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pregnancy over 40

Bye-bye Baby Bump, HELLO BABY!

One night I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable, being huge as a tank and all, then the next night I couldn’t sleep because I needed to spend every second of the night watching my new baby girl breathe.

I feel as if I’m a sleepwalker, my hair is disheveled, my clothes a mixture of maternity and regular sizes, my eating erratic, and my sleep schedule is nonexistent. .. and I feel like every second of this discombobulated state of existence I find myself in is a miracle. I keep pinching myself and wondering how it could be that I am, after 20 years, doing this all again. How could it be that I had one child and in a blink of an eye, now I have THREE!

It seems as if this last pregnancy flew by without any pomp and circumstance. Where we were counting down the days that didn’t seem to budge with Dublin’s pregnancy, this last pregnancy flew by. The only part that seemed to drag was the last couple of weeks, during which time if felt as if I would never go into labor. But when I did… boy did I!

If deliveries had a theme, mine would have been Go Go Speed Racer.  More than one person in the room commented along the lines of,“OMG, this is happening so fast!”

 

Some of the memorable comments from the whirlwind birthing session:

The nurse- “Wow, this is you at 8 cm and no drugs?!?” (In response to my laughing at something).

Me- “Yes, this is me… but don’t worry, you’ll see me in pain soon enough. I can totally handle these contractions, but I know that the ones at the end hurt like nobody’s business… so yeah, you’ll see me in extreme pain soon enough….”

20 min’s later….I’m in extreme pain, hearing this:

Scott- “OMG… this is happening fast, this is really happening fast”

Scott- “There’s the head!”

(WATER BREAKS…)

Scott- “OMG… this is happening fast!!”

Midwife- “Get ready to push the body out”

Scott, Midwife, nurse– “OH WOW!!!”

Nurse- “Did you even push?”

Me- “I guess she road the wave out….”

 

While waiting for my little girl to make her arrival and send me into labor, I felt like such a hypochondriac. I have a history of fast labor, but always got the impression that I mentioned it to the doctors and nurses, they didn’t fully believe me.  So when it all happened so fast, like I had been suggesting it might… I felt a HUGE “BOOya!” moment! I felt like a bit of a celebrity, with the way every new nurse greeted me with a, “So, I hear you had a fast labor…”  Yes, I am legend! 😉

No drugs, one push, 6lbs 6 oz…. And we welcomed Juniper Audrey into our lives.  

Juniper

Holding Juniper in the hospital… Love at first sight!

Juggling Knives

“It’s because he was our first.
I mean, I think we were very tense when Kevin was little.
If he got a scratch, we were hysterical.
By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives.” – Parenthood (1989)

Dublin out and about visiting all the germs!

Dublin out and about visiting all the germs!

When I think back on the first year of Sonora’s life, it exhausts me. I was the epitome of a nervous mother. I worried over everything. Was she pooping too much. Was she pooping too little? Was her sleep schedule messed up? Everything I could worry about… I covered it. For the first two weeks of her life, every day during the noon hour I called the on-call advice nurse regarding one of my concerns. Worry, worry, worry… I was so certain I was going to break her.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am with a one year old and shockingly enough, I’ve not called an advice nurse once!

I find it supremely ironic that the 22 year old me, in my fertility prime – eggs all youthful and agile, was way too immature to handle baby making with ease. It freaked me all the hell out. Now at 42, past my fertile prime, I’m a calmer mom. If Dublin drops a fork on the ground, picks it up and puts it in his mouth… I’m not panicking that I didn’t get to put it through three types of disinfectant processes before it again touched his lips. If another kid grabs one of Dublin’s toys with food covered fingers and sticks it in his mouth, I do not go all bug-eyed and have to quarantine the toy for x amount of days. If Dublin coughs, I’m not having to phone a doctor for fear he might not make it through the hour.

Like I said, it’s exhausting thinking about how scared and paranoid I was during Sonora’s baby days! Now, instead of any fear and paranoia that I might break Dublin, it’s with awe that I acknowledge his fragile tiny self… and amazement to see him tumble and grow into a healthy little man.

