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MEET FEATURED MOM RACHEL DEMAS

By June 10, 2015 Blog, Featured Home, Featured Moms
Rachel-1-jpg

 

Name: Rachel Demas

Age when you gave birth: 44

State of residence: New York

Child’s name and age: Claire, 4

Current profession: Freelance Writer/Editor

PREGNANCY

How long were you trying to get pregnant?

We tried for about a year and a half. I got pregnant fairly quickly for the first time, but had a miscarriage at 13 weeks. We followed our doctor’s advice, and took about a six month break after my miscarriage. I got pregnant a second time about two months after we started trying again, but I lost that pregnancy at five weeks. We didn’t wait following that loss, and I became pregnant with our daughter, Claire, around three months later.

What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?

I went to a fertility specialist to make sure everything was in working order. The doctor said that I checked out fine. In fact, he practically gushed when he saw how many eggs I had on the ultrasound. He told me that he had thirty-year-old patients who would be quote “jealous” of my “egg supply”. While I was happy to hear the good news, his comment also made me really uncomfortable. I wish that he had managed to relay that information in a manner that was more matter-of-fact.

SUPPORT 

How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

In general, I think the term “geriatric pregnancy” needs to go. I found that the medical community has a tendency to lead with that age-based assessment, and see you through this lens throughout your pregnancy. Specifically, though, I felt incredibly supported by the midwife, Barri Malek, who delivered our baby. The unfortunate thing was that there were four midwives in the practice, and I saw each of them during routine check-ups. I didn’t feel as supported by them, because they could be quite doom and gloom about all of the complications that can happen when you are pregnant past a certain age (none of the complications happened to my baby or me).

My husband and I were hoping that Barri would deliver our baby, because of her positive attitude. But we weren’t able to choose a specific midwife from the practice. Basically, the policy at the birthing center was that when a woman goes into labor, the midwife who is on duty that week delivers her baby.

Indeed, we hit the jackpot and went into labor when Barri was on duty. My labor went like clockwork (eight hours), but we had two complications during delivery (neither of which was likely due to my age). Claire had a shoulder dystocia, which Barri nimbly fixed with no harm to our daughter. More concerning, I had a postpartum hemorrhage, which could have been life-threatening. I lost about two liters of blood.

Barri stopped the bleeding, and I feel that I owe my life to her. Later, she told me that she attributes her expertise in postpartum hemorrhages to her time spent delivering babies in Indonesia, something I highly doubt many traditional doctors could boast.

Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?

I was originally with an obstetrician, who referred to me as a “geriatric pregnancy” at our first appointment. I wasn’t thrilled with our rapport with her, but she seemed smart, knowledgeable and experienced. We went to her until I was eight months pregnant, when we decided to look elsewhere. It was not a decision that my husband and I took lightly, but I was committed to having a natural birth if I was able with as few interventions as possible, and we came to feel that our obstetrician would not be as amenable to this idea as we had originally thought. It was hard to be so close to the end of my pregnancy without having everything in place (or a place to go. I joked that I felt like Mary looking for a place at the inn!)

But at my eight month check-up, my husband and I asked our obstetrician if we could start talking about a birth plan. At the mere mention of the words “birth plan”, she became incredibly strident.  Before we could even get into any specifics about what we had in mind, she told us that quote “she was the captain of the ship” and that “if we didn’t like that, we could leave her practice now.” The thought bubble over my head was “I thought the baby was the captain of the ship not you”. But I didn’t see the point of getting into an argument with someone who, clearly, had ideas that were different from ours, so I said ok and left.

That day, I started looking for another place to give birth. I found a birthing center, which was farther away from our house than we had wanted. But it turned out to be the best decision we have ever made, because I was able to give birth to my daughter naturally like I had wanted.

It’s funny how situations that are extremely stressful and trying can sometimes end up being the best thing that could have ever happened to you! I have ended up feeling thankful to the obstetrician for, basically, giving us the boot from her practice! Also, I attribute my willingness to leave her practice to the wisdom of age.

As I have grown older, I have learned to trust my own instincts and to push through the fear of not knowing what was going to happen. I think that, if I had been a younger version of myself, I probably would have believed that the doctor knew best and stayed with her out of fear of making a wrong decision.

What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?

Everyone was extremely thrilled.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

What do you remember most about the birth experience?

Of course, seeing my baby for the first time was the most memorable and amazing part of giving birth. Probably every woman feels that way, but it has special meaning when you become a mom after a certain age. You aren’t given much hope that you will have a baby, so you have a tremendous sense of God’s grace in this gift. Also, when you are pregnant after a certain age, you are told that there can and probably will be complications from beginning to end. Until you see your baby for the first time, you aren’t sure whether you or your baby will be a casualty of poor statistics. So when I saw Claire, it was a moment of great joy about life’s abundance and the power of surrendering to the unknown, as well as incredible relief that we had made it safely to the end.

