Friday, August 12, 2011

12 DPO

This morning I took a pregnancy test. I really, really wanted to try to wait, at least until Sunday or Monday morning, because right now I’m only 12 dpo (days past ovulation), and I know that can sometimes be too early to pick up anything. I didn’t want to get disappointed by an early negative that could possibly be false.

So what happened? Nothing, only one lonely line. Just before I gave it up for negative, I noticed a very, very, VERY faint second line. Very faint. But it was definitely there. So of course I went online immediately and looked up “very faint line on pregnancy test” to see what other people have gotten. I saw a couple photos of tests that looked very similar to mine, and almost all of them said “A LINE IS A LINE!” So that’s encouraging, but I don’t know, it was really faint. But it was nice to get good news from what I found online for once, instead of the normally discouraging news.

Trying to keep it all in perspective - not getting too up or too down about it. But really, after having a little crisis of faith yesterday, it feels so good to feel good about it again. I was so happy this morning on my way into work - it’s a stunningly gorgeous day with a tiny hint of fall in the air. The fall is my very favorite time of the year - a time for new beginnings I feel - and to be pregnant in the fall, how perfect. And I really hope that on the outside chance I am not pregnant this month, I will be able to look back at this time and remember how happy and hopeful I am feeling right now, and appreciate that THIS IS WORTH IT, no matter how it turns out. THIS is the feeling I need to hold onto, regardless of the outcome.

I have a secret…

On July 31 I had IUI #3, and I didn't tell ANYONE!

Everyone who knows I am going through this thinks I am waiting until my August cycle for the next IUI, at the very end of next month.

I can't express how happy I am I decided to do this in secret. I feel so free. Free to feel anything I want to feel about this, free to think anything and not have to talk about it with anyone. I love it.

And don't get me wrong, I am very, very aware that the people I love only ask me about it because they love me and want to be there for me and have gotten invested in this themselves. And the simple truth is that I wouldn't even be able to consider even having these procedures if I didn't have them there to help me through it.

But MAN this is the way to do it!! When I was driving home from the doctor's office on Sunday after having the procedure done, I felt almost giddy about it, knowing I had this secret and that's its something I get to enjoy all by myself for weeks before anyone else will even know anything about it.

I haven't allowed myself to even consider that eventually I might have to tell everyone that I had the IUI a month ago and it was unsuccessful. I know they won't begrudge me experiencing it on my own, but I think they might be a little hurt that they didn't get to go through it with me.

I've come to believe that in the end, this is how it is supposed to happen. Even though getting the BFN last month after the second IUI was so hard, now in retrospect, I believe it was a good thing. It sounds crazy now to say it, and I know for DAMN sure at the time I definitely didn't feel that way, but it was good for me to get emotional about it. I don't allow myself to get emotional about much, in fact I would charitably consider myself "closed off" emotionally. But having a child is by nature an emotional event. I need to be able to deal with the emotions that come with it, and the reality is, the emotions won't always be good, easy ones when it comes to raising a child. One of the questions that have come up repeatedly for me is whether I want this badly enough, almost as though I need to prove to myself that I'm worthy of getting pregnant. Unconsciously, I think my reaction to the failed #2 confirmed it for me.

Of course, I was not enlightened enough to understand all this in the moment when it happened. But better late than never I guess!

One other funny thing - back when I was first considering this, and imagining and planning how all this would go in a perfect world, one of the things I said to my mother was that if I had my preference, I would get pregnant in the summer (June or July I said) so that I could have a spring baby, and have my maternity leave be in the spring and early summer. That was my ideal in terms of timing, but in the end I was too anxious to get started to wait all those months, so I started in very early May. And now, my due date would be April 22. How perfect he or she will be born in my month.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wow, it's been awhile!

I didn't realize it until I sat down to write a post just how long it's been since I last wrote anything here! I keep a journal and I write in that pretty regularly, so sometimes I forget what I've written where.

Anyway I had my second IUI about a week after my last post. That one felt SO different. Different in that I didn't feel anything at all. After my first one, I had so many symptoms, and strong ones, and then I ended up with a BFN, so I figured, well this must be a good sign that this time there's nothing much going on. And then when I got the results from my progesterone test at 1 week, and the nurse left me a voice mail saying "the doctor said to make sure you come in for your pregnancy test in a week" - well then I started thinking, hmm maybe she KNOWS SOMETHING.

