The Birth Story

Leaving for Induction Part One

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

“What would you like from Starbucks?” my sister texted.

“Egg bites” I texted back. I needed all of the food I could get. People told me that once you go into labour, you are not allowed to eat so I wanted to make sure I had some food in my system (total lie).

It was the morning of my induction (had to be induced because of Gestational Diabetes). Although Baby Boy was measuring in the 50th percentile for weight, my OB was adamant that I get induced.

My sister J came with me because we divided the whole labour process into various rounds. My Mom would cover the next shift. It was crazy trying to figure out timing though because I had no idea how long my labour would last.

Sunday February 16th at 10:00 am.

Checking into Mount Sinai

While checking in at Mount Sinai, the admin assistant kept asking me if I got the time right for my induction. They had me scheduled to be induced at 4:30 p.m. with five other people (please note that Sinai was right with their time. I have no idea why I put my induction in my phone for 10:00 a.m.)

“I can just go home” I said to the nurse wanting to put off my induction. I was dreading being induced so I was eager to postpone it.

“It is your lucky day” said nurse Sandra. “It is not busy at all today so you can be induced now. Dr. Rebecca will be here in a moment.”

All of a sudden Dr. Rebecca emerged and immediately I knew she was a badass. She was pumping breast milk under her hospital clothes.

“I have a nine month old baby so I have to pump” she said. 

I loved her already. I also loved that she had pictures of different uteruses on her scrubs.

Dr. Rebecca, Nurse Sandra, my sister J and I totally hit it off. We laughed about so many things and joked about television stars, people giving birth, motherhood, and being in the hospital. 

Sunday February 16th at 12:00 p.m.

“Are you okay?” asked my sister J after Dr. Rebecca and Nurse Sandra inserted a balloon into me in order to start the induction process.

“I have cramping but I am fine” I said with a smile.

Nurse Sandra and Doctor Rebecca left the room and J and I were alone just chatting.

Induction Part One

“I can’t stop sweating” I said. The sweat was pouring off me and I was getting more and more uncomfortable. The cramps were really starting to hurt.

Nurse Sandra came back to tell us that we could leave and come back the next morning.

“Am I supposed to be this sweaty?” I asked.

Apparently, everything was normal and I got dressed and left the hospital with J. The cramps hurt a lot less but it was so weird having the “tail” of the balloon hanging out.

When we got back to the condo, my other sister L had arrived and my Mom and Dad were there as well.

Back Home

I went into the bedroom and said I’d be there for a while.

Sunday February 16th 4:00 p.m.

After a couple hours I went to the washroom and the balloon fell out.

“Guys, the balloon fell out” I announced to my family. “This means that I am at least 2cm and I think this baby is coming tonight.”

Boy was I ever wrong.

Monday February 17th 10:00 a.m.

Thankfully I was able to sleep a bit and woke up thinking my baby boy would be born on Family Day – how fitting.

I got ready to go to the hospital and this time J and my Mom wanted to both come with me for the second part of the induction.

After signing in (again), I was directed to go to “labour and delivery.” When they said that, I knew that this was happening ASAP.

“Sarahseekingbaby!” shouted Dr. Rebecca. She was sitting with about 20 nurses/doctors who were just getting started for the day.

I wondered how she knew about my instagram account.

“My friend took a screenshot of your instagram account. She saw that you were praising Dr. Rebecca and asked if it was me.”

I could feel my face turning red because I was in front of so many strangers and I didn’t want them to think less of me.

Monday February 17th at 11:00 a.m.

“I’ll be your labour and delivery nurse” said Nurse Rebecca. “I actually picked you because you and your family seem pretty cool.”

Dr. Rebecca AND Nurse Rebecca? The dream team was formed and I could not be happier.

“We just need to start the pitocin” said Nurse Rebecca. You can move around, eat, sleep, anything.

She started the pitocin at noon.

“I can feel the contractions” I said to my Mom and sister.

In Labour and Delivery

Monday February 17th at 12:30 p.m.

Soon my Dad and my sister L stopped by. They had picked up some things for me – diet ginger ale along with test strips for diabetes because I had run out of mine. The nurses wanted to watch my sugars throughout the labour process and right after delivery as well.

At around 4:00 p.m., I decided I had enough and asked for the epidural.

“You are 4 cm” said Nurse Rebecca.

“So I am a wimp asking for the epidural now?”

I had heard so many stories – some people were too late for an epidural, some people had to wait so long for the anesthesiologist and missed their epidural. I needed my epidural.

“Can you sit still for twenty minutes?” she asked. If you can, now is the time for your epidural. If you think you will be in too much pain to sit still for twenty minutes shortly, do it now.”

After my epidural

My labour and delivery room was MASSIVE. It felt like there was a party in there. Dad and L had left but I was still hanging out with my Mom and J. 

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

Nurse Sandra (from the day before) came to see me because we had bonded so much. Dr. Rebecca was making jokes coming in and out of the room. Nurse Rebecca was the sweetest person in the world and would get me popsicles provided my sugar was low enough.

“You can’t feel the contractions?” my Mom asked. “I am watching them on the machine and you are having a lot of them.”

