State of residence: Virginia
Children: Hayley was born in 1995. Kelly was born in 1998. Mallory was born in 2000.
Current or former profession(s): I have a B.S. degree in Business Information Systems. One month after earning it, I began a career as a computer programmer analyst, which lasted 15 years. I married at age 36 and ended my career to focus on marriage and my desire to have children. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom.
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
Because I was 36 and wanted more than one child, my husband and I decided to start trying 5 months after we were married. I had no idea how long it would take to conceive, however, I’m one of “those women” who could feel ovulation, and sensed that I would get pregnant. I conceived during that first “try.”
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
I hoped and prayed that I would get pregnant, but did not physically do anything that I thought would help, besides waiting a month or two after stopping the birth control pill before trying to conceive.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
My doctor was new to me. I’d only met him once before coming to the office for the official pregnancy test. He was courteous and professional; not expressing any surprise about my “quick” conception. My husband and I were given lots of information on what to expect, and I was asked if I wanted to have an amniocentesis. After discussing the procedure and the purpose for it, my husband and I decided against it. I was glad that my doctor was in agreement with us, and throughout my pregnancy, I felt comfortable being in his care.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?
My mother was the first person to get the news of my pregnancy. She was 61 years old and did not have grandchildren. She was absolutely delighted! Afterward, I called a few friends. The “girls” were so happy for me, too. I’m sure they were thinking, “It’s about time.”
For a few years, I actually kept the phone records of the calls I made. All of my closest friends were in other cities, and the bill listed the long distance calls. That’s how sentimental I was about the whole experience.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?
During the pregnancy, my husband and I took the childbirth classes offered at the hospital; pillow and all. For me, there was no thought of whether to take the class or not; it seemed the smart thing to do for a first pregnancy – to be as informed as possible. I thought surely I’d be huffing and puffing and pushing out baby, but mine came out by caesarean section.
Tell me more about your labor and delivery experience.
At 41 weeks gestation with amniotic fluid decreasing, it was decided that I would be induced. The first step was softening my cervix at night, and then starting the Pitocin the next morning. At 6 centimeters and signs that I was going no further, it was highly recommended that I have a c-section.
My second child was an attempted VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). At 8 centimeters and a fever, I told my nurse, “Get the doctor and let’s get her out.”
Child number three was a planned c-section.
Some women have awful morning sickness, some have to be on bed rest, some feel so uncomfortable and can’t wait to have their baby; I had c-sections. Many women don’t have any of this, even being over the so-called advanced age of 35.
My babies were born when I was 37 (2 weeks before turning 38), 40, and 42. I had a bit of the initial nausea, but cruised through the pregnancies. The old girl (I) was even up within hours after all my surgeries, which I’m told is not the norm.
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
Anita: I suppose there are as many birth experiences as there are fingerprints. I remember much of it, but what I mostly remember, is seeing my children for the first time; their red screaming bodies and scrunchy little faces, and the love I felt for them.
I AM A MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you compensate for this fear?
I lean more toward optimism; therefore, I don’t have any major concerns about having become a “mom over 35.” Sometimes I do think about the realities of being an older mom, though…like being a grandma. Will either of my girls have children at a younger age than I did, giving me the chance to be an active grandmother?
Will I maintain my energy level long enough to get my children out the door to college?
Will I get through the teen years simultaneously with menopause?
The fact that I can laugh as I say this, gives me assurance that it’s okay. If God enables our bodies to produce into our forties, surely we’re given the necessities to “handle it.” Right?
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
That I am handling it. As an older woman/mom, I am more confident. I am not afraid that my children are lacking now, or that they will lack in the future. They will be their own selves and make their own way. As they’re learning, I’m having fun re-learning with them. I’m giving them my best. Perhaps, I would have felt the same as a younger mother, too.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
How have I changed since becoming a mom? I’m NEVER bored. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I also love realizing my own adult maturity that contrasts with the actions of my children…most of the time…okay, sometimes.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
I think most women have an innate desire to become mothers, therefore, I wish to those who want children to be blessed with them; especially if they are over 35, an age that has allowed much thought time in previous years. However, I must qualify this statement by adding that women need to know that life as they know it will be gone when baby comes along and to be mentally prepared; yet the fulfillment to someone who wants to be a mom provides the greatest joy.
Occasionally, I hear infertility statistics and health issue statistics for the mom and baby when the mom is over 35. I heard these things when I was 35, but my heart and desire would not allow fear. I have 3 healthy children. Many women over 35 have conceived and have healthy children. Follow your heart.
Any additional comments?
For another of my “baby stories” see my post titled “Vaginal vs. C-section” at http://btdas.blogspot.com/2009/09/vaginal-vs-c-section.html
Thank you, Cynthia, for featuring me this month and allowing me to tell my story. You are a wonderful spokesperson and advocate for older women who desire to be moms.