Well, it was not to be, because I went in for my pregnancy test and literally 2 hours later I got my period. Before they even called me with the results. I was sad, but I was at work, so I had to just deal with it and try to put it out of my head. But then when the nurse called to tell me it was a negative around 3:30, she sounded so sorry, that I just lost it a little bit. You ever notice you how things aren't so bad, until someone else feels really bad for you? Like when you're little and you get a cut while out playing, but you don't start crying until you see your mom and she says what happened honey? Well, it was like that.

So the second time around, I was really, really sad that it didn't work. And in retrospect...hell even at the time... I knew that it was only my second try, some women try over and over and over, many more times than 2, until it works for them. But I just had a feeling...

The first time, I think I was still trying to process the whole thing - still getting used to the idea that I was taking this plan and turning it into reality. Every single thing was new, and so it was easy to kind of get lost in that newness. And it seemed like I had just finished getting all sorts of tests, and having appointments every other day - it was just a whirlwind of activity. And plus, it was only the first try. So even though I so wanted it to be positive, I wasn't shocked when it wasn't. There were even times durring the 2ww that I questioned whether I wanted it enough (I know, I'm superstitious that way), so a BFN seemed to almost make sense in a way.

But by the second try, I was like ok let's do this. No more screwing around, tests are done, everything looks good, all systems go, etc etc. And then, nothing.

And there's one other thing. The truth is, I can only really try this 3 times, at least for right now. So when the second IUI was unsuccessful, all I could think was "now I'm down to my last shot," and that is a little scary. It's not like I'll never be able to do this again if the third time is not the charm, but it could be a little while until I'm in a position to start the process again, especially if it calls for any kind of (expensive) medication.

I decided to take my third cycle off, and instead I am going to have my next IUI at the end of the month. I'm taking that week off so I can be relaxed and stress-free and just focus on being positive and happy, which of course I am doing now as well :) That's all I can do I guess!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Final Negative.

AF arrived on Saturday, that bitch (I'm not bitter). My whole adult life I have had a hate/hate relationship with my period. It's been the source of so much pain for me - both physical and emotional. I can’t wait till I never have to get it again.

Regarding the BFN from my first IUI, I am feeling ok about it. I was sad, I was disappointed, but not devastated. Maybe it was because it was only my first attempt. Also, it’s proving to be really difficult for me to wrap my brain around the idea of being pregnant. It seems very abstract to me right now, even though it is something I really want. Part of me is very scared that I don’t want this enough and that’s why it wasn’t successful.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m doing this on my own, or if it’s totally normal when women make this choice, but I feel like so much of the experience of becoming a single mother by choice takes place inside my head. There is SO much to think about, so much to worry about, so much to second-guess yourself about. Don’t you feel like a choice this momentous and natural should be accompanied by a zen-like acceptance of everything that will come? Like you would immediately become this earth mother with a completely centered heart? Just me? I guess it’s unrealistic to think your personality will undergo an amazing transformation, but man, in this situation? It would be awesome if that did happen.

But the reality is that in about 2 weeks, I will try it again, and if it doesn’t work (which it will, because I am all about being positive!!), I will try again a month after that. And if it STILL doesn’t work, then me and my bank account will have to have a heart-to-heart.

I saw my niece and nephew yesterday, and nothing clarifies intentions to be a mother like a 4 year old jumping off a low wall into your arms, or a 1 year old giving you a big loud kiss. Love.

Ahh, Much Better

I really needed a blog refresh. The old template was way too happy looking for my taste, and that is just not my design style. In the art group I belong to, I get a lot of jokes about how dark my art is. I never really mean it to be, in fact I make a very concerted effort to NOT be too dark in my art work (superstitions about self-fulfilling prophecies, mainly). But I think of it as a visual diary a lot of the time - and it's very therapeutic. It's like this: if it's out there (waving hands out in the world), it's NOT in here (pointing at head), so that's a good thing.

One bad thing that happened as a result of the blog redesign is I lost my whole blog roll, which I'm not too thrilled about. I am trying to add them all back as I remember them and see them on other blogs. Stupid Blogger.

Time to get back on the blog horse. I have been writing, but most of it I haven't wanted to really put on the blog because it's been mostly stream of consciousness babbling that I don't want to put out in the world. But some of it should be here on my public record of BMP, so here they are with the right dates...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The First Negative

This morning for the first time ever in my life, I took a pregnancy test. Might as well not keep you in suspense: it was negative. Technically, it looked like this: -NO. It’s a little early - the box says it can detect a pregnancy 4 days before you get your period, and since I am supposed to get mine on Sunday, today is the absolute earliest I could test. And even then, the accuracy of the test is only about 58% when you test this early.

