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!

Am I Pregnant?

Having dinner with my friend Sarah during the two week wait

I could be writing this blog post as a pregnant woman.  AHHHH! In one week I will know if my second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) worked. 

After my first IUI, I had a feeling in my gut that it didn’t work.  I really wondered how I could possibly get pregnant when I spent days before/during/after trying to avoid panic attacks. 

My thought patterns went something like this:

Positive Inner Voice: I have a pain in my stomach. I must google it.  I could be pregnant.

Negative Inner Voice: There is no way that you are pregnant or that you are ready to be pregnant.  How much money have you saved?  Do you really think you can do it on your own? If you are obese the chances of you getting pregnant reduce.  Why didn’t you lose some weight before trying to conceive?

Positive Inner Voice: I will take each day as it comes.  I feel like I am having signs of pregnancy. I will make sure I am active as possible during my pregnancy.

Negative: Those are not signs.  The chance of you getting pregnant is so small.  You are not emotionally or physically ready for this.

Every moment would be an internal battle and I couldn’t catch a break. 

Why is it that most of these conversations took place in my head just before trying to sleep?  I’d keep the television on trying to drown out the sound of my thoughts but nothing was working.

I also wanted to just be by myself.  I stayed inside and read as many psychological thrillers as I could get my hands on.  I’d look through the summary of the novels making sure the novel didn’t involve pregnancy or a baby because I just couldn’t deal with the subject matter.

During the two week wait the first time, I didn’t have one sip of alcohol and checked google to make sure I could eat certain things (“can I put goat cheese in a salad” or “can I eat babybels?”) If google suggested I avoid it, I completely eliminated it from my diet.

In that two week span, I was so hard on myself and promised myself that if I were to ever have a two week wait again, I would do things much differently.

Enter my two week wait this time.

This has seemed like a honeymoon compared to the last IUI two week wait.

The negative inner voice still appears but does so at a less alarming rate.  My positive inner voice is usually louder and can really challenge the negativity. 

So far I have had two glasses of wine and one can of cider during my two week wait.  I am also trying my best at staying in the moment and enjoying the process as much as I can.

I’ve also gotten out of the house.  When I am not out with a friend/friends, I have forced myself to get outside.  I’ve been walking a lot more and have seen A LOT of movies over the last bit.  In fact, I have seen “Booksmart”, “Aladdin”, “The Hustle”, and “Rocketman.”  The movies have allowed me to escape my own thoughts and to rest. Plus, if I do become pregnant, I have a feeling I won’t have as much time to go to the movies by myself.  I am really embracing these special moments.

Last time when I found out I wasn’t pregnant my eyes became a little teary for a moment but I didn’t cry.  This time I have a feeling that if the news is negative, it will be a lot harder on me. Everything just feels so right this time.

The next blog entry promises to be very emotional.  It will either be a very exciting post or it will be a really honest post about what it feels like to go through two IUI’s without getting pregnant.

Some have asked “what will you do next if you don’t get pregnant this round? Will you go for your third IUI?”

I am really torn when answering that question because thanks to my period tracking app, I know I’ll be ovulating on the exact date that I will be away with my girlfriends for a cottage weekend.  Everything in me tells me that I need to get the hell away.  I have worked so hard to make money for fertility and then have gone through a lot emotionally through these two IUI’s.  All I want is some time with friends two hours away.

One of my friends suggested just coming back on the day that I am ovulating but it is not that easy.  Unfortunately just before each of my IUI’s (which can be different for other people), I have spent every morning at the fertility clinic for a couple days straight waiting to find out the exact date of the IUI. I don’t want to keep leaving the fun with my friends (and driving two hours there and back) so that I can be monitored.

So if it doesn’t work, I will most likely take a break. 

I am going to allow myself time to just feel everything and I know that my gut will tell me what to do next.

Why am I thinking like that because everything in me is telling me that it worked and that I am pregnant. Now I may look like a fool next blog entry and I am prepared to admit that I was wrong if I need to.

Fingers crossed I can share some really exciting news next week!

What in the What?

As I sat in the dark room with my legs stretched out, I knew something was wrong.

“Hemorrhaging cyst” said the doctor to the nurse who made a note on the computer.  “You are sure she is on her day 10?”

“Yes” said Caroline the lovely nurse whom I recognized from doing my first IUI procedure.

They were speaking to one another as if I was not in the room.

The last time I had an ultrasound before my IUI, things felt different.  There were three people in the room and my fertility doctor was there.  Now, I was with a male doctor and my lovely nurse Caroline but the whole vibe felt different.

I just stared at the wall trying to figure out how to feel.

“You are ready to go” said Caroline.

I searched on the face of Caroline and the doctor for something but wasn’t sure what I was searching for. Was I okay? Was this bad?  Last time it was so positive but this time things didn’t feel right.

I went into the dressing room and changed from my hospital gown into my regular clothes.  Last time I had four women around me and this time I was alone in the change room.

I walked down the hall to wait for the nurse and told myself that it must be my anxiety.  I decided to flip a switch in my personality and become super positive.  The vibe may have felt off but things must be okay. Right?

“Sarah?” asked one of the nurses.

“Yes” I said giving my best smile.  Fake it until you make it, right?

“I just have to say that I love your energy” said the nurse.  “Most people come in here after their ultrasound and they are very anxious and distressed.  You are so positive.”

“Thank you so much” I said, proud of myself for appearing so calm when I was ready to panic.

“Okay well you are not ovulating” said the nurse.  “I am giving you a prescription for Ovidrel and I am going to show you how to use it. You may not need to use it but I need to train you on how to use it.”

I just sat there watching her quickly explain how to use a needle in order to help prepare me for my next possible IUI.  I didn’t take in anything she was saying.  Instead, I was just focused on the words “hemorrhaging cyst” and “not ovulating.” 

“Any questions?” asked the nurse.

“Nope, I am good” I lied.

That happened on Tuesday morning this week and to be honest; this week has been a complete blur.  I have made my own record for visits to the fertility clinic as I was there every morning for four days.  On Thursday, I got to visit Mount Sinai Fertility twice and Mount Sinai Hospital once.

Until Thursday afternoon, I felt sorry for myself.  Sorry that it looked like my second IUI would have to be cancelled.  I knew something was off in my body.  Plus, I had spotted for several days before I found out I wasn’t pregnant last time.

Then I turned to Google and began my search “spotting before period”, “taking letrozole and your cycle”, “hemorrhaging cyst”, “reasons why you don’t ovulate.”

On Thursday afternoon I received a call “oh Sarah.  Thank goodness I finally got you.  I have your IUI booked for tomorrow at 10:45 a.m.” said the voice.

“What?” I asked.

