Katie had two vaginal births and had no reason to expect anything different with the birth of her most recent daughter. But the funny thing about birth is that it's always unpredictable, even if you've done it 12 times before. So when her labor failed to progress at the speed of her OBs liking, she was told that her baby would need to be delivered via cesarean. An unplanned cesarean mixed with an unexpected NICU stay makes for an emotional postpartum healing process.
The birth of my third child 6 weeks ago was a complete 180 experience and emotional roller coaster compared to my first and second births in 2009 & 2011. With my first two children, I ADORED my obgyn, trusted her 100%. Both pregnancies were essentially perfect with zero complications (not even a moment of morning sickness) and both births were full-term hospital inductions with pitocin, vaginal deliveries, about 12-14 hours start to finish with zero complaints or complications. I was younger, and didn't know a ton about birth, but I have no regrets with either of them. All I knew back then was that I did not want a C-Section.
Late July of 2016, the day before I was starting a new position with the bank I worked for, we discovered we were pregnant with our third child (funny thing about my pregnancies- I have always found out the day before an 'event'. With my first, it was thanksgiving, and my second, it was Valentine's Day). We were a bit surprised because we weren't actively trying, we were taking precautions at the time, but we were happy and excited to finalize our family (3 was always our 'number'). I am older now so I started to do a bit of research on birth options, I watched 'The Business of Being Born', and listened to pregnancy podcasts galore. I was beyond inspired about the possibilities of this birth. Honestly, I knew that a completely pain-free birth wasn't for me, so I decided my goals were to go into labor on my own, avoid an epidural until 6cm, have a quiet, low lit, emotionally supported birth, and have immediate skin-to-skin with delayed chord clamping (this was a HUGE want of mine), and of course a perfectly healthy baby girl.
Out of 8 birth goals, I got 1. It's still difficult to emotionally process.
Aside from being borderline GD, my pregnancy was easy. My previous dr moved away after my second was born and although I didn't dislike my new doctor, I certainly didn't feel the same connection, and sometimes my appointments felt like a long wait for 5 minutes of time, but it didn't weigh on me too much during pregnancy. At 36 weeks, I was checked and was about 1 cm, and the baby was low. I was excited at the thought that things were getting started and maybe I would go into labor on my own close to my due date. I was walking a ton at work, and was planning to begin red raspberry tea at 38 weeks. At 37 weeks, I was still 1 cm but baby's head couldn't be felt. I had a suspicion that my daughter was posterior, based on the movement I was feeling, and asked how that affects L&D. My dr told me it can stall labor or make it more difficult to push the baby out, but she mentioned we would do an ultrasound at 39 weeks to see where she was at. That Saturday night (37+3) I realized I was beginning to lose my mucous plug, but I didn't think anything of it because I knew that losing it doesn't determine that labor is beginning. I didn't know it at the time, but I was having contractions occasionally up in my ribs, I just thought that I was being kicked or that her foot was sort of 'jammed' in my rib cage. The next morning, around 11 AM, I started to notice very small trickles when I would walk around as I cleaned the house, but I assumed it was still my plug. Turns out, my water had broken!!! At 11:30am, I called my mom and said "so, please tell me that I haven't been peeing on myself for the past 30 minutes. That's not possible, right?" Because I was in disbelief that my water was breaking. I called L&D and they told me to come in. We told our older kids what was happening and started getting things ready. They were so excited, and It was crazy timing because I had taken the next week off of work for my kids spring break to spend extra time with them, while giving my MIL her own week 'off' from the big kids before the craziness of a new baby began. By the time we headed to the hospital, I had soaked through 2 pads, so I KNEW this was real and I had gone into labor at home (that's my 1 that I got). I never felt anymore contractions or discomfort other than the leaking of my water.
