Name: Lizzie Lau
Age When You Gave Birth: 40
State of residence: California
Daughter’s name and age: Ebi
Current/Former profession: Writer http://www.lizzielau.com/ Ex Skydiver, Shark Feeder, Motocross Racer, Retired Chef
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
Two years, I didn’t want kids at all until I was 37 and it hit me hard. I left my husband of 11 years because he was much older and didn’t want kids.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?
I was using an ovulation detector, but gave up after I miscarried. The second pregnancy happened when we weren’t thinking about the baby project.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
I didn’t really rely on a doctor as much as I relied on my intuition, and my doula who happened to be my sister. The doctor in Indio was kind and funny but he didn’t play much of a role in the pregnancy.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I was living in Guatemala City and I wasn’t happy with my doctors. I tried 3 doctors there and liked the third one until he told me that I should plan on having a c-section because at my age I probably couldn’t deliver naturally. I called my parents that day and asked them to find me a doctor in California. I spoke to a midwife in Indio and she recommended a doctor who had been trained by midwives and had a quiet, gentle approach to birth. My sister and I interviewed him and we both liked him.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?
They were delighted. They knew how much it meant to me.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?
I didn’t. I watched some videos including “The Business of Being Born” but one that stood out was an amazing video of a French woman giving birth at home with a midwife. She chanted and kind of sang and swayed through a long labor, and the birth was so peaceful and beautiful. I watched it several times and decided that I wanted my birth experience to be that simple. My mom and my sister both gave birth naturally and it didn’t occur to me to do it any other way.
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
I remember being surprised at how easy it was. I labored at home for 36 hours, dancing and chanting. When the contractions were finally 5 minutes apart, My mom drove me and my sister to the hospital. I had a contraction while I was checking in, and I don’t think the nurses were taking me seriously. I climbed up onto the table after the next one and the nurse called out, “Let’s get her doctor in immediately, she’s 9.5cm.” My mom and my sister were clapping and cheering. It took an hour and a half to push her out and it didn’t hurt at all. The delivery nurses couldn’t believe how calm I was and one even commented that I looked like a mom with an epidural. My mom and my sister both took photos and video.
What concerns you most about being a mom over 40 and how do you address these concerns?
My only concern is that I take really good care of myself so that I’m healthy and vital so that I can be a positive part of my daughter’s life for a long time.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
I got all my crazies out when I was younger, I’m calm and content to be with her. I don’t suffer fear of missing out like young moms in my group do. I’ve been around the world, I’ve had great adventures, and everything that’s left on my bucket list is stuff I want to experience with my daughter.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
Being a mom made me slow down and appreciate different things about life. I live more simply now, and am conscious of modeling behavior and values that I want Ebi to have. I practice gratitude every day.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
Find your support network. Join a mom’s club in your area so that you have a group of women and babies going through or having just gone through what you are experiencing.
Any additional comments?
I’m grateful to my parents for their support. They are olympic caliber grandparents, and I truly value the relationship they have with my daughter.
InSeason Mom Cynthia would like to thank Lizzie for encouraging other women by sharing her story. (Download my quick-read guide offering 30+ POSITIVE tips to cope while trying to conceive (after age 35) in your 40s https://gumroad.com/l/hfaIs )