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!

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.

How Much Did It Cost to Get Pregnant and How to Start a Side Hustle

The back of my business card. I’d show you the front but there is too much personal info 🙂

Let’s talk money. 

For people thinking about going through the fertility process, this is a very important topic. 

Most people feel uncomfortable discussing finances but I plan to be as open as possible.  So how much did it cost me to get pregnant and how did I come up with the money?

Before I started this journey I had not saved a single dollar and to be honest, I really struggled to save money.  Living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is expensive and it is also amazing because there is so much to do.  I often found myself spending a lot of money going out for fun dinners with friends and because Toronto had so much to offer, I was constantly spending a lot of money participating in really fun events.

When I started to create a budget I knew I was in trouble.  The money for this process was not going to fall from the sky and upon seeing the fertility doctor; I knew that I needed to get started with the process right away because I was around 38 years old.

Then I started looking at what I could do as a side hustle.  As a teacher, I work in both the classroom and in an online environment (I teach some courses that are entirely online).  It allows me a bit of flexibility which is amazing. At first, I started to think about working for VIP Kids (teaching kids overseas and getting paid to do it).  Then I thought about being a tutor.  None of these jobs seemed that appealing to me because even though I love teaching, so many of my hours were spent teaching kids in person or online.  I was clocking so many hours doing that and I needed something different and something preferably active.  Something that didn’t feel like work and that is when I got the idea to start my own babysitting services.

By babysitting I was continuing to work with kids of all ages (not just teens which is the age group I normally work with).  Nothing in life made me happier than working with kids plus I could be active and away from the computer screen.  The first thing I did was look up how much babysitters in Toronto make and on average it was about $15.00 an hour.  I figured that with my experience as a teacher and in teaching the parenting program at my school, $20.00 seemed like a fair charge for families looking for a babysitter.

When I told people my plan, the results were mixed.  Why not just save money and allow myself to have evenings and weekends free?  If I only charged $20.00 an hour I would never make enough.  Why would I go back to a job that I did as a teenager after all of the schooling that I had gone through to be a teacher?

These were all valid questions but something inside me told me that this was the perfect job for me that wouldn’t feel like work.  I just needed to know if I could get clients and how to get clients.

The first thing I did was make business cards from Vistaprint.  They cost me about $20.00 and they were great because when parents went out, I’d give them my card with my phone number.  They also gave my business card to other people and word of mouth started spreading.  I also found the facebook group “Moms and Nannies” (Moms looking for nannies or babysitters via facebook).  It was crazy because I didn’t know that my friends were in the group looking for babysitters for their little kids.  It felt amazing when I posted about my babysitting services and my friends confirmed that I was a great babysitter and could totally be trusted.  It can be a scary world out there and it is hard to find someone you can totally trust with your kids.

At first I started going long distances to babysit and then it wasn’t long before I had my preferred clients – people that lived really close with the most adorable kids of all time.

I started babysitting in October and by February I reached my goal of a couple thousand dollars.  Babysitting on evenings and weekends also meant that I wasn’t spending money so I actually saved quite a bit.  I set up a different bank account for babysitting and promised myself every single dollar that I put into the account would be spent on fertility.

Don’t get me wrong – babysitting wasn’t all sunshine and roses. My social and family life took a blow and I had a lot of guilt about missing events with the people I loved.  It was also hard to give up time with my niece and nephew to spend time with other kids around their ages. There were also times that I struggled with a baby crying (the youngest baby I babysat was three months).  Babysitting taught me so much though.  I changed countless diapers, learned several strategies to get a baby to sleep, and nothing beat baby/kid cuddles.  If it paid better, I would totally do it for a living. 

I was also exhausted.  I felt like I didn’t have the same energy as I once did in the classroom and I didn’t get my weekends to sleep in and relax.  I also found myself incredibly attached to the kids and didn’t know how to say goodbye.  Since I am so bad with goodbyes, I sent the moms/dads messages stating that I had reached my goal for the fertility process (they all knew why I was babysitting and were all so supportive) and I am now friends with all the moms/dads on facebook and Instagram.  That way, I am still connected to the kids and can watch them grow up.  Can’t even imagine being a nanny, being with kids for years, and having to say goodbye.  I couldn’t do it. In fact, this week I ran into one of my favourite kids I babysat.  It seemed she remembered me right away and it felt so wonderful to be able to hug her and she even gave me a kiss when we parted ways (she just turned two).

So in terms of making money, it took about two-three weeks for word to get out there and then the babysitting business took off.  I was babysitting ALL the time and had to keep declining babysitting jobs because I was too busy.  It was insane.  If you are looking for a side hustle, there is a lot of money in babysitting ($20 an hour adds up quickly).

So what did I spend all of my money on? Below is a breakdown of every single expense I made in this process.  Hopefully it helps anyone thinking about becoming a single mom/dad by choice or a couple who is starting their fertility journey.

