|Name: Sheryl Taylor
Age when you gave birth: 45 (just 5 days before 46th birthday)
State/Country of residence: Georgia
Child’s name and age: Daughter, Charlize Taylor will be 3 years old in April.
Current or former profession(s): Realtor, Bank Treasury Officer, currently a stay-at-home mom and blogger at happilyeverafterthesedays
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
We started when I was 42 and got pregnant within 3 months, but lost the pregnancy at 6 weeks in a miscarriage. I had been using progesterone cream, but stopped when I read on the label to discontinue use if pregnant. I realized after the fact, the immediate lowering of progesterone may have contributed to the miscarriage. Sadly, I was not educated about the matter before my miscarriage. Then we tried naturally for 3 years before going to a fertility doctor. He advised IVF and we got pregnant with the first transfer, so the total number of years of trying was about 3 1/2 years.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
Everything I read recommended healthy eating, exercise and to try to lose weight, which I did. I also turned to herbs, specific foods and supplements that are known to increase the chances of conception such as wheatgrass, progesterone cream, and lots of avocado. I also received acupuncture, which made me feel great.
My acupuncturist is actually who finally convinced me to visit a fertility clinic. She was not pushy about it. Her supportive and calm nature is what helped me to be open to what they had to say. She also shared her faith with me in the same non-aggressive manner and this helped me to have faith as well.
Even after we decided to use a fertility doctor for IVF treatment, I continued to see the acupuncturist. She did a treatment right after my IVF transfer. I really think it contributed to our conception at the first IVF treatment. I’ve read many stories of women who tried multiple IVF treatments before conceiving or who never conceived from the treatments at all.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
During my first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, I didn’t feel the first doctor was supportive. She was a young doctor who took over my old OB/GYN’s practice when he retired. We had not know each other long when I told her about our plans to get pregnant at 42. She highly discouraged it at my “advanced maternal age”. She did send me to a high risk doctor for a consultation, where he tried to scare me with very negative statistics about older mothers and birth defects.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
After the miscarriage, I researched OB/GYNs in my area and found one who stated in her bio that she worked with mothers of advanced maternal age. In fact, she had her daughter when she was over 40. She was very supportive during our initial consultion as well as through out my pregnancy. However, she was strict with me and always very honest, even if I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I appreciated her compassion, straightforwardness and professionalism. It greatly contributed to us finally having a healthy, happy child.
Family and Friends
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?
We told a few family members and friends when we decided to try IVF as a way to get pregnant. Their reactions were a mix of being concerned, some supportiveness and some not-so-supportiveness.
My youngest stepdaughter lived with us at the time. I told her about her father and my plans to try to conceive. The progesterone shots made me very emotional and I thought she might need to know in order to understand my crankiness. She shared the information with her older sister who lived with their mom in another state. She wrote her dad a letter expressing her feelings and how he would be a grandfather in a few years. However, she wasn’t the only family member or friend who shared that they felt we were too old to have a baby.
Once everyone saw that I made it through the pregnancy and delivery just fine, they only expressed support. The older daughters love their little sister and she adores them as well.
Labor and Delivery
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
My doctor induced me a week early because my liver enzymes was a little high. I also developed gestational diabetes during the 7th month of pregnancy. My doctor put me on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy due to the high level of stress in my then-sales’ job.
I remember everything feeling so surreal. After all of these years, I was going to have a baby! I was going to have a baby. My childhood dream was finally coming true!
There are no words to truly describe how I felt when they laid my beautiful baby girl on my chest. I was finally a mom!
I AM MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?
My husband and I both have the same main concern that most all older parents have. Will we be around long enough? Will we be here for her well into her adulthood?
We both address any life concerns with praying, educating ourselves, and talking it through with each other as well as others who might be familiar with the situation. We’ve not only worked on our child having a relationship with all of our family members, but also our extended family such as her God parents, other church friends and even our neighbors who have children.
We have a very detailed will written which outlines who will take care of our child if anything happens to us. My husband and I try to eat healthy as well as get exercise individually and as a family. Last, but not least, we teach our child about our faith, our values, and our love so she has a foundation to stand upon independently, if we are not around long enough.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
I definitely enjoy being in a place financially that I can stay at home with our daughter. If I had her in my younger years, I wouldn’t be in a position to stay home with her. Also, even if I still worked, I would still appreciate being a mom more than when I was younger. I don’t sweat the small stuff as much as I did when I was younger. I’ve learned if I need to leave dirty dishes in the sink so I can play with our daughter, the dishes will still be there in the morning.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
I am no longer a perfectionist when it comes to having a spotless house. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve learned not to stress as much about daily tasks.
I’ve also learned not to be as judgmental of others. Before I was a mom, I didn’t understand why my friends who were moms couldn’t “get everything done” for the day. I didn’t think about that a mom has to deal with unscheduled things like a toddler tantrum, a scraped knee, or spilled juice on the floor you just mopped.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
My personal experience of having a child after 35 wasn’t really a choice. Or maybe it was? I married at 20 years old the first time and then divorced him when I turned 33. I dated, but didn’t choose to remarry until a few months after my 40th birthday.
I just didn’t feel it would be in a child’s best interest to bring them into the life I could offer until I married my husband. I was able to see the father he already was to his older two daughters. I finally felt comfortable having a child with someone.
My advice would be, if you want children and are in the right situation, go ahead and have them while you are younger. If you find yourself already 35 or older and want children, make it happen. Everyone’s journey to parenthood is different. Be open-minded.
I’ve known friends over 35 who only wanted to conceive under their own terms. I’ve also know friends who have been open-minded enough to try herbs, acupuncture, and many other things that helped them to conceive naturally, in time.
Finally, I’ve also known friends who were open to medical help such as IUI or IVF (which we did and were successful). Then, there are other friends who grew their family through adoption, sometimes adopting an infant, older child or sibling group. Regardless of which path they chose, the ones who were open minded became parents, even if it wasn’t how they originally planned.
God Bless and lots of baby dust to you!