What if You Don’t Have An Amazing Daddy?

There are certain conversations that just don’t go down well in a public forum.  Naturally, once one has children any embarrassment about, for example, shouting “POO!” randomly at frequent intervals seems to dissipate.  Not so, however, with certain other conversations, such as the one I found myself having at swimming today.

“Daddy, daddy, daddy!” my son is shouting happily.

Bloody daddies.

All those daddies, taking their children swimming.  All those conversations the children have about their daddies, as they find themselves musing upon why they find themselves with Mummy in a different changing room.  “My daddy,” says one; “No, my daddy,” says another, seemingly puzzled at how they could both have daddies in the same building at the same time.

“Daddy!” shouts Piglet.

“No Piglet, you don’t have a daddy.”

The changing room, usually full of chatter and small children talking about their daddies, has gone quiet.

They are all going to be discussing it amongst themselves once I am gone, I think, as I take care to put Piglet’s jumper on extra slowly, to deny them the opportunity.  All those middle class mothers with the husbands and the conventional Topsy and Tim-style set ups.

As we leave the pool, two men come in with a baby.  TWO DADDIES, I think triumphantly.  The perfect opportunity to point out to Piglet that not everyone has a daddy, but not everyone has a painfully conventional Topsy and Tim-style set-up either.  Every family is different.

“You know, Piglet, not everyone has a daddy,” I say once we are safely down the street.  Piglet looks up from his pushchair expectantly.  He appears to be more interested in this conversation than I had anticipated.

“Some people have just a Mummy, and some have just a Daddy, and some have two mummies or two daddies.  And some don’t have ANY PARENTS AT ALL and have to be raised by their grandparents.  I think that baby we just saw has two daddies, for example.”

Piglet nods his head in agreement, and turns back around, apparently satisfied with this answer, and now ready to turn his mind back to the usual thoughts of breadsticks, lions, emergency vehicles of all stripes and the amazing feat of engineering that is a car transporter lorry.  I breathe a sigh of relief.

I’m supposed to have an answer prepared for these situations; a speech all ready and raring to go.  I’m supposed to have been telling Piglet all about his donor from the moment he popped out of the womb, apparently.  Gone are the days when having anything but two happily married parents was to be glossed over and never spoken of, and thank goodness for that.  Now the prevailing wisdom says we should tell our children about how they were made from the moment the event occurs, preferably using picture book explanations of IVF and euphemistic talk of eggs and seeds, but I just can’t do it.  Piglet is just like any other child.  His unusual genesis doesn’t make him some sort of special snowflake who needs to be reminded about his conception as often as is humanly possible.  Precisely no one wants to have the circumstances of their own conception explained to them, no matter how euphemistically, and besides, Piglet’s donor is not all that interesting to me.  I’ve never met him, and wouldn’t want to.  What if his values don’t align with mine?  What if he’s only donating sperm for the money and not out of the pure motive of altruistic love of creating alternative families for those who are denied children via more conventional means? What if he voted for Donald Trump?  He’s from the South, goddamit, that is almost certainly a thing.  And then what?  Could one’s political leanings be somehow genetic?  Is Piglet going to rock up one day in a Make America Great Again hat, hollering about a wall?  When I tried to explain to a mewling newborn Piglet at 4am in a hospital ward full of crying women and babies about how he was donor conceived, believing that this was what I now had a solemn duty to do, I ran up against a blank, and instead found myself whispering desperately that if he kept crying I might have to send him back to America (in my defence, at that point Obama was still president).

Piglet carried on crying and flailing his tiny limbs about, and I was wracked with guilt.  First, I had created a baby with the sperm of an American I’d never met, and then I’d considered sending him to America via Parcel Force, all wrapped up in a little bit of brown paper and a note saying “return to sender,” because he cried a lot, as newborns are prone to do, and I wasn’t sure I could do this whole mothering thing.

I decided it was probably best if I forgot about trying to explain the American connection and just concentrated on nailing the mothering thing.  It was certainly a more pressing concern, and with any luck, he wouldn’t ask where his daddy was anyway and he wouldn’t care, at least not until he could speak.