1. Repromed – Sperm Donor Catalogue $67.80

I wanted a bigger list of sperm donors to select from and this allowed me to have three months access to the Canadian sperm donors (there are so few Canadian sperm donors).  Don’t do this. Save yourself the money and just sign up as a new client from multiple email addresses. That way, you will always have access to sperm donors after your free trial is over.

2. Social Worker – through fertility clinic $250.00

If you want to have a baby on your own, it is mandatory that you see a social worker. My social worker asked me a variety of questions and created a report about how prepared I was for becoming a Choice Mom. I plan on writing a blog entry about this process because it was quite an interesting chat.

3. Counsellor – $2000.00 ($1000.00 paid through benefits)

I saw a counsellor bi-weekly through the process because the journey was tough.  I needed the support and needed to make sure that I was doing the right thing for me. *Most of this was fortunately paid by my benefits from work.  I strongly advise you to see a counsellor at least three times through the process (the beginning, after your first procedure, and at a later time).  The support is essential. I am still going to her now and she keeps my anxiety in check at all times.  After talking to her, I feel a huge weight lifted.

4. Sperm – $3000.00

The fertility doctor suggested that I buy three vials.  I bought one vial from one sperm donor (Repromed) and two vials from the second sperm donor (Can-Am).  Because I got pregnant on the second try, I can sell the sperm back to the clinic for $500.00 (only available at Can-Am Cyrobank in Hamilton, ON)

5. Storage for Sperm ($30.00 a month and I am now at $90.00)

I am still storing the extra vial from Can-Am and will sell it back once the pregnancy goes to term.  If you want to hang on to the vial for a sibling in the future you are looking at paying this fee until you get pregnant again. I feel blessed to be able to have one child so will sell back the sperm.

6. Shipping of Sperm $30.00

This was a new fee that started at Repromed in May 2019.  I highly recommend Can-Am in Hamilton since the shipping is free.  I went with Repromed the first time (my donor only had a vial there), and Can-Am for the two other vials.

7. Sperm Washing at Clinic $500.00 each time = $1000.00

This is the fee I had to pay for the sperm to go through the process of unfreezing/freezing and washing the sperm.  Please note that the fees have gone up. As for June 2019, this fee has increased but I am unsure what it is now.

8. IUI Procedure (Covered)

If I had started this procedure when it wasn’t covered (the fertility clinic ran out of coverage from Jan- May), it would have cost me an additional $800.00 each time I had an IUI procedure.

9. Shipping of Sperm $30.00

This was a new fee that started at Repromed in May 2019.  I highly recommend Can-Am in Hamilton since the shipping is free.  I went with Repromed the first time (my donor only had a vial there), and Can-Am for the two other vials.

10. Fertility Meds – Letrozole (Covered)

I have coverage through benefits but 30 pills cost $101.00 (drugs.com). I only had to take five pills. 

11. Fertility Drugs – Ovidrel (Covered)

I used one needle and had coverage through my benefits.  Without coverage, this costs $181.00 (drugs.com).

12. Massage (Covered)

I had coverage through my benefits but went twice.  This whole process is extremely stressful and I went for a massage two times.

13.Chiropractor (Covered)

I was tense AF and had a lot of issues in my neck and back because of stress.

Grand Total = $5, 437.80 OR $4,437.80 (if you decide not to do counselling).

Please note that I was VERY lucky and that few people actually get pregnant on the second round of IUI so you can see that this adds up.  I have also attached the fees that I have received from the clinic below.

The bottom line is that fertility is expensive. It is financially and emotionally draining and can take a huge toll on you/your partner. My fees don’t include costs for IVF which is even more expensive.  The first IVF procedure is covered by the government, but after that you have to pay for future treatments. I have watched as friends have spent so much money and don’t have any more savings and they are still trying to have a baby.  It’s crazy that you spend so much money and it is still a total gamble.  It feels so unfair.

My post today hopes to shed some light on the financial costs of this and is not meant to scare anyone or to suggest that it costs too much.  Please know that when I started the process I didn’t have a single dollar saved and somehow worked really hard doing a side hustle to make this dream a reality.

I always wondered what I would do if my IUI’s didn’t work.  There are so many people that go through this process and find themselves left with no savings.  It breaks my heart.

Please know that this blog post was written because someone sent me a DM on Instagram and asked me to write about all of this.  If you have any questions at all, just sent me an email, DM, or message on Facebook.  I am totally here to help you and hopefully I can prove that you can do this! If there is any topic that you have wondered about, or that you would like to read about, ask away.

Also wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the outpouring of love that I have received through this journey.  Thank you for all of your messages and please know that I respond to every single one.

This was given to me a year ago so most fees have increased.
This was given to me a year ago so most fees have increased.