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.