We arrived around 1pm and we were checked and in a room by about 2. I was 3cm at that point. I was told that the on call dr would be notified, and I didn't love that at all but understood the reality of it. The on call dr was a male which I was also not used too, but didn't mind much. I just hoped he would be kind, patient, and not make me feel like I was interrupting his weekend lol. Although my nurses were awesome, they were definitely ready to get the pitocin going and get this baby out!! I was on board with that as well because I haven't experienced any issues with that course of action during my previous births, and I was excited to meet my baby girl! Things were progressing slowly and I got my epidural around 6pm. By 7pm, I was only at 4.5 and we were trying different positions, including using the peanut to try and help open the cervix. We couldn't attempt it for very long because baby girl did not like it, and her heart rate would drop. By 9 pm I was only 5cm dilated and her heart rate would drop from time to time, but nothing seemed to be a problem. At 10pm, the doctor came in and said "well, things aren't progressing, and with her heart rate dropping, I don't think it's going to happen....we're going to need to do a C-section". Two things I noticed in that moment.
I had thought about the possibility of a C-section because I thought she was posterior, but I hadn't actually prepared myself (is it even possible too?). I was TERRIFIED of the recovery while having a newborn and two older kids at home. I've never had a surgery prior to this and had no idea what to expect. My husband and mother were at the hospital of course so I immediately wanted my mom while I CRIED about what was about to happen. 3 more nurses came in the room at once, one to shave me, one to give me the nastiest thing I've ever consumed, and another to do whatever she was doing. My assigned nurse was amazing to me through all of this and she did her best to comfort me.
Being wheeled into a surgical room-alone-for the birth of my child, was surprisingly one of the scariest moments of my life and I didn't expect that feeling. From the moment I was in that room, any ounce of excitement or joy for this birth completely left my body and i was filled with fear and discomfort. It was just a bright, cold, metal room. I had the shakes from meds, I was freezing cold, and I simply felt like I had so much happening around me and to me, yet I wasn't even there. I was given more meds to further numb my stomach, and I remember crying when they laid my arms away from my body. It all felt SO out of my control and I couldn't do anything about it. After I was 'situated' I started coughing a little and because I was numb up to my chest, I couldn't get any power behind my cough, which was maddening. I then began to throw up about 5 times. The doctor confirmed her posterior position to me while delivering her and At 10:50pm March 12th, my daughter was born. I heard her cry, and I cried. That moment was a mixture of joy and sorrow for what was happening to me. The loss of almost everything I wanted for myself and her birth hit me in that moment. My husband was of course by my side but wouldn't have been able to stomach watching a c-section, and I didn't think to ask anyone to record, so I have no images of the actual birth. The first picture we have was once she was being cleaned up by nurses and my husband was with her. He brought her over and I was able to kiss her and calm her down. I was so upset that I wasn't the first person to hold her, and have those first few minutes of skin to skin. We got back to the room, my mom was able to see her and then she left shortly after because it was so late. My epidural had been removed, I was a bit groggy and so uncomfortable. Within 15 minutes of being in my room, my uterus was massaged (SO painful), I was asked a handful of questions about my pain and General status, and I was attempting to breastfeed which was a bit of a struggle. I was beyond tired and the nurse wanted me to football hold, and I don't do football holds. They don't work for me. The next 24 hours was essentially typical, breastfeeding, diaper changing, the family and sibling meeting the baby, and I also learned about using a binder around my stomach-that thing is a god-send! At 11pm that Monday, my night nurse came to take my daughter for her newborn screening. Thankfully for my nurse (Liz), she noticed that my daughter was making what the dr referred to as a grunting noise, and she took her straight to the NICU. I was woken up shortly after to be told that she had brought her there just to be checked out, and by 5am, the nicu dr (who I loved) came in and let us know that our daughter had a tension pneumothorax in her left lung and they had to give her a chest catheter to relieve the air and pressure in her chest. The first 48 hours in the nicu were a bit rough for her and we weren't able to interact too much with our daughter, but the nicu staff was amazing and they took great care of her (and us)! Knowing she was in the best hands made it a bit easier to go home without her. I was excited to see big sister and brother again, took advantage of the extra rest when I wasn't at the hospital with her, and I pumped around the clock to bring milk for her when she was able to eat again. The catheter was removed after 4 days, we held her again the following day, and she came home on march 22nd.