I’m not saying that 22 is too young to start a family, some women seem to jump into the roll like they’ve been parenting for years, no matter what their age. I admire women like that. However, for me it didn’t come naturally. For me it was a learning process… one that took me 20 years. Sometimes I think that for some of us, our first child is (unfortunately for them) our practice child. The one that we make so many of the mistakes with. By our 2nd child, we’ve perfected a few more things, including our confidence. Poor, poor Sonora… I had quite the learning curve!

Now-a-days the internet has become my best friend. It’s so easy to look up any parenting topic and dissect it this way and that. Something I didn’t have when Sonora was a baby. Twenty years ago, if I wanted to research a baby topic (from sleep schedules to breast feeding), I had to old-school it and read a book! Or, ask a friend. And sometimes those old-school ways aren’t readily available at 2:30 in the morning!!

I’m so happy Sonora and I made it out of her childhood alive… and though it took me 20 years, I’m finally left the scaredy cat mothering behind.

Third Times a Charm

This is me and my little (almost) 15 month old D-Man.

Me and my little D-Man.

Tomorrow I’ll be 16 weeks. For the last few weeks, about once a week, I pull out my at-home Doppler and give a little listen to the newbies heartbeat. Once a week I’m all smiles to hear it thump thump thumpin’ away. Everything is going great and in 24 (omg-that’s-not-so-far-away!!) weeks, we’ll be welcoming the newbies arrival. This pregnancy seems to be flying by. Perhaps it’s my days spent chasing my little D-Man around the house that is making this all fly by so fast. Whatever the cause, the days are flying and it has me thinking about some big decisions I’ll be having to make soon enough.


When I had Dublin I wasn’t really nervous about the birth. I kept telling myself that I’d done it before, I can do it again. This time, however, I’m sort of freaking out. Perhaps it’s because instead of a nineteen year gap to cushion pains memory, I only have 14 months. I remember vividly my thinking, during the middle of it all, this HURTS. THIS REALLY F*#!ING HURTS!!!


Both of my previous deliveries were fast and furious– as in, the room isn’t even ready and I’m about to plop out a baby, F-A-S-T. With both of my previous deliveries I experienced the panic that comes when you see your baby’s heartbeat drop drastically with each contraction. With both of my previous deliveries, before the doctor arrived, the nurses dropped the “C” word (c-section) a few times. Both of my previous deliveries ended with lots of stitches to repair down there (ouch!). So this time around, when the doctor put the option of an elective c-section on the table, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.


I love the idea of scheduling my due date. It would make arranging child care for Dublin sooo much easier. I love the idea of not feeling the pain of contractions. I love the idea of not having to see my baby’s heart rate show signs of distress. However, the thought of a needle in my back makes me want to hurl from fright. Also, the thought of being numb from my waste down and feeling the tugging as they pull the baby out of my stomach into the world… Fright. Hurling. AWK.. So any way I look at it, I’m a bit nervous and scared. BUT… not as nervous and scared as I am at the thought of being a mom to TWO children under TWO. Now that… THAT thought gives me night terrors! 😉

Pregnant at 42…

No, Im not psycho... just like to be sure. (7 tests)

Yes, you counted right-- that's SEVEN tests. I wanted to be sure!

If luck be a lady and I be that lady, then I am so knocked up right now! Despite the fact that we were on the look out for a double lined pregnancy test, it was still a shock to get one. Then to get another one and the one after that one… and 7 tests later, still seeing all the positive results lined up in a row, I’m in a state of disbelief. I feel so very lucky and oh-so-very scared at the same time.

Though I’m obviously beating out the statistics for a woman my age in the conception department, it’s still very scary- all those statistics running around in my head. I know it’s possible to beat the odds, I just did it with the fabulously healthy little one-year-old running around my house. But will I beat the odds again?? I truly hope so.

