House-Hunting is Turning Me into a Mom

 

Not only am I getting ready to have a baby, but I’m also selling my condo and buying a new house.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, my mind started going into planning mode — I’m a total planner. But, I quickly decided that I didn’t want to start planning anything until the 2nd trimester in case anything went wrong.  The process of getting and staying pregnant can be a long one, so I didn’t want to have things all lined up, and then have something bad happen.  Looking back, I do still think that was the right decision, but there are definitely downsides of doing that!

house in the suburbs

Looking for a new house while being pregnant is one of the downsides.  And, it’s not just because it’s a lot of work, and a million extra things on my mind, but because it’s a total mind shift from being a single woman to being a Mom!  Currently, I live in a condo in the city (technically it’s a town, but really operates and feels like a city)  — I live on a main road, with tons of shops walking distance to my house.  I have no yard, no garage, and I’m very much living the single lifestyle.

But, now I’m buying a house in the suburbs that hopefully I’ll be in for at least the next 10 years!  So when I go looking at houses, I’m thinking about things like:

  • Is this a safe area for my child?
  • Are there a lot of kids in the neighborhood?
  • Is the yard a good yard to play in?
  • How’s the school system?
  • Can my child walk to school when s/he gets older?
  • Is there lead paint in the house?
  • Is there a bath close to the baby’s room?
  • Is there a play room?
  • Where will my baby nap?
  • Is the neighborhood quiet?

I’m having to think about all of these questions even before becoming a Mom!  I don’t know if these things are important to me, or if they’ll really be important to me one day.

So, while this process has been really tough, and quite busy during a time that I want to relax or take care of all the other baby planning I need to do, it has also helped me slowly get used to the idea of becoming a Mom, and not just a lady with a huge belly. But, I’m putting on my big-girl pants (literally!), and pretending I’m a Mom, and I that I know what I’m doing 🙂

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My First “Scared Momma” Moment

 

Before I get started with my story, I wanted to share my latest status!  I had my 18 week full scan 2 weeks ago, and all was well! They literally looked at everything… heart, hands, legs, head, etc.  They did a blood test for spina bifida.  Everything looked good.  Very exciting!  Here’s a 3D photo of my baby:

My baby at 17w5d

Slightly creepy, but VERY cool, right?  That’s actually a BABY!  It’s just surreal that that is inside of me and growing strongly (and starting to kick!).  I feel so lucky, and it’s finally becoming real.  The other thing they looked at was the gender (post coming soon on that!).

So, moving on to my story…. I fell a couple of weeks ago. I was walking across a shiny floor, and the heel of my shoe just hit the floor wrong, and I went down.  I completely freaked out.  I laid on the ground not moving, and my friends called out “are you ok?”  I was fine in the grand scheme of things, but was just worried about the baby and was completely paralyzed with fear.  My friends calmed me down, but I was still worried about my baby — it was crazy. I kept thinking, “and this is only the beginning of being a worried mother.”  I also ended up spraining my finger, and twisting my ankle, but felt like I would have given my left leg, just to make sure my baby was safe.  If this is how I feel now, motherhood is going to be a crazy roller coaster… caring so much about someone else that I’d be willing to give my life for them.

Yup, this is going to be motherhood. 🙂

(P.S. Everything is fine post-fall… thanks to my fetal doppler (listens to the baby’s heartbeat) that night, and calling the doctor in the morning, I got calmed down pretty quickly)

If you want to see more frequent, but shorter updates (and often funny!) please check out my Facebook page or click “Like” on the right.

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Supermom, and Bump Becomes Baby?

 

Ten days ago, I attended my first expectant Mom’s subgroup meeting of the SMC group.  There were 5 of us there, ranging from 6-weeks pregnant to 39-weeks pregnant. It was amazing connecting with women who are going through the same thing I am.

We were all thinking that the 39-week woman “A” might not be an “expectant mom” for much longer, although since this was her first baby, she’d probably deliver late.  Well, it turns out that she didn’t deliver late… she actually delivered 2 days after our meeting. And,supermom guess what? She showed up with her son “P” in tow at our next SMC meeting 6 days later!  Wow, unbelievable that she was able to get herself and her baby out of the house 6 days after giving birth. No only that, she was walking around breast feeding the baby and taking care of P like she had been doing it for years.  What a SuperMom! That was so awesome to see, and gave me so much hope that I’d be able to handle all of this too.