We are now 6 weeks PP. Life with 3 kiddos is currently crazy, but I'm thankful that the big kids have school, which give me more time to bond with Ellie and rest! Physically, I have healed quickly and well (although I really hate the numbness above my incision and I'm wondering if I'll ever wear anything but maternity pants again). The emotions surrounding my birth experience are still a bit all over the place, but I feel that I'm navigating them well. Our breastfeeding journey luckily was not too rough after going 8 days unable to breastfeed. I used a nipple shield for a few days when needed, and supplemented with breastmilk in a bottle when I was unsure about how much she was eating. When my husband went back to work, I was convinced I couldn't do it all and I thought I would do half formula, half breast milk and begin bottle feeding, but I realized I wasn't emotionally ready to stop breastfeeding her. We both quickly got back on track and we are exclusive breastfeeding successfully now! Ellie healed up beautifully while in NICU and doesn't require any follow ups in regards to her lung issue at birth.
Hey there! I'm Katie, 29, I am myself, an IVF triplet born via c-section at 31 weeks and a nicu grad. I am a mom to 3 awesome kiddos (7yrs, 5yrs, & 6weeks old). My husband and I have been together for 10 years this coming September. We live about an hour north of Houston TX and we both grew up here. I've worked in banking for the past 9 years, but now I am embarking on the crazy/awesome stay at home life, while working my home business (thank you baby#3 )!
Facebook: Katie Hertsenberg
Sometimes you have a really easy pregnancy and labor. Sometimes you have a rough pregnancy and a difficult labor. Sometimes one thing goes wrong, sometimes a few things go wrong, and sometimes, like with Alex, pregnancy and birth can't quit throwing you curve balls.
I'm Alex I'm a 28 year old first time Mom to my wonderful 11 month old daughter Fawn. I got very lucky with her, she is insanely sweet and mellow, and although she is a wonderful baby, we definitely have had our share of curve balls, starting very early in my pregnancy...
All I ever have wanted in my life was to have a family. All throughout college I was working toward a degree in Fashion Merchandising and in the back of my head I was like "yeah yeah, I just want babies". Everyone that has known me for a while, or even not that long, knows this about me. I have loved pregnancy, babies, birth and all things related to these subjects since long before I was becoming a Mom. My cousin recently told me "you know so much about babies it's almost weird". Which I take as a major compliment! I was a nanny for a number of years and absolutely adored working with those kids, I loved my job so much! I also am a trained postpartum doula, which I became over a year before getting pregnant myself. So needless to say, I've always surrounded myself with babies, because that's my idea of fun!
So fast forward, I get married to a wonderful man, I get pregnant the first month trying. Crazy lucky. I was on, the, ball with figuring out everything that needed to happen, hired a doula, looked in to birth techniques (I decided on Hypnobabies, and I cannot say enough positive things about it!), started researching home birth and birth centers. I was basking in the glory of finally being a Mother! I did a half marathon rollerblade race at 4 weeks pregnant, I felt great. I was thinking I was going to be one of those super annoying pregnant women that's "never felt better" and "forgets she's pregnant". Oh how wrong I was! I had a little nausea and woozy feeling but nothing that isn't to be expected. Then, at 5 weeks pregnant I started throwing up about 10 times a day and couldn't sit up without puking. Good times. I tried evvvvvvveryyyythiiiing! I swear if I heard another person say "have you tried ginger?!" I was going to hulk out on everyone. What I had was called Hypermesis Gravidarum, or persistent vomiting due to pregnancy, it effects 1-3% of pregnant women. Lucky me! So I was basically bed ridden, was throwing up blood because my esophagus was so torn up, I had lost 8 pounds that I couldn't afford to lose. I couldn't even sit up to read, I had to be flat on my back. I'm not one to watch much TV but that's basically all I did, and listened to books on tape while staring at the ceiling, thrilling stuff. I was desperate and REALLY didn't want to take medication, I just kept thinking of Thalidomide babies. So, I decided to try acupuncture (which, during the 15 minute drive to my first appointment I had to pull my car over twice to puke) and that day, I felt human, for the first time in weeks. I was still throwing up but not nearly as much, so I was able to go out and do things again, albeit everywhere I went I had to scan the room and see what I could throw up in, if need be, because when the feeling hit, I had about 5 seconds to find a vessel to contain it. There is kind of a loneliness to pregnancy already, you can't do everything you want, your body is changing every 5 minutes, hormones galore! But the fact that I spent the vast majority of my first few months pregnant actually alone, constantly puking, I've never felt more isolated in my life. I remember thinking, "WHAT THE EFF?!?! What did I do to deserve this?! I recycle, I don't swear much, I rescued 2 dogs, I give good hugs, whatever happened to karma?!" Also, thinking that this wasn't the greatest way to start off something I've been looking forward most of my life. I finally stopped throwing up at 18 weeks and felt so great after that! I never had a single token pregnant woman meltdown (I credit Hypnobabies and my stellar prenatal chiropractor). I remained very active after I gained my weight back (which wasn't a problem for me because I looooove food, and I had to make up for lost time!)