“You are surging” said the nurse.

I had no idea what that meant but didn’t even care. 

“So you need to get here now to sign the consent forms.  You also need to give yourself a needle at 10:00 p.m.”

At 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night I got over a huge fear.  One of my biggest fears is needles.  I can’t watch someone getting a needle and always look away when I am getting my bloodwork taken.  There was a time (actually a couple weeks ago) where I couldn’t sleep the night before I knew that I’d have to have my blood taken. Now blood tests were so routine that I was slowly getting over my fear of having to take a needle.

I’d also never given myself a needle so I was going to add that new fear to my list. As a single woman living on my own, I started to really worry because a) I could break the needle and the pharmacy possibly couldn’t get me another one so late at night b) I could faint because I am so scared of needles and nobody would know what happened to me. This is what anxiety does to you.  It doesn’t have to make logical sense.

Then I realized something.

I have been kicking ass at getting through every irrational fear I’d been having lately. 

I have challenged myself with all of this fertility stuff in a way that was making me stronger and more confident.

Before I had any more time to think about it, the needle was pressed into my stomach and I was ready for bed.  I slept so soundly knowing that my IUI 2 would be okay.  I had done it before plus I had my first choice sperm donor.  Things were looking up.

On Thursday morning I woke up and I was completely calm and excited.  I went to Mount Sinai Fertility and gave myself a lot of time to get ready and to get there.

“Sarah?” asked a nurse at 11:00 a.m.

“Yes?” I said.

“I am ready for you” she said.

My nurse’s name was Stephanie and she was amazing.  She would totally be someone I’d want as a friend.  She was a bit younger than me but was so friendly and funny.

“I love your tattoo” I blurted out.

“Thanks so much” she said.  “It is a wave but people have asked me if it is sperm.”

“What?” I asked.

“Yeah” she said.  “It doesn’t even look like sperm but people thought it was sperm because of my occupation.”

We laughed and then she went over everything with me.  She reminded me what to do and who to call if/when I have issues. She also booked me for my pregnancy blood test.

“So should I take my own pregnancy test?” I asked.

“Do not take a pregnancy test.  It will just mess with your head and please don’t rely on Dr. Google either.”

It was as if she was reading my mind.

“You don’t want to have a false pregnancy test and then find out later that it was not actually positive.”

“Can I celebrate after the nurse tells me if I am pregnant after the first blood test two weeks from now?”

“You will be pregnant” said Stephanie with a smile.  “Don’t get too excited about the first test” she said.  “You can celebrate after the second test 2-3 days after the first test and then really celebrate at the six week ultrasound.”

Stephanie and I started talking about so many different things and then we got onto the topic of celebrities and child stars.  We played a game where we had to think of a child star who was at their “A” game as a child but who is now at their “Z” game as an adult. Yes, I made up the game.

“Britney Spears” said Stephanie.  “I also need to ask you if you are getting any cramping.”

“Not at all” I said. “What about Lindsay Lohan?  Did you watch her reality show?”

“Yes. It was a train wreck. Your cervix is very easy to find” said Stephanie.

“Thank you so much” I said.

It’s amazing the type of compliments I am accepting these days.

Our convo kept switching from fun celeb gossip to the actual procedure that was happening. Honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Well actually….it would be my ultimate dream if a man was talking about celebrity gossip in the bedroom but my donor was “there” so maybe that counts?

“You are done” said Stephanie.  “I hope we don’t see you back again” she said with a laugh.

I must have made a strange look on my face.

“We don’t want you back because that would mean you are pregnant.”

Somehow, in a span of twenty minutes I was totally in love with nurse Stephanie.  She kept me so calm through everything, talked about issues that I loved, and made me laugh. I hope everyone gets their own nurse Stephanie.

So now comes my two week wait.  This time I won’t be searching up anything on Google (let’s be real….maybe I will search one thing instead of 5,000). I won’t be buying anything on Etsy (because that has already happened and all of my pregnancy announcements are sitting in a drawer).  I also won’t be staying at home (because I’ve made sure to get out of my damn apartment this time so that I get out of my own damn head).

Thanks to everyone who keeps supporting me on this journey.  It feels so amazing to be able to share this process with you and you help me feel like you are my “partner” on this journey.  Wishing you a great week and see you next Sunday!

Not Pregnant….Now What?

Not Pregnant…..Now What?

After waiting thirteen days after my IUI (sperm inside my uterus), I decided it was time to take a pregnancy test. Yes I know that I was supposed to wait fourteen days but I was too excited and anxious.

When my sister was expecting, my sister and brother-in-law filmed a video of everyone’s reactions when we found out that E was pregnant. The video features every family member being told that there was a new addition to the family.   I love watching the video because it just shows how excited we were and how much we loved my nephew before he was even born. Before I took my pregnancy test, I messaged my brother-in-law and he promised to make a video for me. All I would have to do is to start recording reactions.

Maybe it wouldn’t be as surprising as my sister/brother-in-law’s announcement (since it was totally unexpected) but I wanted to have something to look back on and show my future baby. That’s why I filmed my reaction when I took my pregnancy test.  For whatever reason, in the moment, I didn’t think I was pregnant.  Perhaps it was a coping mechanism that helped me feel better when the test result showed that I was not pregnant.

On the Saturday morning after my pregnancy test, my amazing sister J met me at the clinic and I had my blood taken to make sure that I wasn’t pregnant.  Friends kept telling me that tests are not always 100% accurate and that I should wait to get a blood test before fully admitting defeat.

The nurse did not need to call to tell me my news because my cycle returned while I was out for lunch with J and we celebrated with mimosas.  We celebrated that I could drink again and my sister helped me stay sane and helped me to have fun/laugh when receiving my news.  We both wished that we were celebrating my pregnancy but we also enjoyed drinking mimosas, wine, champagne and rose.

When the nurse called to tell me that I wasn’t pregnant I expected to cry and to feel sorry for myself.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am very emotional but for whatever reason, I didn’t cry. I think this was because of a variety of reasons:

  1. A couple of days before I got my result, I received an email from a sperm bank stating that my first choice in donor was available.  I had my name on a waiting list for months and I was so delighted that my first choice was available. For IUI #2 I am using a different donor.
  • All of my Etsy orders had not arrived.  Yes I ordered things on Etsy to announce the arrival of my future baby.  It’s been a weird week when everything has arrived congratulating me on my pregnancy when I am not, in fact pregnant.
  • I missed booze.  Specifically, I missed sitting on a patio and now I was able to do that.
  • I had J there to make me laugh the entire day.  We even danced to Beyoncé with her husband later on in the afternoon and a little Beyoncé can put a smile on anyone’s face.
  • My other sister E and I kept having these incredible phone conversations and I loved being able to chat with her and to hear her advice on everything Mom related. She helped to give me strength and helped to make me see that having kids was the best but that I should appreciate the time to myself (especially my current sleep schedule) before a future baby arrives.
  • I knew that IUI round 2 was gearing up and this time I didn’t feel as nervous and scared.  This time, I feel like I CAN get pregnant (fingers crossed).