I’m not sure how I feel about a BFN (big fat negative in Internet lingo). I was lying in bed after having peed on the stick at around 5:30 am this morning. I rolled over to see the read out and it said no (I am a BIG fan of the easy to read, digital sticks - in a situation like this I don’t want ANY ambiguity) - and I didn’t really feel anything. I’m not sure how I expected to feel - even though yesterday I was leaning towards a YES, the truth is that was mostly just a guess. I know what I hoped, but I didn’t really have any specific expectations.

But I didn’t feel much of anything. It’s strange. Maybe it’s because I know how likely a false negative is that I am subconsciously not putting much stock in the answer. And although I’m still a little sad, I’m not devastated. However, I think when I get my period, it will really sink in. I’ve spent my entire adult life HATING my period, and I expect the experience of trying to get pregnant is going to bring that hate to new levels.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Big Day.

May 7, 2011 was actually the big day. I had my insemination. And I felt awful. I hadn’t gotten through the emotional fallout from the cymbalta fiasco, and I desperately DID NOT want to start my pregnancy that way. But in reality, this whole process is not how I would choose to start a pregnancy if I had my choice.

I tested for ovulation at around 5am that day. I got the smiley face, and I was not surprised. I had already rescheduled an appointment I had for 9am that morning to have a spiritual reading because I “had a feeling” it might happen Saturday, even though I wasn’t due till Sunday. And I was right (I’ve been having a lot of “feelings” that have been coming true lately, it’s strange).

I was scheduled for my insemination for 10:30 that morning. I went to the building and was sent up to the 5th floor to pick up my “specimen” from the lab. They had tested it for mobility (75-70%, which is very good, anything above 50% is considered good, they told me).

It’s amazing how little sperm there was in that tiny vial. It was maybe an inch and a half tall, quarter inch in diameter, and it was barely half full.

I was glad I ovulated on a Saturday. The place was pretty much empty with the exception of the people who worked there, and even those ladies were very informal. Somehow, it made the whole thing feel a little more casual and less like someone’s job (even though it is).

There was an RN who worked with me on the insemination. She was really nice. I sat up on the table with stirrups, she inserted a speculum, dug around in there for awhile, realized she couldn’t see my cervix that well, so she switched to a longer speculum (which was awesome. If I have to do this again, I will remember to tell them to use the long speculum FIRST), stuck that in and then put in the syringe with the sperm and a catheter instead of a needle and injected the sperm. That part was kind of painful, but it took all of about 1 minute. She set a timer for 10 minutes, and said when it goes off I can get dressed and leave. Pull this cord if you need help. The end. She didn’t even stay in the room with me, she just left. I even clarified - I can just leave when the time is up? Yup.

Talk about alone. There I was, possibly having just been impregnated by sperm of a stranger and a catheter, laying on a table, naked from the waist down, listening for the ding of an oven timer. There was NOTHING about that moment that was anything like how I wanted to become a mother.

And yet... the more time passes (a whole 4 days), the more removed I am from it, the more I am just concentrating on the end result, a beautiful baby. And truthfully, even though emotionally the whole insemination process was clinical, it wasn’t bad. It was just impersonal. I hate to say we’re “programmed to believe” something when its concerning something as natural and biological as having a child, but in a way we are programmed to have certain beliefs about how this whole things works, and very little of that lines up with artificial insemination.

Like, I know the exact moment of conception, down to the second (or I could if I had really been paying attention to the clock, which I wasn’t actually). Every single day I am paying insanely close attention to my body, trying to discern even the smallest, most minute sign that might mean I am pregnant.

There is NO transition period. Literally when I woke up on Saturday morning I wasn’t pregnant, and then by 11am, I was (or could be - it’s still to early to tell.) For god sakes, at 10:45 I wasn’t and at 10:46 I could be. It’s kind of mind blowing.

And also, in a way, it connects you to your possible future child in a way that might not happen if I didn’t know all this. From literally the second of it’s theoretical existence as a cell, I’ve known it. Also mind blowing.

So here I am at day 4, after the insemination, and as I said, I can’t stop mentally feeling out my body, trying to see if I am feeling differently than I was before Saturday. Because of the goddamn cymbalta, it’s hard for me to tell what is real and what is the residual withdrawals. But for the first time this morning I started thinking the procedure might have been successful.

It’s literally day 4, I don’t know if it’s even physically possible for me to actually feel anything. Maybe it could be wishful thinking?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pain.

