Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Unspoken Truths

I'm currently at the beach with a few of my college sorority sisters, our annual trip.  Between the three of them they have a 13, 12, 6, 6, 5 & 4 year old.

They found it funny over cocktails last night to share certain secrets about labor, delivery and the first week post partum; things that are never spoken between girlfriends after the baby arrives.

They thoroughly terrified me...

-I'll post more on this one day, when I can bring myself to think about these terrifying things.  Back to vacation now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Anticipating Reactions

You really can't anticipate or stress over reactions of others, regardless of the context of the topic.

For me, I had extreme anxiety over telling my parents of my decision to have a child on my own.  My folks are wonderful people, they have been married for 43 years... how incredible is that!  My mom is a wonderful confident and has always been the intermediary for my family; my dad has been the family provider who creates situations to worry about (aka anxiety).

While my disposition is a blend of my mom & dad, I have taken on more of my father's anxiety and perfectionism than I wish to admit.

In my late 20's, after a devastating (at the time) break-up with "the one", I remember I was with my parents showing them the house I intended to buy (for which they questioned if I realized what I was getting into buying a house without a husband), I remember telling them that IF I was not married by the time I turned 35 I would look to have or adopt a child on my own.

Time blurs the exact reaction...  in my memory serves me as an "extremely negative" reaction.  Comments related to I didn't know what it took to raise a child on my own and raising a child without a father was a terrible thing to do... is what I took away with me, for the last 10 years...

So when I got my footing back in place, knowing I have the emotional and financial means to make this real and give a child a wonderful upbringing  - I FEARED telling my parents.  I debated whether I should simply wait until after my first trimester... BUT I also knew that NOT sharing what was happening in my life, something so important, would really hurt them as well.

Finally, I told my folks; my mom actually.  Her reaction surprised me, pleasantly.  She told me she was fairly familiar with the subject of 'choice mom's' and she actually expected I would have done this a year or two ago.

When it came to telling my father, mom said she would tell him.  My sister & I joked that she could coach him from his first reaction... but as it turns out, he was the biggest surprise of all!  He said (to my mom) that it was better than me having a baby "with some loser".  And when they were visiting a few days after they got my news of 'trying', my dad was extremely inquisitive about the process, I answered his questions and gave him additional information from the sperm bank and other books.

Mom volunteers at a thrift shop benefiting the local hospital and she has started collecting baby & maternity clothes.

So this is a wonderful example of anticipating a negative reaction and receiving the opposite.... oh the hours of worry I could have avoided!  Thankfully, I've had NOTHING but POSITIVE reaction for everyone I've shared my intentions with... I'm sure I'll run into negative reactions somewhere in the future -but it will not effect me because everyone in my life who means anything is behind me, and my future child!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Joy & Heartbreak

Four women became friends about 2 months ago because of two things we all shared:

1) We are all unmarried, in our later childbearing years
2) We all want a child

One woman, I'll call H, was already 4 weeks pregnant when we met.  Six weeks later B got a positive result on her pregnancy test from her first IUI.  Sadly, the same day, H had an ultrasound that revealed no heartbeat remained.

Joy & heartbreak.  With the reality of pursuing dreams we also risk our hearts...  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Single Female is a PreExisting Condition

When I made my first (final first, that is) appointment with the RE I was advised to call my insurance company for preauthorization.  

I mentioned in an earlier post I was laid off last year.  Laid off after 11 years working for a major employer in the city; an employer that has been named a top place in the US to work for moms; an employer that had excellent benefits (as I've come to appreciate after severance ended).

That preauthorization call I had with the insurance company led me to tears.  The woman asked some very personal questions - as I later realized was to determine if they would cover me for 'infertility' treatment.  I explained that I've never had reason to believe I'm infertile.  I've spent my adult life ensuring pregnancy did NOT happen; I've never actually TRIED to get pregnant!

Well the problem is, the insurance company will not cover ANY costs associated with my testing or procedures because I'm not currently having unprotected sex with a man.  I have to be having sex for something like 6 months or more for them to consider covering any of my expenses.  

The cost-effective manner for conception would be to pick a guy up at a bar... but that's not the smart option... and not an option I would choose for myself or my child.

On top of that, I had to have surgery early this month to remove a polyp in my uterus and that's when I learned I had a $2,000 deductible.

Through my 20's and most of my 30's I had this incredible insurance coverage I never really needed (I WAS a 2x marathon runner ).  Now I have coverage I pay far too much for every month that never actually covers me for anything - even beyond my trying to conceive (TTC).  Have you heard of pre-authorization forms they require of doctors who have already written a prescription in order to confirm a prescription is actually needed?  That's why I'm currently OFF of any allergy medication; so many hoops are required for jumping through by the patient, pharmacy and doctor - someone always gives up - hence the insurance company saves money.