Fortunately for some, Piglet has not been quick in that regard, and only learned the word “Daddy” a few months ago, when he alarmed me one bedtime by suddenly randomly shouting “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” as I quietly despaired, wondering where he had learned this word, this dangerous, subversive idea, and wondering if I could have prevented it by having the eggs and seeds conversation every evening since his birth.  Had he learned it at nursery?  From other children?  From Charlie and Lola?  No, not Charlie and Lola.  They don’t have any parents.  Charlie is raising Lola single-handedly like the plucky hero of a novel about nineteenth century street urchins.

Or was it from the book my mother had inexplicably brought home from the library, the one called “Amazing Daddy,” which I sneakily tried to change to “Amazing Mummy” when reading it, on the assumption that Piglet could neither read nor tell the difference between male and female fictional pandas.

“Daddy, daddy, daddy!” cried Piglet as I opened the first page, before flinging himself at my brother, who happened to be passing at the time, and calling him Daddy too.

So has Daddy taken on the meaning of any male human, or panda?  It’s hard to tell at this stage, but sooner or later the conversation will have to be had.  Just preferably not in the swimming pool changing rooms under the glare of middle class judgement.

When Your Child Has Dozens of Siblings

I once heard that there was once a woman, long ago, who became known as the primordial Eve.  Not by her own people, presumably, as they cannot have known what her descendants would become, but by modern scientists; geneticists who spend their lives in laboratories, examining the immense data of the human genome.

We are all related to her, this Eve, all of us who made our way out of Africa all those thousands of years ago at the dawn of human existence.  She, like her biblical namesake, is quite literally “the mother of all who live.”

I sometimes wonder about her, Eve.  I wonder what her life would have been like back in the cave days, and most of all, I wonder how many children she actually had, that they would later survive to take over the globe as if in the fulfilment of some ancient prophecy.

I wonder if she had more children than Octomom with her Octo-brood; than King Solomon with his seven hundred wives and concubines; than that peasant couple in the 1700s who had 62 children (it’s in the Guinness Book of Records, peeps.  That was a thing).

I wonder if she had more children than Piglet’s donor.

Yes, Piglet is a sort of member of a sort of family that spans the globe, but unlike Primordial Eve, we didn’t need to walk out of Africa on the heels of a retreating ice sheet. We could just log onto Facebook and see them all there; the worldwide family of similar looking children across three continents.

Before having Piglet, the potential implications of using a donor registered as remote flickers of panic on a timeline that already seemed riddled with obstacles.  It didn’t seem worth dwelling on thoughts of tangled family relationships when the possibility of making it even to pregnancy was far from certain.  I had seen women in my situation struggle-sometimes for years-just to get a positive pregnancy test.  I had seen miscarriages, failed fertility treatments and even, in one case, a hideous off the grid operation with no anaesthetic aimed at improving chances of pregnancy.  I was prepared for a long slog, a lottery, an expensive gamble with no guarantees.  And then suddenly I was pregnant.  Fears of failed fertility treatment quickly turned to the terror of miscarriage, stillbirth or something else going hideously wrong.  I hardly dared to consider what the future might hold.  I was taking it one day at a time.

And now, two years on, I still don’t spend my days and nights worrying about what to tell Piglet about his unconventional family set up.  He is happy, and he is loved.  What else could he want to know?  That unlike his friends at nursery, he doesn’t have a father, but instead has thirty-odd half siblings that might one day fill the void?

Fortunately, these siblings are not local.  I say this not because I have any wish to keep them at arm’s length, but because the idea of feeling bound to people I’ve never met by convoluted blood ties is just a little bit too complicated for my brain at this point; my brain which is still coming to terms with motherhood as a concept, and with myself as a member of the Worldwide Sisterhood of Mothers, a sorority that I sometimes feel a fraud to be representing; me, the single mother with no troubled backstory of doomed romance ending in a bitter custody battle, and the breadwinner relying on my mother for childcare, and feeling no sense of kinship with the stay at home mum brigade whatsoever.  Where do I even fit in?  Not with the married mums or the single mums, and certainly not with the stay at home mums.  But that is a story for another day.  Another day where I look at the faces of the Worldwide Siblinghood of Mini-Piglets, and wonder, will he ever fit in with them?  Will they meet up one day, in some neutral location in the middle of an ocean, and swap stories of uncanny similarities and coincidentally parallel life paths, or will they discover their siblings unintentionally, like in a schmaltzy story from a women’s magazine, during a fresher’s week party at university or on a gap year, and suddenly wonder why this new friend looks so remarkably alike?