Wow Cymbalta, you suck. And yet, I loved you while we were getting along. But man, quitting you is killing me.

I'm going to suck up the withdrawals though because now that it is out of my system (the drug, not the pain unfortunately), I am hopefully going for an insemination on Saturday or Sunday-ish (according to my calendar). Wish me luck! (I missed you blog (and parentheses).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is that a solid line or....

Well, I'm pretty sure I may have had an LH surge yesterday, but I'm not 100% positive because I cheaped out and bought the ovulation kit that shows 2 lines instead of the smiley face, and it's so damn hard to read! That was stupid. So I bought the smiley face one yesterday and when I tested myself this morning, it was negative. You can't get a positive 2 days in a row right?

If it was yesterday it was a moot point anyway since my little swimmers haven't yet arrive at my doctor's office - they are coming this morning. So if it's tomorrow (which is when I was expecting) then I am all set. Otherwise I have to wait another month.

And that's fine - I've been taking a "trust the universe" approach to this whole thing, and I really believe things will happen the way they should. It feels unnatural to me to rush things (right now anyway - I might change my tune down the road a little). A tiny part of me, that tiny part that still harbors those doubts and insecurities, is keeping me balanced in that space where if this doesn't work out, then it's ok, that means it's not the right thing for me. I'll tell you what, if nothing else comes out of this whole experience, I've really come to realize how truly blessed to have the family and friends that I do. It's so easy to take that for granted, and now it's a gift that I am reminded of everyday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's ON

I got all the results of my blood work and HSG yesterday, and everything came back normal and healthy! According to my RE, "there's nothing to indicate in any of these tests that you can't get pregnant."

So, I am ready to go!! Today I place my order at the sperm bank, tomorrow I begin testing for ovulation.

I can't believe it's happening for real now!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rollercoaster Ride

Day three blood work tomorrow, then my HSG on Wednesday. If everything ok and they don't find anything wrong in any of the tests, then I need to buy me some sperm! This process is crazy - a ton of waiting, then a bunchofstuffhappensrealfast, then w a i t i n g some more, then hopefully - YAY BFP! Talk about a rollercoaster.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Telling People

Now that I've graduated from "thinking" to "trying," I've decided to enlarge the little circle of people that know about my BMP (baby-makin plan). Initially I just told my mom, sister, and two closest friends, but I started thinking about how I would feel if, after all this soul-searching and trying to change my life in this major way, what if it didn't work? I know I will be very distraught, and the idea of some of the people in my life that I love so much not knowing what I was going through seemed very lonely and sad. I am so lucky to have not just an amazing, supportive, loving immediate family, but an extended family as well. I know they could help me deal with something like that. More importantly, I know they would want to.

So it started with my cousin yesterday. She has a 3 year old and a one year old, and she lives about 7 blocks away from me. We've been close since we were babies, and I know she will be a MAJOR source of wisdom and support for me, so I told her at lunch with my sister. She was so excited for me. It was just wonderful to talk to her about it and hear how much she thinks this is right for me, it just helped reinforce all the things I was already feeling. And at the end of lunch when she was telling me how happy she is for me, I told her that this is something I could not even begin to consider if it wasn't for the people like her in my life, and that in a big way, they are making this possible for me. We both got a little choked up.

I invited my dad over for dinner tomorrow night and I am going to tell him then while my mom is at work. I've resisted telling him so far because he is literally the worst secret-keeper in the history of the world, but the truth is, he and I are close, and he is a friend as well as a parent. I can't imagine anyone else knowing before him. I know he will be thrilled, when I say that he and my mom's lives pretty much revolve around their grandkids, I am not kidding.

I've realized in the last few days since my visit to the RE when I made this BMP official, that I my feelings about this whole idea have begun to change. Whereas before I was wary of people knowing about this until I knew it was going to work, and I was not comfortable with people even knowing I was going this route to get pregnant, now I am feeling much more open about it. I am not sure what changed, maybe just making the transition from thinking about it to really trying it has reinforced the idea that not only am I ok with this, but I suspect it is the best decision I've ever made in my life.

I know there will be difficult times ahead, I know there are so many women who struggle for months if not years with this, and I may yet find out I am one of those women. But right now, I am so full of the excitement of the possibilities and the potential of life, I honestly think I am happier now than I have ever been in my adult life - and I've had some dark times, so this is an accomplishment. I am just going to live in the moment and enjoy the positive light around me, and channel it into good baby energy.