I’M A MOM

What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?

I definitely have less energy than I did when I was in my 20’s or early 30’s. I think I am a more tired mom than I would have been, if I had had my daughter earlier. I have an earlier bedtime now, so that I feel rested enough to keep up with my busy, busy daughter! I also worry about how old I will be when she is in high school and beyond. Watching her grow and learn and experience life is the greatest joy I have ever had. I, greedily, want to go on seeing her life unfold for as long as I can. I know that, at some point, I will leave this earth and leave her. Odds are that it will be much earlier than I would like. But, really, no one has guarantees, so I try to live each day without dwelling on my mortality too much. Some days it’s easier than others to do so!

What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?

I have more of a sense of self now than I did when I was younger. I feel more grounded, which allows me to let my relationship with Claire be more about what’s best for her than what I want or need. Basically, I like to think of it like a tree. I am firmly planted in the ground, yet, when the wind blows, I am flexible and can bend. When I was younger, there would have been a greater chance that I would have just plain old broke! I’m by no means a “grand old oak”, but I’m trying!

Rachel-2-jpg

 How has becoming a mom changed you?

Being a mom requires an amount of sacrifice that I’ve never experienced before having Claire. Surrendering to that kind of selflessness is both challenging and rewarding. It’s not always easy, but it’s an incredible gift about what it means to be in relationship to another human being. The “I and Thou” relationship takes on a new and powerful meaning that is extremely beautiful.

What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?

Oh, don’t get me started on this question! I have so much to say about how necessary it is to ignore the bad statistics and cultural messages surrounding becoming pregnant and having a baby after a certain age. We are individuals, not statistics. Every woman is entitled to her own journey around having a baby, regardless of what other people believe or what the statistics say about her age. Indeed, I have so much to say that I will refer your readers to a post that I wrote about it on my own personal blog, because I’m too tired and busy from caring for a four year old to write it all over again here! http://taoofpoop.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-geriatric-pregnancy.html

 

FEATURED MOM MELISSA-IN HONOR OF OUR US MILITARY

By May 20, 2015 Blog, Featured Moms, Popular Posts
Viktor's 4th Birthday

Name: Melissa

Age: 49

Current Resident of: Springfield, Virginia

Child’s name and age: Viktor,  4

Current or former profession: Consulting Regional Director for a software company

PREGNANCY

Were you trying to get pregnant and did you have any difficulty conceiving?

My husband and I were trying to get pregnant for about a year. Starting at age 42, after meeting with a fertility specialist at Shady Grove where she gave us about a 3% chance of getting pregnant due to my age and having a didelphic uterus.  After that year, we went back to the fertility specialist where we had 3 sessions of IUI and then one session of IVF.

What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?

To increase my chances of getting pregnant, I  did a couple of things on my own, which included reading ‘The Infertility Cure’ and acupuncture.  I also did a complete work up to make sure there was not any physical reasons why I would not be able to become pregnant.  I also took removed coffee, red meat and dairy out of my diet and increased my fruits and vegetables.

SUPPORT

How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

My Ob-gyn is a high-risk doctor and had had twins at the age of 40, so she was very supportive.  She had given me the recommendation of going to Shady Grove to make sure that physically I could get pregnant.  When I did become pregnant, she and the whole nursing staff were very excited for me.

Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors?

I ended up having to add a team of new doctors due to being put in the hospital for the last trimester of my pregnancy.  These new doctors had specialized in perinatology were a part of my everyday life for 3 months.  I was put in the hospital at 27 weeks due to Viktor being IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) and having almost no amniotic fluid.  It was very much touch and go for the first few weeks in the hospital as we did not know if I would give birth early or be able to hold on until 36 weeks.  I was able to get my amniotic fluid back up to normal levels but still had to stay in the hospital as my son, Viktor was still IUGR, meaning he was less than 5% percentile in both weight and height.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?

My friends and family were very excited for me and my husband on our pregnancy.  The majority of my friends all started families after 35 and therefore knew how difficult it could be to be pregnant.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?

I did not take any childbirth classes because of being put in the hospital at 27 weeks.  With IUGR babies, I already knew that I would have a Cesarean as well as my baby was breach.

Where did you give birth and what do you remember most about the birth experience?

I gave birth at Inova Fairfax Hospital on March 17, 2008 at 36 weeks, where he weighed 4.1 pounds.  What I remember most about the experience is probably not typical of what you hear.  My husband was in the midst of being deployed to Iraq when our baby was scheduled to be born.  At first, we had been told that he would not be able to be there for the birth.