Or will they simply not care?  This kind of set-up will all be normal by then, right?

One Messy Mama

What’s it like to be a Single Mother by Choice?

The simple answer is, not much different to being any other mother.

We all spam our Facebook feed with pictures of adorable newborns, food-covered weaning babies and exuberant toddlers.  We all tell tales of sleepless nights and bodies that are never the same again.  We all scan the parks and baby groups for the sight of someone  else who is barely existing on three hours sleep and whose baby won’t eat anything but bread and ice cream on a continuous loop.

There is more that unites us than divides us.

There are, of course, other single mothers, and single fathers too.  Women and men who lost their partners, who were widowed, abandoned or more commonly, whose relationships simply didn’t go the distance.  We are not a small group, us single mothers.

Then there’s me, the single mother by choice.

I have met other women in my situation, but only by looking for them; by joining online and offline groups of people who decided that donor conception was right for them.  We seem to be growing in number, but that may just be my perception, skewed by media interest and by my own efforts to find like-minded women.

I don’t tend to bump into other single mothers by choice in the park.  We are still few in number, and a matter of curiosity to others.  Why did you do it?  How did you do it?  How did you choose the “father”?  Am I allowed to call him the “father”?  Good for you!  I’d have done the same if I hadn’t met my husband.  That’s all very modern, isn’t it?

I can still remember when I first learned of donor conception.  I was fifteen years old.  It was the mid-nineties, and I was a Year 10 student doing GCSE coursework on Medical Ethics.  I found myself drawn to the topic of assisted reproduction as my chosen field of study.  It felt at once both completely alien to me and my teenage inexperience, but at the same time highly relevant, a symbol of the increasing choices that women had, the feeling that the world was my oyster, and my destiny was there for the taking.  It’s easy to say now that I must have had some premonition of what lay ahead, but the reality was probably more that learning about the many and complex issues surrounding the still-new topic of assisted reproduction sounded difficult in comparison to the age-old topics of contraception and abortion that most of the class had chosen, and that were amply covered in the textbook, and I relished the challenge of learning about something new.

Upon learning that there were women who chose to conceive on their own with donor sperm, I considered it briefly, and quickly pushed the thought aside as a kind of hideous last resort for the old, the unloveable and undesirable.  Surely that wasn’t me.

But as I grew older the thought of taking control, of not leaving my desire for motherhood to the cruel hand of fate and chance, became more seductive.

It wasn’t until I was 32 that I even considered it.  Still young, for a single mother by choice.  For many the decision itself takes years of deliberation, and a level of acceptance needs to be reached that the time is up for finding the right man; the perfect father to our children that we all dreamed of.  Following an unplanned but hardly unusual first trimester miscarriage that felt to me like a warning signal from above, a reminder that I needed to get on with it if I didn’t want to be child-free in perpetuity and not by choice, I started to look into my options, and had some fertility tests.  The results were not catastrophic, but neither were they reassuring.  I needed to get my metaphorical skates on.

I am an impulsive person.  Perhaps this has served me well.  Perhaps it has not, depending on one’s personal viewpoint.  I can make a life-changing decision in the time it takes most people to make a cup of tea.  In my case, there was very little deliberation.  Once I knew that sperm banks existed, they were almost affordable, give or take a bit of liberty with the credit card; and before my previous miscarriage, I had already confronted the reality of being a single parent and found it not hideous, nothing could change my mind.  I was doing this.

I was lucky.  Given my age, not young in childbearing terms but also not old, and a decent clinic, I conceived on my first cycle of IVF.