Trust the universe.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wait…That's It?

Well so that was a lot easier then I thought it would be. When I called to make the appointment, they said I would have an exam and would be there about an hour. In the end, I didn't have an exam and I was there almost 2 hours. Which was fine, I'd rather do that than be rushed out the door. I think maybe because I had had an exam with my regular doctor about 2 weeks ago, it wasn't necessary today.

I'm right in the middle of my cycle right now, so here's what I have to do: On the first day of my cycle I call to make an appointment for my 3rd day blood work where they do all the tests to make sure my hormones are good, etc (lots of acronyms I don't understand yet), and also make an appointment for an HSG (X-ray of my tubes with dye to make sure everything is open and ready, to be done on my 5-12th day. They told me a couple of times it will not be "comfortable" so that one should be fun). I also in the meantime have to pick my donor and have them (that's how I think of the sperm, as "them") shipped to the office. So it's conceivable that I could have an IUI in the middle of next month! Holy. crap. I don't know if I am ready for it to happen QUITE that quick. I'm going out of town the third week of April for a business seminar, I don't think I want to take a PG test in an anonymous hotel room in D.C. We'll see - I'm just going to go with the flow and see how this all plays out. I want to get all the tests first, just to make sure I'm ready to go - I don't want to go right to IUI and then find out months (and $$$) later that there was something wrong all along.

I did think of something I forgot to ask - I take cymbalta, and I didn't ask how that would affect….everything. I hate to go off it, but I certainly will if necessary. It was in my chart, but they never mentioned it. I will have to call back and ask.

One thing I was wondering about and would like opinions about, if any of you want to comment - my doctor asked if I wasted to do 1 or 2 inseminations per cycle. She said they don't show a difference in the success rate, it's essentially the same likelihood if you do 2 in one cycle, or 1 in each of 2 cycles. I'm leaning towards ordering 2-3 vials, having them all shipped to my doctor and then doing 1 in the first cycle. And using the rest as necessary. And if it works and I have some left, having them store it for me in case I want to have another baby later (it's cheaper to store it at my doctor than at the sperm bank).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good Vibes

So tomorrow is my first appointment with an RE. To be honest, I'm assuming she's an RE because that's the internet acronym for these kind of doctor's but I'm not sure that's exactly the type of doctor she is. In any case, she's the fertility doc I'm seeing at the reproductive department of my local hospital. Oh and I was warned it's a teaching hospital, so I might have a bunch of student docs standing around looking at my h**ch, which no thanks. But it's an excellent hospital so I know I am in good hands.

And I'm nervous. I'm nervous she's going to tell me that everything looks great and we can start the baby makin right now. I'm nervous she's going to tell me that everything's not great, and she's sorry, but it's not going to work at all. And at the same time, I don't even know how to feel, because I don't want to get my hopes up, and yet I don't want to put negative vibes out in the universe either.

It's good to be positive. Everything will go fine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lucky Baby Quilt

Lucky baby quilt
I sew. Sometimes obsessively, specifically quilts. I sew them all by hand, and I do it until my eyes get squinty and my fingers ache. It's one of the few things I obsess about actually. I especially love projects that allow me to cut up random pieces of fabric, and put them together in unstructured, unplanned patterns. I love fabric, and I love the unexpected juxtaposition of color and pattern that you can get when you pull random pieces of fabric out of a bag and sew them together. But I especially love seeing long, straight lines of running stitches coming off my needle. I love the idea that I am making quilts the same way women have made quilts for thousands of years, with just fabric, a needle, and thread. It's so therapeutic after a stressful day at work.

ANYWAY, I found this beautiful pattern in a book I bought, an enlarged hexagon pattern. Around this same time I found an amazing painting which I bought that has a gorgeous color scheme of greens, yellows reds, and black and white. I already had a bunch of fabric that coordinated with it, so I decided to make a quilt with them that will match the painting. If, someday, my art studio needs to be converted into a baby's room, well then how perfect, I already have a quilt for it!

I've decided to make this a lucky baby quilt because every time I add a new piece, I say a little meditation to positively reinforce the BMP. One way or another, whether this quilt ends up being for my baby or someone else's, they will be wrapped in good intentions and love every time they are covered by this quilt!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Crisis of Conscience

Maybe it's because AF is crashing at my place and spreading her bad vibes everywhere, but some of the issues I thought I had resolved for myself have been rearing their ugly heads again.