The other thing that struck me, is that the baby bump I had seen 8 days before, turned quickly into a baby.  Not that that was a big surprise, but it was just such a big change — when I met her she was pregnant, and all of a sudden she had a baby.  It made it all that much more real for me, that one day I’m going to be pregnant, and 2 days later, I’ll be home with an actual baby to take care of.  Wow, now THAT makes it real!

 

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My Exciting Life Changing News… I’m Pregnant!!!

 

Yes, you read the title correctly! This is my official public announcement… I’m currently 15 weeks along, and my due date is May 4th. I’m very excited!! My 1st trimester was a breeze — I was really lucky. No morning sickness at all. I hardly noticed I was pregnant, except for that I was pretty tired. But it was nerve wracking not having any symptoms because I didn’t have the daily confirmation that I was still pregnant. I’m now in the clear, getting bigger and am feeling confident!

announcement

Since this is slightly unconventional, I’ll answer some Frequently Asked Questions below (no, I haven’t been asked all these questions, but I have been asked some of them, and I know you’re thinking them! :))

No, you didn’t miss anything… I’m not married.  And, no, this wasn’t an “accident.”

This was very well planned out, like many things in my life. I decided to do this because I wanted to have a baby so badly, and didn’t want to have to wait until I got married. I’m just changing the traditional order, and am having a child first, and then I’ll find the man 🙂  (You can read more about my decision at How I Started Thinking About Becoming a Single Mom and It’s Official! I’ve Decided to Become a Single Mom)

No, there is no “Father”.
I got pregnant from an Anonymous Sperm Donor, and I am doing this solo! (with the support of amazing friends and family)

Yes, it was a difficult decision to choose the Donor.
It’s sort of like online dating… profile, photos, audio interviews, essays, etc. I chose an Open ID donor, so my child can contact him when s/he is 18 years old.  (For more info, you can read Choosing Donor Sperm Is NOT An Easy Decision)

Yes, I do realize this is going to be difficult.
But I know it will be SOOO worth it!

No, I’m not a Lesbian.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not me. I’m very much interested in men 🙂

Yes, I’m still open to dating.
It may be strange for a man to date a pregnant woman, but it HAS happened before (I even know a few success stories!). And, I do plan on getting married at some point — hopefully sooner rather than later! Feel free to set me up! 🙂

No, I don’t know the sex of the baby.
Currently, my decision is that I am not going to find out until the birth. But that could change any day 🙂

Yes, I’ll take any help I can get!
Please sign up at the link below (just kidding!). But, if you want to babysit, donate any used baby items, cook for me — I’ll take anything! I’m going to get really good at asking for help.

Yes, I’m slightly crazy 🙂
Enough said.

I have been keeping this blog from the very beginning of my “thinking” process.  It’s a way for me to write about how I’m feeling, keep friends and family updated, and hopefully help other women who may be also thinking about becoming a Single Mom.  I hope you’ll join me on this incredible ride I’m on! (see below for how to stay up to date)

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Telling More People My News

 

I have been telling more people my news over the past couple of weeks and it’s been really fun!  It’s much different than telling the people who already knew that I was trying to get pregnant, because those people already knew the whole back story. Telling this group obviously has a lot more discussion and explanation that goes along with it.  Here are some of the amazing (and funny) responses I’ve received.  I am so confident in this decision I’ve made, but it’s so nice to be so supported by the people in my life!

“But, wait, you’re not married” (from my 6-year-old niece :-))

“I’m still in shock. I’ve been thinking about you all day. I’m so proud of you for what you’ve done. It’s amazing”

“Does the doctor know you are doing this solo? What did he/she say?”

“Did you get married? Or you doing it solo?”

“If anyone can handle it, you can!”

“I didn’t even know you were dating anyone!”

“Ha ha funny” (thought I was joking :-))

“Let’s brainstorm on baby names!!” (From my nieces. On the list: Sensei Wu, G-d, Ben Ten… and then some really good normal ones!)