Then at 37 weeks I go to my midwife and baby had developed an irregular heartbeat. Super. I leave the appointment in tears, naturally. So I schedule an appointment for a late pregnancy ultrasound 2 weeks from then to get her heart checked out. In the meantime I went to another midwife appointment the following week and hear "we are concerned because baby isn't growing". Fantastic. I never measured past 36 weeks. At this point I remember saying to my husband "maybe I've had it all wrong this whole time and I'm not meant to be a Mother. These things don't happen during 'regular' pregnancies". I was feeling rather defeated. Wondering if these problems happened because I don't eat meat so I wasn't giving her enough protein, if I was eating too much sugar so her heart got all wacky. Of course you blame yourself, because you are the only one with any semblance of control over what happens to a baking baby. But in fact, I likely could have done everything completely different and everything would have turned out the same.
We go in for the ultrasound and the doctor says "well your baby is just packed in really efficiently" so size wasn't a worry anymore (she was 8 pounds at birth, so booya!) but her heartbeat was still a bit of concern so we had to realize that we may have ended up in the hospital (I gave birth at a birth center) to have her heart checked out, and she may need a "simple procedure" to fix it. No thanks to that! But it turns out that the vast majority of babies that have an irregular heartbeat in utero have them go away during birth, and that's exactly what happened, huzzah!
During all this stuff I had 3 family members that were pregnant at the same time as me, 2 sister in laws and my cousin. All three of them threw up during the beginning, not as much as I did, but they were still sick, which sucks. But that's it, everything else went just as planned for all three of them. So knowing that everything was hunky dory for them and I was having all this stuff come up, made me pretty confused and wonder why. I never got an answer to why, some of us just have more complicated pregnancies than others for no reason at all.
Now fast forward to me at 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Everyone constantly asking "haven't you had that baby yet?!" I just wanted to say, "yes I have, can't you see, she's right here and I am now clearly no longer pregnant you FOOL!". I start having contractions (in Hypnobabies we called them "waves"). When they started I thought they were gas pains, because that's exactly what they felt like. They were very irregular and my midwife said they were just "practice", and I was having "prodromal labor" which means they are labor contractions, but you aren't technically IN labor yet. That evening I thought my water had broke while I was on a walk, it turned out it was a "high leak", whatever the hell that is. My midwife said "there is lots of fluid involved, this isn't amniotic fluid and that's what we are looking for". Cool, not I'm having fake out contractions and had a fake out water breaking. Why not?! Turns out I'd have prodromal crobtractions for 3 days straight, yikes. Some were short and barely felt like anything, some felt like my entire body was being squeezed. They weren't painful, but after a while they became quite uncomfortable, because my body was so sore from so many of them. I went to the chiropractor, which helped an INSANE amount with my discomfort, I trotted out of that appointment like I've never felt better. (Seriously, get adjusted while you are pregnant! It helps with the baby's positioning too!) Then my water broke. But I wasn't technically in labor, still. Yeah, that happens. But now I was on the clock. They give you 48 hours after your water breaks to have the baby naturally and after that you get induced because you start being at risk for infection. Nope, not happening, I did NOT want to have her in a hospital! I did more acupuncture, then my doula came over to try and get things moving, and did they ever! I went from having irregular contractions to involuntarily pushing in my living room (spinning babies FTW)! We pack up lighting fast. I try as hard as I possibly can to not have the baby in the car for the 20 minute drive, because once she decided it was time, she was coming out FAST. We called my Mom on the way and she didn't answer the first time so we called her again and she picked up and my husband says "The baby is coming" and she responds "well I know but what is going on" and he responds "no, she is coming RIGHT NOW". Meanwhile I'm having a conversation with my unborn child to stay in for another half an hour, which she listened to, good baby!
