Name: Lisa Bruchac
State of residency: New York
Current or former profession(s): Speech Pathologist; certified health and wellness coach
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
After several months of trying to conceive, I got pregnant only to miscarry at 5 weeks. At that point, I started going to a nutritionist to cleanse and balance my system to achieve a baby-ready-body. I also did some energy clearing work to make sure there weren’t any subconscious beliefs blocking me from becoming pregnant. We stopped “trying” to get pregnant for several more months until I felt like my body was ready. I got pregnant in the fourth month when we started trying again.
THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy? Were you surprised by their reaction? Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I started my pregnancy in a traditional OB-GYN medical practice. What surprised me the most about my visits was the way I did not feel listened to. I felt they pushed their agenda onto me and expected me to go along with their ideas. I even had the office manager call and confirm an appointment with a genetic specialist and I didn’t even know the office had scheduled one. I declined and had to explain to the nurse practitioner why. I did not feel comfortable when constantly bombarded with all the risks involved with having a baby over 40.
The other issue was that I saw only the nurse practitioner at every appointment and she didn’t even deliver so I wasn’t able to have any of my questions about the actual birth answered. I had one brief appointment with the practice’s midwife and was again pressured to have certain tests done. I didn’t want to make any decisions based on fear. So I had to continually tune out the external stimuli in order to go within and make decisions based on what I really needed or wanted.
Finally, at 5 months pregnant and frustrated, I spoke with a midwife in my town who suggested a home birth. I was a little skeptical, but thought we should at least meet with the midwife she recommended. My husband and I met with her for over an hour and were very pleased with her calm demeanor and attitude toward childbirth. She provided information in a way that allowed me to make my own decisions. It was more of a partnership than the traditional doctor-patient relationship. Once I switched, my pregnancy was so much calmer and I worried less.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Who was the first person you told about your pregnancy and why?
I couldn’t wait to tell my husband. I handed him the positive pregnancy test.
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?
They were very excited.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?
No. I read a lot of books. I didn’t feel that a lot of the birthing classes focused on natural childbirth or the mind-body-spirit connection. The whole experience to me was very spiritual and I read a lot of books that focused on that aspect.
Where did you give birth?
At home with my husband, midwife and doula.
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
I remember all of it. Labor was intense and I didn’t progress as quickly as I would have liked. But in the end, both my baby girl and I were safe and healthy. And when she was placed on my chest, I felt an incredible surge of love and vulnerability. It was truly amazing.
I AM A MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you compensate for this fear?
The fears that have come up for me have to do with worrying about how old I’ll be when she’s a certain age. I would constantly think, “When she’s 10 I’ll be 52 or when I’m 60 she’ll be 18”. I had to let that go. She’s an inspiration to me to stay healthy and active. So now I focus on those things that I can control.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
The time I get to spend with her. My priorities are very different from when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. I am also more confident in who I am at this age and how I want to raise her.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
It’s been an amazing healing for me. She has taught me so much. She brings me back to the present moment so often I find myself staying there longer than I used to.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
Be as healthy as you can be. Make healthy choices to eat right and exercise. Don’t overlook emotional healing work as well. There is definitely a connection between mind-body-spirit. And I believe this can impact fertility at any age.
Any additional comments?
I highly recommend interviewing your potential caregivers. I believe it is so important to be comfortable and validated. I believe in listening to ones own heart when making decisions, but having the right information presented in a gentle and unbiased way is crucial.