The same day I found out I wasn’t pregnant, was the same day that I needed to call in to the fertility clinic to report my day one and start the process for another IUI.  The prep for my second IUI has been a little different because I am taking medication for this IUI.  My fertility medication is called Letrozole and is taken starting on day three for five days.  When I picked up the medication at Shoppers, I was a little scared as the pharmacist said “be careful with this medication.  There are a lot of side effects.”  So far (knock on wood), the only side effect that I have seen is that I am currently going through issues with acne at the age of 38.  Amazing.

Letrozole is used because it increases my chance in releasing more than one egg.  Studies show that it is less expensive than other fertility meds and there’s less of a risk of multiple pregnancies (Today’s Parent). According to the National Institute of Health, of the 374 women who received Letrozole, 27.5% experienced a live birth. Multiple pregnancy with twins occurred in 3.4% of the groups.

So here’s the big debate – do you take fertility meds to increase your chances of getting pregnant OR do you just stick to your natural cycle?

For me, I relied on my doctor to give me stats and from there; she helped me to make an informed decision.  Fertility is expensive.  A woman connected with me today and wrote that she had 15 IUI’s and six miscarriages. I can’t even imagine.  It just goes to show that women are strong AF.  If she can go through 15 IUI’s, I can gear up for round two without an issue. I also can’t begin to imagine how much this affected her emotionally and financially. I’m planning of having a maximum of three IUI’s and that is going to cost me a minimum of $5000.00. 

The big worry (I pretty much worry all the time now), is that I could have multiples.  While J was with me at the fertility clinic we started looking at the pictures on one of the fertility doctor’s wall.  It was hundreds of birth announcements and thank you’s complete with the world’s sweetest baby pictures.

“Do you see what I see?” my sister asked.

“The cutest babies?” I asked.

“Take a look at the number of twins” she sister said.

Then we started counting twins and soon realized that it seemed that every third baby announcement contained a picture with twins.

At this point, I don’t even want to think about having twins on my own and every time someone asks me about it, a chill runs through my body.

So now it is go time round two.  I think I am ready as I can be and my IUI will be taking place in the next week or so (as long as everything is in order).  Bring on the blood tests, ultrasounds, and waiting in lines for 1,000 years.  I am ready and have a feeling that I will be pregnant VERY soon.

The Two Week Wait

I just purchased a pregnancy test – actually I purchased two.  

When I went into the pharmacy I had no idea where to find pregnancy tests.  When I finally found the tests, I stood there shocked at all of the different tests I could buy and the range of prices for pregnancy tests.  Friends have told me that the pregnancy tests from the dollar store work just as well but I decided that this first time I wanted to have the experience of going into the pharmacy to buy the test.

While searching for the perfect test a couple came up beside me and started discussing which condoms they should buy. Yes – pregnancy tests are located just beside the condoms.  The whole situation felt so odd – the couple was trying to use something to prevent pregnancy while I was searching for a test that would hopefully tell me that I was pregnant.

When I went up to the cashier I thought she’d give me a smile or do some sort of price check on my pregnancy test.  Isn’t that what happens in the movies? Instead, she just scanned the tests and asked me for $25.00.

It has taken everything in me over the past fourteen days not to purchase a pregnancy test because I am currently going through the dreaded two-week wait.  The two-week wait is the time between my IUI (sperm inside the uterus) and my period.

For the past two weeks, I have felt everything from anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, and pure joy.  Basically, I’ve felt like I was on a rollercoaster watching my emotions from afar.

Sure I am going for blood work tomorrow to confirm whether or not I am pregnant but the thought of a nurse from Mount Sinai telling me whether or not the IUI was successful makes me too damn nervous.  I want to feel like I am somewhat in control and won’t be as sad if the nurse calls and I already know (according to my pregnancy tests) that it didn’t work. My goal is to take the pregnancy test tomorrow morning just before I go for blood work.

Plus, my sweet sweet sister is meeting me at the fertility clinic tomorrow.  By then, I will know my fate. After I get my blood test she has promised me an afternoon of drinking (if I am not pregnant) or a celebratory lunch (if I am pregnant).

So I’ve learned a lot over the past two weeks and I want to pass on that information to you. I’ve made A LOT of mistakes over the past two weeks and I can’t help but laugh at them.

Here are some of my favourite moments from the past two weeks:

  1. Morning Sickness

The day after my IUI I was feeling really sick to my stomach.  Because I am so freakin’ silly, I googled “morning sickness” and believed that it could be possible that my pregnancy symptoms were already happening.

FACT: Morning sickness usually starts at week six.

2) The Perfect Announcement

I spent hours trying to craft the perfect pregnancy announcement.  How would I tell the people that I love the most that I am expecting (if I am)?

It all started with Pinterest which quickly moved into Etsy.  I have spent $100.00.

FACT: I write a freakin blog and post everything on Instagram.  Anyone who has been following the blog/Instagram knows the exact date I am going for my blood tests.  Plus, my family knows when I will know that I am pregnant. How the hell will this be a surprise?

Please also note that everything I ordered from Etsy did not show up in time.  If I find out that I am pregnant tomorrow, I am screwed.

My brother-in-law was also kind enough to say that he will create a movie of me telling people.  How exciting will this movie be? Everyone knows that is happening. If I hold up my phone, everyone will know what I am about to say. Why did I start a blog and Instagram again?

3) Physical Symptoms

Six days after my IUI, I thought I had a UTI (urinary tract infection).  I googled “UTI after an IUI” and google told me that this was a symptom of pregnancy.  I started crying because this could be a sign.

FACT:  What in the actual hell?  Google should not be used at any time.

4) Leading Other People Into Your Madness

Ten days after my IUI, I started spotting.  I quickly messaged a friend who just had two kids.  I asked her if she experienced spotting and she did with one of the kids.  She said it was called “implantation bleeding” so I started thinking that I could be pregnant.  I got her so worked up and excited that we were both trying to figure out if I should just do a pregnancy test on day 10.

FACT:  Day 14 is the only acceptable day for a pregnancy test. It is best to leave everyone else out of your crazy.

5) Act Like You Are Pregnant

I cut all caffeine (also did this because of anxiety), stopped drinking, and started googling everything.  

Before long, google started figuring out my pattern which was “Can I eat _____ while pregnant.”