“I love my epidural” I said. 

At that moment, I decided labour wasn’t really that bad. I heard women screaming and various codes (along with nurses and doctors running to various rooms) nearby but thought that labour couldn’t be that painful because of the epidural.

I wish that I knew then what I know now.

February 17th at 6:30 p.m.

“How far along am I?” I asked Dr. Rebecca. “I know your shift is over so can you just tell me that I am at 10 cm and you can deliver my baby?”

“You are 5 cm” said Dr. Rebecca. “I promise to come and see you tomorrow but unfortunately, you won’t be having a baby while I am here unless it is in the morning.”

“This isn’t fair” I said. Dr. Rebecca was the best and I NEEDED her.

“I am so sorry but I also have to leave at 7:30 p.m.” said Nurse Rebecca.

“NOOOOOOOOOO” I screamed. “I can’t lose both Rebecca’s. You two are like my family.”

“I am texting my friend Olivia and telling her how cool you are. Hopefully she can take over.”

“But she is no Rebecca” I said.

“I promise to come and visit you tomorrow” said Nurse Rebecca. 

When Doctor Rebecca and Nurse Rebecca left, I cried. They both gave me the most beautiful speeches (Dr. Rebecca’s speech was about three things – breastfeeding (how hard it is), recovery (some tips on what helped her), and mental health. She made me laugh through the entire speech and it lasted about twenty minutes. 

Nurse Rebecca then gave a little speech about what an amazing day she had and how much she loved our family. It meant the world.

Before long, a blonde blubby nurse entered my room.

“I have heard so much about you. I am Nurse Olivia.”

“Are you as cool as Nurse Rebecca?” I asked.

“I can try” she laughed.

Nurse Olivia was amazing and a little bit more strict than Nurse Rebecca. Gone were the moments where I could eat popsicles. My sugar was totally at the normal range but Nurse Olivia was watching me like a hawk.

“If you had to guess, when do you think I would have the baby?” I asked Nurse Olivia. It was already 9:00 p.m. and the whole labour thing was taking way too much time.

“If I had to guess, at the rate you are dilating, I would say 6 or 7 am” she said. “But please don’t hold me to it. You are pressuring me to give you a time so it is just from my own personal experience.”

“Okay” I said. By this point, I was frustrated. I knew labour could take a long time but this was getting a little ridiculous.

“Go home and have a nap” I directed my Mom and sister. They were absolutely exhausted and needed a break.

After begging them to leave, my Mom and sis went home to have a quick nap so that they could support me throughout the wee hours of the morning.

“Let’s watch The Bachelor” I said to Nurse Olivia. We watched the show together while other nurses and doctors drifted in and out.

“I am going to take my break now” said Nurse Olivia right as The Bachelor was ending.

“Take your time” I said. “This baby is taking forever.”

Olivia left and I started to feel A LOT of pain. I kept trying to move so that it would go away. I figured it was just the way that I was positioned on the hospital bed. Ever since my epidural, I was not allowed to get out of bed or move around.

I knew that I could call a nurse but I didn’t want to disturb anyone. I also knew that I could press a button for more pain medication but wanted to save it (just in case).

“Hello Sarah” said a different nurse who I hadn’t seen before. “Nurse Olivia is on her break so I am taking over.”

“I am in a lot of pain” I admitted.

“Well let’s see how far along you are.”

Monday February 17th at 10:30 p.m.

“You are 7 cm” said the Nurse.

I could also see that the machine with the baby’s heartbeat was beeping and I was getting scared.

“7 cm” I texted my Mom and sister.

“Be there in 10 minutes” texted my sister.

I felt so bad because they didn’t even really get a nap.

The nurse checked me again and said “9 cm.”

All of a sudden the new nurse picked up the phone and I could tell it was something serious.

“We need to take you to the operating room” she said.

“What?” I asked. “I thought I was delivering here” I said.

All of a sudden I was greeted by a lot of nurses and doctors as they wheeled me out. Nurse Olivia came back from her break and was beside me.

“Going to the operating room” I texted my Mom and sister and gave Olivia my phone.I knew they would panic but I thought it would be less nerve wracking than coming into my room only to find me gone.

Somehow in the matter of twenty minutes, I went from being 6 cm to 9 cm and the pain was real. I kept pushing my button for pain relief but it didn’t seem to be helping.

“We are putting you under” said a very concerned doctor.

In fact, inside the operating room were about 20 nurses/doctors. I was in a total panic. Just minutes ago I was enjoying The Bachelor and now there was so much commotion in the operating room. It felt like a dream and I didn’t know what to do.

“I know you are scared” said a woman who looked like an angel beside my bed. “I am Dr. MacArthur – the anasteogislist. “Do you want anyone in the room with you?” she asked.

“No” I said in extreme pain.

“Let’s just try something” suggested the doctor. “Let’s see if you can push. Try it on three. 1…2….3.”

I gave them three pushes and nothing happened.

I knew that something was wrong though. There were just way too many people in the room and I could see that they were watching a screen.

“I am just asking this question again because I am worried you may regret it” said Dr. MacArthur. “Are you sure you don’t want someone in the room with you?”