And so I became a Single Mother by Choice.  And to my eternal surprise, I am not only accepted by those who went down a more conventional path, but I have more in common with them than I do many of my child free friends.  We are on this journey together, this journey of parenthood with all its many highs and lows.  Unlike the other single parents I know, I don’t have a co-parenting relationship to navigate with someone with whom my romantic relationship has irretrievably broken down.  That is a bonus.  My decisions are mine to make, and mine only.  I also have the fear; a fear that is usually well hidden but occasionally surfaces.  The fear that my child will reject his origins as a donor-conceived person; that he will resent me for the decision I have made.  And given the newness of our situation, the untried nature of donor conception and the constantly evolving laws that govern its use, it is impossible to say what he, and others like him, will think of their origins.  They may not care, and see it as their normal, something that has never affected their lives.  Or on the other hand they may be tracking down the donor and demanding a lifetime’s worth of birthday presents.

I do not know what the future holds.  But I do know that I love my son and I hope my love will be enough for him.  And the rest is in the hands of that cruel mistress Fate again.  Families are all different, and so are individuals.  I just have to be the best mother I can be, and hope that my best is good enough.

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post as part of their Thriving Families series.

And then the fun began...

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3 Little Buttons
ethannevelyn
Run Jump Scrap!
The Pramshed

Thank God, they put the right one in

Most people’s birth stories seem to fall into one of the following categories:

1.) URRGGHH that was HORRIBLE.

2.) UURRGGHH that was HORRIBLE.  There was blood everywhere.  And stitches.*  And it REALLY HURT.

3.) It was amazing.  I was in a birthing pool.  I had the intervention-free, drugless labour I always wanted.  There was whalesong.  It was orgasmic.  I want to do it again, but on my own this time.  Who needs a midwife anyway?  I can just pull the baby out myself.  I am woman, hear me roar!

Obviously it goes without saying that everyone hates anyone who says anything along the lines of #3.  But that doesn’t really matter, because those people largely don’t exist outside of educational videos and hypnobirthing books anyway.

I have yet, however, to meet anyone else whose first thought, upon meeting their baby, was “thank God, they DID put the right one in, after all!”

You see, with IVF there’s always that chance.  That chance that the baby that you have lovingly nurtured for the past nine months, isn’t really *your* baby after all, but a random one that somehow ended up inside you, and that someone is going to come and claim it back.  Someone who’s probably married, and sensible, and a whole lot better at looking after a baby than you.

And that’s assuming that something went wrong at the clinic.  There were so many other steps along the way that could have gone wrong.  What if the sperm bank got it wrong?  What if the baby that I was expecting, the one that looked a bit like a mixture of me and the sperm donor, what if that baby looked nothing like either of us?  What if that baby had a different donor by mistake?  Would I ever get over the shock?  Would I not love the baby if it turned out to be different from what I expected?

As it happened, Piglet came out looking EXACTLY as I had expected, but I was so scared that it would be otherwise that I wouldn’t even hold him, and had to get my mother to do it.

The newborn Piglet, looking bizarrely like my brother, to my great relief.
The newborn Piglet, looking bizarrely like my brother, to my great relief.

I don’t know why I started thinking about this again over Christmas, but I think it had something to do with Call The Midwife, which despite being quality viewing, albeit in a schmaltzy, rose-tinted 1950s Cockney sort of way, with everyone eating jellied eels and leaving their doors unlocked while the children play on bomb sites, is in many ways the most unrealistic programme ever screened.

“Bring back any memories?” my mother asked brightly as we sat watching the Christmas episode, where a woman on the screen was delivering breech twins with the proverbial two pushes and a bit of panting. I was about to change Piglet’s nappy, or more accurately run around the house in pursuit of him, removing bits of clothing every few minutes-a sleeve here, a leg there-until he is sufficiently unclothed to have his nappy removed.

I gave my mother the withering look that says, it was hardly like that now, was it?

“It won’t be like it is on TV,” said the woman in the NCT class.  “Their waters always break with a huge gush.  In Real Life, it might only be a trickle.”

