In the beginning: pursuing single motherhood

June 16, 2010

When I spotted the two storks with their spindly legs awkwardly plodding through the marsh grass at my friend Lillianna’s house the month before my IVF was to take place, I knew it was a good sign. 

Lillianna and I met through a TTC (trying to conceive) listserv for single women, most of whom were doing so through the use of anonymous donors.  The problem with this route to motherhood, or at least in my case and Lillianna’s, is that by the time you conclude that you can’t kiss another frog in search of a father for your children and by the time that you’re mature enough to accept that you need to move to plan B, your fertility is ebbing… fast, and fertility treatments, good reader, do not come cheap.  And while the love of my life had been elusive, so too had cash.

I had a crappy insurance plan that covered 70 percent of fertility treatments up to $15,000, except for those expenditures in the fine print, and those weren’t covered at all.  Lillianna had a crappy insurance plan that didn’t cover fertility treatments at all.  While I was making trips back and forth to the RE (reproductive endocrinologist, a fancy term for fertility doc), Lillianna was having tanks of frozen swimmers [read:  sperm] preserved in liquid nitrogen delivered to her door by the UPS man so that she could do at-home inseminations. 

When I found myself unmarried at 30, I started to become concerned, but then I told myself that I would give myself until 35 to make any unconventional moves.  Thirty-five came and went.  At 37, I was really nervous and went to see my gynecologist who ordered some blood work and referred me to the RE.  I got nervous again and decided not to think about it again for a little while.  And then a strange thing happened.  My paternal parent, the parent, who, according to my mother is responsible for the crazy gene reverberating through my DNA and that of my sisters, got a divorce from his second wife and arrived on my doorstep with bags in tow, a neurotic rat terrier and a cute little mutt whom his former wife would later reclaim.

Grateful that long ago he had the foresight to reproduce and thus have a doorstep to land almost 38 years later, he imparted some advice.  “Jenny, you need to have a baby,” the crazy parent said. 

The next day, coincidentally, was my annual trip to the gynecologist.  “Are you still thinking about having a baby?” she asked. 

“Yes,” I said.

“Get moving then.  Time is not on your side.”

And so a month later I’d chosen a donor and undergone a series to tests to determine my fertility.  When Lillianna and I began our first email exchange several months later, I was on my fourth IUI (intrauterine insemination) and another calendar year had arrived.  Before I gave up on IUIs and moved on, I had succumbed to seven of them, exhausting most of my fertility coverage with one company and maxing out two credit cards.  In anticipation of taking the giant step in the fertility world—in vitro fertilization—I switched insurance companies (one of few small luxuries we state employees have).

In the following year, 2006, Lillianna gave up the tanks and started investigating the UPS man’s potential, and I moved on to IVF and miraculously got pregnant and gave birth to Jax.  A month after he was born, I turned 40, and one of the storks had paid me a visit.


Wendy June 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

I love it. Keep wrting. I want to hear the rest of the story!

Pamela Hutchins June 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Can’t wait to hear all about your road to motherhood!

Jenn June 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Thank you, ladies!!!

Jolie June 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hey there Beanie Mom, GREAT to see your wonderful site. I did have a little giggle when I read your bean tips re identifying family-friendly restaurants by the presence of high chairs. All I can say, therefore, thinking back to my trip in November to the Czech Republic, is that no restaurant there could be classified as family-friendly from this criteria… Not only did they not have high chairs, but there are no baby-changing facilities anywhere either. Upon inquiring from my Czech friend as to why this is, she simply explained that children are not usually brought out in public there….. LOL. I thought she was kidding but I started believing her very quickly as, any time my toddler even whimpered in public, people stopped to stare….. hillarious!!
Congrats on this wonderful site 🙂

Jenn June 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

My Emerald Isle SMC friend, Jolie! Thank you for visiting, if only for a cyber destination. Time for you to get on a plane and come for a real visit.

Regarding the high chairs: that is positively THIRD WORLD.


Lillianna June 19, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Congrats on your Blog Site, Bean!!! I am so very proud of you! keep writing..please don’t stop. You have a great story – and I am so blessed to have you as a precious friend!

Lillianna 🙂

Jenn June 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Lilli, you wild woman, you! Thanks for visiting. Miss you. XOXO, Jenny

BigMamaCass June 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Awesome story so far! Can’t wait to hear more! Are you planning on setting up email subscription with Feedburner? Let me know if you do! I will subscribe for sure! 🙂

Jenn June 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Next on my list, BigMama. Thanks for coming to visit!!!

Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation June 21, 2010 at 1:26 am

Love this story! Can’t wait to read more!

Jenn June 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Coming soon. I promise. Thanks for visiting!

singlemama_cc June 21, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Love this! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Jenn June 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

Thanks, Single Mama, for visiting, and thanks for the RT! You rock!

Elizabeth Flora Ross June 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Good for you! Had I not (finally) met my husband, I may have followed a similar path. And my OBGYN told me the same damn thing. Completely unnerved me. Being aware of your biological clock is one thing. Having your doctor tell you there isn’t much time left is entirely another. I was frantic about getting pregnant, drove my husband crazy and had my first child @ 40.

kgirl June 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Definitely want to hear more.

Betsy @ June 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Great story! Looking forward to reading more!

Heather June 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Love your story. Very inspiring (and funny too.) Keep the pros coming.

Suzanne @ pretty*swell July 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

What an awesome story. You are so brave! I’m inspired. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Can’t wait to read more of yours!

Stacey MacGlashan July 23, 2010 at 11:19 pm

What a wonderful surprise to find you and this lovely blog! I, too, am a choice mom – who somehow managed to come to the choice mom community long after actually making the choice. I was lucky to have success with IUI (three tries) and had my now 20-month-old son, Quinn, at age 38 (40 is now 8 days away).
I would love to invite you to visit my website – and also introduce me to my own memoir (self-published) of my experiences. It’s called Just You and Me, Kid.
So nice to find a kindred spirit. Keep blogging! And please feel free to be in touch – by email, signing my guestbook, commenting on the blog, whatever!

Jenn July 24, 2010 at 7:13 am

Stacey, thanks so much for coming by! I’m glad to make your acquaintance too. I’ll be by your blog soon.

Happy Saturday!

Melissa Sankey June 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Starting from the beginning- like a great novel0 I just want to keep reading… I will no longer be able to use the kiddos as my excuse for insomnia.

The Pepperrific Life June 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm

What an amazing story! I can’t imagine going through what you have. You are one strong woman.

Jenn June 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Thanks, Pepper! Just a little crazy, that’s all. 😉

Bodie P March 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I loved this. I hadn’t realized how very fortunate I was to have a sexually willing but otherwise apathetic partner who was willing to contribute swimmers (he didn’t like rubbers). At the time, I wasn’t consciously planning a baby, but the second I realized I had conceived I realized how much I wanted to be a mom. (Before then the idea of motherhood had pretty much traumatized me–I could just see myself turning into my mother, something I would sooner slash my wrists than do. It took me a few months to realize that I had a choice about what sort of mother I would be. Since then it’s been lovely–so lovely I even wrote a memoir about it.

Jenn March 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

And you got to have a good time in the process!!!

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