“Sure” I said. “Either my Mom or sister.”

I could barely speak because of the pain. I also wondered if my Mom and sister had even arrived at the hospital yet. Everything was happening so quickly.

“You have got this” said a voice beside me. As I looked, I couldn’t help but laugh. My sister J was in her hospital clothes ready to be my birthing partner.

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

“I need more drugs” I said to her. Then I started swearing.

I could hear Nurse Olivia requesting more drugs on the phone but I also heard her get denied.

“You need to start pushing again” said the doctor.

“Everything is fine babe” said my sister. “Look around the room. You are having a regular delivery. There are only six people in the room and they are so relaxed now.”

“I can’t push” I said to J. “I am in too much pain.”

Then I started to realize that if I just pushed, this pain might go away. 

When I pushed I could feel the baby coming out. Holy hell, what a weird feeling. I also can’t even describe the pain to you. It was horrendous.

Everyone around me was praising me which gave me more courage to push like crazy.

After eight minutes of pushing, Max was born.

Seconds After Max Was Born

“Do you want to cut the cord?” the doctor asked J.

“No thanks” she said.

“I don’t want to either” I said.

They cut the cord and gave me Max.

“He had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. We are so lucky that you went into labour when you did” said the doctor.

Tuesday February 18th at 12:05 a.m.

I always heard that the moment I held my baby would be everything. As someone who is very sentimental, I knew I would sob like a baby.

“I don’t want to hold him” I said.

It was so unlike me. I was getting sewn up and was in so much pain. I felt so much pressure to have this beautiful moment with him and I just needed to close my eyes for a few seconds. 

“You hit the pain button 70 times” my sister said reading the machine. “You only received three units of pain medication” she laughed.

Because I went into labour so quickly at the end, my epidural was not providing me with enough pain relief. Everything was timed and they didn’t expect me to be in that much pain in such a short amount of time.

I opened my eyes and watched my sister in the corner with Max and the nurses. I could actually watch him on a tv monitor and couldn’t help but think he was cute.

“Are you ready to hold him?” asked the nurse about two minutes after I gave birth.

“I am ready” I said with a smile. That was the moment I will never forget. I looked into his eyes and the whole thing felt surreal. 

Holding Max For The First Time

How did I have a baby? I was now a Mother. All of this was so worth it. I was now responsible for another human being.

“How did your eye makeup stay on the entire time you were in labour?” asked my sister.

“It’s from Fab Fit Fun” I laughed.

J could always get me out of the super serious moment when my head would start to spin. She always provided the comic relief that I needed.

After a short amount of time (I would guess 20 minutes but I have no concept of time), I was wheeled back into my labour and delivery room and was greeted by my Mom, Dad, and J’s husband (my bro in law).

They gave me gifts (which is insane because they had already done so much for me).

My Mom told me about how she has never felt so sick in all her life trying to make it back to the hospital in time for the birth.

“I am so sorry” she said.

“It was my fault” I said. “I was super stubborn and told you guys to go home” I laughed.

Then I got to watch as each family member held Max.

Watching him getting handed off from family member to family member felt amazing. Not only I had fallen so in love with a brand new human being but everyone I loved was also falling in love with him as well.

“Thank you for everything” I said to my family holding back tears.

“I love you Max” I said. It is so cliche but so true – I never knew that a love like this could exist. I love so many people and so many things. The love I have for people in my life is so extreme but this felt so different.

And that is when it hit me.

Max was worth every single appointment I attended.

He was worth missing my colleagues and my job.

He was worth every single time I projectile vomited.

He was worth staying in bed for my entire pregnancy.

He was worth all of the pain – emotional and physical. 

This beautiful boy was mine and I was now his Mama. My dream – that I had for 39 years finally came to life. He was worth the wait. The wait and the difficult journey made him that much more special.

I looked into Max’s eyes and promised to protect him as much as possible.

And that was the moment I felt whole. For so much of my life there was something missing and I couldn’t figure it out. I had spent years trying to fill that void with various things and nothing had worked. Nothing until Max was born. 

Now I knew my true purpose in life – to be the best Mama I can to my beautiful baby boy.

And that was when my life changed for the better. The feeling of missing something in my life was completely transformed and I felt whole. Max and I are now the best team and I could not love anyone more than my amazing, beautiful boy.

Maxwell James

I Totally Know That I am Having a Boy

Just after M found out the sex of the baby

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

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

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

Then I started to really care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Then came some words that I finally could understand.

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

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

“Oh my gosh. It is a boy” I said.

Both M and the nurse laughed.

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

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

I watched their faces looking for a sign.

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

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

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

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

No luck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Really Going On?

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

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

Now for the fun part….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Baby names?  Have you picked them?

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

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

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

  • What will you tell your child?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • How did you tell your parents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • How did you tell people you were pregnant?

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

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

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

  • How are you feeling?

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

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

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

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

  • Have you received your results for the Harmony test?

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing everyone an amazing and healthy week ahead!

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.

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!

Ready, Set, Impregnate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it is now all up to the universe.  

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

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

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

Overall, I’m also so freakin excited.  

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

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

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

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

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

I just feel really lucky.

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

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

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

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