small and I am not exactly sure where everything is going to fit. But it is okay. I am okay and baby will be okay.

Things are going to change.  As of right now, I think I’ll be staying in the city but I have no actual idea what will happen between now and one year from now. Do any of us, really? When I had a plan in life, nothing went according to my plan.

A couple summers ago, I went on a wine tour and about ten of us were sitting in a bus.  My friends were kind enough to humour me in a game that I always love to play.  Instead of the game “truth or dare”, I created a game called “truth 1 or truth 2.”  Truth one is full of silly questions such as “what is your favourite food?” while truth two questions are often very deep such as “what is the scariest moment you have ever had in your life?” As someone who prefers really deep questions, I always hope that someone will say that they are willing to answer a “truth 2” question.

One of my friends said they’d like to tackle a truth two question that was later open to the entire group. My question to my friends was “do you feel as though your life has gone according to plan? Did you ever think you would be where you are right now in your life?”

Every single person said “no.”

I was absolutely shocked.  On that drive I listened to friends discuss how they weren’t where they thought they’d be when it came to relationships, work, finances, children, etc. 

So my question is, if nobody’s life is really going according to plan, why do we all feel like we need to have a plan?

My “plan” is to try to bring this baby to term.  All I am trying to do right now is to have a healthy pregnancy.  Unfortuantely I can’t share the logistics of where I am living, where my baby will go to daycare, what sort of support system I am going to have, etc.  I honestly just want to live each day as it comes.

You know who has a plan? The universe.  I know that sounds a bit crazy and my sister absolutely HATES when I mention the word “universe” because she thinks it is so bizzare but I really feel like we are all being taken care of.

When you see a pregnant Mama or hear that someone is pregnant, maybe we lay off the questions because it can be too much.  Maybe we just ask “how are you feeling?”  That’s a great question to start with. Don’t get me wrong – this is the pot calling the kettle black. I ask so many questions to people but I am going to start trying to check myself.  I am going to ask myself “is this a question to help the person or is this just a question because I am nosy? Do they actually need my “help” in bringing up this question?”

Sometimes questions can just really add up and for me, it is starting to feel like a lot. I feel like I am not able to please everyone and that maybe I am doing something really wrong because I don’t have a plan. 

Then I have to stop and remind myself that I am okay. Things will work out and no matter where I live, which daycare my child will attend, or where I will work, this baby will be so loved. In the end, all that really matters is that there is a whole lot of love.

Wishing everyone a great week and if you don’t have a one, five or ten year plan, join the club! We are all just trying to get by and sometimes living without a plan can be the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself.