The Decision to Have a Child On My Own

It was a familiar song we all grew up with:

musicnoteFirst comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage.

.When you think about it, for most people, that song stands correct… it obviously didn’t happen like that for me.  I mean, I intended it to, but the universe had other plans.

I remember the date clearly, it was August 31, 2005, my 34th birthday.  I was awoken by a loud, irritating sound…tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.  I lied in my bed, one eye open thinking to myself – ‘what the F is that noise?’

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

 

It got increasingly louder.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

 

A noise I had never heard before.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

A noise I actually never planned on hearing.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

 

I sat up in a panic and realized what that ticking was…

the “OMG, I WANT KIDS” biological clock.

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There was one problem though: I was single AF.  I mean, I was online dating at the time (or more like serial dating).  Every night I would meet the same dude, different shoes, and, after each disappointing date, I wondered why I wasn’t clicking with any of these men– nor they with me.
Could it be that they were deafened by the tick-tocks?  Maybe.
Could it be that the universe was looking out for me and helped me dodge many unfit baby-daddy bullets?  Perhaps.
But then the universe did that thing. It sent me a test in the form of a dude who heeded the sound of my tick-tocks.  It was more or less my 100th online date and I was at The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, taking in the ocean views when someone tapped me on my shoulder.  It was Mr. 100.

“Hi, are you Janis?”

And, from that line on, we found a connection, started dating, fell in love. I got pregnant, we moved in together (after 2 years) and we started our discussion on marriage/kids.

Wait, back up… “got pregnant?”  Yup, Mr. 100 and I got pregnant (on the pill).   I was late getting my period, took a test and we were preggers.  I went to my doctor who performed all the routine tests and he delivered the news that the pregnancy was not viable. I basically had a sack but no fetus.  When I told Mr. 100, he acted sad, but there was something about his reaction that revealed a great sense of relief.  Oddly, I was relieved as well.  I knew intuitively that this was not the man I was meant to have a child with.  It was at that point that I realized the universe had my back.

I went to my follow up doctor’s appointment a few days later and was told why the pregnancy wasn’t viable: I had a dime-size fibroid blocking my fallopian tube.  I was told that if I did not have the fibroid removed I wouldn’t be able to conceive in the future, and so we began to discuss what that removal entailed. They would need to perform surgery– a Myomectomy– but it could not be done laparoscopically due to where the fibroid was located, i.e. they would need to cut me open as if I were having a C-section.  On top of that, I was informed that I would most likely not be able to deliver a child naturally. So much information to absorb, time is ticking, WTF do I do?  Ok, Janis…breathe.

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Fast forward to a year later, Mr. 100 and I are laying on the beach in Hawaii talking about life and he sprung it on me: “I don’t think I want kids.”  I sat there like any woman in her late 30’s, who desperately wants children would: shocked, saddened, dumbfounded and lost.  After the shock dissipated, there it was again, the tick tock’s of my biological clock. They were back, as was the reality that my child-bearing years were escaping me.  I had invested 2.5 years with Mr. 100 up until this point and there he lay with mai-tai in hand, killing my dream of becoming a mom.  With his choice of not wanting kids came my choice to end the relationship.  When we got back to LA, he looked for another place to live while I went to AZ to stay with my parents and grieve.  I grieved not only the loss of a 2.5-year relationship but also the reality that I may have to forego having kiddos of my own.

That month solidified a lot.  As I mentioned in a recent blog, I had deep, impactful conversations with my father during that visit.  The last discussion I had with him before I left, we spoke about regrets.  And as he was telling me about his, I pictured myself at the end of my life regretting not having children of my own.  And then he planted the line “if you’re not nervous, you’re standing still,” and well, that line changed everything for me (and continues to do so).

When I went back to LA, I made myself purposefully busy, and yet again the universe worked its magic.  I played on a co-ed softball team in Santa Monica.  A woman named Anne had joined the team that week and sat next to me in the dugout.  We clicked immediately, like a soul I must have connected with in a past life or something.  Little did I know, she would be the catalyst for great change and beautiful new beginnings.  In our conversation, Anne told me she was hesitant to join the team because of her health.  I asked if she was ok. She openly shared that she had been trying to have a child on her own… What?  How could this be?  Who sent this woman?  Universe, am I being punked?  I began to riddle her with questions as if I were interviewing her for a job.  I listened with such intent and my curiosity was feverishly stirred.

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A week later, Anne and I were walking into a ‘Single Moms By Choice’ gathering.  Single Moms By Choice is an organization founded in 1981, comprised of single women who are thinking, are trying to and/or have succeeded at becoming a mother, knowing– at least at the outset– that she will be the sole parent of her child.

Anne and I walked into the meeting where 20 or so women had gathered, all with the same dream of becoming a mother.  I sat there the whole time listening and admiring, feeling grateful and determined.  I entered that meeting as a thinker and walked away knowing with every fiber of my being that this is what I was going to do.

And it was soon thereafter that I began ‘the doing.’  My doing consisted of first having the myomectomy to remove the fibroid.  While I scheduled that surgery, I began to tell those people closest to me that I wanted to become a mom on my own.  I spoke with my Mom first and then my sister (two of the best moms I know).  I explained my vision and they both expressed their support: “Do it!” said my sister, and my Mom solidified my decision when she responded, “women can totally do this on their own.”  Boom!  Onward and upward through the process I climbed.

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I booked the surgery, and three weeks later I was one step closer to fulfilling my dream.  The day after my surgery, I lay in my hospital bed healing from the C-section-type incision.  My doctor paid me a visit and said four inspiring words: “Go have your baby.”

During the three months of recovery, I started the preparation process to become a “single mom by choice.”

checkFirst up were my finances.  I began to better understand how expensive it was to have a child on your own, depending on the procedure.  I sat there working the numbers and began to wonder if I could do this alone financially. At the time, I was a full-time freelancer in LA and paid for my own shitty insurance.  After attending and sharing my concerns at Single Moms By Choice meetings, my single income nerves were put at ease, and I proceeded.

checkNext was deciding on the process of fertilization.  There were two fertilization options I seriously considered – IUI (IntraUterine Insemination) or IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).  I chose IUI for two reasons: it’s cheaper and it’s less invasive (as in no hormone injections or hospital visits).

checkThen the final piece: choosing a donor. This was the most important process and the pressure was as intense as you can imagine. So, I took a month to think about what qualities I would want my ‘child’s’ donor to possess.  Once I was certain, I researched sperm banks (I was shocked to see how many there were) and chose the largest bank in the US.  I invited my bestie over and we searched around 30 profiles, sipping wine and laughing at how this particular bank equates the donor looks to those of a Hollywood celebrity. And, with a click of the mouse, there he was: The Statue (the name the bank gave him).  He was 6’3, a collegiate football player (hence the statue label), 26 years old, an English major, teacher, with a healthy family tree, cute baby pictures, and the bank identified him as a Christian Bale look-a-like.  But it was his essay that made the decision stick.  In it, he wrote, “if I can give the opportunity to someone to fulfill their dream of having a child, then I could live knowing I did something good.”

My friend and I looked at each other and agreed: “The Statue is the one.”  I ordered 2 vials from the bank.  A week later I was driving in my car, with my dog in the backseat and vacuum-packed donor sperm in the front.  You can’t get any more unconventional than that (LOL)!

On October 21st, 2010, my second IUI was performed in my gynecologist’s office (the first one wasn’t successful).  On November 4th, I took a pregnancy test and it read “positive.” And that, folks, is where my single mom by choice journey began.

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A few things to note:

I loved being pregnant.  LOVED!

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When I found out what I was having, A BOY, I nearly jumped off my OBGYN’s table.  Ya see, we’re a girl family.  All my sibling have girls. My Dad worshipped his granddaughters but secretly hoped for a little boy who would carry on the Gaudelli name.  Little did he know, his youngest daughter would give him the honor.

And whereas most women have their hubby’s in the delivery room, I was granted the option to not only have my mom with me, but my sister Ann and niece Halle as well.  What a way for Kellan to enter the world, surrounded by three generations of strong, fearless women.  Oh, and my Dad was there in spirit as well… I felt him.  I even had the anesthesiologist play Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits in the operating room, to add to the celebration.

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Whether you want to call it fate, karma, or faith, when Kellan was finally in my arms I understood with all my being that my life was unfolding exactly as it was meant to. All the bumps and detours along the way were leading up to this perfect moment.  I am exactly where I am meant to be…a single mom by choice, raising the raddest kid on the planet.

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4 thoughts on “The Decision to Have a Child On My Own

  1. What a beautiful and touching story you shared with those who know and love you, and who treasured that “l
    Little Prince, Kellan who you brought into the world.
    Zi

    Liked by 1 person

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