When I started thinking seriously about my BMP, by far the biggest thing I had to reconcile was the selfishness I was feeling at intentionally bringing a child into the world in what I personally feel is a less than ideal family. It took a lot of soul searching to arrive at a place where I feel I can be ok with the idea. In reality, adults decide all the time to have children simply because they want them - it's biology, and it's no different than what I am doing right now. I also think good parents are, by definition, unselfish. I know without a doubt that I will be able to provide a safe, stable and very loving home for a child, and I know that with the help of my family and friends I'll be able to also give them a loving and supportive community to grow up in. There are countless married couples who can not say the same thing. I know all of that in my soul.

But what started gnawing at me yesterday was the issue of being different. I had favorited some donors that were latino, both because they looked like great donors and because I've always been attracted to that culture. But then I started thinking (and that's always when it gets dangerous) - my niece and nephew are both blond, fair and blue eyed. Most of the people in my immediate family are. If they start out life right from the beginning looking different, will that be worse for them? Will it just add to their feeling of otherness because of the way they were conceived? And yet, in my extended family, there are kids with black hair, there are biracial kids, there are kids raised by lesbians and other less than traditional families, will that make them feel a little better?

And what about siblings? How will it be when they find out they might have 20+  half brothers and sisters? Will it make them feel less alone, or will it make them feel less special? And the father? What if they are the 20th kid to contact him and by then he's just all done with meeting kid after kid after kid after kid…

And yet, after ALL THAT OVERTHINKING… what if they just don't care? What if everything I and my family can give them is enough, more than enough? Maybe they will have general curiosity about where they came from, but (God-willing) will have an identity secure enough that they don't need to look at anyone else to know who they are?

In the end, what it comes down to is a leap of faith. It's believing that after all is said and done, what I can give them will be enough. If not to answer all their questions, then to give them the foundation and the support to find out what they need, but know at the end of the day, they always have a place to come home to where someone loves them more than anything else in the universe. Wings to fly and a place to land.

And THAT - I can do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maternity Leave Included

I made my appointment today with the fertility center at my local hospital: March 16. It's sooner than I thought! These are such little milestones, but then what I think they could be leading up to, suddenly they don't seem so little...

Yesterday someone asked me what made me decide to do this, and when I first thought about it. And I had all the reasons ready: wanting to be be a mother, wanting to carry a child, concerned about getting older, etc, etc, probably talked about it ad nauseam until they were sorry they asked. But until this morning I couldn't remember that one thing that tipped the whole thing off.

It was one of those meetings you have at work at the beginning of every year where they tell you how much your health insurance is going up, have you sign up for the 401k if you aren't already, all that stuff that gets renewed. And one of the things they talked about was short term disability insurance, and how my state only pays 60% of your weekly pay up to a certain amount. If you make more than X number of dollars, 60% of your pay is more than the allotment the state will pay. Which sucks for me, because I fall into that category (but really doesn't suck for me because it means I have a good, stable job and make a comfortable living, which I am VERY thankful for). This STDI is good for those people to enroll in so you're covered if anything happens.

I wasn't thinking it was something I needed... until I looked down at the handout and right on the cover it said "maternity leave included." I don't know why, but something clicked, and immediately thought "I better look into this."

Honestly, I had not been thinking of getting pregnant. I'm not a woman who's obsessed with my biological clock. And I'm so far from being in a relationship with baby possibilities, it's not even funny (nope, not funny at all.) But there it was in black and white, and in this room full of work people, most of whom I didn't even know (I was on vacation when they had the meeting the first time, so I got stuck with all the people who slacked off on going to the real one) - and I was thinking "I better get this shit worked out cuz I might get knocked up!! By myself!!"

And that was the beautiful beginning of my journey. I will probably not tell that story to my baby someday. Although, my mom would probably tell me that if it were the way I became a twinkle in her eye, so who knows. If I get to have the kind of relationship with my hopefully future baby that I have with my mom, then I will be a very, very lucky woman.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Update

So the appointment today was good, uneventful but fine. I told my doctor about my plan and she was very supportive. She made a few comments about the system not always being set up for anyone not in a traditional couple (I suspect she might be gay), and hoped it was not going to be a problem for me, particularly as it relates to insurance. But she said she thinks I'd make a great parent. She also said something I found interesting - when I told her I had been nervous about talking to her about it, mainly because I was afraid she was going to tell me a reason I hadn't even been considering that would make this difficult or impossible for me. And she said that sometimes when people talk to her about this, she knows they are doing it for the wrong reasons and that becomes difficult because (I think) she doesn't want to advocate that for them. But she was very happy for me and wished me well and gave me a referral to a clinic. I'm very lucky to live close by an excellent woman's hospital, so I'm hopeful!