I’m 7 weeks along, or at least I think. Being me, things were not cut and dry. First off, I got an “inconclusive” blood test. Never even knew that “maybe pregnant” was an option for pregnancy blood tests! It did, after a few days and a retest, give me the positive I was hoping for. Our first ultrasound appointment, where we were supposed to see a heartbeat, showed that we were earlier than THEY thought. I’d have been freaking out, but I suspected with a certainty that I’d ovulated late. So now we’re waiting for our next ultrasound, which will be in a week.

Meanwhile, I hold my breath, look at my son and repeat, “Yes… I CAN do this!”

The Big Exhale….

Hello?? Hello?? Anybody here??


I feel like I should be going to some writers confessional: Forgive me, for I have sinned… it’s been four months since my last blog entry….


My only explanation for my lack of writing is that I’m still holding my breath. I’m still so in awe of being pregnant, that a part of me still views it as fragile. It’s like I don’t want to move, for fear of jinxing it.


So far, everything is going great. My biggest pregnancy complaint? That would be regarding my emotional state of mind having been a bit volatile. You just don’t mess with a pregnant woman. Her hormones will smack you up and down!! I think there have been moments where Scott has been scared of me, very-VERY scared! I’m surprised he hasn’t got a stash of holy water to pull out and toss in my face when my hormones take possession of me…

I have 11 or 12 more weeks left, depending on who you believe. My level-2 ultrasound dated the pregnancy as being a week farther along, but my doctor’s sticking with his original due date and is convinced that I “just have big babies”. That’s not something a pregnant woman wants to hear… that I’m destined to have a big baby! AWK! I want to have a nice 8 pound baby boy… and a FAST delivery! Oh, and as long as I’m putting in an order, it’d be nice to walk out of the hospital in pre-pregnancy sized jeans! Hahahah….

Did I mention I’m having a boy?? Yup, it’s a boy!! :)


To be continued (I promise)…..

Waiting. Hoping. Waiting.

On Tuesday, when I had still not heard from the clinic, I called about the test results and was told that it turns out that the only one who is able to access those test results is the woman who runs the research program, since they were sent to the research programs special lab. Unfortunately, she is out of town and won’t be back until Monday. MONDAY! The two days I expected to wait until we knew if we were in the program is now going to turn into two weeks…. TWO WEEKS! AWK!


This has left me feeling anxious, crabby and impatient. I’m like the old Mervyns commercial, where the woman is standing outside the door chanting, “Open. Open. Open…”


Since I refuse to think about things like the statistical averages of IVF at my age actually succeeding… I think about other things, like: if the only one who can access my test results is the fertility clinic research coordinator, who happens to be out of town at the moment, then the Estridiol test results I saw last week can’t be my most recent…. Which means that the number I saw must be a typo from a previous test…. Which means that I worried over nothing. Maybe. I hope.


Curious and curiouser.


Meanwhile, I’m still waiting. Hoping. Waiting….


To be continued….

Waiting game….

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting…. wait, what’s that… oh right, I’m still waiting! I thought it would only take a couple of days, from the last round of testing, for us to find out if we were officially in the IVF study program; but here it is five days later and we still do not have our official, “YOU’RE IN!”.

Everything is moving forward as if we’re in the program. Since mother nature stops for no one, we need to get through all the protocol so we’re ready to go if we’re accepted. That meant my having a phone consultation educating me about the IVF experience and what I can expect if I am to soon become quite closely acquainted with a needle that likes tummy fat. I also had another phone consultation informing me of more blood tests that are required to be completed and in their office no later than two weeks before my Aunt Flows arrival, as well as one blood test and a visit to a porn-o-matic for HIM. He gets off so easily in all this testing stuff!! (pun not intended… ok, fine. Pun intended.)

During both phone consults I asked about my recent blood test results and if they had come in yet and if I’d be able to view them online (at the patient portal the fertility clinic has set up). She said that I would hear from them before they ever made it to the online portal. I asked her if that meant that I could stop compulsively checking my portal every few minutes, she laughed and said I could stop checking, I’d hear from them first. I didn’t stop checking, because I’m neurotic like that. Interestingly enough, lab results ended up being posted, despite my ever hearing from the clinic. Unfortunately, they were incomplete and didn’t have all the results, only some I didn’t understand and my Estradiol levels. And the Estradiol levels were what had me concerned the last go around…. and even more unfortunate: they had gone up some more! Now I’m sitting here biting my nails wondering what this means to my FSH levels…. because if the FSH levels come back too high, we will be declined from the program.

