Conceiving a child is more than just a bunch of numbers and statistics, it’s about the possibility, not probability that matters – Krisitn Beltaos.
Name: Krisitn Beltaos
State of Residence: Minnesota
Children: Vincent and Miles
Current or former profession(s): Life/Business Coach and Owner of A Gift of Miles
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
We conceived our first child naturally; however, we miscarried our daughter in the first trimester Thanksgiving weekend of 2003. Then we didn’t conceive after trying almost another year to get pregnant. Once we were diagnosed with male factor infertility, we utilized IUI, Clomid (for three months), progesterone suppositories and acupuncture and conceived our first son, Vincent in 2005.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
Once we were ready to try for another child, it was determined that I had female factor infertility, elevated FSH. My FSH was so high (24) that I wasn’t considered a candidate for IVF, as 25 was the cutoff number to attempt IVF. So the second time around we struggled with male and female factor infertility. In light of this, our only option was injectible fertility medications (Gonal F and then we switched to Follistim), IUI with progesterone supplementation (first suppositories and then progesterone in oil injections). We did conceive another son, but I miscarried him in the emergency room on Christmas Day 2007.
After healing from that miscarriage, we tried another four months and conceived our second son Miles on the same above mentioned regimen. Since we decided this was going to be our last month to try, I did throw acupuncture back into the mix for that last hoorah so to speak. It was difficult to get to acupuncture appointments already having a child. But for that last month, I was determined to try everything possible to maximize our chances. Apparently, that worked out quite well.
THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
Reproductive Endocrinologists are cautious individuals because there is always the chance of miscarriage. While I really liked my endocrinologist, his message was pretty consistent: you are advanced maternal age, your eggs are old and the quality of your eggs are diminished which puts you at a higher risk for miscarriage and birth defects. Hearing that over and over made it quite challenging to stay positive.
As I previously mentioned, moving to my perinatologist group for my OB care, was a relief.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I loved my perinatologist group; they were the absolute best. They really develop a family feeling with their patients and it was a joy to see them each visit.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Who was the first person you told about your pregnancy and why? What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?
With conceiving Vincent, the first person that I told was my husband. Our journey to have Vincent was long, and an extreme rollercoaster ride. We were elated! I can remember getting up at 4 a.m. to take the home pregnancy test. We were elated!
With Miles, it was a funny story. My period had started, or so I thought, so I was very down because we decided it would be the last month to try. I was just so very tired physically, mentally and emotionally. When my period kept starting and stopping I decided to take a home pregnancy test. My cousin was visiting me from Ohio and she was the first person I told, since she was just outside the bathroom door and heard me scream. Then I told my husband. After speaking with my endocrinologist, I was switched to progesterone in oil injections for 10 weeks, as my progesterone level was considered borderline low even on progesterone suppository supplementation.
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told them about your pregnancy?
Since we had a miscarriage with our first child and had to use fertility treatments, etc., we were very cautious with telling people once we were pregnant with Vincent. Naturally, it made us a little gun-shy. So once we made it through the first trimester we were overjoyed to share our news. Everyone was so happy because they knew how hard the miscarriage was on us, how hard we were trying to have a baby and how when each month passed we sunk a little deeper into worry.
When we got pregnant with Miles, since we had another miscarriage after Vincent, we were very tight lipped. Since that miscarriage required an emergency room visit, it was quite scary. In particular, my father was extremely worried about me. So once we shared, I can remember him saying that he didn’t even know that we were trying again. Well, we were just that quiet about it. Everyone was so happy that our perseverance paid off and that Vincent would have a sibling.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?
With Vincent we did because we wanted to know what to expect and be prepared. It was actually quite useful, especially for my husband, who learned how to swaddle and change a diaper.
If I remember correctly, our perinatologist group required it. Besides, we are quite the planners. However since we had to have a c-section after 10 hours of labor, we realized, as with most things in life, you just can’t plan everything. So when we had Miles, another c-section, we did not take any classes because we knew what to expect.
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
With Vincent, everything was very stressful. He was a week overdue with no signs of “dropping”. I ran out of amniotic fluid, so I was finally induced. He had terrible heart rate issues, dropping constantly. I was hooked up to a ton of monitors and hearing Vincent’s heart rate dropping was terrifying. After 10 hours of labor, he was taken via c-section, wasn’t breathing right away and had meconium. So that little guy just had one thing after another at birth. But once I was out of recovery at 4 a.m. and began to nurse, I knew we were finally complete. We felt that all of our efforts, our love brought this little boy to us.
For Miles, I remember quite the opposite than with Vincent. With Vincent everything seemed unpredictable….like nothing we could plan for…everything changed in moments and there was A LOT of worry. With Miles, it was great to know he would be there within 30-minutes of my c-section. I felt so much more rested since I didn’t have to do the labor on top of the c-section. I was much more aware of everything that happened with Miles. It was such a great experience to be more present. The added bonus, since Miles was a planned c-section, is that we have wonderful pictures of him being born. I can still look at the pictures and feel like it was yesterday.
I AM A MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you compensate for this fear?
Honestly, I don’t really have any major concerns. Even though we had to do a lot of intervention to have our boys…I truly believe that everything happened just as it was suppose to. I was supposed to be an InSeason Mom.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
I feel much more secure as a woman and also as a mother. I think my focus is on exactly what it needs to be…my husband and children. I enjoy the fact that having a fair amount of life under my belt enables me to teach my boys about compassion and empathy more than if I had them at a younger age.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
I don’t sweat the small stuff. Ok, I will rephrase that; I try to not sweat the small stuff. I know that sounds cliché, but having children really taught me that everything happens for a reason and within its own timeframe. My path, my journey to those boys made me resilient…the ups, the downs, the constant unknowns makes me feel like I have been through the fire and I can handle anything that comes my way. I hope that’s also what I can teach those boys. No matter what happens in life, you are well equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
I have two favorite quotes from my favorite children’s author Arnold Lobel. One is from the Frog and Toad “Tomorrow” story; “I am going to take life easy.” Take each and every day as it comes. The good, the bad and the, “eh”. The second quote is from Lobel’s book called Fables, “All the miles of a hard road are worth a moment of true happiness.” I think that one speaks for itself.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
I think motherhood at any age is a wild ride. Since the chapter that paved my way to motherhood included infertility, I say to women who have difficulty conceiving that conceiving a child is more than just a bunch of numbers and statistics, it’s about the possibility, not probability that matters.
If you are having this difficulty, then frame it for yourself this way, people beat the odds everyday, people beat cancer, people have their MS go into remission and people who struggle with infertility have babies. I would much rather leave all the statistics to the racetrack and Vegas. While it is human nature to grasp onto statistics to help predict the chance of something happening for us, in many ways being too married to these numbers has an adverse effect on our psyche, stress. In turn, this stress has an adverse effect on our body. Mind stress plus body stress does not foster a good environment for conception.
I believe every month is a chance, a chance to conceive.
Any additional comments?
I’d like to provide my personal philosophy on the challenges that we experience in our lives. I believe that every challenge we face, every mile we walk in our lives provides knowledge or what I like to call “a gift”. You may not realize it at the time, it may take you weeks, months or years, but eventually you will come to know that morsel of knowledge that you were to walk away with…and those morsels accumulate and become part of the fabric of you. It’s the way that we come to know our morals, our values and our priorities in life.