FACT:  Calm down.  Just take each day as it comes because you don’t need to become a pregnancy expert overnight.

6) Signs

This is a HUGE one.

The following “signs” have happened this week.

  1. I received a call that my number one choice for sperm donor had finally become available and I was off the waiting list. Sign: This must mean that my IUI didn’t work.
  2. My Etsy packages did not arrive.  Sign: This must mean that I am not pregnant.
  3. Two friends told me that they were pregnant this week.  Sign: This must mean that pregnancy is somehow “in the air” and will happen.

FACT:  Stop looking for signs.  If there is supposed to be a sign, you shouldn’t have to go looking for it.

7) Fertility Clinic

I called the fertility clinic twice this week.  What on earth? The first time I called to find out when I could start my next IUI and if I needed to take a break trying to take fertility meds.

The second time I called was because I was spotting.  Please note that they said this could “mean anything.”

FACT:  Nurses at the fertility clinic are BUSY.  Just wait until your appointment to ask all of the questions.

8) Plans

Somehow I thought it would be best to cancel all of my plans and just be by myself.  I didn’t know if I’d be anxious or sad.

FACT:  Get outside and out of your head.  On Monday night I reconnected with friends to watch the premiere of the Bachelorette (don’t judge) and had the best night in a LONG LONG time. Why are you hiding?

9) Distractions

I read two books over the past two weeks – both psychological thrillers.  They allowed me to escape my own world and forced me to solve a mystery.

I also become so invested in a variety of shows on Netflix.

Fact: “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell is great, “Bring Me Back” by B.A. Paris is not as great.

Wine Country, Dead to Me, Brene Brown’s Special, Amy Schumer’s Special, and the new Ted Bundy Movie are all great.

*Please note that these are not actual facts but to me, they are facts.

10) I am One Strong Badass

I have not had a panic attack over the past two weeks and have been able to sleep again at night.  My anxiety has been A LOT to handle but I have somehow been able to make it through the past two weeks.

I was especially worried about how I’d feel over Mother’s Day and I made it through the day.

FACT: I am a badass and have the best friends and family members who have continuously sent me the sweetest messages. Everyone is so kind and wants the best for me. I am a super lucky woman.

So next week, my goal is to share the news with you.  Please also know that only 10% – 20% of IUI’s are successful for women over 35. You will either hear really exciting news or will see a series of pictures of me drinking on patios in Toronto.

Thanks again for all of your support!

Happy Mother’s Day to Women Warriors

To all the women gathered at 6:58 a.m. waiting for the elevator,

I know where you are going.

In entering the elevator, one woman’s index finger presses the number 7 and we are heading to the 7th floor – exactly where I expected.

Mount Sinai Fertility.

The seventh floor means so many things:

Infertility

Anger

Sadness

Hope

Anxiety

Miracles

The elevator doors open and there is already a long line forming at reception.

Some people are sitting down.

There are no men.

One woman’s hair is dripping wet. She must have left her house quickly – afraid of the length of the lines forming at the clinic.

Women politely glance at one another

And I decide to sit down.

The line will go down if I just wait.

The admin assistant takes her place behind a large desk and starts signing people in.

The line should be decreasing but the elevator door keeps opening and closing.

Each time more women enter into the room.

We all want to be Moms.

I stand up and go towards the line.

A blonde woman looks at me and says “you go before me. You’ve been sitting there for awhile.”

“It’s okay,” I say politely.

“No, I insist,” she says.

The line now has about ten women waiting behind me.

Many are on their phones trying to keep distracted.

Maybe they are anxious.

Maybe they are starting their work days and trying to get some work done.

I hand the admin assistant my health card.

“Busy day” I say.

“It is like this every day” she responds.

Everyone in this line wants to be a Mom.

After signing in I sit on a comfortable chair and look around.

Green images of nature stare back at me on the walls.

They are meant to be calming.

But nobody in the room is calm.

A sign gets my attention “1 in 3 couples will have trouble conceiving.”

“So many people” I think.

I take my phone out and start scrolling through Instagram waiting for my name to be called.

The nurse calls eight names.

My name was not one of them.

I continue to scroll.

My eyes glance towards a plastic display holding up two pamphlets.

“Costs and fertility.”

“Fertility and Stress.”

So many issues in just trying to become a Mom.

A nurse walks into the room. Her skin is glowing and she has a smile on her face.

She reads off names and my name is called.

I walk into a new room with the nurse.

Another woman and another nurse are already there.

I can’t help but watch the needle going into the other patient’s arm.

Then I look away.

“Please have a seat right here,” says the nurse.

I feel thankful to have her as she is the more friendly nurse out of the two nurses there.

“I like your tattoo on your wrist” she whispers.

“Thank you,” I say. “It is the word ‘change’” I hear myself saying even though I know she can read it.

“How’s your day?” I ask.

“Busy” she says. “It is like this every day though,” she says with a laugh.

I fake a nervous laugh while feeling sad at the same time – so many women having their cycles monitored. All of these women late for work and here on their own.

All of the women being poked and prodded because all they want right now is to become a Mom.

I get ushered into a room and smile at four women all seated beside one another in white chairs. There is no space between them – the room is too small.

There is a fifth chair waiting for me.

Curtains hang down into two small areas in the room to make the smallest change rooms I have ever seen.

There are hospital gowns but I am not sure how much of my clothing I am to remove.

“What do I do?” I ask the four women sitting in chairs. “This is my first ultrasound at the fertility clinic.”

“Take off everything from the bottom down,” says one woman.

“Be sure to wear booties. The ground can be cold and wet” says another woman.

“Wear a dress next time so it’s easier,” says the third woman.

“You have got this” says the fourth woman.

Every woman in the small room has spoken.

We all share a commonality – we all want to be a Mom.

The first woman sits in her chair just looking blankly ahead.

The other three are on their phones.

I take out my novel but can’t read. I am too anxious.

I take out my phone and scroll through Instagram.

My eyes settle on a picture of my friend with all of her medication for IVF around her.

“Please help her become a Mom” I silently pray to the universe.

One by one, each of my four new friends have left the room.

But I am not alone.

Three new faces have arrived.

I smile at each face that comes into the room. Each smile says “I’ve got you. This sucks and I wish you well on your journey.”

My name is called and a woman ushers me to a hallway just outside two rooms marked “ultrasound.”

“This is the washroom” the nurse says to me.

“Thanks but I don’t have to use it” I say.

“You are supposed to empty your bladder” says one of the women waiting for her ultrasound.

I open the door to the washroom and sit on the toilet.

A few seconds pass.

I stand up again and wash my hands.

I stare at myself in the mirror wearing my hospital gown.