Yes, yes… gibberish gibberish gibberish. So, translation: high levels are bad, low levels are good….. and I’m higher than Charlie Sheen on an average Friday night.

I feel like this fertility time bomb that might just blow at any moment. So I hold my breath and tip toe around, willing my levels to remain steady….. “Steady girls, steady… almost there, alllll mossssst THERE!”

Though, the truth is, at any moment during the IVF treatment we could get kicked out. There are so many check points that we have to pass, and it won’t be until that final needle hits my belly that I can fully exhale. It’s very intense, like a several month long thriller movie.

Meanwhile, my mood is great and I’m optimistic. I find myself perusing the twin strollers on Amazon and maternity clothes.

Eggs on film…. an anniversary story.

Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow’s testing will be the deciding factor in whether or not the GAME-IS-ON for IVF. Tomorrow I strip, scooch down to the end of a table and spread for a nice man in a white coat (that’s an indicator that he’s the good guy), while letting him explore my nether regions with a probe that projects the whole thing onto a huge flat-screen hanging from the wall…. not exactly how I’d envisioned spending my two year anniversary, but fairly close.


Yes it’s true, coincidentally, tomorrow will be the two year anniversary of when my guy and I met, an event that led to where I am today: trying to have a baby at 40, when my one and only other child has JUST flown the nest.


Unlike previous/recent appointments, I have not had one pre-appointment-mini-melt-down and no irrational tears have been shed. No crying at work. No crying at my doctors office. No crying during an end-all fight with my future baby daddy. No… I’ve been quite happy the last few days, which is really strange because it was all-star-PMS week too. Here I am in the midst of the final seconds of the IVF game, where if I win, we go to the IVF play-offs…. GO TEAM GO. Meanwhile I’m calm… very-very calm…. and all this inner calmness is starting to freak me out.


The pivotal moment has arrived. From our last appointment they learned my mid-cycle endometrial lining was excellent, but my follicle count was a bit low: 4 on one side and 6 on the other. Not even a bakers dozen. However, it wasn’t so low that we were rejected out of the program. Tomorrow they will take a day-three looksie to find out what my antral follicle count is. They’ll also do more blood work to see if my day three levels are the same as they were last time, which were okay, but not great (FSH 5.61, Estridol 92, and LH 2.16). Yes, yes.. I know, for those who don’t speak Over-40-Baby-Making-101 all of this is a bit of gibberish, but trust me, these numbers and tests are important to the baby making process! Sadly, the numbers are more necessary than having the s-e-x! Turns out you can have a baby after forty with good numbers and no sex, but you can’t have a baby after forty with bad numbers and lots of sex. HMPH!


So far everyone at the fertility clinic have been very reassuring as to thinking that we’re in. I however do not count my chickens before their little follicular eggs hatch!


Stay tuned…. things are going to get exciting. Maybe. I hope.

Crazy about eggs….

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained…”  ~Mark Twain

I’m a pretty in touch with my brain…. that is, until I become passionately not. The brainy and oh-so-intellect side of me talks the big talk and fully believes in what it’s saying, so perhaps that’s why me (and everyone else around me) become shocked to find out that despite the hard exterior, I’m really sort of emotionally fragile. Life is always easy during the game planning portion. But once you get out there, on the playing field, things become a bit more challenging…..

Brainy me: We’re going to have another test
Emotionally fragile me: We’re going to have a test and it’s going to tell me I’m o-o-old. *Sniff *
Brainy me: The likelihood of finding infertility issues are high, but we don’t know that’s what they’ll find.
Emotionally fragile me: The tests will say I’m old and HE will leave me for y-y-younger eggs-s-s. *sniff *
Brainy me: Even if I’m infertile, there are ways to have babies.
Emotionally fragile me: I’m never going to have a baby because I’m o-o-old *sniff * *hic *
Brainy me: His staying up the entire night before the big test and playing video games is unrelated to his desire to have kids…
Emotionally: He doesn’t l-l-ove me…. he doesn’t feel my u-u-rgency… doom….. doom…. DOOOOM!