At last, we get to the birth center, when we got there the tub wasn't filled and I said "WHY isn't the tub full?!" And they said it fills up in about 2 minutes and they had to check us both out. When they said they wanted to see if I was dilated enough I laughed and thought, "you've got to be kidding me, of course I am!" Then I hear "fill the tub, baby is crowning", I get in the tub, I pushed on my own terms (with no pain, none, I'm still shocked, hooray for Hypnobabies) for 40 minutes and my baby was in my arms. So I was technically only in "real" labor, for 2 hours. Ta da! I had my baby, everything is perfect and lovely and now we can cuddle and have the loaf of bread the midwives bake you. NOPE! I hemorrhaged. So I have to get out of the tub, get in the bed and be given medication to stop the bleeding, which it did. I deliver the placenta. Then I try to nurse for the first time, perfect latch, we decided to name her Fawn, everything is now good, bring on the bread! NOPE! I had adhered placenta and had a 4th degree tear, so would be transferred to the hospital to get my tear fixed, the midwife said "I could fix it here but you'll be more comfortable and they will do a better job at the hospital", yeah, I don't want to mess around with that area, I want the "better job". I was going to need a procedure to get the placenta removed, but it ended up coming out on its own. Fawn was put in her car seat just over 2 hours after being born. Pretty wild. Luckily the hospital was right across the street so we didn't have far to go. I was in that post birth blissful haze. So I went in to get my tear fixed, separated from my daughter just hours after meeting her. They gave me an epidural since I was supposed to get a d and c for the placenta, but didn't, so I didn't need the epidural. They said the epidural would make me numb from the waist down and last 2 hours. I was numb from the neck down for 7 hours and my arms were convulsing the entire time because my nerves were so messed up. Thank God I didn't have one of those when I was pushing Fawn out! That would have been horrible! I go in to recovery and my husband comes in with my midwife and Fawn and they tell me that she needs to be monitored overnight for a slow resting heart rate and we will have to be separated for 12 hours while she is in the SCU and I am in recovery. So her irregular heartbeat went away, but now it's slow... really?! Give this kid a break! I nursed again, they gave her her vitamin k shot, and she didn't even flinch. The midwife checked her heartbeat afterward because she said in all her years she has never seen a single baby not react to that shot. I'm telling you, my kid was born chill. Her heart ended up being totally fine, just very efficient.