I look into my eyes and hear an inner voice whisper “you will be a Mom.”

“Sarah?” asks a nurse as she leads me to the ultrasound room.

I go in and am greeted by my fertility doctor and two other people.

I see a plastic wand and know where that is going to go.

The wand is inserted.

“Look at the left follicle” says one nurse.

“It’s a great follicle,” says another voice as she takes a picture on her machine.

“Thank you” I say not knowing if this is something you should thank someone for saying.

I go back to the change room, get dressed and wait to speak with the nurse,

She says it will “happen soon.”

“I really want to be a Mom really soon” say the voices in my head.

It is time to leave the 7th floor.

As I walk out there are more people now.

An hour and a half has elapsed.

Nobody is in a line but people are waiting on comfortable chairs in the fertility office.

But is anyone really comfortable?

Partners have joined now and the room is full of 80% women and 20% men.

I take the elevator down and find myself alone on the ride down.

It almost felt like a factory up there.

Everything was so mechanical sprinkled with some kindness and compassion.

Another day full of so many women wanting to become Moms.

This Mother’s Day I pray for all of you going into fertility clinics, struggling with fertility issues, or just hoping and praying to be a Mom.

My wish for you is that you become a Mom – in some capacity.

May the memories of the days in the fertility clinic be replaced with memories spent with your child/children.

You will be a Mom.

It’s Go Time

This week has been an absolute blur in the craziest, most emotional and beautiful way.

Tuesday April 23rd 7:00 a.m.

I called Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic to report that it was my day one of my cycle.  From there, a nurse called me back and asked me to come in on day nine of my cycle for blood work.  The time? 7:00 a.m. What in the actual hell?

Wednesday May 1st at 7:00 a.m.

I was joined on the elevator by six other women all going to the same floor. That gave me some insight as to how busy the clinic would be.  I’d say there were about 20-30 women all lined up and checking in to have blood work. Everything ran so efficiently and seemed a bit like a factory (in the kindest way).

Wednesday May 1st at 3:00 p.m.

A lovely nurse named Megan called me and asked me to come for blood work and an ultrasound on May 3rd.

Friday May 3rd at 10:30 a.m.

I went for blood work and then the nurse pointed me to the ultrasound room.  There were four women all in hospital gowns sitting on chairs waiting to be called in to the appointment. In the dressing room there were no instructions so I didn’t know what to do.

“Can anyone tell me what to do?” I asked poking my head out of the dressing room curtain.

“Take off everything from the waist down” instructed one woman.

“Wear two hospital gowns one for the front and one for the back” suggested another woman.

“Leave your clothes in there and take some booties to put over your feet so your feet don’t get wet” said the third woman.

“Next time, wear a dress so that you only have to wear the gown one way” suggested the fourth woman.

“Thank you so much” I said.  “This is my first ultrasound here and I had no idea what to expect.”

“They don’t always give you instructions” said a woman.

“But we are here to help and you have got this” said another one.

This moment was one that I will remember forever – the room was silent before I entered and then every single woman wanted to help me out.  We are really in this together and everyone was there for one another. Who runs the world? Girls. Women.

The waiting was excruciating and finally the nurse called my name.  She then led me down a hallway where I had to wait with three of the women I had seen earlier.

“Oh my gosh” I said.  “There is another line”?

“You can use the washroom right here” said the nurse.

“It’s okay, I don’t have to go” I said as I sat down.

One of the kind women who were with me from the start, looked at me and said “she is actually telling you that you have to empty your bladder.  It’s not really a choice.”

I started to laugh and thanked the two women for having my back.

When it was my turn, my fertility doctor, Dr. Jones was there with two nurses.  They were so sweet and within two minutes my ultrasound was done. 

“Wow. Look at that beautiful left follicle” said one of the nurses.

“Thank you so much” I said to the nurse unsure what in the hell this meant. At this point, I was ready and willing to take any compliments – even compliments that I didn’t understand.

From there, I was told to get changed and wait for the nurse to give me further instructions.  It was now 9:30 a.m. and the nurse came to get me to discuss next steps.  She talked about peeing on a stick to see if there is a “surge” and gave me a pamphlet.

“These strips cost $40.00 and if I were you, I’d wait until 5:00 p.m. to buy them. I have a feeling you won’t need them” said the nurse.

Friday May 3rd at 12:00 p.m.

Nurse Megan calls me and tells me that I am ovulating and that it is time for my IUI.  She tells me that my appointment is for Saturday at 10:45 a.m. and asks me to come back to the clinic to sign some forms.

Friday May 3rd at 1:00 p.m.

I meet with Megan and she has me sign consent forms so that they can begin the procedure tomorrow.  She also suggests that I enjoy a nice meal with a big glass of wine. She says that it may be my last glass of wine for a bit.

Friday May 3rd at 1:15 p.m. – Saturday May 4th at 10:30

Worry about everything.

Can I do this?

Should I do my IUI on my own?

Am I ready to be a Mom?

This may not work so don’t get your hopes up.

Do I tell people? Yes. I need the extra support.

Saturday May 4th at 10:45 a.m.

When I arrive at the clinic it was empty – it felt so peaceful and still.

Empty Fertility Clinic!

Then the administrative assistant came in and had me sign some forms.  From there, I was charged $500 but they said I avoided the extra $750.00 fee because of the funding that Mount Sinai had received (thank you Jesus!)

A woman who had a procedure (not sure which one) came out with her husband and she sat on a chair.  She looked like she was in a lot of pain and then I started to panic.

“Sarah?” called a lovely blonde nurse with an upbeat personality as she entered the waiting room.

“Yes?” I asked.  There were so many emotions that I couldn’t even comprehend anything. I felt as though I didn’t even know my name at this point. One thing I did know was that I didn’t want to end up like the woman sitting on a chair after her treatment, completely in pain.

“I am Caroline” said the nurse. 

When I walked into the room I expected to see an operating room full of nurses along with my fertility doctor.

Instead, it was just Caroline and me.

“I didn’t know if I should bring anyone” I said.  “It felt weird to have my Mom in the room while sperm was being placed inside of me.”

“I totally get it” Caroline laughed.

Caroline sat me down and told me what to expect during the procedure.  I also had to place my thumbprint on a machine so that they could tell I was the correct patient (apparently this is new).  We looked over some forms and then she explained that it was time.

“Are you okay during a pap test?” Caroline asked.

“Totally” I said.

“Well I have a feeling that this will be no problem” she said.

And that is exactly what it felt like – a pap test.  It was just Carolyn’s voice telling me that she was inserting different things into me and within 3-5 minutes I was done.

“That’s it?” I asked Caroline.

We both laughed.

I expected to have a panic attack, a total meltdown, etc.  I didn’t even cry.