And after my first consult with my doctor I realized if I had just been "less open" on that call with the insurance company, I wouldn't be digging into my "child fund" to pay for my TTC procedures.

Sorry for the rant tonight.  Anyone else out there frustrated with insurance (that the Obama plan will not actually address)?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dating while on this journey

Over the last few years of toying with this decision, to become a mom on my own, I had to go through stages of acceptance - and grief - that the man I dreamed would be a part of my life, would not be a part of starting my family.

When I first talked about this as an option (with friends or my doctor) I would have a difficult time holding back tears.  For me, part of moving past my thinking and 'false starts' was the path to acceptance that I was okay, and even happy about having a child on my own.  As I moved into acceptance I also knew it would mean a period of not dating - during my trying, pregnancy and early motherhood.

Of course a few weeks ago, as you would expect, a man presents himself to me as a suitor.  I was up front with him about my journey and explained the complexities of even considering getting involved.  I was not willing to share my journey (intimately) with someone who was not a close part of my life.  He was very accepting of my situation and still wanted to spend time with me.  When it came down to it, I found that I was flattered by his attention but not feeling connected, merely distracted.

All of the women I've met, myself included, have postponed our plans in the past for a potential mate... and lost years in that process.   I've met others who have had boyfriends (not wanting children) when they move into this process.  Another woman talked about dating someone while she was pregnant and while she knew he wasn't right, he wouldn't accept her decision because he thought it was 'hormones'.  Happily, I've met a few women who have met their "Mr. Right" after they became Mommies...

Anyone on this journey have an experience you would like to share about before, during or after dating?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the Swimmer Winner is...

Friday night I had several good friends over for a "Swimmer Party". I highly doubt that many people are lucky enough, in their lifetime, to be privy to such an event... I planned it as a fun, interactive way for people close to me to get involved with my journey - from the start... it turned into SO MUCH MORE!

Over the past couple of months I have spent countless hours pouring over Swimmer profiles (I prefer the term Swimmers over Sperm/Donor). I'll cover the key criteria in my selection in a later post.

For those friends & family who could not make it to the party, I provided the info on my Top 3 choices so they could vote virtually. The rest of my friends came to my home for a fun & robust review of the Top 3. Both virtually and in person, I never expected the level of due diligence each person put into the selection. As I realized this, I became extremely overwhelmed... and scared.

I was overwhelmed because, beyond the obvious jokes and laughs, they really understood what an important decision this was for me, and my future child. There was heavy debate and even some raised voices (although no actual arguments), they wanted more information -than just the summary I provided for them.

After the party I found myself questioning my (already chosen) first choice. I spent a large part of the weekend researching more on my Top 2, paying the extra money for more detailed information on both candidates. I even looked back at other candidates I had previously eliminated AND searched another top Cryobank for a potential new option to appear to me... all which led me back to my first choice.

This morning I made the call. I ordered the Swimmers which will create 1/2 the genetic makeup of my future child. It was truly a surreal feeling. Afterward, I emailed some of my new friends who had been through this stage of their journey's recently and they told me they went through the same thing.

One friend put it best "For me, I just wanted to get the swimmers ordered and then forget about them because the more I thought about it the more I wondered if I made the right choice. I have not looked at my donors information since I ordered!"

That's exactly how I feel now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How many False Start's does it take?

I started this blog nearly 9 months ago (an ironic number). It was a False Start.

I cancelled my appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) 3 times.

Things I didn't cover in my first post include - after a long, secure, successful career I was laid off in early 2009. After the layoff, I decided to try to make it on my own, freelancing. While I enjoyed the freelancing schedule and creativity, the lack of secure income (too small to cover my mortgage) caused more anxiety than it was worth... I learned this lesson late in the year.

Deciding that making a secure income was more important than how I made my income (so I did not have to give up my dreams), I went back to corporate life toward the end of the year.

Since returning to a secure income, I've had (and kept) several appointments with my RE, had an HCG test (tubes are clear) and a hysteroscopy (surgery to remove a polyp in my uterus). This morning I ordered my Swimmers and I am waiting on my next cycle for my first 'try'.

Just this past weekend I had a Swimmer Party, picking my final donor 'swimmers'. My next post will be on this overwhelming process.

I've been thinking about moving forward with having a baby for years, originally it was going to be at age 35, then 37, now I'm nearly 39... have any of you been through your own series of false starts? What did it take to push you beyond this stage?