I healed really well. I took 2 full weeks of doing VERY limited activity, just focusing on bonding with Fawn, figuring out breastfeeding, taking 40,000 sitz baths and resting. Which I am very very lucky to have had the ability to do. My husband and our family and friends could not have been more stellar. I was nervous about postpartum depression because I had 2 risk factors working against me, I had PMDD (really bad PMS) years ago and Fawn's birth was considered traumatic, well, her post birth was I suppose. I didn't end up having any sings of PPD or PMAD, I credit my amazing husband and all the help we received, and Fawn for being an amazing sleeper right away. But it took me a very long time to not start sobbing when I thought about that first night with her being hooked up to all those wires in a room completely alone, she slept for the vast majority of it luckily, I would go in to try and nurse her every 3 hours and she wouldn't even wake up for that. Every time I look over our birth pictures and I see the images of Fawn being held by my parents and my Mother-in-law for the first time, getting her first diaper changed, being weighed and measured, and knowing I wasn't there, I burst in to tears, still. I was SO worried she wouldn't bond well with me. Well she loves nothing more than being carried around in my arms and is a very affectionate and cuddly baby, so my worry was all for not. I still am processing the whole thing, I probably will be for a long time, maybe forever. But talking about it helps, especially to people that have had a similar experience. That's why I'm so glad to be a part of this blog. Since becoming a Mother I have found how incredibly important it is to be connected with other Mothers, swap stories and advice. I had so many things happen during my pregnancy that weren't "supposed to happen" but isn't that Motherhood? Being thrown stuff from every direction and learning to adapt and catch it all while also making dinner, nursing, wearing your baby and doing calf raises LIKE A DAMN BOSS! Being a Mom makes me feel so strong it's unbelievable, I've never felt more sure of myself. I'm definitely in the part where I feel like, yep, this is what I'm meant to do.
P.S... I never did get my loaf of bread.
Alex lives with her husband, daughter and 2 mutts in Minneapolis, MN. She works part time on a podcast with her parents and brother, and the rest of the time she is Momming it up, working out, eating or talking to herself. She is a baking and cooking enthusiast and tree hugger.
A few weeks ago I made an Instagram post that asked you to fill in the blank 'the hardest part of becoming a parent for me was _______' Diane responded "the hardest part was adjusting to the lack of any down time and doing what I wanted whenever I wanted.." She had her son later in life (at 40) and so she had already established who Diane was as a person and a woman, but now she had to figure out who Diane was, as a mother.
I was almost 40 when I had my first child. Does this make me unique…probably not. When I was asked about writing a blog about being an older mom (or “advanced maternal age” as the doctors kindly like to call it), I wasn’t really sure in all honestly, what the heck I would write about. I never thought my story was something worth telling, but maybe it is. Maybe there is another young woman out there who has the same worries I did when I was younger. Maybe there is another mom out there in her late 30s or 40s and pregnant and wondering how it will all work out. So I’ll share my story and maybe someone might find some comfort in it. How I got to this point in my life is part of my story, so I’ll start there.
Growing up, I was like any other girl I’m sure. I always just assumed being a mom would be a part of my future. I never really thought twice about my decisions after highschool to attend a local community college and get a job in the “real world”. I just assumed the right guy would come along at some point. I was having fun, enjoying my early twenties, and spending time with friends. Slowly but surely, those friends started to find their perfect guy and move on, getting married and having kids. But time went on and my “perfect guy” never showed up. I kept looking, but loser after loser continued to show up instead. I continued on with my career, moving up and advancing, I was doing well.
In 1999, when I was about 25, I made a big career move, quit my job and moved to a new town. I was in an unhealthy relationship, but had convinced myself he was “the guy”. I started a brand new job, in an area I knew nothing about. The relationship ended (as it should have) and here I was, in a new town, with a new job that I was loving but I basically pretty much alone. Turning 30 was hard for me. To put it mildly, I didn’t handle it well. I cried pretty much all day. My life was nothing I imagined it would be when I turned 30. I was single, working a new job and I wasn’t sure where it was going, and basically alone in a new town. My friends from highschool and early twenties were all busy, rightfully so, with their lives, children and husbands and our contacts had faded. I felt overwhelmingly sad. I needed to do something so I decided to focus on my career. I went back to school at a local community college to get my paralegal degree. I was working full time during the day and attending school at night. It kept me busy, I didn’t think about the fact I was getting older. I still had a fleeting hope that the right guy would show up. I graduated in 2004 when I turned 31 and my career continued to flourish.
So here’s the funny story about that “right guy”, he appeared right after I moved to the new town, but I had no idea what the future would bring. Both of us were in other relationships at the time. He was a good friend, someone who advised me and was a friend during some really rough times in my life. We kept in touch but it was just a good friendship, and I didn’t put much thought into it being more than that. A few years later, in 2007, his situation changed and he needed a roommate. I was 34, tired of apartment living and decided to move in. The story of us begins there. Our friendship turned romantic and we fell in love. The saying is completely true, when you stop looking that’s when it will happen. My amazing husband proposed in 2011 and we were married in 2012, I was 39 and he was 45. Neither one of us had ever been married, he had no children and I obviously didn’t either.