Instead, I told Caroline how much I loved her company and said that she was so kind, gentle and fun.

“Good luck Sarah” she said as she hugged me.  “You are lovely.”

Before I left, I was given more forms and told that in two weeks I need to take blood tests to see if the IUI procedure has worked.

“How was it?” people texted right about my procedure.  Everyone was so kind.

“Good” I wrote. 

The truth is – it went way better than expected.  I had honestly worked myself up so much and it was a simple procedure.  Although the procedure is simple, the emotions aren’t simple at all. 

I have no idea what to expect over the next two weeks but I am so freakin’ proud of myself for going through with this.  I didn’t fall apart and I went in there – strong, brave, and alone.

But I didn’t feel alone and most times I don’t actually feel alone at all.  I have my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the people that keep sending me messages through this blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Thank you for being with me every step of the way. Thank you for being my village.

Can I Please Start This Process? No? Okay. Cool.

So now that I have my sperm donor, I am ready for my first IUI (placing sperm inside the uterus).  Well, I’ve been ready since January.

As part of the process in becoming a Single Mom by Choice you need to meet with a social worker.  When I told my social worker that I’d be finding my sperm donor in December and starting my IUI in January, she explained that Mount Sinai Fertility had run out of funding and that it probably wouldn’t come back until March.

Please note that with funding, the process is probably going to cost me $6000-$8000 (if everything goes according to plan). Without funding, it is going to cost A LOT more. Funding is ESSENTIAL.

When I explained this issue to my sister over Christmas, she took charge and helped me to figure out finances.  She totalled up her monthly costs for daycare. She then showed me that depending on when I had a baby, it would greatly affect my daycare costs.  If I were to have a January baby, I would ultimately have to pay more for daycare because the child starts school later.

Then we took the daycare costs and added in the amount without funding to see if I should just go ahead and start in January. Turns out, it was less expensive if I just waited until funding came back.

Please also note that nobody really has that much control over when they get pregnant.  It’s like a game of chance. As much as my sister and I could write out figures, in the end, I don’t really have that much control in picking out which month I get pregnant. As a control freak, this whole being patient thing is really getting to me.  I haven’t even started the process yet and already my patience is being tested.

In the meantime, I decided that I would just have fun.  I’d date a bit and enjoy myself until I was ready.  Who knew?  Perhaps I’d be able to meet a wonderful partner and I could just end up eventually having a family with him.  Haha!  Didn’t happen.

When March hit, I checked in with Mount Sinai and was told that funding would be coming back in April.  My cycle hit at the end of March I was so excited!  I called on Day 1 because it meant that by the time I was ready to have my first IUI it would be in April which would mean that they would have funding.

Everything in me told me that the time was right.

Everything until the administrative assistant called to tell me that there wasn’t any funding but that I was welcome to proceed with my IUI if I paid the fees without government assistance.  AHHHH!

When I got the call I was in my office at work and my work friends could tell something was up.  After telling them what happened I found myself blinking back tears of frustration. I wiped my tears and went on with my work day but when I came home I cried more.

I know it is only a month but I feel like something goes wrong every single time the process is *supposedly* ready to officially begin.

Now I am waiting until my next cycle in late April which puts me sometime in mid-May to begin my first IUI. I am doing my first round without fertility drugs which means my chances are LOW (20% low). My fertility doctor suggested doing the first round without drugs followed by two rounds with fertility drugs.  She explained that there have been a lot of cases of twins with fertility drugs and if I didn’t want twins right now, I should try one round without the drugs.

I have also decided not to worry. I am not going to stress myself out by reading books about my chances of getting pregnant or reading about how I should eat/exercise, etc., to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant.  My friend who is a Choice Mom told me that the first two times before her IUI she tried to do everything “right” to get pregnant and it didn’t work. The third time before her IUI she had pizza and drank a bit of wine.  The next day, she was a lot calmer and the IUI worked.

For some, reading about all of these things (stats, ways to help your body get pregnant) helps women feel in control.  To me, facts and numbers make me feel completely stressed out.

So now I am playing a waiting game.  I’m hoping my cycle does happen at the end of April and that I get my first IUI sometime mid-May.  After that, I have heard you wait two weeks to find out if you are pregnant.  This is such a test of patience and God only knows how I’ll be doing at that time.

As for right now, I am trying to breathe, stay calm, and think positive thoughts. I’m also about to enjoy a glass of wine and a damn good piece of pizza.

Hello! I’d Like You To Meet My Sperm Donor

I can never make a decision for the life of me.

What if I end up not liking it?  What if it isn’t the best available option? What if my decision makes someone else upset?  What if I have made the wrong decision?

In the past, I have had other people make my decisions for me.  What make up product do I want to buy?  The reviews tell me which one to buy. What song should I add to a playlist?  The Top100 list is available, so I will just pick something from there.  What should I wear? I’ll just buy everything that is already styled on a mannequin to complete my look. If reviews and experts can’t make the decision for me, I usually turn to my family. I can’t even want to imagine the number of emails that were sent to my family from ages 20-35 with me asking, “what should I do?”

Once my divorce settled and I started living on my own, I began to hear a faint voice telling me what I wanted and I finally started developing an opinion. That being said, I still depend on the opinion of everyone else way too much when making major decisions (people pleaser, say what?)  I don’t want to mess up or have any regrets.  I still don’t know if this is my anxiety or if this is just my personality.

So imagine trying to find a sperm donor on your own when all you want is the opinion of everyone else.  There are no reviews or Top100 lists.  You can’t even physically meet the person and know right away if you like someone.

As mentioned in previous posts, I asked my family to help me with the process of picking a donor but they kept insisting that I do it on my own. At first, I felt unsupported because I thought I needed their help to make one of the most important decisions in my life. Turns out, they gave me a gift. I found my sperm donor on my own and feel absolutely incredible that it was my decision and mine alone. Now, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I never thought I’d be using a sperm donor, writing about using a sperm donor, or even using three separate blogs to write about the topic of a sperm donor – yet here I am! For me, this was a really important decision and one that altogether took me about 50 hours.

