What is the Advanced Maternal Age Project?

Our mission continues. Our goal is to provide unique support to women and couples who made the choice to start their family at age 35 or better. All at no charge. It’s our nonprofit’s work.

Mid-life pregnancy and motherhood is a growing trend in the developed world. It is not going away.

Enjoy our site filled with women’s stories, expert voices and information to make the best choices for you.

  • Is there something you still need?
  • What other resources should we make available?

We’d love to hear from you. Write Us at info@advancedmaternalage.org. Follow us on Twitter for news about the trend.

What Was Your Experience?

Share Your Story with Our Nonprofit to Help Other Women. Donations Support our Research and Publishing.

Our research team continues to capture longer, more in-depth stories from advanced maternal age mothers like you. Our Nonprofit is bringing them to our international audience in narrative form, along with audio clips and photos of the women and their families. If you became a mother for the first time at age of 35 or later, we’d love to hear your story! We are now scheduling for individual sessions for in person and telephone interviews. Please write us as a first step.

Want to know more about our organization and how you can fund our work?

For all inquiries, please contact us at info@advancedmaternalage.org

[Read more…]

An Interview: Jeany’s* Story

 

Co-founder Sharon Interviewed Jeany about Her Story.


Sharon: Tell me about your family and who is in it?

 

Jeany: My family includes me, my husband Donald, and our 1-year-old biological son named Donel. My husband has two children from a former relationship, a son aged 19 and a daughter aged 12, who do not live in our home.

 

Sharon:  At what age did you start trying to start a family?

Jeany: When I was 34 we started to try to conceive. I had married at age 31. My husband is 8 years older than me and he had a preference not to be changing diapers at age 50. He had been through that with his other children, my step-children. We had no idea how long it would take for me to get pregnant. I knew that my age might be a factor.

Sharon: What life choices or circumstances led you to that point?

Jeany:  I worked hard to get my Ph.D. in psychology when I was 28 and launched my career in my hometown of Washington, D.C, working with children enrolled in special education programs ranging from newborns through 21 years of age. I moved to Texas and found myself working at the Texas Youth Commission, counseling troubled kids, many of whom had records of violent criminal behavior. While working with these challenging cases, I had no desire to have children of my own. My work seemed to deter me from having children earlier, plus I wanted to be in a stable relationship.

Sharon: Why did you decide to have a child?

 

Jeany:  We were ready as a couple plus I had a new job, which I currently hold, training foster parents on issues around children’s mental health and supporting those with trauma. I cover a wide range of topics in my courses for foster parents. Someday I might seek to foster and adopt a child as well, though I would wait until my son is around 4 years of age. My father is a retired social worker who worked with foster children, many of whom I got to meet and play with in my childhood.


Sharon: Describe any of the challenges you may have encountered along the way.

 

Jeany: I was first pregnant in April 2009 and it was just a few weeks until I miscarried. Though an early loss, it was painful and caused some depression for me. I was determined to try again and had Donald’s support; however, his work then and now takes him to the Middle East regularly. We worked hard to time his vacations around my ovulation cycle, but that wasn’t always easy! On at least one occasion, he changed his schedule to be home for us to try to conceive.

Sharon: Please share your feelings from that process: getting AMA label, experiences with medical professionals, etc.

 

Jeany: When we conceived Donel in August 2010, I knew that there were additional risks around an advanced maternal age birth. I proactively took a number of measures while trying to conceive, including losing weight and exercising. I did yoga, took herbs and got some chiropractic care to improve my body’s alignment. I really took care of myself and was prepared. Our family of medical doctors were a bit skeptical, but I don’t regret taking these measures to be healthy.

The biggest challenge we faced was my preeclampsia diagnosis, which I sense may have been caused by my age. It was disappointing and made us change our birth plans from seeking natural childbirth in a birthing center to having Donel delivered in a hospital by an OB. Then, when in labor Donel’s heart rate slowed and I suddenly needed an emergency c-section. This was a big disappointment!

Sharon: Looking back on the process…do you see things differently? Is there anything you would do differently? Have your feelings changed? If so, how?


Jeany: 
I was able to deal with my early fears about having a child, removing the perceptions I had in my early career from working with troubled youth.

I had self doubt after the c-section and blamed my age. It had been my dream to have natural childbirth. I wonder if preeclampsia would have been my diagnosis at an earlier age?

Sharon:  Thinking back, do you feel good about your choice or are there things that you regret?

Jeany: I regret that I might not be able to have another child. It’s uncertain how much support I’ll receive from my husband to conceive again, or to foster and adopt. We’re talking about it now.I did it the best way for me, in terms of waiting to be married, being well into my career and certainly past my fears about the troubled children I counseled early on.