Well, thanks for that.  And also thanks to the many TV births where those waters broke just enough to make an interesting plot point-Miranda’s amniotic fluid drenching Carrie’s new Manolos, just to pick an example out of the air from a programme I never, ever mention on this blog-but never enough to flood the entire hospital (like, er, mine.  Seriously, it just KEPT ON COMING).

Now I know that TV dramas don’t make stuff up just to make me feel bad, and I know that the only outcome that matters is a healthy mother and a healthy baby, but I can’t help but feel that my birth story is a little bit, well, disappointing.  All those hypnobirthing classes, and in the end it was all I could do to listen to the hypnobirthing track once before I decided it was utterly useless and it was far better just to resort to hard drugs.  All those yoga classes and hypnobirthing books and breathing exercises, and telling myself that pain was all in the mind, and all that stuffing my face with sandwiches as it’s always a good idea to eat in labour, say the hypnobirthing books (until you start throwing up).

And well, I ended up having an emergency caesarean, and I know this is silly, but after all the hypnobirthing and yoga and books, I felt like a failure as a mother and as a woman.  THANKS WORLD.

“Did you feel like this?” I asked my mother, veteran of three C-sections.

“No.  You read too many books.”

I think that will be written on my gravestone.

*There is something which has always puzzled me about stitches.  What did people do in the olden days-i.e. before stitches-if they, like, tore?  Did they just have to walk around with lacerated vaginas for the remainder of their days?  As any sane person would, I have googled this in an attempt to find out.  And there is literally NOTHING out there on the subject.  NOTHING.  This is yet another depressing example of women’s stories being erased from history, I am sure.  I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE MEDIEVAL STITCHES.  WHY IS THIS NEVER SPOKEN OF?

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Single Parent Pessimist

Many Babies Look Like Piglet: Is This More Than Just Coincidence?

NEWSFLASH!  NEWSFLASH!

Piglet has twenty-one brothers and sisters.

Or something like that.

Obvs. this is not my doing.  I barely have Piglet, let alone twenty-one other hidden children squirrelled away somewhere.

The reason I know this is because I registered Piglet’s birth with the sperm bank, and although they have so far not managed to send me the photo of the donor that I requested (Piglet might want to see his father one day, right?  Plus all my extended family want to have a good look at him so they can make a more informed decision about who he looks like.  When he was born, my all my aunt could manage was “hasn’t he got a lovely shaped head?”) they have added me to their social media thingy where you can “connect” with all the other people who have children with the same donor.  There are twenty-one of them.  Which is actually a fairly modest figure considering that the limit for the number of families a donor can, er, donate to, is fifty in the United States and ten in Britain.  And that’s not including all the other countries a donor’s emissions could potentially be sent to.

Anyway, some of the other lucky recipients have set up a Facebook group for those who have received sperm from my donor or another donor who is apparently my donor’s brother (quite the family business!) so they can all talk to each other.  I have sneakily Facebook-stalked some of these people and looked at their children and some of them LOOK JUST LIKE PIGLET.  It is UNCANNY.  Anyone would think they were related or something.  This is notwithstanding the fact that there are a great many babies that look like Piglet, including a baby sat on the next table to us in Grupo Lounge in Bristol when we were in there having brunch a few weeks ago, and several of the babies whose pictures are used to illustrate The Essential First Year by Penelope Leach.  Even Dermot O’Leary of X Factor fame has been mooted as a potential lookalike.  Perhaps these too are all members of Piglet’s extensive worldwide family.  Anyway, I am now in the position of checking Facebook frantically every five minutes to see if the moderators of the Facebook group have accepted my request to join yet, so that I can have a proper look at these children that are apparently Piglet’s genuine relations, and maybe find out some interesting titbits from their parents, such as, have any of your children so far grown up to be an axe murderer?  No?  Oh well that’s great then.  The genes are obviously OK.

Could this man be related to Piglet?