Between my husband going up the USMC chain to have that decision reversed and one of my friend’s dads who is a retired Vice Admiral going down the USMC chain, my husband was able to fly in the night before from Camp Leguene, NC to be there for the birth.  After the birth, the 3 of us were not able to be in the same room as my son was in the NICU and I was having heart issues.  My husband flew out 4 hours after the birth to join his battalion as they were deployed the next day to Iraq. Viktor was seven months old the first time the three of us were together again.

I AM MOM

What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you compensate for your concern?

Honestly, I am not even concerned with being a mom over 45 much less 35!  I am a healthy woman and thus so far keep up with my son and all of his energy.  The only concern I do have is looking into the future as I plan on being on this planet for a long time, but you never know and I don’t want to leave him at a young age.

What do you enjoy about being an older mom and how has becoming a mom changed you?

Mentally, I would not have been the best mom in my 20s and early 30s.  What has changed me the most is the mindset of being a mom.  I remember hearing that parents would die to save their child.  I never really understood the total impact of that statement until I had a child.

I remember having a discussion with my mom and told her, ‘now I know how much you really loved me, as I would give my life for Viktor’.  I feel so blessed to be Viktor’s mom and am very lucky that we had the good outcome of the pregnancy as it could have gone so wrong.  I thank God every day for this blessing.

What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?

So many women are having children after 35 as couples are getting married later in life and with women in the corporate world.  I would tell any woman that is over 35 to have a complete work up to make sure there are no physical issues in preventing pregnancy.

I also would recommend doing the right things, such as diet, lose any additional pounds, cut out caffeine and alcohol, exercise and most importantly do not dwell on the fact that you are over 35 and could have issues getting pregnant.

I think in this day and age, the 35 year old marker is not really a marker that women should be worried about. (A special thanks from InSeason Mom to Melissa for sharing her story and to the brave men and women in the United States Armed Forces who protect our freedom!)

MEET FEATURED MOM JACKIE

By May 1, 2015 Featured Home, Featured Moms, Uncategorized
Jackie

Name: Jackie W.

Age: 42

State of residence: Michigan

Children name and age: Xavier, 4; Layla, 1

Current profession:  IT Professional

PREGNANCY

How long were you trying to get pregnant?

Four months

What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?

I began taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid, also making more attempts to eat cleaner.

SUPPORT

Medical Community

How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

When I become pregnant, they were very supportive and made sure I had all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?

No, I did not.  My doctors would always make sure I knew that the older I became that there was more of a chance of birth defects.  As health professionals I would expect nothing less than for them to make sure I’m aware of the risks.  But they were always supportive and never made me feel as if I was making a bad decision to have a child later in life.

Family and Friends

What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?

Excited!  My family had been waiting.  When I announced my first pregnancy it was during Thanksgiving, so there was more family around and everyone was overjoyed.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

What do you remember most about the birth experience?

The thing I remember the most about my birth experience is hearing the first cry of my babies.  It was the most beautiful, refreshing sound. Both times I cried out of joy that my babies entered the world happy and healthy.

I’M A MOM!

What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?

Most of my concerns are social.  I am guessing there are more women in my area over 35 with children than I realize, but there is a difficulty in connecting with that population.

What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?

I am more patient and I overall just enjoy spending time with my children.

How has becoming a mom changed you?

I no longer sweat the small stuff.  I realize some things are just not important or worth my energy.  My focus is my family.

What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?

I have a friend right now who just turned 35 and does not have children.  I make sure she knows it’s possible and she should not be concerned about what others say.  You have to do things on your own time.  Motherhood is a major undertaking not to be entered under duress.  So take the time you want or need to plan your life to prepare for your child (ren).

InSeason Mom Cynthia thanks Jackie for sharing her story! If you’re a mom who gave birth after 35, share your story to encourage others. Email: cynthia@inseasonmom.org for details

 

Birth After 35 More a Matter of Circumstance than Choice

By April 24, 2015 Blog
Looking-Cute-Happy-Baby

 

If you’ve read my blog for longer than a minute, you know that I seldom watch or listen to any program featuring giving birth after 35 or 40. Most of them seem to have one agenda: show that women who give birth in their 40s are selfish, too career-focused, put themselves and unborn children at risk.

I am pleasantly surprised by a few like Nancy Redd, host of HuffPost Live, who did a fantastic job tackling “advanced maternal age” outdated term. The show “Embracing Being An Older Mother’ originally aired December 4, 2014.

As founder/editor/writer of  InSeason Mom, , I have met countless first time moms over 35 and 40. I have not met one who intentionally waited to have a baby until she was over 35.  How absurd for the media to encourage the misconception that older women were so obsessed with their careers that they lost track of time and ignored their personal lives. I do not know any woman who suddenly woke up to exclaim, “Wow, I’m over 35 and forgot to have a baby!”

