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First Baby Steps to Baby

I think it’s time to catch everyone up. So, let’s go back to the beginning of the story.  No, too long, let me sum up. (Cookies for the reference) I’ve decided to have a baby. Ok, back to long story.
The trouble was, I had no idea in the world how to even start. Well, ok, I knew HOW to start. But the previous evening was spent with a 42 year old lawyer who still lived with his parents so the more traditional way was looking out of the question. Of course he was better than the guy who tried to guess my bra size during our first date and told me that people who live in apartments don’t have real homes, but that’s even more depressing.
I suppose I could say I stood dramatically in the middle of my living room with my fists clenched and raised shouting “How, HOW!” But in actuality, I was curled up on my couch, smoking a cigarette and googling whatever I could think of that was remotely related. (Yes, I was still smoking when I made my decision, don’t judge) What I needed was to find other women who did this. How did they do it? How did they succeed? Are they happy with their choice? And how did they afford it all?
I searched how to be a single mom, which did bring up a couple of helpful sites, including budgeting ones which I will use later, but not what I needed at the time.
I searched how to become a mom, which brought up some not quite as helpful websites, not to mention a couple of questionable ones.
Then I searched choosing to become a mom. Bingo.
SingleMothersByChoice.org and ChoiceMoms.org
Websites for and about women who made the same choice! A whole world of them! I was bouncing on the couch, I was so happy. I honestly didn’t realize how many women were making the same choice I was. I guess more women than I thought were getting tired of settling for anyone just to have a baby before it was too late. I realized I wasn’t alone.
Now these are national organizations and I wondered if there were any local groups or chapters. Since I was already a member of Meetup.com, which is a free resource for hobby and interest groups, I decided to do a quick local search. I lucked out and the very next day I was on my way to a potluck hosted by a member of the local chapter.
I didn’t know what to expect actually. I was nervous. Would they tell me I was wrong? Would they think I was too old? Would they be snobby? Would they be vegan? Yes, that crossed my mind since I had brought two very non vegan side dishes for the potluck.
But when I knocked, the door opened and a woman opened it and greeted me with “Wow, a new face! Great! Welcome!” she sat me on the couch where a group of women were laughing and watching playing children. “So, where are you in the process? Thinking, trying, or pregnant?” Finally, I got to meet women who had made the same choice! And who were happy! And who weren’t crazy! Instead, they were nice and open and willing to give me any advice they could. I got a chance to hold a newborn, something I had only ever done once in my life. I watched to see how he was swaddled and fed.  I learned that when a child says “Thank you for the cake”, never say “You’re welcome, sweetie, actually its zucchini bread”. I never knew a child could look so horrified at the realization she had just enjoyed eating vegetables.
But I did notice one thing that made me nervous. None of them seemed to be hurting financially. They were all executives or lawyers or other professions that involved plush offices and  6 figure salaries (or close enough) When a couple of them started discussing interviewing private nannies, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
I knew that I probably wasn’t going to get budgeting tips from them. But, as I’ve said before, the lack of a four bedroom house in the suburbs doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be a good mom. When I whispered to one woman I didn’t make as much as some of the others, she just looked at me and said “If you have a job, you can do it” I realized she was right.  I have a steady job with full health benefits. Many single moms don’t even have that.
I am glad to have met these women. These women give advice and support to each other and now to me. They are helping me learn more about my decision. They are giving me a heads up on some of the challenges that I will be facing. Most of all, they aren’t making me feel bad or weird because of this decision. They know. They understand.
And all of them had great advice.
One woman suggested that I would never go wrong buying a co-sleeper crib, since I wouldn’t have a partner; another told me her story of explaining to her friends, (which turned out extremely helpful later). There was a discussion over different doctors and fertility clinic. This one messed up a lot of paperwork. This one had nurses who had been rude to a couple of the women when told they were single.  But nearly all agreed on the one that seemed to be the best because were friendly and worked with many single moms and LGBT couples.  I wondered out loud if I needed a fertility clinic instead of a regular gynecologist, and was immediately reminded of something I hadn’t really thought of.
I was almost 40. I needed to make sure everything was all right. At my age, I might not even be fertile anymore.
This was actually something I hadn’t considered. I think most women my age don’t think of themselves as too old to have a baby, but in actuality most women over 40 only have a 5-10%  chance of conceiving each cycle without medical assistance.
I also found out my years of smoking didn’t help me either, since smoking can hurt developing eggs. Being overweight was also a minus.
So armed with this new advice (and a little scared to find out the answers) I bravely picked up the phone and made a consultation appointment with Shady Grove Fertility Center.
And my journey officially began.

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