Hang on.  What if their children are all awful?  And the parents are not?  Perhaps I am going to find out more than I actually want to know here.  After all, as that great sage of the nineties, Dr Alban, once proclaimed in his classic hit It’s My Life, a little knowledge is dangerous.  And that song was used to advertise tampons.  I rest my case.

So this is what it feels like to be, in the words of the bloke from Fat Families, a “Massive Fatty”

Today’s most pressing questions:

1.) By having a baby with a sperm donor, am I inadvertently ruining the lives of the next generation, who will be destined to resent me and be forever miserable, and

2.) WHY DOES IT HURT SO MUCH WHEN I EAT????

With regard to the second one, I am currently lying prostrate on the sofa, unable to get into any position that could be remotely described as “comfortable,” purely due to my having just eaten dinner.  It literally feels like my stomach is squeezed up underneath my rib cage.  Probably because it is.  O the joys of pregnancy, wanting to eat everything in sight and then being unable to contain it all in my squashed stomach.  This must be what it feels like to have a gastric band.  I promise I will never berate fat people ever again.  Honest.

Also, being fat must be bloody hard work.  I have only put on a stone (so far), and already I find myself having to use the disabled entrance at the tube station, lest I give myself a coronary by heaving my bloated body up the steps; a feat that now requires at least twenty minutes of recovery time at the top, clinging breathlessly to the bannister and panting deeply whilst clutching my distended stomach.  And I’m still only 27 weeks!  What will become of me in ten weeks time when I’m still having to drag myself to work and do a job like a normal human being who’s not constantly carrying someone else?

Anyway, mustn’t complain.  After all, being pregnant is basically brilliant, especially the little kicks and movements I am subjected to daily by the Little One, causing me to while away endless hours feeling bits of my belly and speculating on whether I can feel tiny feet beneath the skin.

I will try not to depress myself by reading the many angry stories from children of sperm donors that can be found on the internet, bemoaning their lack of normal parentage and making me think that it’s only a matter of time before Little One rejects me entirely as the reprobate who denied him a father and messed up his entire life, and concentrate on the little tiny feet.

‘Twas the night before the scan and all through the house…..I am stressing out, googling like a hyperactive louse

First scan tomorrow and I am feeling completely calm and zen-like about this.

In other words I have spent the entire day sat in my flat googling the following search terms:
Period pains 12 weeks pregnant (need to know if this is normal)
12 weeks 6 days pregnant stomach flat (and is this normal?)
Chances of missed miscarriage at 12 week scan (it always pays to be prepared for the worst)
Chances of missed miscarriage after 12 weeks
Lower back pain in early pregnancy (surely this is a sign that things have gone awry?)
How do I know if my foetus is still alive

Strangely, none of this googling seems to be able to give me a definite answer to any of these pressing questions, and thus I have come to the conclusion that the internet should never have been invented, as it clearly serves no purpose beyond wasting one’s precious time which could have been better spent doing something important, like dancing around the room making myself feel sick or modelling different outfits around the house to see how non-existent my baby bump looks in each one.

Also, in my frantic googling, I have managed to read many scientific articles about the purpose of the nuchal scan, so now when I go to the hospital, not only will the myriad of different fears include the possibility that the baby is dead or never existed at all and is in fact a figment of my clearly over-active imagination, but that the baby has one of the many different “trisomies” or other horrific disabilities the scan is designed to reveal.  What if, for example, I see the little thing on the screen, only to discover that it has a patch of fluid behind its neck, or lacks a nasal bone?  Both strong indicators of Down’s syndrome, apparently, and as I am so old surely my risk is greatly increased?  Why oh why did I not have children in my teens?  WHY?  Why didn’t I just settle down with the first reasonable person who was interested and start popping them out?  Now I am doomed!

OK so when I look at some of the people I was interested in in my teens as they are now the thought of settling down with someone who was destined to become, twenty years later, an obese chav with an oddly shaped head and eyes that don’t appear to line up properly with each other might make that seem like the great juvenile folly that it would have been, but you get my point.  And anyway, it’s hardly as if my babyfather is the catch of the century given that I have technically never met him and he may well be awful.