My husband was never really sold on having kids, it wasn’t really something he dreamed of (I guess that’s a guy thing). Me on the other hand, it was. We decided to leave it to fate. I went off birth control 2 months before we got married and we said, if it’s meant to be, it will be. I was no longer in the prime of my life for having children and we knew that. It was highly possible that it just was past my time and I accepted that. Well, lo and behold, my little eggs were still in fine working order and apparently I am fertile mertle, and we came home from our honeymoom at the end of September 2012 with our little babe on board. I was due 2.5 months before my 40th birthday. Woah.
Reality sets in and at my first doctor visit I was officially labeled as “advanced maternal age”. Ya, I get it, I’m old. There’s a whole host of things that come along with that label. Thankfully because I am a pretty healthy person and my family history was pretty clear, my midwives were not concerned. Well, I’m glad they weren’t, because we did enough worrying for everyone the first few months. Because of the risks of birth defects and disorders at my age, we decided to go forward with genetic testing and amniocentesis for our peace of mind. This can’t be done until 16 weeks so we had to wait a bit. We did not tell anyone about the pregnancy in the meantime. Side note…A couple years before this, I had a close friend that was my age when she got pregnant and her baby had multiple deformities and problems and would have never survived outside the womb. They had already announced they were pregnant and so having to then go back and tell everyone that they decided to abort was a horrible situation for them. I didn’t want to possibly have to go through that kind of pain. So we kept the secret.
The time finally came at the beginning of December for the amnio and I’m telling you now, that was by far the WORST thing I have ever experienced in my entire life to date. Not because of the doctors (UW Medicine is amazing), but the procedure itself is beyond stressful and I nearly hyperventilated in the procedure room. Thankfully, my husband and the fabulous nurses calmed me down and we did the test. The next few days crept by as we waited for the results. The results finally came and, thank the good Lord above, it was completely normal. Our baby was fine and we could FINALLY breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate this amazing child of ours. We told our families soon after and they were so excited along with us (although legitimately questioning how the heck I hid an almost 4-month pregnant belly!).
The rest of my pregnancy was pretty unremarkable. Because of my, wait for it…advanced maternal age…I had regular sonograms. I was actually thankful for this as it just reassured me that our baby boy was developing well with no concerns or problems.
Another note, because of my age, we knew this would be our only child. My husband and I had many conversations about this and I was committed to enjoying and appreciating every second of my pregnancy. I rarely let any of the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy get me down. I was so thankful for this little boy. I was blessed with a pretty easy pregnancy and time went by fast. Soon, it was May and time to welcome our little boy. I went into labor the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend. After 42 hours of labor, our little boy ended up arriving via C-Section at 8:20 pm on Wednesday, May 29th at 8 lbs, 9 oz and 21.5 inches long. Just a note, the C-Section had nothing to do with my age. He was just too big for little me and wasn’t going to come out the regular way.
So here I am, almost 40 years old and I have a newborn. Interesting fact you don’t really think about. Every person I knew my age who had children, their children were now in their teens. No one I knew even remembered what it was like to have a newborn. And things had changed so much in the last 15-ish years, everything anyone I knew remembered, was now out of date and no longer the current accepted ways. Additionally, I had lost touch with most of my friends from highschool and my early twenties anyway. I felt pretty alone, I really didn’t have anyone to ask questions of or support me in a “I’ve been there” kind of way. Thank heavens, a friend of mine (who was in her early twenties) hooked me up with an AMAZING group of moms in a Facebook group (shout out to all my NMOSS mamas!). They offered support, advice and guidance on just about everything I needed. They didn’t care, or really even know, that I was 15 years older than most of them. Say what you will about social media, but to this day, I am so grateful I had those moms to turn to. They didn’t judge, they offered advice freely and honestly. In turn, I am now able to offer some advice I’ve learned to other new moms. This, my friends, is what all moms should want to be (I’ll avoid my soapbox here about how judgey some moms can be…grrrrr…).
