Name: Dinah Meyer Cicenas
Age when you gave birth: 39 (Son born only days before 40th birthday)
State of residence: Ohio
Child’s name: John
Current Profession: Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Psychologist
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
I was not! I did not get married until I was 39, and my husband was 48. We just kind of assumed that we were too old to have a child, and I foolishly thought that 39 was too old to get pregnant!
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?
I became pregnant about 3 weeks after our wedding, but I didn’t find out until I was about 8 weeks along. I had been feeling ill nearly every day for a couple of weeks, but the sickness never hit me until about noon, so I never recognized my “morning sickness”.
I taught a 1:00 class and would sit in my office beforehand feeling sick as a dog, so I had to cancel that class several times. One day, driving home after cancelling the class yet again, I was ready to call my doctor because I was sure I had some virus. It suddenly hit me that I should take a pregnancy test, although I was sure that couldn’t be it.
I know now that was the Lord telling me what was going on, because I was clueless! Of course, the test stick turned blue in a second because at that point I was nearly 8 weeks pregnant. I was so shocked I took the “used” test to a public dumpster to throw away so my husband wouldn’t find it! I then took a second test and was able to get into my Ob/Gyn that afternoon, where a blood test confirmed the news. I waited another day to tell my husband, so he could accompany me for the ultrasound, which I insisted upon because I just couldn’t believe it.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
My longtime OB/Gyn, Dr. Costa, was so happy for me, incredibly supportive and calmed my concerns about my age. She kept telling me that tall women (I’m 6’1) do very well during labor and she was right in my case! I did have some issues with low blood pressure and fainting during the pregnancy (unrelated to my age) so I was also followed by a cardiologist.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
No, I couldn’t have been happier with Dr. Costa.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?
Shock. We had just gotten married, and I think everyone else had assumed we were too old to have kids! However, everyone was thrilled. My in-laws were in their mid-80’s at the time and were so happy that their only son was having a son.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?
Yes, we took childbirth and breastfeeding classes. Both were helpful, although I feel that no class can adequately prepare you for the realities of breastfeeding. I found it to be the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, but a one-on-one consultation with a lactation consultant a week after my son’s birth turned everything around. I nursed my son for 14 months and loved every second.
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
It was the happiest day of my life. I stayed at only 2 cm for about 6 hours, but after having an epidural, went to 10 cm in about 45 minutes! I’m so happy I had the epidural – after that I felt intense pressure, but no pain and was really able to enjoy my labor and birth!
I do have to admit, however, I wasn’t prepared at all for the roller-coaster of post-partum emotions. From the moment I got in the wheelchair to leave the hospital with my baby and throughout the 40 minute drive home, I sobbed in the back seat while my husband drove. All I could think about was how scared I was and how suddenly our lives had changed forever. I’m very blessed that those feelings dissipated quickly and I had no problems with post-partum depression, but I encourage women to seek medical help right away if their sadness persists.
The other very memorable thing is that my son was born days before my own birthday – in fact, we came home from the hospital ON my 40th birthday! What a miraculous gift.
I AM MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?
I do worry at times about my son being an only child with 2 older parents. My husband and I have both had some health issues the past few years, but are taking care of ourselves the best we can. We want to be grandparents someday!
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
Everything. Every cliché you hear about motherhood is true – I never could have imagined experiencing such an intense love and I’m so grateful that I didn’t miss out.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
After living pretty much only for myself for 39 years, the sacrificial part of parenthood has definitely been an adjustment, but one I’ve taken on happily. Motherhood changes every part of you – you can’t look at the world or other people the same way anymore.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
Well, I’m not sure I’d wait as long as I did if one has a choice (and I know some women don’t have that choice) – I do have less physical energy than I did 20 years ago. However, I’m so appreciative of every moment with my son, and think sometimes how much “color” he’s added to my life. I would encourage more mature moms to build a support network of other moms with young children. I’ve been blessed to find a group of amazing women with kids my son’s age. Most of these moms are in their late 20’s and early 30’s, but we’re all at the same developmental place in our lives right now.