“Good for you…and how exciting!  It must have been a difficult decision – I am in awe as it touches a chord very deep within me in that I was contemplating doing the same many years ago but could not bring myself to go through with it. Times were different then and there wasn’t the wide acceptance of single parenthood that there is now.”

“Did I by any chance miss something?”

“GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THAT IS AMAZING!! YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!! ALWAYS HAVE BEEN”

“Holy shit lady!!!!   That’s awesome!  Good for you for doing this.  You are an inspiration to all that there’s more than one way to achieve what you desire in life.”

“Can I hug your baby?” (from my 6-year-old niece)

hugging belly

Not me or my niece 🙂

“I really admire you.  I wouldn’t have the courage.  Your baby is so lucky to have you as a role model.  So so lucky to be so wanted and loved already.”

“Omg!!!!!!! That is the best news I have heard in a long time. I am so proud and admiring of you for taking this on. The best and hardest thing you will ever do but you are one of the toughest people I’ve ever met so I know you’re up for it!!”

“Have I met MISTER Levy?” (after a friend told her son)

“You like girls?” (He knew I was calling with some news, and I asked him to guess. That was his response.  And, FYI, the answer is NO (not that there’s anything wrong with that))

“Wait, wait, wait, say that again?”

So, it’s been a pretty amazing week. The highlight has to have been telling my nieces though.  I started by showing them my latest ultrasound photo and asking if they knew what it was (they didn’t). Then I told them it was a baby, and it was mine! They weren’t jumping out of their seats like I thought they would, but I realized they were probably processing it in their heads (how is this possible since she’s not married?). After a while though, they started getting excited, talking about babysitting and suggesting we brainstorm names.  Definitely a highlight of my week.

If you want to see more frequent, but shorter updates (and often funny!) please check out my Facebook page or click “Like” on the right.

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Appointment with the Genetics Counselor

 

I mentioned in my last post about prenatal testing, I was going to see a Genetics Counselor this week. The primary reason I wanted to go was to find out what are the chances of the baby having something serious that could potentially be found on the Amnio, so I could decide if I was going to have the Amnio or not.  The Doctor who had done my NT scan had also recommended that I do a Carrier Screen that tests for 100 disorders, and I’d need the Genetics Counselor’s approval for that as well.chromosomes

First we talked about my family medical history, and if there have been any issues in my family in terms of genetic or other diseases. There haven’t been.  Then she explained the different types of genetic and chromosomal issues that people have (additional chromosome, mis-copied ones, etc).  I told her that I had already been tested for the Jewish Genetic Diseases, which is good, because that rules out a lot of potential problems.

Then we spent a lot of time talking about the potential issues that come next on the list after Trisomy 13, 18, 21 and the Jewish diseases, in terms of how common they are. What she said is that the ones that come next are SO rare, aren’t something I would terminate the pregnancy for (my opinion based on the ones she told me about), often end up in miscarriage anyway, or would often times be found on the 18-week ultrasound. She also told me that maternal age isn’t a factor in the other chromosomal issues, which also made me feel better, as I had thought that the risk was higher due to my age. Overall, since the risk of these disorders is so low, the risk of miscarriage far outweighs the risk from getting the Amnio.

We also discussed the Carrier screening (blood test) that the Doctor had recommended I get (he didn’t know that I had used Donor Sperm). She said that the test just tells you if YOU are a carrier for something, and that your partner would also need to be tested to see if they are also a carrier.  If both of us are carriers, then the baby would have the disorder. Since I can’t test the Donor, doing this test would not tell me anything about the baby.

So, after this discussion, and her assuring me that I did not need to do the Amnio, I have decided not to get it done.

(As a side note… if anyone is reading this who is trying to make a similar decision, I highly recommend going to see a Genetics Counselor, as each person’s situation is different)

What are your thoughts? I do still have time to change my mind, so let me know if I’m making a big mistake! 🙂

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Prenatal Testing

I’ve had some prenatal testing lately, and so far, all is great news!  It’s a complicated issue, that has changed a lot in the past year, so I thought I’d write down some specifics, and the challenging decisions I’m facing.