Not every woman magically finds “Mr. Right” in her 20s.  Also, there are many women who tried for years to conceive and natural conception did not occur until after age 35.

Researcher Kristy Budds of the University of Huddersfield (UK) stated that delayed motherhood is more a matter of circumstance rather than choice as portrayed by the media. In a paper presented to the British Psychology Society at St. Andrew’s University, the UK psychologist stated, “I don’t like the term ‘delayed’ because it implies choice. It implies that women who have babies later on are putting something off or waiting for something. I question whether it is actually a choice. When women give birth in their late thirties or in their forties, it is not necessarily the result of a lifestyle choice — putting off motherhood for career reasons or from a desire to ‘have it all’. Nor should they be accused of selfishness or taking undue health risks. For a lot of women, it isn’t a selfish choice but is based around careful decisions, careful negotiations and life circumstances.”

I believe education is one of the key components in erasing ignorance about a people, a thing or an idea.  I welcome more objective (updated) research on first time moms in their late thirties or in their forties. And to Researcher Kristy Budds, thanks for your contribution to educating others about first time moms over 35 and women who will become moms in their late 30s and 40s. You expressed what we first time moms over 35 knew all along!

 

Healthy Outlook On Your Over 40 Pregnancy

By April 11, 2015 Featured Home, Uncategorized
pic3-First Time Mom Over 40-Avoid these things

 

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Meet Featured Mom Gabriella

By April 7, 2015 Blog, Featured Home, Featured Moms, Uncategorized
Gaby

Name: Gabriella

Age: 44

State of residence: Florida

Child(ren): 2 year old girl

Current or former profession(s): Assistant Principal turned stay at home, blogging, future homeschooling, super mom with a cape around my next and an “S” on my chest. J

Website: The Single Mom’s Corner http://thesinglemomscornerblog.com

PREGNANCY

How long were you trying to get pregnant?

I actually was not trying, and was led to believe by doctors that it was not possible for me to have children.

What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?

I didn’t knowingly do anything. For the last several years I have been mostly eating healthy and exercising, but nothing out of the ordinary.

SUPPORT

Medical Community

How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

I was very lucky to have found a doctor who also gave birth after 40. It was a blessing to receive encouraging advice and awesome prenatal care. When I first started going to this doctor I was told that I needed to rotate through all of the doctors in the practice to familiarize myself with them in the event I gave birth and my preferred doctor was not on call. There were two male doctors on staff, and one of them was a complete jerk. Everything from his mouth was negative. He repeatedly called my pregnancy a high-risk pregnancy when I had no health issues, and a healthy genetic background report. On one particular visit he started talking about low birth weight and high miscarriage rates in “older” moms. I cut him off and told him not to say another word to me. I also told him that he seriously needed to reconsider his profession because he clearly had issues!

Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?

I stayed with my preferred doctor, and refuse to see the other doctors in the rotation. It was a blessing that my preferred doctor was on call the day my daughter was born.

Family and Friends

What was the reaction of friends and family when you told  them about your pregnancy?

Most of them were very happy for me. Regardless, I was so excited that it really didn’t matter.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

What do you remember most about the birth experience?

My daughter was a C-section baby. I remember being told to expect a lot of pressure. I was waiting for the pressure when I heard my daughter’s trying out very healthy lungs.

I’M A MOM!

What concerns you most about being a mom over 40 and how do you address these concerns?

I think I was most concerned about my energy level and being the oldest mom on the playground. To address these concerns, I started exercising again, dropped the extra weight and found a 40+ new moms group on MeetUp.com. As for the age thing, I don’t let it bother me. I have a beautiful and healthy little girl.

What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?

I don’t except the “older” mom titles. I run around, play, wrestle, and enjoy every minute with my angel. Our favorite thing to do is to run around the beach collecting shells. We save them for art projects.

How has becoming a mom changed you?

Being a single mom has taught me to love with every inch of my heart, to smile until my face hurts, and to laugh until tears fall from my eyes!

What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35 or 40?

Do it! If you have no major reasons holding you back, go for it! Don’t ask for or except unsolicited advice or comments, and distance yourself from anyone who does not respect or support your decision. It’s also important to join a support group with other 35+ moms. You will be glad that you did!

Do you have any additional comments?

Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself. If you find that your doctor is one of many clinging on to the “It’s too risky to have a baby after 35″ song and dance, find another doctor! Before you do, ask him or her how they explain the increase of 40 plus women having healthy babies. Ask the doctor if he/she has facts to support this mindset and how or why does it apply to you! Do not be scared into genetic testing or any other testing that is “highly” recommended for “older” moms. As with anything, do your research and form your own opinions. Most importantly think positively and enjoy your pregnancy, birth, and life as a new mommy!