Yes, at 41 years old I’m about to enter my 7th month of pregnancy. Some people seem to think that’s really old to be having a child and in fact one person I even heard call it a geriatric pregnancy, however my doctor and the perinatologist I’m seeing both say that’s nothing, they frequently see much older. I will say that I certainly don’t feel 41 and according to most people, I don’t look it either. The biggest risk with AMA (advanced maternal age) pregnancies is birth defects. Trisomy 13/18 and 21 (down’s syndrome) are much more common over the age of 40. I refused any invasive testing because we wouldn’t terminate regardless of the results, but I’m excited to say that the NT scan, all bloodwork and a very in depth Level II ultrasound all indicate that this baby is growing perfectly and is most likely very healthy.
I belong to an online forum for fertility and pregnancy, I have since prior to my first pregnancy, which I ended up miscarrying back in 2007. I actually had 3 miscarriages prior to having my son in 2008. Those miscarriages helped me to understand what people meant when they say you can’t understand how something feels until you’ve been through it. Family and friends want and try to be helpful – but comments such as “you can always try again”, or “there was something wrong with the baby and this was God’s way of taking care of it” really just make things worse, not better. Then of course there was even someone who doesn’t like me (understatement) who actually had the nerve to say she was glad that I miscarried the baby, that I got what I deserved and that I didn’t deserve to have a family at all. (Yes, this is the cancer I referred to in an earlier post.) Obviously, I would just try to ignore comments such as that – especially coming from someone who was very unbalanced – so unbalanced in fact that she tried to convince her daughter (who was legal, but just barely) to sleep with the man she was dating just to try to bribe him to stay with her – not exactly a decent role model for a parent. Regardless, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and wakeup to find it was all a bad dream and I had my little girl back. Yes, we had testing done afterward and found out that it was a little girl I lost due to Trisomy 23, which is incompatible with life.
My husband and I had been having a lot of problems in our marriage and to be honest, even though I definitely wanted another child, I was a little surprised when he brought it up this past Spring and said that he was ready to start trying again. We tried for about 3 months beginning around April, but nothing. My husband even requested that I try taking Clomid again to assist with fertility, even though it pretty much makes me a crazy person while I’m on it. At the end of June, when I still hadn’t gotten pregnant, we started to talk about that fact that I might just be too old, and we decided to take a break and if it happened, it happened. Lo and behold, the very next cycle I was pregnant, without trying at all. We found out the beginning of August, about a week before I left on a trip back to California to see my Grandmother who was dying of cancer. I left the positive pregnancy test on a big red note on his nightstand so that he’d see it when he got home from work – it said: Guess What? He was over the moon excited. We decided that I would go ahead and tell my family while I was in California so that I would be able to tell my grandmother before she died, but aside from that we wouldn’t tell anyone else until time for the NT scan.
Overall, other than being a bit more tired that I was with my first pregnancy, I really haven’t noticed any difference with this pregnancy. My blood pressure is good, I had actually lost quite a bit of weight prior to getting pregnant, so I weigh less with this one than I did with my first. No morning sickness or anything. I will have my glucose testing in a couple of weeks, and I’m hopeful all will be fine there as well. Don’t let people tell you that pregnancy after 40 has to be more difficult or dangerous – if you’re healthy, it really doesn’t.
I share all of this to give hope to those 35 or 40+ women out there who are ttc but who may be having a difficult time. In the end, both of my children have been conceived without any medical assistance whatsoever – so it is possible, don’t give up hope. BUT, do try to relax – both of my successful (so far) pregnancies happened after I STOPPED ttc, and just let things happen as they would. I really do think that stress and trying too hard to conceive can actually prevent it from happening.