Also, I had my review at work and got a raise! Yay! Everything helps right now!

I finished my book yesterday, "Knock Yourself Up." So I bought a new one: "Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide" by Mikki Morrissette. I can't wait to get it.

Today is Going to Be A Good Day

Nothing like starting off with a good attitude! I need to today - I have my first doctor's appointment when I discuss with her my baby-makin plan. I've been thinking about hardly anything else for the last month, and with all the research and reading I've been doing, it's kind of hard to believe that this is actually my first official move towards my goal.

This is my regular doctor, she's been doing my physicals and internals for years but I don't think she's a gynecologist, so I might need a referral from her...god, there's so much I need to learn. I read these blogs and they are throwing acronyms and medical terms right and left, and it's like a foreign language to me right now.

I could barely sleep last night, my mind was running so much...but just now as I was making my coffee and getting ready to go to work, I got a really good, happy feeling. I am going to take that as a good omen. Great, positive vibes for me today.

AND, I have my review at work this morning. I think it will be a good one (it ususally is). Maybe I'll get a nice raise and/or bonus to help me on my way. Another good omen hopefully.

:)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Soon?

You know, I am a compulsive writer when I have something on my mind. In the past it was always partly the active of handwriting, as weird as that sounds. There was something hypnotic and calming about watching the ink flow out of my pen and all my thoughts flow onto the page - I could almost disconnect my brain from my hand and just be an observer (which reminds me, Fringe is on tonight). In the past it's always kind of derailed my attempts at blogging because half (or more) of the writing I do is at work on the backs of old printouts (save a tree, and also - sorry, work), and there's just no way I'm transcribing my scratch onto the computer after being on it all day at work. But I'm trying now to be better and I'm finding so many blogs to read by SMCs that are helping me adjust to the idea of really doing this and not being the only one to be doing this. In fact, I'm not really surprised that I'm finding that there are a lot of other women doing this at my age - I suspect it's a natural outgrowth of a generation of women who have a new level of  belief in their ability to succeed at whatever they try, whether its work or family or both.

I think I just accomplished the electronic version of writing on scrap paper at work - stream of consciousness writing (you can tell by all the parenthetical comments). So now I originally meant to write about what I read in my book (Knock Yourself Up) (see?) about purposefully bringing a child into the world without a father. But now I've reached my computer-time tolerance level for today so maybe tomorrow I will write about that...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Future Helper. Or not.

Hi, I'm Riley.
Sometimes in my baby fantasy, I envision Riley sleeping next to me at 4am feedings, keeping me company. In reality, knowing him, he'll be sound asleep on MY bed, under MY covers, with his head on MY pillow, while I'm in the other room, feeding the baby. Yeah, that's more likely.

My View When Writing to My Future Baby

I operate on the assumption that someday my baby will want to know everything about his or her history, including what I was thinking about when I made my decision to bring her (let's just say "she/her" for now) into the world. So I started writing to her in a journal that I will eventually give her that explains everything. I took this picture when I sat down to write the first entry about 5 days ago. I know it's risky (emotionally) to start this before I am pregnant, but right now I feel like it's all I think about, and my reasons are so real and tangible to me right now, that it feels like the right time to record them. And just hope I someday get to give it to my child.

How Oprah's Involved

About three years ago when I was 35 I saw an episode of Oprah where she had on a number of kids ranging in age from early teens to early 20's, who had all been conceived by donor sperm. As I wrote about here, that was a tough age for me, and I always thought I would have had kids by then. So this topic interested me. But I had also explored foster care, and was closer to thinking of adoption as a alternative.

Still, 3 years later, I can vividly remember  the reaction of one young woman in particular who had a very, very difficult time understanding how and why her donor had no desire to know her. She was actually really hostile about it, and it seemed like it ruled her life. I didn't see how in good conscience I could do that to a child.

Up to that point I hadn't really been considering sperm donation, but it was in the back of my mind as a possibility, if by some crazy twist of fate I was still single in the next few years (ha ha). But once I saw that episode of Oprah, I took that hazy, maybe-someday, option off the table completely.

And actually, it's stretching it to say I had ever given being a parent any serious thought at all. I have never been the type of woman who felt their biological click ticking like Big Ben, and I have a nephew and niece that have filled that baby-holding need very, very well for the last 4 years. But something did change in the last year. I bought a house on my own, and I think that was the turning point. It was neither something I thought I could do on my own, nor wanted to do on my own. But I did it, and it was surprisingly unstressful, and surprisingly exactly what I needed. And also, empty.