Oh God what if Babyfather IS an obese chav?  I mean, it’s not like I would know.   OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE???!!!

I can’t think about this whole situation anymore.  My brain is about to explode.  Need to be mindful.  Mindfulness, mindfulness.  Concentrate on the moment.  Ooh I think Countryfile‘s on now.  Going to watch that and not think about any of this awfulness.

Why can’t it just all be easy, like in the Bible?

AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH

I am sat on my bed with a copy of The Baby-Making Bible next to me.  It all seems a lot more complicated than it is in the real Bible, where men just have to “know” their wives, and “go into” them.  Although I suppose that Abraham and Sarah had difficulty conceiving, and had no success until they reached the grand old age of ninety-nine, which beats even the most outlandish Wikipedia stories about OAPs conceiving back in the 1740s.

And there are several stories about women (including the unfortunate Sarah) having to put up with their husbands going off with comely young concubines to continue the family name.

And the Virgin Mary’s cousin Elizabeth struggled a bit.

And the Virgin Mary herself conceived in a somewhat unlikely manner, being a virgin and all that.

OK the Bible is probably the greatest book ever written about infertility.

But it doesn’t tell you an awful lot about how to conceive, except that it is something that only The Lord  can make happen, which isn’t very useful.

Or you could just go and get your widowed father roaring drunk in a cave, and “lie with him” (THIS HAPPENS KIDS.  IN THE BIBLE).

Anyway, The Baby-Making Bible isn’t so much fun (not that I am suggesting that *see above* is fun).  It’s just about how people should have acupuncture, and not drink too much water and stuff.  Yes, not drink too much water.  It actually goes against all known medical advice.  I have continued to drink water, and I have also been augmenting it with a daily shot of “Royal Jelly,” which is quite literally the food of Queens.

Queen Bees, that is.  Yes, I eat the same stuff that Queen Bees eat.  And I am like, a million times their size.  This is astonishing.  Anyway, Queen Bees lay LOADS of eggs, enough to populate an entire hive; therefore it stands to reason that eating their food means that I too will lay LOADS of eggs.

And this is very important as I am going to be having IVF.

YYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

I have been accepted as an egg sharer.  This means that I do not have any of the following:
HIV
Syphilis
Gonorrhea
Chlamydia
Any of the ten million varieties of Hepatitis
Cystic fibrosis
Dodgy chromosomes

I have so few diseases, I am even CMV negative, and eighty per cent of the population have that, whatever it is.  The only significance of that fact is that it limits the choice of sperm, as one can-in bizarre twist of weirdness as clearly in Real Life, when choosing a partner on Match.com, or in the dim light of a ropey club with sticky carpets at 2am, one always questions the likelihood of one’s prospective partner having a very common virus that almost everyone has anyway-only choose sperm from a CMV negative donor if one is CMV negative.  This inevitably limits the choice of available sperm.

In fact, it limits it so severely that when one narrows the selection down to only “UK-compliant, ID-disclosure” donors, one ends up with a choice of barely sixteen men.

Sixteen.  IN THE WORLD.

OK “in the world” is a slight exaggeration, when what is actually meant here is “in a sperm bank in America.”

You can imagine my delight when I saw their photos (yes, photos.  AMAZING) and discovered one who was “fit.”

I was so happy that I ran home from work early just so that I could call America before my beloved Chosen One sold out, only to find that it was “Labor Day” (please note inverted commas.  I know this is not the correct spelling of “labour.”  I am merely being authentically American.  Also, no pun intended) and the sperm bank was closed.  Horror.  This meant that I had to make the Fateful Call the following day, from work, from my mobile, whilst praying that no one walked in while I was on the phone.

To my relief and delight, the donor-who I had, in my head, started calling “The One”-was still in stock, and I purchased him-or rather a vial of him-immediately.  Totes amaze, as they would say in Essex.

