Utter disbelief? Is that what I felt when the pregnancy stick revealed positive? Hubby was away on a business trip. I hadn’t felt well in days. I found myself out of breath, walking up a flight of stairs or winded from a brisk walk in the city (New York City can do that, but this was different). I put the stick in a Ziploc bag and laid it on his pillow with a note “guess what.”
It was my passive-aggressive way of not processing the current reality. I would be a mom (again) at 45. How? I mean, we know-how. But after the first short term delivery (our first baby boy came at 24 weeks when I was 39-years-old) and numerous losses (miscarriages and a termination due to no heartbeat), I figured God was saying we were enough (as is). Now, in the midst of me rebuilding my professional career and honing in on my love of travel, I would soon be faced with putting my wants on pause to serve our unborn child’s needs. Admittedly, I felt numb.
I know so many mothers and those who desire motherhood will read this and may consider me ungrateful. That wasn’t it. I just needed time to process what was happening and what it meant at that particular time in my life. I was in a loving marriage, and our house was filled with happy kids (bonus daughter and toddler son). We both worked in careers that honed our passions and purpose. Life was good.
Immediately after finding the news out, we called the doctor. We told her we wanted an appointment ASAP. After all, we’d had negligent experiences (what we now know them to be) in previous pregnancies, so we needed to formulate a plan. We wanted “insurance” that this baby was our miracle baby too. The doctor seemed just as shocked, asking if we’d considered her advice for IVF. Nope, this was natural! All God – in his time.
We hired a doula because I needed to feel more prepared. She helped keep my mental and emotional wellness in check.
The first step was modified bed rest, limited sexual activity, and no more commutes to the city on the train because anything could make this a short-lived dream, and we didn’t want to take chances. Then, reality set in. Weekly doctor visits because I was at an advanced maternal age with a previous early delivery, making me a double whammy.
Also, a review of diet, no exercise, iron pills, and blood tests to check for any abnormalities. Decisions upon decisions. At 15 weeks and shortly after my 45th birthday, we decided a cervical cerclage (stitch to treat cervical weakness) was a good “safety net.” That landed me on bed rest for a week in which I was only able to get up to use the bathroom.
My husband became both mom and dad to our kids. He took on making sure everyone was okay – eating, cleaning, caring for the entire family. I worried about his mental state, but he proved to be strong! Family gatherings in our bed with the kids made me smile, yet I yearned to get fresh air.
Simultaneously, I feared too much movement might result in the same scenario as our first son, and I knew better than to tempt fate. I remained compliant with all of the doctor’s orders. I used social media and text to stay in touch with friends and the industry. Those close to me called weekly to get updates and make sure mentally I was okay. We hired a doula because I needed to feel more prepared. She helped keep my mental and emotional wellness in check.
I read more books and asked more questions. My cousin became my daily check-in (she’d been there the first time I delivered at 24 weeks, and I think she secretly felt invested in getting me to the finish line too). This time, I wouldn’t just rely on the medical team to get us to the finish line. I would be more informed & invested.
I wasn’t worried about weight gain (my good friend *M warned she would not allow any vain feelings because this pregnancy was about having a healthy baby). I did miss exercising, and I mourned missing the summer, which included showing off my recent bikini body I’d worked so hard to achieve all winter. I knew the stakes (statics), and with my history, succumbing to the doctor’s advice was a pill I could swallow.
Did I mention from the jump, hubby was ECSTATIC! You’d thought we won the lottery. I had a sense of guilt that I didn’t immediately feel that way. I had faith that God sent us this baby when he knew we could handle it (baby boy #1 was a handful, having spent ten months in NICU after his birth and more). I knew God doesn’t put more on you than you can handle. I woman-ed up!
I exhaled and told myself I would not rob myself of this experience nor allow the past experience to taint the joy I should feel with this pregnancy. What a relief to reach that point!
We decided not to publicly share the pregnancy news until we felt it was safe for us, that meant passing week 24. And honestly, each week after that felt like another hurdle to getting us closer to a full-term pregnancy. We celebrated week 24 with a gender reveal with our families and an Instagram post announcing, “It’s a boy.”
Never did I imagine the response. I had no idea how many women approaching 40, and over 40 still had dreams of motherhood or even adding to their current family mix. I knew then that God was using me as a vessel to speak hope and light the path for many to follow. The DMs, text messages, emails, the outpouring of love, and excitement were almost overwhelming. How could I ensure I didn’t internalize these women’s feelings and yet, at the same time, help them in their journey?
I would not rob myself of this experience nor allow the past experience to taint the joy I should feel with this pregnancy.
I spent the rest of my pregnancy at home mostly. Limited outside contact and baked our baby boy. We had a baby shower three weeks before our scheduled C-section (my only option for delivery due to the complications of my first pregnancy). It was AMAZING! I didn’t have one the first time, and my hubby likes to celebrate life, so this was exciting for both of us. I thanked him for days after. He gave me so many gifts to help heal old wounds during this pregnancy.
Our baby boy arrived perfectly! We went home three days after his birth. He latched on, and I breastfed for the first time. He showed me a new way to experience motherhood. There are still days I catch myself holding onto things that came with my firstborn son. My firstborn now six-years-old has a g-tube in his belly, which he uses to eat. For this reason, we are cautious about how we pick him up. Sometimes, I find myself hesitating and thinking about how to pick up my newborn son (who doesn’t have a g-tube).
It’s almost a habit to take precautions near his belly. Then I’m reminded of how different my two birth and baby experiences really are. We’re so blessed, and I thank God every day for all of the joys (and sorrows) I’ve had in motherhood. When women ask me about getting pregnant over 40, I say explore all of your options. Have faith. Spend time investing in relationships, if that’s your criteria for motherhood. Hubby and I didn’t know why our first son came at 24 weeks, so we discussed (and visited) fertility options. It just so happens that when we were planning, God had a larger plan for us. His name is Lenox.