I think the biggest adjustment I had to make in myself was accepting this new life. I had almost 40 years of living my own life, doing what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. Before I got pregnant, I was involved with several non-profit programs and volunteered pretty regularly. I worked a 40-hour a week job and no one really questioned that. I had quiet time with my husband every evening when we could watch TV shows together, we worked hard on our house and spent lots of time outside doing home projects. That changed overnight. I got home with this new baby and suddenly every action I took revolved around someone else. I very clearly remember one day shortly after having my son, crying and thinking “is this my life now?” I was tired, hormonal, and had suddenly had a complete change of how my life had been just days before. It was a HARD adjustment for me.
So, here’s another “older mom” challenge…let’s talk about mom friendships. They are HARD. I once read a blog about how making new mom friends is like dating, and no joke, it pretty much is. Well, add in the bonus that I am 15-ish years older than most moms that have kiddos my son’s age and it is just practically impossible. I generally have very little in common with other moms who have kids my son’s age. Truthfully, I envy other moms who have these fabulous friendships with other moms. I don’t have that. Let’s be honest, its sucks sometimes. I would love to have other mom friends that I could meet up with, have play dates and gossip with while our kiddos play and grow up together. Because our son is an only child, I am constantly looking for social situations for him to meet up and play with other kiddos his age. After a lot of work, I now have a couple moms that we meet up with so the kiddos can play, but it was hard to get there. I still don’t have that close friendships with those moms, but it works. LOTS of reaching out, putting myself out there with no responses, which really just feels like rejection.
It’s HARD to continue to reach out and try to develop these relationships. It takes confidence in myself to not take it personally when I don’t get responses or get a “yeah, we should meet up” and then never hear from them again. But, I will continue to reach out because I feel like it’s important for my son to be in social situations with other kids his age. (Note, he is in preschool 3 days a week too and we do soccer, swim and Tball…so there’s that). But here’s the up side to this situation…I’m older and I no longer have any desire to try to be someone I’m not in order to make friendships (seriously…whose got time for that nonsense). The struggle younger moms have to wear the right clothes, hair, make-up…I’m past that. You get what you see with me, I have confidence in who I am as a person (and trust me…It took my pretty much 40 years to get there).
So here I am, almost 44 years old and I have an almost 4 years old. How do I feel about being an “older mom” now? Honestly, I think it’s pretty cool. With all the challenges that come along with it, I truly believe I am a better mom because I waited. I have TONS more patience that I would have had in my twenties, or even thirties, for that matter. My husband and I both have stable and financially secure careers and can afford to pay for activities, clothes, food and whatever else our son may need without too much worry. Having a successful career, I can show my son that a woman can be whatever she wants to be and hopefully start bringing down some gender biases. I have the experience to know and understand the importance of family relationships and that life is short (I’ve lost all my grandparents but one and my husband is the same). My husband and I have a strong, mature relationship to model for our son (most days anyway…). We both have “old school” values to teach our son, which, in my humble opinion, is greatly lacking in so many kids these days (treating our elders with respect, using our manners, saying please and thank you, handwritten thank you notes for gifts – don’t get me started on that one). These are just a few things that come to mind as I’m writing this but I am sure there are more I’ll think of later.
So, what do I want to end this with? My life motto…everything happens for a reason. Everything that I have gone through in my life up until now that seemed so hard, that I was upset with, that I questioned why it was happening…it all led me here. It led me to be the mom that I am, and I think I’m doing pretty okay. At the end of the day, I have the most fabulous life, I absolutely couldn’t ask for more, and I wouldn’t change being an “older mom” for anything.
Diane has been married to her husband, Tim, for 4.5 years and is mother to her almost 4 year old son, Cameron. During the week she works as a paralegal for the State of Washington. She also serves on the Board for the Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program. On her down time, Diane enjoys gardening, working on home projects, and spending time with her family.