So who is my sperm donor?  Well let me introduce him. Please know that I can’t actually introduce him according to the law or show you his childhood pictures or his donor essay.  I don’t even know his name – all I know him by is his donor number. Here is what I can tell you about him:

  1. He is CMV negative. Most people are CMV positive but I am CMV negative. If a CMV positive sperm donor combines with a CMV negative person, you need to sign a form at the clinic because there is a chance that this combination could lead to developmental delays in children.
  • He is healthy.  When I looked at my sperm donor’s records, I could see that he is very healthy (both physically and emotionally) and that his parents and grandparents are all healthy.  He was also tested for genetic diseases and when reading through this list, everything looked great. There were some sperm donors that I loved but I would have to sign a form that they tested positive for a genetic disease saying that “I fully understood that there were risks associated with picking that donor.”  Those forms scared me too much. No genetic disease form needed for this girl!
  • His baby picture and features are somewhat like mine.  At the beginning of this process, I kept trying to find someone that looked like me.  Then I realized that it was more important to me to have someone with a super clean health record than it was for me to have someone that looked like me. He actually looks A LOT less like me than I thought so I really surprised myself in my final choice.

It’s so funny because when you buy sperm, you send the clinic a donor number.  The whole time I was kept making sure that I was typing out the correct donor number.  What would happen if the clinic got the vials mixed up?  Isn’t that somewhat like the plot of Jane the Virgin TV series?

  • He has a really positive vibe. Sperm donors are interviewed and I got to listen to a twenty minute interview with him.  For whatever reason, I felt as though he was really kind.  This is also partly because of his line of work.  When he was talking about his work and how he likes to help people, I felt an immediate connection.

I also really enjoyed reading his essay.  In a donor’s essay they are asked questions like, “what is your earliest childhood memory.” While reading his essay, I felt a huge connection to what he was saying.

I feel like the donor essay is a really good way to get to know the person better. I was looking at one donor in the process who I thought I was my “perfect donor.” Unfortunately my decision changed as soon as I read that he hopes his child knows that “the kid isn’t important. Kids think they are so important but I would just tell them that they are just another person on the planet. They aren’t special.”  For some, this would be a great answer. For me, this just somewhat clashed with my value system.

5. He is an intelligent person.  This was a complete added bonus.  I did want someone that could write complete sentences but his level of intelligence far exceeds mine (from what I can tell) both in his writing and in his interview. I am also more of a creative thinker and he is more of a logical thinker. 

6. He is an Open ID Donor.  This means that at the age of 18, if my future child wants to know more about him, the child can write to the sperm bank and get his information. This one was probably the most important to me because I want my future child to decide how he/she wants to proceed with this information.

7. His sperm is available – so many sperm donors that I began to love, were no longer available.  It’s also not like I had a lot to choose from.  As you know, I looked at three different companies. After reading about some health concerns from one of the companies, I eliminated that one right away. From there, I could select from either Can-Am Cryoservices (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) or Repromed (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). I’d say that after going through my checklist, there were probably about eight from each that I could pick from.

8. Canadian ID Release – my sperm donor is from an American sperm bank.  There are two sperm banks in the US (in my knowledge) that transport sperm to both Can-Am and Repromed.  The amount of men in Canada that donate sperm is very few (they also don’t get paid).  In the US, they do get paid so I think this is possibly why there are a few more donors to choose from.

9. He did not already have a positive pregnancy.  This is something that I was hoping would not be the case.  It feels a bit better to me knowing that the sperm donor has been able to get a woman pregnant.  So why did I still go with him?

When I read up on this, I found that people said it wasn’t that bad.  At least I knew that there weren’t thousands of babies born from the same donor. Plus, your donor will not be absolutely perfect so I was willing to still go with him even after this info.

There is also something available called the “sibling registry.” If there is a confirmed birth you can put their info in a sibling registry.  Eventually if my future baby wants to get into contact with his/her sibling, he/she can do so.

My fertility doctor at Mount Sinai told me “don’t get too attached to your sperm donor.”  Unfortunately, I did not follow her advice and knew who I really wanted.  Truth be told, I didn’t get my first choice as a donor.  His sperm was out of stock and they didn’t know when/if he would have any vials in the future.

From there, I got to select my second choice.  He is my donor and the one I am writing about today. Thankfully I got his sperm in time! I’ve said to a couple friends that buying sperm is like buying something at the Winner’s Department Store.  For those of you outside of Canada, Winners is a store that offers beautiful clothes at a fraction of the price.  If you don’t buy the item from Winners right away, it is always sold out when you go back to their store.  Buying sperm is the exact same – you think the vials are there and it appears as though the vials are there.  When I picked my American donor, I saw that he was available at both Can-Am and Repromed so I called both sperm banks.  Although Repromed showed online that there were many vials of my sperm donor available, this was not the case.  They only had one vial left and Can-Am was completely out of stock.

Without hesitation, I bought the first vial and I have the other two being shipped to Toronto, Ontario, Canada right now.

Overall, I feel as though I have made the best choice given everything available to me.  I didn’t get the opinion of anyone else looking through sperm donor pictures or information and did it all on my own. There were a lot of times I needed to pause when finding a sperm donor.  Once I did write about what was really holding me back from finding a sperm donor, I felt so free and was able to start the search again within a week after writing that blog post.

So thank you for supporting me and for allowing me to get through tough times by having this blog as an outlet for all of my thoughts.

Some of you are reading this because you are in the process of becoming a Single Mother by Choice or maybe you are trying to get pregnant, but your partner has a low sperm count so you are finding yourself going through the sperm donor catalogue.  Just wanted to wish you good luck on your search – it can take a lot out of you emotionally.

Others of you are my family and friends who are interested in following me on my journey and for that, I say thank you.  Thank you for being open to learning about this process. Thank you for also feeling as though you can ask me questions about this journey and for not judging me on my path.

A few of you may be reading this and may be actually thinking about going through the process yourself.  If you are thinking about this, know that right now, I feel as though it is totally worth it.  I have found inner strength that I didn’t even know I had.  I’ve also found that this process has been like holding a mirror up to my face and has made me examine and question things in my life that I was trying to avoid.

Please also know that after all of this decision making, it may not even work.  I am trying three IUI’s and I have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant for each IUI cycle.  Altogether this process is going to cost me about $6,000 – $8,000 thanks to government support.

Fingers crossed this all works out and that this entire process of choosing a sperm donor was worthwhile. Time will tell.

Next Week: Can I please just start the process? No? Okay. Cool.

My Breast MRI: A Total Gong Show

Before becoming a Single Mother by Choice, my doctor explained the importance of going through my genetic history to make sure that I wasn’t passing on any genetic diseases to my future child.  The one issue that came up was the fact that breast cancer ran in my family.  From there, Princess Margaret determined that I was “high risk” for breast cancer and suggested that I complete both a mammogram and a breast MRI prior to my first IUI (placing sperm inside my uterus).

This testing was important for two reasons:

  1. To make sure I didn’t pass on the BRCA (breast cancer) gene.  Somehow doctors can remove it so you don’t pass it on to your future baby. How?  No idea. Science.
  • To make sure that I didn’t have breast cancer (which I now know I don’t), because I won’t be able to get testing again for two years if I am pregnant or if I can breast feed.

