In 2011, I joined the growing and oft-maligned ranks of online writers known as the “mommy bloggers” with my particular offering: grayhairedmom.com. Why, you may ask, did I become a blogger? Even more, you may be wondering, what gave me the gray hair, and why would anyone be interested?
Obviously, first things first, before becoming a mommy blogger, I had to become a mommy. Never one to rush into things, I was 51 when I had my first (and only) child. Becoming a “late life” mom isn't that easy and help was needed. First, we had to find a doctor who would actually treat us. My (then) boyfriend and I were, at 48, well past the “cut-off age” of 42 imposed by most In Vitro Fertilization clinics. Only one, CWRC, offered a ray of hope: donor egg IVF. Over the next two years, I endured pretesting to determine my general health, nearly 40 blood draws to track my hormone levels, and countless gynecological exams and procedures to qualify. Meanwhile, my husband deposited a sperm sample in a cup. (Not that I’m bitter.)
After nearly two years of tests and retests, battles with my insurance company, and struggles to somehow come up with the 30K needed to pay for the treatment, we were ready for the next step: choosing an egg donor. CWRC has a pool of hundreds of healthy women in their 20s who give the gift of hope to infertile women every day, and yet none of them ever knows the result. The donors and patients at our clinic are anonymous, so the social workers and doctors use a list of our physical and social characteristics and requirements to match us. We heard about our donor’s medical history and background before making our decision. She was told nothing about us, and further, neither she nor we will ever be able to identify each other. No records are kept after treatment is complete.
Using different doctors to keep our anonymity, the donor and I began the process of synching our cycles, which consists of about 40 days of hormone injections, pills, daily visits to the clinic for blood tests and pelvic exams, and finally the actual harvesting of the donor’s eggs for fertilization. My husband deposited sperm in a cup. (Again with the bitter?)
To complicate matters, our first two donors failed to produce the minimum number of eggs, so we had to start all over again by choosing a new donor. But, the third time proved a charm for us, and finally after nearly 2 years, the embryo transfer day arrived!
Ten days later, I knew I was pregnant!
We waited until I was 9 weeks along to tell family and friends, whose reactions ranged from disbelief to utter joy. I found one the best high-risk OBs in the country and had a remarkably easy pregnancy. In June, 2011, at 9:07 am, into this world came our darling boy.
I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for as long as we could afford it, which meant subletting our very tiny, very expensive apartment in Manhattan and moving back to my hometown. It’s a beautiful setting on a lake, but resulted in my husband's having a brutal daily commute. He would get home each night with barely enough energy left to eat, be with the baby for a few minutes, and collapse into bed. For me, after a few weeks of full-time motherhood, I felt isolated and lonely. I knew I needed an outlet.
Blogging seemed to be the perfect answer. I've made a living as a technical writer, and I always wanted to try my hand at other types of writing. I just never thought I had anything original to contribute to the so-called blogosphere, which granted, doesn't stop a lot of people or me, apparently. But, I wanted to document as much of the journey to parenthood as I could, not only for others who might be struggling with infertility, but also for my son, who may one day want to know more about me, us, and the journey that brought him into our lives. Of course, there’s also every blogger’s dream: someone will read my blog, offer me a book deal, and rescue me from ever having to return to the dreaded corporate cubicle. Or, dare I even dream it, Grayhairedmom.com the Musical….The Tony Awards…Neil Patrick Harris….ahhhhhh.
I wasn't even sure if I’d make my blog public when I started. I thought of it at first as a way to keep my friends and family in the loop. But my husband, who is a journalist and the author of several books, encouraged me to tell our story in a more public forum. Our dear friend, Christine Hepner, is a graphic artist and designed such a cute logo that I just had to let the “world” see it.
And so, here we are 2 years. I've learned how to use WordPress.com to create my blog. I've registered my domain name, printed business cards and pens, and marketed my blog in forums and mommy-blogging sites. Is it successful? Financially, maybe not. My display ads earned me $16.61 in 2012. Then again, I've heard from a few women who found my site and were encouraged not to give up on motherhood quite yet. Two couples have even made appointments at the clinic we used.
When I hear the best news of all from one of my readers, that's when I’ll know it’s a true success.
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