Cell-Free DNA Test

The big change is the there is a new test call Cell-Free DNA test (also known as Maternity21 or Harmony) that actually tests the baby’s DNA in your blood stream (who knew the baby’s blood was actually in my bloodstream already?!  Actually, I think my dog can tell!).  It’s a test that has just been made popular in the past 11 months, that can be done around 10 weeks, and tests for Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome). This is an awesome test because it’s non-invasive, and much earlier than the CVS and amniocentesis tests are done.  When you do this test, they give  you a likelihood that your baby has one of these chromosomal issues. The results take 10-14 business days to come back. I got mine on Monday, and it was 1 in 10,000, which is excellent!  The test is 99% accurate, since it’s just a screening, not a diagnostic test. But, most doctors are recommending that if you have results like this, you don’t go on to have the more invasive tests (CVS or Amnio).

Nuchal Translucency (NT) Scan

The NT scan is done around 11 weeks and is an ultrasound that measures the space behind the baby’s neck, which is another indicator of Down’s Syndrome.  They take 3 measurements from different angles to be sure they got it right. You find out the results right away, since it’s just a measurement. It’s 80-90% accurate, but in conjunction with the Cell-Free test, it’s one more data point.  Mine was completely normal!  Yea!

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

“Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test that detects chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, as well as a host of other genetic disorders. The doctor takes cells from tiny fingerlike projections on the placenta called the chorionic villi and sends them to a lab for genetic analysis.” (Babycenter.com). It’s done between 11 and 12 weeks, which is much earlier than the amnio. It takes 2 weeks to get the results back.  The major downside, however, is the high risk of miscarriage from the test… 1 in 100 (although some sources out there say it’s better than that).  Some people choose to do the CVS though because it’s more accurate for the 3 trisomy tests in the cell-free test, and also tests for a lot more chromosomal and genetic disorders that the Cell-Free test doesn’t test for.

I was considering having this done, but given my good results on the Cell-free test, the NT scan, and the high rate of miscarriage, I decided not to.

Amniocentesis

amniocentesis

The Amnio is done between weeks 16 and 22. “Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that allows your healthcare practitioner to gather information about your baby’s health from a sample of your amniotic fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus.” (BabyCenter.com).  It’s basically testing for the same disorders the CVS is testing for, except it’s lower risk and later in the pregnancy. It takes 2 weeks to get the results back.  In the past, many women had amnios, particularly women over 35. But these days, Doctors are recommending only doing the Amnio if the Cell-Free test and the NT scan had not great results.

This is where I’m stuck.  I’m comfortable that my baby doesn’t have 13, 18, Downs. But what about all of the other disorders the Amnio tests for?  Apparently they’re very low likelihood, and not all of them would be something I would terminate the pregnancy for, but it still makes me nervous.  I’d hate to find out much later in the pregnancy, or at birth, that the baby has some sort of terminal illness, or something that would be too much for me to handle alone.  I’d rather find that out now.

So, I’m going to go see a Genetics Counselor on Tuesday to talk about this more and understand the likelihood. (UPDATE: Appointment with the Genetics Counselor)

Thoughts on all this?  I know I’m overanalyzing 🙂

If you want to see more frequent, but shorter updates (and often funny!) please check out my Facebook page or click “Like” on the right.

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Recent Ultrasound Photos!

It’s been a while since I’ve written… everything has been fairly status quo (still pregnant!), so I haven’t really been writing.  But, I’ve had 2 ultrasounds in the past 2 weeks, so I thought I’d share!

Exhibit A. The scream, turned on its side and cropped. Hands on the side of the head.

The Scream

The Scream

And Exhibit B…My baby. Head in its side. Big black eye sockets. Hands on the side of its head. See the resemblance to The Scream?? 🙂

My Green Bean at 10w5d

My Green Bean at 10w5d

And, the ultrasound from this week. Wow, it’s really starting to look like a baby!  So crazy, and exciting!!

My Green Bean at 12w5d

My Green Bean at 12w5d

So far, all measurements and growth are right on track! The risk of miscarriage is less than 5% at this point.  Yea!!  The only potential concern is genetic disorders and other issues, but I’m going to write about that in a separate post (all looks good so far though!).

If you want to see more frequent, but shorter updates (and often funny!) please check out my Facebook page or click “Like” on the right.

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First Ultrasound at 7 Weeks!