Sharon: Now that your child is 1-year old, what has been your experience as a parent? How might this be reflective of your maturity or other factors?

Jeany: My son is a delight and like all toddlers, can be quite challenging at the same time. Some days when my husband is traveling, it can be trying caring for a 1-year-old on my own. Once he’s in bed and I have time to rest and reflect and then realize that he is a true blessing. There are many women that cannot have children and I am truly happy with my choices.

Thank you for interviewing me and may I encourage other women of color to be a part of your project?

Sharon: Absolutely. We encourage this and thank you Jeany!

Jeany* was a first-time mother at age 36 and has a background in counseling psychology and works with foster families and children. She asked to be interviewed for The Advanced Maternal Age Project, which we did by phone on May 24, 2012.

Share your story.

Sharing Our Perspectives: Feedback from Wendy

We pose a two questions to first-time moms of age 35 or better to see the range of perspectives and ideas that women across the country have on the core topic of this website and upcoming book.

Sharon: How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you–if anything?

Wendy:  I saw the stamp at the appointment after my first OB visit to my traditional doctor’s office. Each appointment she reminded me of my risk factors and chance for c-section. By the eighth month, I literally told her that I was confident that I would continue to be healthy and have a healthy child via natural childbirth. I proved her wrong!

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you?

Wendy: I do feel like an older mom. I sense that the women who have children the same ages as mine are more concerned (read frazzled) by minor things. I am wise enough when to call the pediatrician and take the small bumps in stride. The only significant difference for me is that as a 44-year-old working mom with young children, I am often tired on the weekends. My remedy  is the old adage, sleep when they sleep. Napping and going to sleep early seems to work.

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you

Writing Prompts for Submissions

Here are some prompts to help guide you in your writing.  These are meant to help get you thinking about your story.  Please don’t feel like we want you to answer all these questions or let them limit your story in any way!

Happy writing!  We look forward to reading your story.

-Sharon and Jennifer

 

  • Tell us about your family and who is in it (names not necessary).


  • At what age did you start trying to start a family?


  • What life choices or circumstances led you to that point?

 

  • Do you have biological and/or foster and/or adoptive children in your home?

 

  • Why did you decide to have a child?

 

  • Describe any of the challenges you may have encountered along the way.


  • Share your feelings from that process:  getting AMA label, experiences with medical professionals, etc.



  • How did the process affect your relationship with your spouse or partner? Friends? Family?

 

  • Looking back on the process:

-Do you see things differently?

-Is there anything you would do differently?

-Have your feelings changed? If so, how?

  

  • Thinking back, do you feel good about your choice or are there things that maybe you regret?

 

  • Now that your child is X years old, what has been your experience as a parent? How might this be reflective of your maturity or other factors?

 


Michelle’s Story

Our daughter was born a month after my husband and I were married, hundreds of miles away from us, to people who sowed the seeds of abuse and neglect. During our daughter’s early years, my husband and I were traveling, hiking, biking, remodeling a house — and not planning to add anyone else to it.

We became a cliche, and changed plans as we neared 40. After learning about foreign and domestic adoption options, we decided to invest in the U.S. foster care system. I am compelled to tell this story because many friends told us that they contemplated adoption, but were afraid of “bonding problems” from social services kids.

Stories of foreign orphans being sent back to their home country or to a ranch in Montana should send a clear message that attachment disorder is not unique to U.S. orphans.

Our adoption search began with the Adoption Exchange website, which posts pictures and profiles of children in foster care, who are available for adoption.

It took a year of looking and a couple false-start inquiries before a 10-year-old girl sounded like a match for us. After interviewing us, the social workers agreed and chose us for Rachel (not her real name). Rachel had been a “system kid” for over half her life, and frankly, her history and file scared the heck out of me and my husband. However, Rachel had my husband before we got to hello.

He said solution-oriented, man things like, “Look, she’s 10, and we’re 40. Plus, there’s one of her and two of us.”

We did not romanticize adoption or anything about this process. Completing a home study and working through the social services requirements will try anyone’s patience. Gestation is faster.

We also did not expect Rachel to be grateful for her new life. These children have lost everything, and if they have bonded with their foster parents, then they may lose them during the adoption process.

We did our homework by going for pre-adoption counseling, reading and taking a required foster parent class. “Parenting the Hurt Child” is a must read for anyone contemplating adopting children with an abuse history. Hurt children have complex emotional ages, are often medicated for their behaviors, and may not be bonded to people. Our daughter came to us with a few psychological labels and her own pharmacy in the plastic pill sorting case that made us wonder if we were adopting a child, a war veteran, or an 80-year-old.

