What about those sad ‘over 40 pregnancies’ statistics? I was 44 years old when I had my beautiful daughter
Okay, I know you’ve heard it all before, the over 40 pregnancy statistics suck. As far as I’m concerned, statistics are for statisticians. What about the fact that the number of unwanted pregnancies in women between the ages of 40 and 44 is second only to adolescents? Many women in their 40s think they are too old to get pregnant, get a little sloppy with birth control, and bingo!
I would venture to assume that most women over the age of 40 are not trying to get pregnant (and many have had sterilization procedures). I wonder what would happen to those statistics if all women over the age of 40 tried Get pregnant. I think we would all be surprised. Our society and the media are so ‘age-obsessed’ that women start to believe their life is over at 40 (heck, it’s more like 35 now). The message is that she will need plastic surgery, she will be replaced by a trophy wife, she will have a hard time getting a job, and her chances of having a baby are less than her chances of winning the lottery.
As for me, I won the lottery, but it was not by luck. I was 44 years old when I had my daughter who, in my completely unbiased opinion, is perfect. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery and conceived without fertility treatments. Yes, I’m the oldest mom on the playground, but so far no one has asked me if I’m her grandma. In fact, I’ve been asked more than once, “Are you going to have another one?” I’m in the best shape of my life, and although my very active daughter occasionally wears me out, I’m holding up well. In fact, I remember taking care of my niece and nephew when she was 20 years old; it wasn’t any easier back then.
Being an ‘older’ mother is a blessing. I am wise, more patient, and fully adept at dealing with the trials and tribulations of a two-year-old. I have no hidden agendas for my daughter. Since I already achieved everything I wanted to do in my life, I’m not trying to live my dreams through it. It’s her life, and I’m behind her no matter which path she takes. The comment I hear most often is: “She is a very happy girl.”
I admit that I had an interesting journey towards parenthood. My own childhood was less than perfect. I grew up with parents who were totally mismatched, leaving me with a negative impression of marriage and family. As a result, I waited until I was almost 37 to get married and didn’t even start trying to get pregnant until I was almost 38. After a year of trying on our own, we underwent fertility treatments. I spent over two years trying drugs, inseminations and IVF twice. Medications and inseminations didn’t work at all, and the IVF ended with a miscarriage and the removal of my left fallopian tube. I became disillusioned with the assembly line practice of my fertility clinic and the amount of drugs and hormones I was pumping into my system was totally inconsistent with my ‘all natural’ lifestyle and personal philosophy. I notified my doctor that I was going to go ‘no children’.
I was in my late 40s at the time and as if to cheer me up, no matter where I went or who I talked to, I would hear yet another story of a woman who gave birth at age 40. I met a woman at my niece’s prom who gave birth to triplets at the age of 45 (without fertility treatments), a tenant at our rental property suddenly tells me she gave birth to her son at the age of 45 years. the local radio personality said that her mother had him at the age of 48 (before the days of fertility treatments). She was standing in line for the chairlift and some teenagers behind us were laughing that her mom was having another baby at the age of 43. I started researching my own family history, and both of my grandmothers were in their 40s when they had their last child. I couldn’t get away from it!
I realized that I wasn’t ready to stop getting pregnant, but I definitely didn’t want to go through any more fertility treatments. I started researching natural methods to improve fertility. I quit a very stressful job, started a whole new way of eating, came back and faced all the unresolved issues I had with my parents and my less than perfect upbringing. I also researched natural methods to balance hormones, increase pelvic circulation, and changed my ‘pregnancy mindset’ through visualization and meditation.
I was surprised when I got pregnant naturally just a few months after completing fertility treatments. Unfortunately, I was miscarrying when I found out I was pregnant. Even though my miscarriage was heartbreaking, I was thrilled to finally know that I could get pregnant on my own. Now more motivated than ever, I continued to research natural methods to improve my fertility and continued to add to my ‘get pregnant’ protocol.
Long story short, I got pregnant two more times, but lost both times. Why was this happening? They examined my fetal tissue after a D&C, and they wouldn’t know, my baby was chromosomally normal. So far the well-intentioned condolences, “Probably something was wrong, it was a blessing.” I kept trying to get pregnant, even though I was now 43 years old. I could feel my baby hovering over me. I needed to give him life. But, when she was 43 and 11 months old, I almost gave up. I thought maybe my ‘internal barometer’ was broken. I was so sure that she was going to have a baby, but here she was, almost 44 years old and still childless. My baby was out there but I couldn’t get to her. I reluctantly decided that she was In fact time to go childfree and get on with my life.
Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I was a little upset because I finally made the firm decision to go child-free, and here I was, pregnant again! I guess the preparation finally found its way (I think I was the healthiest human being on the planet by then). I was cautious but excited nonetheless. We decided not to tell anyone or see a doctor until any ‘normal’ person did. I didn’t want a ‘step by step’ count of my hCG numbers or a depressing speech about the risks of pregnancy at my age. When I finally saw my doctor (one who was pretty negative about women in their 40s getting pregnant), he was jumping off the walls with excitement! My ultrasound looked great! This one was going to do it.
The moral of my story is “trust your instincts”. If deep down in your heart you know you can do something, you probably can. I’m sure many doctors would use my story as an example of how difficult it is to have a child over 40. But, the fertility treatments were probably the most detrimental factor against me. There is a higher incidence of tubal pregnancies with IVF and I am sure that all those injections of drugs and hormones further unbalanced the delicate balance of my reproductive system. If I had started my ‘all natural’ pregnancy protocol sooner, I would have saved myself years of frustration, $25,000 in fertility treatments, and my two fallopian tubes would have nearly doubled my chances of getting pregnant naturally. I partly blame those overquoted statistics. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that if you’re in your 30s or 40s, you should “run, don’t walk” to the nearest fertility clinic because time is running out fast!
The bottom line is that I overcame all my challenges and succeeded naturally at the age of 44. So, to all the statisticians out there, I’d like to ask, “What are the odds of that?”