And so on and so on.

Despite the fact that HE has not learned to “talk me down” yet, here we are a few days later and the following things miraculously happened: Our relationship survived another mini-melt down of mine. And after our newest fertility office visit, where we had an ultra sound and the doctor reviewed some recent test results with us, we were told that my getting pregnant is probably related more to my tubes potentially being blocked, then to my age.

I’m feeling sane again. And hopeful. Things are looking rather well for us being part of the IVF research program. But I don’t think that I’ll fully believe it until they’re sticking the needles into my belly.

We will go back to the fertility clinic in a couple of weeks. I’ll have another ultrasound and some blood work done…. if that goes well, we’ll sign a contract and some release forms… and booYA, we’re in and the shots will start in March!

Sunshine on my mind…

I have repeatedly said this, but it’s so true: I am solar powered. When the sun comes out, my energy increases and my outlook brightens. The sun is shining bright today and I’m feeling rather sunny.


After the mini melt down of last Thursday’s appointment, I received a phone call that night from the nurse practitioner I’d visited. She called to give me my blood work results. She said that, though she didn’t know how to interpret them, she thought I would like to know the results. (How awesome-nice was that?!?!) So she gave me the numbers, I thanked her for her call… and I immediately scrambled to find my past results to see how they compared.


Damn. They had changed. Stupid turning-40-age-thing.


My Estradiol levels have jumped to way above the normal range, which might explain why I haven’t been seeing any double blue lines on the gazillion pregnancy pee sticks I’ve gone through. Obviously I’m not a doctor and will not pretend that I can self diagnose myself….. but here it is, the scribbling figures I had written down, and there is an obvious and glaring blip on a previously spotless blood test results. A year and a half has made quite a difference.


I called and asked the person in charge of registering applicants for the research IVF study if my new numbers would have an effect on our being accepted into the program. She said that they wouldn’t. So one test down, a few more to go.


I have another doctors appointment on Monday and then ANOTHER one on Thursday. Thursday’s is the biggie though, because it’s the one at the fertility clinic and we’ll be able to discuss the tests results with the doctor and hopefully get a better idea of where we stand in regard to being able to participate in the study program.


It feels like a bit of a whirlwind, all of these doctors appointments and hoops that need jumping through. The good news is that, just like all whirlwinds, before we know it, we will arrive at whatever destination we’re to arrive at.


Whether or not we are accepted into the program or not, I think there will be a sense of relief knowing if I’m officially “infertile” and if I am, is there anything we can do about it. Seven months ago it felt like it was my destiny to get pregnant. Now, not so much. I think all along the knowledge that I am not capable of getting pregnant was there lurking, subconsciously, in the back of my brain and that’s why it was never too much of a shock not to see those double blue lines appear on any pregnancy test.


Every time someone told me to “just relax” and it will happen, it made me feel so much pressure. It made me feel judged. It made me feel like this not having a baby was some how all of my controllable fault. Though the test results are seemingly not at all good… at least now I know that even if I had become master of all things zen, so relaxed that I appeared to be sleeping…. I would STILL probably NOT be pregnant! I feel like holding up the piece of paper with the newly scribbled numbers, running it around and waving it, while yelling…. “seeeeee I told yooooou, I. AM. JUST. OLD!”


But as stated before, I am not a doctor. Maybe the blood test results have nothing to do with age, I’ll let the doctor diagnose that. Meanwhile, I can’t help but wondering where the whirlwind will land. Will we receive IVF. Will it work? Will my elevated Estradiol levels be unrelated to age, can they easily be fixed? Will the end of 2011 find us under a pile of diapers and baby clothes…. oh, the suspense of it all is killing me!