Maybe there's something about owning your own home that makes you want to fill it? I don't know, but I am finding that I do. It didn't happen right away (I've been living here almost a year), but it's happening now. That's not the big reason that I'm doing this now though. I'm just ready. And it sucks that I happened to FINALLY be ready when I'm 38 and almost out of time, but I just need to deal with that.

But so what happened to make me change my mind about sperm donation? I think I matured a lot in the 3 years between when I saw that Oprah show and now, I see there are many sides to all stories. I've also spent a lot more time around the kids in my family, and I see how loved and cherished they are (8 of them between the ages of 8 years old and 9 months old, but particularly I spend time with the 6 between 4 and 9 months). Maybe it's naive of me, but it's hard for me to believe that a child who grows up in the environment of my immediate and extended family would be so hostile and empty. I think, and hope, that by giving the child as much info as possible about their father and being completely open and honest about their history, they'll be able to deal with it and grow up happy and healthy and well-adjusted. I know for sure I will do whatever I have to to make sure that happens.

Opinions

There are definitely people out there who don’t approve of the choice I am making. I’ve read that there are clinics and doctors who decline to offer fertility treatment to single women. And I know there are many people out there who think what I’m doing is selfish – bringing a child into the world when I know in advance that the baby will be fatherless. That feeling of selfishness has been the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome when it came to making my decision.

But the common factor in my thoughts about all of these issues is how personal this decision is. This is not something I am undertaking lightly. It’s taken me years to get to the point where I felt I could do this and do it well.

I’ve read some articles by people saying how wrong it is, how wrong I am to do this. But I have a hard time giving those people and their opinions any weight. Because if they knew me, and knew how much soul searching and decision making I’ve done to get to this point, they would know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Beginning

This isn’t how I thought this would happen. I didn’t think I’d find myself at age 38, single and without prospects, contemplating becoming a (single) mother by needleless syringe and anonymous donor.

But here I am, and like I’ve found out repeatedly lately, if you want something, you can’t wait for it to magically happen to you. You have to make it happen.

Admittedly, I haven’t been overly active about finding a potential husband, but I really did assume that I would be married by now. It honestly never occurred to me that I would be making a doctor’s appointment to discuss this, thereby making it very real and very serious.

They say that a woman’s chances of getting pregnant go down substantially when they turn 35. When I think of myself at 35 there’s no way I was prepared to be a mother. My 35th birthday was a tough one for me, and I spent a lot of time thinking of the things I hadn’t accomplished by then, which of course included marriage and children. But really, I wasn’t so much missing those things in my life as I was wondering what was wrong with me that I hadn’t found them yet. That’s what you do – you get a job, you get married you have kids. It’s what’s normal. Why not me? Why wasn’t I normal? And THAT, in a nutshell, was what I really had to deal with. Between 35 and 38, and especially between 37 and 38, I spent more time and energy on MYSELF than I ever have. Things changed in my life, all for the better. I finally became the artist I wanted to be. I got a very substantial raise and promotion that put me in a new tax bracket. I bought a house all by myself and made it my home. And most importantly, I went into therapy and on an anti-depressant that (finally!) works for me.

If I am completely honest, the reality is that now is the first time in my life when I can honestly say I am ready to be a mother. It’s kind of embarrassing to say that when you are 38 – doesn’t that seem OLD to finally reach that point? But there it is. I find myself sitting on the couch at night, after a long, stressful day at work, thinking, there needs to be something more. I don’t’ want it to sound like “now I’m bored and I need to have a baby to alleviate that boredom,” but in a way, it’s true that I AM bored – bored with a life that doesn’t fulfill me, despite how lucky and truly grateful I am for all I have in my life. But there is more, and now I am FNALLY mature enough to recognize that the “more” comes from a life focused on the well-being and happiness of someone besides yourself.

So what do you do when you come to that pretty profound realization? I have struggled with that question a lot, because in some ways I think the answer, “well, you just go buy some sperm and get yourself knocked up” is WAY to simple for the life-changing reality that you will end up with. And in other ways, that answer feels completely rational and natural, if simplistic.

But I never take the rational, simplistic route when it comes to self-examination. Never. I am an artist after all, and that’s what we excel at: naval-gazing. And besides, you can’t take a simplistic route to decision making when it involves bringing another life into the world.