However, all was not rosy for long, as I then decided to have a little look at him on the website again, just so that I could admire my great judgement in choosing him.  Then I saw the other nine photos.  AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH.  He is not as fit as I thought!  This is a tragedy.  I am going to have an ugly baby with a grade point average of 3.2.  And I don’t even know what a grade point average is!  And he is doing a degree in something which sounds dangerously like “mickey mouse studies of things that aren’t really things.”  At a college which isn’t Harvard or Yale!  And none of his siblings went to university!  And he places baseball!  BASEBALL for God’s sake.  It’s like ROUNDERS!  And he was a ten pound baby!  Not as in cost ten pounds (I wish.  No comment on the cost of all this), as in weighs ten pounds!  OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO HAVE A HUGE BABY WHO’S GOING TO BE EVEN BIGGER AS WILL POP OUT WEARING BASEBALL CAP.

Pass me the smelling salts.

Mummuddlingthrough


Introducing the world’s first Gu Chocolate Pot Baby

Well, the insemination process is complete.

And if I get pregnant, I will be writing to the Daily Mail and proclaiming it a “miracle baby.”

I’m sure the Daily Mail has lots to say about people importing sperm from abroad off the internet and using it to self-impregnate.  Hell, they could even illustrate their disgust with a picture of me showing off my “bikini body” on holiday in their sidebar of shame if they wanted to.

Not that I’m going on holiday this year as cannot afford it after buying sperm off internet.

Anyway, the insemination was a bit of a disaster.

I say “a bit” because it was actually 50% a disaster.  I had ordered two straws of semen (I didn’t see why you couldn’t just order one, but I figured that as I was paying so much for the shipping anyway I may as well go the whole hog) and miraculously managed to get them both out of the nitrogen tank without causing injury to myself or, more importantly, the sperms.  Not that I could really be one hundred per cent sure of the latter as obviously they are microscopic.  And reader, it was EXACTLY how it looks on TV, you know when they get the semen out of the tank in the lab with a big ladle, and all the nitrogen-steam escapes.  AMAZE.  I felt like I was in a laboratory when in fact was in own bedroom.

Anyway, I then thawed all the little sperms out of their slumber and prepared the syringe.  Except that I didn’t have a test tube handy (who has a TEST TUBE in their house?) to pour the sperm into, and the entire contents of the first straw ended up on the floor.  Disaster.

Fortunately, I managed to rescue the second straw by using an old “Gu” chocolate pot in lieu of a test tube, to empty the sperm into.  Forget “test tube babies,” the “Gu Chocolate Pot Baby” will be a world first.  Maybe I could even get Gu to sponsor the baby’s upbringing.  This is assuming that there will be a baby, however, and frankly that is looking unlikely since the content of one straw added up to no less than 0.5mls of semen.

I know they say it only takes one but that is ridiculous.  I have basically just done the turkey baster equivalent of have sex once with a man with a ludicrously low sperm count who hasn’t even properly ejaculated.  No amount of lying on the bed with my lower body propped up on a cushion is going to rectify that.

Anyway, now all there is to do is send the nitrogen tank back to Denmark, forget about the whole sorry exercise and pray that all my egg sharing tests are clear so I can have IVF.  I imagine that will be a whole lot less stressful than this exercise has been.  I mean, IVF isn’t stressful at all, right?

Existential Crisis

OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.  Having a proper crisis over the whole situation.

That yellow nitrogen tank is eyeballing me from the hallway and I am absolutely terrified.

What if it works?
What if the baby hates me?
What if it buggers off to Denmark to look for its father?
What if its father is awful?
What if he’s a mass murderer or other class of reprobate?
What if he’s-as the youngsters would put it-“butters”?
What if he doesn’t know the difference between “your” and you’re” and scatters apostrophes around inappropriately (or whatever equivalent Danish grammatical sin)?
What if I can’t afford a baby?
What if I have to move back in with my mother?
What if I end up having to get a payday loan from Wonga and shop at BrightHouse?
What if I have to relinquish all hope of marriage and/or child with person who actually loves me?
What if I’m a terrible mother?
What if the child grows up to be a complete bounder?
What if I never fit back into my American Apparel disco pants?
What if I am hunted down and killed by Daily Mail readers?

OK, so some of those questions more worthy of consideration than others but AAAAAARRRGGGH!