Kelly shares her uplifting pregnancy and birth story as a first time mom over 40, IVF success after 40, an InSeasonMom!
Age you gave birth: 46
State/Country of residence: Ontario, Canada
Child’s name: Nicknamed “Bug” in Kelly’s blog
Current or former profession(s): I was in the service industry for 20 years, working as a bartender and server. Currently, I am a stay at home mom and an aspiring “mompreneur” and blogger. I design and hand paint glassware as well under my business name Luna Selene Creations.
Luna Selene Creations: https://www.facebook.com/lunaselenecreations/
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
We tried the old fashioned way for 6 months before we asked to be referred to a fertility specialist. I was 43 when we started trying and my husband Mark was 40. We went through our fertility treatments for a total of 2 and 1/2 years before we had a successful cycle.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?
When we were trying on our own I tried everything under the sun! I already had a pretty healthy lifestyle as far as eating and exercise but I added in a lot of supplements and tweaked my diet with fertility-boosting foods. I scoured the internet for which vitamins, supplements, and healthy foods were related to improving fertility and I tried them all I swear! Maca root, royal jelly, bee pollen, juicing all kinds of veggies, especially beets. We jokingly called them “Beetaritas!”
I ate a ton of avocados, walnuts, and olive oil based dishes because I read that a Mediterranean diet could help. I figured it couldn’t hurt anyway! I did a lot of yoga and I also did acupuncture and lymphatic massages.
I added in extra Vitamin E (natural source), L-Arganine, along with my other daily supplements.
As time went on, we knew that our odds were decreasing as my eggs were getting older, but we had to try the 3 rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) and one round of IVF with our own embryos. After those attempts failed, we were fortunate enough to have a chance to try 2 cycles with donor embryos. Our second cycle of this type was the one that worked, the miracle that resulted in our beautiful son. We are so blessed and grateful beyond words that we were given this opportunity. It was actually going to be our final attempt with IVF no matter what, and we made peace with that and kind of realized that we could only do so much. What’s meant to be will always find a way.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
My doctors were 100% supportive all the way. Especially being with a fertility specialist like we were, there was never a feeling from him that I was “too old” or that I shouldn’t do all I could to follow my dreams of being a Mom.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I did not change doctors, nor did I want to. Our doctor is the best fertility specialist in our area in my opinion. He and his staff are kind, compassionate and tireless when it comes to their patients. We always felt encouragement from them and he was always pushing forward to figure out how to make a pregnancy stick for me. In the end, the tweaks that we used during that final protocol, were the things that helped me get pregnant and stay pregnant!
Family and Friends
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?
Overjoyed and excited beyond words! We are so lucky to have a wonderful support system made up of our family and friends. I suppose some mere acquaintances may have been raising an eyebrow behind our backs seeing as some of them were already having grandbabies! But this was our journey and we couldn’t have cared less if people thought we were a little crazy. Like Dr. Suess says “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
I remember it was fast and furious because I was induced with Pitocin a few days before my due date. With IVF patients, my doctor recommends this due to the chances of the placenta function being compromised and amniotic fluid possibly getting low. I’m pretty sure my age was also a factor but mainly it was because of the IVF.
I went for a natural birth for various reasons, even though everyone said I’d probably change my mind about that. The contractions, once active labour kicked in, were intense and incredibly powerful. The worst part about it though is that they were literally on top of each other and I didn’t get much of a rest in between. I was actually just about to tell the nurse to give me the epidural when she told me I was at 7 cm, and it wouldn’t take long now. So I held off because I was worried labour would stall if I did get it. We were so close and we were so anxious to meet him!
So from the time I was induced to the time I delivered, it was 7 hours exactly, and the last 3 hours I’d say were pretty wild. I don’t regret going natural, but I think the epidural would have made for a more calm birth experience. It worked out the way it was supposed to for me.
I remember that I was going back and forth between screaming and swearing like a sailor to praying to God, my Mother and anyone else up there that would listen.
I remember my husband cracking jokes trying to make me smile and me wanting to smack him. (I probably did, I know I bruised his hand up pretty good from gripping it!)
I remember the feeling when my son’s shoulders released, and all that intense pain just vanished. I lifted my head to see the doctor pull him out and they laid him immediately on my chest. I have never felt anything like it. My heart was exploding with pure love and joy. Everything changed in that moment as we watched him take his first breath right before our eyes. We both cried like babies from the sheer happiness, and really not even believing that he was finally here.
I remember feeling that I have never felt so exhausted, yet so euphoric all at once.
I AM MOM!
Do you have any concerns about being a mom over 40? If so, how do you address these concerns?
I really don’t have any pressing concerns about being a mom over 40. I am definitely more mature than I was 20 years ago and less selfish. I truly appreciate this gift that I have been given. If anything I suppose it has crossed my mind wondering if I will be around to meet my grandchildren. But, no one is guaranteed tomorrow, regardless of age so I don’t even really count that.
What do you enjoy most about being a first-time mom over 40?
I enjoy EVERYTHING about being a first-time mom over 40. I think mainly it’s being comfortable in my own skin and confident in myself and where I am on my path in life. I go with the flow. I know that time passes quickly so I try to cherish every moment and find joy in the small things in life.
I take mental snapshots of my son to save in my memory banks because I know he won’t be this little forever! Even on the hard days, when I am exhausted or he is being a crabby toddler, I remind myself of how fast it goes and this too shall pass. I honestly don’t know if I would tell myself that if I was a young mom, just having a bit more life experience changes one’s perception. In other words, I try not to sweat the small stuff.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
The biggest change I’d say was that it’s not about me anymore. It’s all about Bug. And my husband. Our family. Not that I don’t find little ways to pamper myself and indulge in a little self-care from time to time but right now at least, we are his sole protectors and providers. I also have a newfound appreciation of how much my own parents loved me. It’s that kind of unconditional love that you feel for your child that really can’t compare to anything else. Once you feel it you know.
I would do anything in the world to protect him from any type of pain or suffering. When my own Mom passed away in the hospital, my sister and I missed her by minutes, literally. We were beating ourselves up over this until we realized that our Mom had done that for us. She did not want us in the room to see her take her very last breath on this earth, because she knew that moment would be burned into our memory forever to relive. And that’s the kind of Mom she was, anything to save us from pain even in her last moments. That’s the kind of Mom I hope to be. A love like that is pure, intense and strong and now I understand it from both sides. As a child, and now as a Mother.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood over 40?
I will just say to follow your heart and go for it. You are DEFINITELY not too old—remember I was 46! You have probably had your share of young, wild and crazy adventures. You are most likely more financially secure and stable in your career, and that it can be one of the most fulfilling times in your life. Don’t let the naysayers get you down!
Yes, you will be tired some days but I really don’t think that being an exhausted mom applies only to us so-called older moms. That’s universal. I encourage you to follow your dreams always, and if becoming a mom later in life is the dream, chase after it! Do your research, talk to your doctor and if you happen to need a little help getting there through fertility treatments, explore that option!
Remember, that this is YOUR life, YOUR journey. You and your husband or partner are the only ones who get to have a say in what is right for your relationship and life. For me, becoming a Mom over 40 has been the greatest blessing ever, and I wish you all the best in your journey!