I saw my baby on an ultrasound this morning!  Wow, I can’t believe it!  Here’s a photo:

Ultrasound - 7 weeks

I didn’t get to hear the heartbeat, but they measured it at 138.  Apparently that’s great, and everything looks 100% normal for being 7 weeks. They could even tell that I was 7 weeks along, without knowing the conception date, which is amazing to me. It’s also amazing that there’s a living thing with a heartbeat inside of me.  I can’t believe it!!

It was such a relief to have everything looking OK.  Except for tender breasts, I have been feeling great.  No nausea, no morning sickness. I know that not everyone feels sick, but it was tough to not have the confirmation that everything was OK over the past 3 weeks.

It was great to have my friend “K” there with me, to experience the excitement, and just in case it wasn’t all positive news. My Mom will be coming to the next one with me. By the way, I’ve decided to call the baby “my little green bean”. I was looking for a fun name, and my Mom recently sent me a photo of my niece in green pants, green sneakers and a green hoodie. The subject of the email was “Green Bean.”  As soon as I saw it, I thought that was perfect to call my baby. 🙂

It feels so much more real now!  I guess I’d better start doing the Body By Trimester DVD I bought a while ago!

I’ve now been officially “released” by Boston IVF to go to my OB/GYN.  I’ll be seeing her in 2 weeks for the next ultrasound, and will hopefully hear the heartbeat at that one.

To Tell or Not To Tell

 

I have gone on 4 dates with a guy recently. It’s probably the slowest relationship I think I’ve ever had — 4 dates in 2 1/2 months, not incredibly deep conversation, and we haven’t even kissed yet! But, he’s actually growing on me, and he’s a great guy. He’s 48, and has a 12-year-old son who he has full custody of. On his profile, it said “Maybe” for “Do you want kids?” Since there are only 3 options to choose from: Yes, No and Maybe… Maybe can mean a lot of things. Some men say that means “I’m not sure”. Some say it means “If my partner wants kids, I’m a yes. If not, I’m a no.” So, I knew at some point, I’d need to ask him what his “Maybe” means. This is also a particularly hot topic for me, because last year, I ended a relationship with someone who I thought was the love of my life, and I wanted to marry, but his original “maybe” (explained at the time as “yes, if my partner wants kids”) became a “no” after we were completely in love. Ending this relationship was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it was the right one for me. But, obviously I’d rather not get into a situation like that again.

So, the question before our 4th date was… “When should I tell him I’m trying to get pregnant?” (TTC = trying to conceive). But, now, the question is… “When do I tell him I’m actually pregnant?”. And, we haven’t even had the kid conversation at ALL!! Given that it still feels really early in terms of where we are emotionally, I just don’t feel like it’s time yet. But, I do want to know where he stands in terms of kids. So, last night I asked him. He said, “That’s a good question. When I first got divorced, I definitely wanted kids. Now, I’m not opposed to it, but it’s not a mandatory.” Hmmm, that sounds familiar. And, I do know that men say what you want to hear a lot of times. And, I’m guessing he knew that’s what I wanted to hear, because my profile said “Yes”. He then asked if I wanted kids, and I said “Yes, it’s something I’ve always wanted, and something I know I’ll do at some point.”

20120906-225338.jpg

Is it time to tell him I’m TTC? Or pregnant? On the one hand, I think “If he can’t accept where I stand now, then he’s not ready for it anyway. I might as well tell him sooner rather than later.” On the other hand, I think “The more he gets to know me, hearing something as big as this will land much differently than when we don’t know each other that well.” It reminds me of a 1st date I had recently, and the guy shared with me that he can’t have kids because of bad sperm from chemo, that he’s had 2 different types of cancers, and that he pees in a bag. Wow. Hearing all that when I barely knew him, there was just no compelling reason to have to deal with all of that. But, if we were already really connected when he told me all of that, I’d be much more likely to think “He’s so awesome, I’m willing to go with it.”

There was a discussion on the SMC group on Facebook today, and some of the women believe you should tell as soon as the 2nd date. Thinking about all of this, for me, It feels right to wait a little bit longer to tell him.  Going with my gut feeling is something I don’t do very well. But I’m trying! 🙂

What do you think? Have you shared your plans to be an SMC with your date? How about if you’re actually pregnant?