Mar 18 2014
For a long time I was an anomaly among my friends. Most were married in their 20s and started their families then. I watched and waited as I went through my days of being single. I did some more waiting and dating while I held babies and changed diapers. This was never easy for me as all I wanted was a partner in life and to have babies of my own. I did not meet my partner in life until I was almost 32 years old. This felt downright elderly in comparison to my group of friends. Married at 33 and a mom at 35 (after a lot of fertility treatments) and you know what? I would not change it for the world.
When I would go to my OB appointments while pregnant, the words “advanced maternal age” was constant. I would laugh as I certainly did not feel “old.” What was even more interesting was my OB told me that I was on the younger side of her practice and that the average age of women seen was 38 years! That blew my mind! While I understood that more women were waiting for various reasons to have children, in my group of friends, this was not the case.
What have I learned (so far) from being an older married woman and an older mom? I’ll first start with the harder parts: Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 11 2013
Sometimes it’s best not to solicit advice.
Like when you’re 37 and pregnant, for example, and you can’t decide whether or not to do an amniocentesis. Hypothetically. And your gut tells you the baby is fine. And your screening scores tell you, really, the baby is fine. But you ask your friends. And everyone has a story about this one who miscarried because of the amnio and that one who had a baby with Downs Syndrome even though the Nuchal Translucency reported favorable odds. And then your judgment is clouded by conflicting stories instead of your own good sense. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 15 2013
My father was 46-years-old when I was born. He already had two children in their early 20s, and had recently been through a bruising divorce. He raised my half-siblings through his own 20s and 30s, a time when he was building his career, buying his first house, and going to school part-time. Before he knew it, they were grown.
This happens to so many parents…so busy providing for our kids that we miss some of the magic of their childhoods. But how many of us actually have a chance to go back and do it all again? My dad did.
This time, he promised himself that he would be there to experience everything. As a kid this translated into Daddy and Me classes, frequent dinner dates, a built-in chauffeur for all my weekend enrichment activities, constant homework help, and much more. I took all of this for granted–it was the only thing I knew–but as a parent I now realize that he carved out an astounding amount of time to spend with only me. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 16 2011
Susan Tollefsen and daughter Freya
The BBC recently ran an interview with Susan Tollefsen, a British woman who gave birth to her first daughter at age 57 in 2008. The baby was conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, using a donor egg and her partner’s sperm (although the couple is now separated). Ms. Tollefsen was refused fertility treatment in the UK because of her age, and became pregnant with the help of a clinic in Russia. Two years later, a clinic in London agreed to assist her with a second pregnancy, but she ultimately decided not to follow through, citing potential health concerns.
Although her daughter is now 3 years old, Ms. Tollefsen is back in the news, saying that she believes she was too old to have a child, and that women over 50 should not have access to fertility treatment. The challenges of raising a child at her age led to the end of her relationship with her partner (11 years her junior), and have left her financially depleted, exhausted, and isolated, as she is much older than other new mothers. Ms. Tollefsen also seems to be coming to terms with the reality that she will likely not live to see her daughter grow up, marry, and have children of her own.
A woman giving birth over the age of 50 is rare, but not unheard of. Furthermore, according to Jewish tradition, Sarah, a revered matriarch, gave birth to Isaac when she was 90 years old, and lived to 127. But that was in the Bible, and Sarah’s pregnancy was literally the result of divine intervention, one which presumably didn’t involve a petri dish and a catheter. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 15 2011
Start with the eggs.
I have seen it all: accidental pregnancies and OCD planned pregnancies; fertile myrtles and test tube babies. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that challenges with conceiving do not discriminate.
Which brings me to a pet peeve of mine. I get frustrated watching my friends who are over 35 and want to have a child but are not proactive about their fertility. Listen up friends — it doesn’t happen magically like in the movies and TV shows! And while I have known plenty of women over 35 who had no problems conceiving (myself included), time is not on your side. We have about 13 chances a year to get pregnant. That is not very much. You should know when ovulation day is nearby and get busy!
And when I say get busy, let’s throw out the notion that every attempt at conception needs to include candles, rose petals, and romantic mood music. Lingerie? Two-hour marathon sex? For five days in a row? Who has time for that?
I adore my husband. I think he is the most handsome man I have ever seen and I cherish our intimacy. But let’s be honest here, having sex does not always mean making sweet love. You may want sex to fulfill a physical and emotional need, but if you are really serious about getting pregnant, you might need to let go of your preconceived notions of how it should be. You may not be in the mood or even feel distant from your husband when you’re fertile, especially if you tend to get hormonal and cranky during this part of your cycle. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 8 2011
My last pregnancy was when I was 41--but I'd already had six babies before it.
Over the span of 20 years and six children, my birthing experiences had run the gamut from gurney-hopping in the bad old days before labor and delivery rooms, to an unplugged, unmedicated delivery with midwives. But a few constants remained: my belief in prenatal exercise, my categorical rejection of C-sections, and my disdain for those who bottle-fed. My babies were plump from mother’s milk!
I was delighted to become pregnant at 41; my two previous pregnancies had miscarried, one at 20 weeks, in a serious hemorrhage. I breathed a sigh of relief as we passed that mark, and walked every day and ate nutritiously.
The first bleeding episode happened at 23 weeks, the second at 28 weeks, and the third at 32 weeks. I was diagnosed with placenta previa–the placenta was covering the cervix. Which meant I was in danger of suddenly hemorrhaging, putting me and baby in mortal danger. On bed rest, I was to stay in the hospital until 36 weeks, when I’d be c-sectioned, since a vaginal delivery was impossible.
When the placenta previa resolved at 38 weeks, I rejoiced that I no longer faced a Cesarean and went home to enjoy a few weeks of freedom. We made it to full-term! Feeling accomplished, I arrived at the hospital to give birth-–naturally. But the baby was transverse (instead of its head being down, its shoulder or back was down). Read the rest of this entry →