First Time Mom Over 35 Elizabeth DeRoo (pictured with son Luke Anthony) shares her inspiring story of natural conception after an unexplained infertility diagnosis and a miscarriage.
Name: Elizabeth DeRoo
Age you gave birth: 38
State/Country of residence: New York
Child’s name and age: Luke Anthony, 4 months
Current or former profession(s): Commercial Insurance Account Manager
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
We were trying for 22 months.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
After 6 months of not getting pregnant naturally I sought the assistance of a fertility specialist. My husband and I went through testing and were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”. We decided to utilize the IUI procedure and got pregnant the second month of treatment. That pregnancy ended up being a partial molar and ended in a miscarriage at 7 weeks.
While I was pregnant my fertility doctor mentioned to me that he believed I could probably get pregnant on my own. After the miscarriage, we were not able to try to get pregnant for 6 months per doctor’s orders due to the nature of the partial molar pregnancy. When we were given the go ahead to resume treatment, we decided instead to try on our own for a few months again to get pregnant naturally. We conceived the very first month! I had taken Evening Primrose Oil and cough syrup to try to increase my chances of getting pregnant. I have no idea whether the herbs and the cough syrup helped me to get pregnant or not, but it was worth the small monetary and time investment either way!
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
My doctor had her youngest child at the age of 37 so she was supportive of me having a child later in life before I even got pregnant. I was on the practice’s high risk case load due to my age, but that didn’t bother me and it didn’t affect my experience negatively.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I had a fabulous team of doctors and would not have changed that. I ended up being diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) at 28 weeks along. When I suspected I might have ICP (due to sudden onset of intense itching), my doctor took my concern seriously. She immediately ordered blood tests and due to her quick response I was diagnosed four days later and my treatment for the condition began immediately. ICP can be fatal for the baby so it was imperative that we got the condition under control. I cannot say enough positive things about the doctors I had treating me and my baby. They were amazing!
Family and Friends
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?
Everyone was thrilled for my husband and me! We had been trying for almost 2 years so our friends and family were over the moon for us.
Labor and Delivery
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
I had to deliver my son at 37 weeks due to an increased risk of stillbirth during the last few weeks of ICP pregnancies. I was induced, but ended up having a C-section after 36 hours because my labor did not progress. The birth process was a little traumatic for me because I felt separated from the experience by the surgical and sterile nature of a C-section. Despite it being a less than perfect birth experience, I am grateful I was able to deliver a healthy baby boy. The actual birth was a short period of time and when remembering it I try to focus on what came after that, being a MOM!
I AM A MOM!
Do you have any concerns about being a mom over 35? If so, how do you address these concerns?
I worry about being around for Luke well into his adult life. I try to recognize that none of us have control over how long we will be around. The best I can do is take care of myself. I believe I became a mother at the exact time that I was supposed to. I have to leave the rest of it in God’s hands.
What do you enjoy most about being a first time mom over 35?
I feel like I have a better sense of priorities at this stage of my life. My family comes first before any other obligation I have. I’m perfectly fine putting off chores to enjoy time with my child. I know that he’s only going to be small for a short time so I’m trying to soak it all in. I am fine saying “no” to outside requests in order to spend time with my son. I have to work outside of my home so the time I have with him is precious to me. I get such joy out of spending my evenings focusing on him, giving him a bath and putting him to bed each night. This experience is my reward after a day at the office.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
I think my heart has softened a bit more. I’m more open. I feel things more deeply than I did before. I also realize that I need to be my best self. I can parent my son and tell him how to be a good person, but what will have the deepest impression on him are my actions. I want him to see the qualities in me that I am trying to impart on him. I know I am not a perfect Mom, but I hope to be the Mom my son needs.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
Don’t count yourself out because you’re over 35. If you really have the desire in your heart to become a mother, pursue it. And remember that most statistics you will find online about getting pregnant after 35 are from very old studies…I’m talking centuries old. If I had to give myself advice based on my experience I would say, have patience. I think if I had given myself more time to get pregnant I would have gotten there on my own without having gone through fertility treatment. I don’t regret any part of my journey, but I might have saved myself a few bucks!
I would encourage other Inseason Moms that might be reading this to share their story. I think unless you’re surrounded by other moms that have gotten pregnant over 35, it can feel pretty lonely. I had the desire to become pregnant and was so unsure whether that dream would ever be fulfilled. The stories I found on this website and any others I could find, buoyed me when I was feeling low.
During the dark times the stories of other women encouraged me and helped me to continue moving forward. I think I thought that it was going to be a lot harder to become a mother than it was. And, what I have learned from that is to have faith. I have also come to believe that women are fertile far longer than the mainstream media would have you believe.
In the end, my pregnancy came with such little struggle it was almost anticlimactic, but it is by far the best thing to have ever happened to me. My life is filled with so much joy because of my sweet Luke. I couldn’t be more grateful!