Last week’s blog was all about the mammogram so today’s blog will be about my breast MRI. What a happy topic. Haha! You know what? It should have been.  Since discussing this story with numerous people, many explained that breast MRI’s are not supposed to hurt and that their personal experience was okay. So why was mine so brutal?  I am still trying to figure that out.

This blog will also include all of my tips so that you don’t have an uncomfortable MRI.

March 12th: 8:30 p.m. Breast MRI at Toronto General

As you know, I had a mammogram at 4:30 pm at Princess Margaret.  My next appointment was at 8:30 pm at Toronto General.

Before I left, the nurse asked me what I was doing between my two appointments and if I was going somewhere “nice” for dinner. I wasn’t.  I was planning on eating and doing work at a nearby café.  Ladies, if you ever have to go through both tests in one day, treat ‘yo self.  You deserve something special – especially a delicious meal.

As someone who has anxiety, I thought the only thing that would make me uncomfortable with my MRI was the small confined space. Since I had an MRI for my knee ten years ago and get claustrophobic very easily, I figured I could depend on a 0.50 dose of lorazepam. Please note that this was not enough.

After signing in, I walked down a long hall full of different waiting rooms and started to become anxious.  At the very end of the hall, several people sat in a waiting room watching “Princess Bride” on the hospital television.  I think if I ever see Princess Bride again, I will associate it with this traumatic experience which is sad because it is a good movie.

Everyone was seated with a partner and for the first time I thought “ Oh no.  Maybe I should have said “yes” to about ten people who asked me if I needed someone at my appointment”. Learn from me – bring someone to your appointment.

After waiting about thirty minutes, they asked me to change into a hospital gown and hospital pants and to put my bag, clothes, and tote in my locker.  Here’s the problem: my stuff did not fit in the freakin’ locker.  I just stuffed my clothes on top of the laptop and left the locker door ajar crossing my fingers that nobody would steal anything in a hospital (nobody did). If you have an MRI, do not bring a tote.

Before the MRI

Then I just sat there for another thirty minutes with random people while we all watched Princess Bride and tried to distract ourselves from what was happening.

At 9:30 p.m. they called my name along with the name of another man. We both got our IV’s and he walked into one room with two technicians. Then they left him in his room and the two technicians came to me and led me into the other room.

At this point, I was little anxious but thought I had everything under control.

Then came the instructions:

  1. Please wear your hospital gown the other way around so that your breasts are exposed.
  2. Please climb onto the machine head first and bend your knees.
  3. Now place your two breasts in the holes.
  4. Hold your arms up infront of you.
  5. Take this device in your left hand. It is an emergency button that will stop the procedure if you are in trouble.

Overall the position was awkward AF.

Then the kind male technician who informed me earlier that he “may be male but has been doing this for a long time and will make sure that I am as comfortable as possible”, kept asking if I was comfortable and I kept saying yes.

As a people pleaser, I say “yes” to almost everything.  I wish I would have said “no” because I think that maybe there was an easier/better/more comfortable way for me to be on the machine. If I had to go back in time, this is where I would do things differently. Try to be as comfortable as possible before you begin. Please say “no” if you are uncomfortable in any way.

Once I said yes, they gave me earplugs and placed headphones over my ears.  They placed my IV off to the side and the machine started moving me into what looked like a tunnel.

Super loud noises started happening and I took deep breaths. 

Deep breathing could not get me through it.

Trying to distract myself couldn’t get me through it either. I tried my best to think about what I thought would happen on “The Bachelor” that night because I was missing the finale.  From there, I started labelling all of my favourite Housewives in order of how much I liked them.  No amount of reality television could get my mind to stop worrying about the pain that was happening at my breast bone. 

My arms were shaking and I didn’t know if it was because a) I was cold b) I was scared c) I was out of shape and couldn’t maintain a position where I could hold my arms up for thirty minutes.

The loud screeching would not stop and was just irritating me even more.

I felt like I was either going to puke or pass out because the pain to my breast bone was so intense.  It was as though I was holding my entire body up on my breast bone. I kept taking deep breaths but every time I would breathe, it would hurt my breast bone even more.

I kept alternating between wanting to press the emergency button and wanting to please the technician.  Plus, I was worried that if I pressed the button I would have to start the test over again.  I had no indication of time.

When I couldn’t take it any more – I pushed the emergency button (which completely shocked me because I like to follow the rules).

A voice came into my headphones stating that I had thirty seconds left and that I was to “hold on.”

After thirty seconds the loud noises stopped and the machine moved my backwards away from the tunnel.

The technician was very kind and held my back. He asked what happened and I explained that I was either “going to puke or pass out.” He was kind enough to bring me the garbage can and I just stayed on all fours for about five minutes. Afterwards I showed him all of the dark red lines across my stomach and the dark area around my breastbone.

He told me that the machine was new and that it cost $35,000.  I guess that meant that it wasn’t supposed to cause pain?  No idea.

Once I realized that I could breathe properly, I had the urge to just get out of the hospital right away.  When I started walking I felt like I was going to puke again so I went to the washroom.  Unfortunately, the washroom was locked all I could hear was someone puking (I totally think it was the guy who was in the room beside me).

After my MRI

It’s weird because during my MRI experience I saw three people get MRI’s.  The woman ahead of me came back to get her clothes from her locker in tears with mascara all over her face.  The man (that I can only assume) who started his MRI minutes before me was puking in the bathroom.  What in the actual hell?

It turns out that I didn’t puke but I have never left so quickly from a hospital. All I wanted was air and after walking 25 minutes, I walked right into a store and bought myself some ice cream because I finally decided I was going to treat myself.

I can tell you that on the plus side, I did receive a code and got my results that I am breast cancer free, all within 24 hours!

Checking out my results

If I could create a perfect life it would be a place where everyone was healthy and where nobody ever had to have any testing. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist.  In the meantime, below is a list of things that I plan on doing differently when I go for my next MRI.  My hope is that the tips can also help you.

Tips for a Breast MRI

  1. Treat ‘yo self to a nice dinner before or afterwards.
  • Don’t be afraid to take medication before your MRI to calm you.
  • Don’t bring a tote bag – the lockers are small.
  • Bring someone with you.  Going alone does not make you brave, you may actually need someone.
  • Make sure you feel as comfortable as possible before your MRI starts.  You are in one position for thirty minutes.
  • Ask them to give you a countdown.  I am not sure if they do this but I want them to tell me when I have 15 minutes, 10 minutes, and 5 minutes left.

After that dramatic story, I promise that next week’s topic will be more fun.

Next week’s topic:  I have found my sperm donor and my first IUI will be happening in late April/early May!