Age When You Gave Birth: 45
Current Resident of: Springfield, Virginia
Child’s name: Viktor
Current or former profession: Consulting Regional Director for a software company
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.
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!)