My First Appointment with my O.B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am so nervous” I confessed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I also own the same skirt” Julia laughed.

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

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

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

That made me happy.

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

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

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

“Your blood pressure is great” she said.

This made a lot of anxiety disappear.

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

The perfect artwork for the low risk floor.

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

“Stop staring” I said to J.

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course” I said.

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

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

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

“Sarah?” asked Dr. Snelgrove.

“This is my sister J” I said.

“I can see the family resemblance.”

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

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

Some things I did note were the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Make a fist” she said.

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

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

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

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

Telling Family and Friends

Since telling people I am hoping to be a Mom, and since writing this blog, I usually get asked the same question, “how did everyone react when you told them?”

To me, the question is really asking “how were you able to move past the stereotypes and the boxes that were created for you by society?” AND  “How were you able to tell the people you love most that you were going to rebel against the stereotype of the perfect heterosexual couple complete with 1.6 children?”

Growing up, I was always the “good kid.”  People often remarked at my politeness and kindness.  Part of me looks back at that person and thinks “girl, did you even have a personality?”  All I wanted to do was to please everyone around me. 

Now, at the age of 38, I have a personality but often find myself wanting to please everyone in my existence and to put everyone’s needs ahead of my own.  For one of the first times in my life, I am saying “screw what society tells me I need to do” and “I have this feeling within me that is so strong that I am willing to run the risk of people not accepting me or respecting my decision.” So what happens when the people pleaser who lives off praise, jumps out of the box and forces the people I love to live outside the box?

A lot of growth. 

A lot of tears.

A lot of pain.

So here’s what happened when I told my family and friends that I was going to be a Solo Mom.

While I was considering being a Choice Mom, I wanted to see if my family would support me. I guess deep down, I was trying to gauge some sort of vibe from my family members about having a baby on my own.

A lot of conversations went like this:

  1. “My friend is going to be a Choice Mom. What do you think?”
  2. “This dating scene is hideous.  Sometimes I just wonder if I should just use a man for sperm so that I could have a baby”
  3. “Do you think a woman could be a single Mom and live in Toronto?” 

My family is pretty smart but nobody really called me on what I was doing – testing the waters to see if they would disown me if I became a Choice Mom. To be honest, not all conversations were pretty.  Some left me pretending I wasn’t crying or cleaning up dinner plates when the family was together so that I could leave the room.

Overall, I bet I asked about fifty awkward questions that were really me just asking them “would you still love and accept me as part of the family if I did something so outside my comfort zone and your comfort zone?”

Phone Call 1: Sister One

This is where I started.  I told my sister over the phone about wanting to begin the process of being a Choice Mom and she said she supported me and then moved to a different topic.

About a month ago I asked her why she responded that way and she said something like “I knew it was coming.  You talked about it and dropped hints all the time.”

I also encouraged sister one to get sister two on board. I remember telling sister one that she could tell sister two.

Phone Call 2: Sister Two

Sister two has two beautiful kids, a wonderful husband, and a beautiful home. She is also known as the logical one so I was really worried about getting her approval.

Her first reaction was to support me which felt amazing.  Then it turned to a bunch of questions that I was not able to answer.

This resulted in me feeling overwhelmed, sobbing, and barely able to make a coherent sentence. 

Since then, she has been so supportive and the questions have stopped because I just don’t know the answers to the questions.  I have planned as much as I can but I have no idea what my possible baby will be like.

Phone Call 3: Mom

I know that I called my Mom before she went on a big trip with my Dad and I remember crying through a lot of the phone call. She was super kind and I remember suggesting that she tell Dad on their trip. That way, she could put the feelers out and possibly get my Dad used to the idea so that when they came back from the trip, he could possibly be on board.

Family Conversation:

Once my parents got back from their trip, we met at my sister’s house and my parents told us about their trip.  My Mom had a couple glasses of wine and just stated “Sarah, I asked your dad about you having a kid on your own.  He said that if it makes you feel as happy as you three girls have made him feel, he supports your decision.”

I just sat there and cried and everyone was there – including my Dad.  My Dad’s approval was the one I was most scared to get. My Mom then said something like “I think I am going to cry” and then someone changed the conversation.

Since then, there have been A LOT of conversations and I mean A LOT.  We have discussed a lot of really tough subjects – moving back home for a bit, paying for daycare, picking out a sperm donor, genetic testing, making my story so public, etc.

My poor family worries for me about the potential backlash of me being so candid.

After I told my family, I started telling some extended family members.  From there, I told my friends, my co-workers, etc.  Before I started the blog, I bet about 20-30 people knew what was happening. Their reactions really ranged – some people didn’t say anything when I told them, others screamed in excitement, a few got emotional. Overall, nobody in my close group of family/friends said anything negative. 

The blog is the topic that really divides people.  I’d say about 25% of my friends/family have said things that haven’t been 100% supportive because they are worried about me being so open at such a vulnerable time. 

Now, every time I tell my story, I feel more comfortable and secure with my decision. Looking back, I don’t know what I would have done if my family said that they didn’t support me if I were to have a baby on my own.  If I didn’t have a sister who was my appointment partner – there with me every time I got a result for something.  If I didn’t have another sister who was always checking in and saving every baby item and clothing item for me.  If I didn’t have parents who said “move in with us and stay here as long as you need us.”

The other main person is this process who has helped me maintain my strength is my therapist. She helps me conquer my fears and the inner voices that leave me up at night questioning this decision. She forces me to examine stereotypes and teaches me how to deal with non-enthusiastic people. 

So could I have done this on my own without a supportive family and an incredible therapist?  I have absolutely no idea and feel blessed that I don’t have to deal with that right now. 

Update: Thank you for letting me vent last week about the reaction I was having in finding a sperm donor.  You allowed me to write down some of my most personal thoughts and the whole experience was very cathartic.  Perhaps that was all I needed – a place to just grieve that I would not experience the life I had pictured. For whatever reason, I no longer feel stuck in finding a sperm donor and my goal is to find one this week!

Thank you: Please know that writing this blog is helping me so much through this process but I want it to help you as well.  Perhaps you are thinking about becoming a Mom, worried about the fertility process, wanting to best support friends/family through the process, etc.  If you have any questions at all, please just message me. If there is anything you have wondered about and want me to write a blog about, please let me know.