Our adoption was finalized a few months ago and Rachel turned out to be quite a bright and resilient character. We eliminated her medications and have been working with her on filling emotional gaps, which is rewarding for all of us and exhausting for me and my husband.

Here’s a peek at what this looks like. When she pitches a fit that looks like something a 3-year-old would do, she gets a toddler time out. I’ve seen “Super Nanny,” so I know to have her sit quietly for three minutes.

Rachel plays Legos with her dad like a 5-year-old. She asked me to hold and rock her like a baby. On a recent shopping trip, I bought her women’s size 9 shoes, a bra, and a baby blanket to wrap her in as I rock her.

This is our reality and it likely sounds odd. However, this is the kind of therapeutic parenting she needs to fill in the patchwork of emotional holes that her birth family handed her, and to be a good parent to her future children.

I still get the “waiting child” update from Adoption Exchange and see more young people who could have promising and productive lives if people invest in them. My only regret in adopting our daughter is the sadness that comes from knowing that I will not have the years or the energy left in me to devote to another child after Rachel is launched into society. Perhaps someone reading this will.

 

Share your story.

Sharon H’s Story

By the time my mom was my age I had finished college. My life is very different: my daughter’s just 8 and by the time she’s finished college, I’ll be heading towards retirement (if I retire, though that’s a different story). Both in medical and actual terms, I’m an older mom – and that brings both triumphs and tribulations.

1. Perspective, Patience & Confidence

Perspective, patience and confidence are definitely on the ‘triumphs’ list when it comes to middle-aged motherhood. In my 20s I was still evolving and building my life and my career. Now I have confidence in my own abilities and I’ve reached many of the career milestones I wanted to achieve. Even more important, I know they pale into insignificance compared with the joy and challenge of parenting. At this stage in my life, with my own parents getting older and the knowledge that life is short, I’m more inclined to appreciate every moment that I spend with her or invest in her happiness and educational, emotional and social development. I can still remember the great times I had hanging out with my mom throughout my childhood, even when we weren’t doing anything special. I want my daughter to have those kinds of memories too.

Another triumph is the chance to see the world anew through the eyes of a child. Sometimes we can be so caught up in work that we forget about the fascination of a blade of grass or a butterfly. We ignore the wonder of a rainbow or the moon at night, and we forget to treasure every new experience. Having a child changes that. What’s more, I’m content to let her explore the world at her pace, with a lot more patience than I would have had in my 20s.

2. Energy Levels

Chalk this one up under tribulations. At the age of 25, which is the age my mom was when I was born, I had lots of energy. I could hold down a full time job and party all night for successive nights without it affecting my work performance or my enjoyment. In my late 40s, that’s not the case. Although I’m relatively fit, my energy levels are definitely lower, so a couple of active days means I don’t want to play when my daughter is raring to go. At the end of the work day, when I’m ready to sit down and relax, that’s when she needs my attention and sometimes it’s hard for me to work up the necessary enthusiasm.

Along with that, I’ve discovered that I just can’t hack sleepless nights anymore. I learned that the hard way, as my daughter took a couple of years to decide to sleep through the night. This was a big problem once I returned to work. Frankly, I was a zombie, and it was a good thing my bosses were understanding. Fuzzy thoughts made everything take twice as long as it should at a time when I was balancing the new responsibilities of parenting. It wasn’t pretty. Luckily, that didn’t last, and broken nights are now rare. When they do happen, though, the result is the same – a less productive work day just when I should be at the top of my game.

3. Thinking Time

At any age, being a parent is a full time job – think 25/7 (and yes, that is a deliberate mistake). I’m a writer and thinking time is an important part of my creative process. While in my 20s, my thoughts when I relaxed were often about a creative challenge, now they are more likely to be about the mechanics of the following day: school uniforms, extra-curricular activities and my daughter’s general welfare. That’s not a bad thing, but creativity can suffer though, to balance that, sometimes your child provides a perspective that you hadn’t thought of, giving you a new angle to approach an issue or problem.

4. Disposable Income

When I was in my 20s, my income wasn’t enough to support the lifestyle to which I aspired. As an older parent, I have more disposable income, which means it’s easy to keep my daughter supplied with books, spring for after-school activities, fund trips and more. I think this will give her a rich educational experience and make her an all-rounder, which gives me a lot of satisfaction, too. The potential down side is that she will take all of this for granted, but it’s my job to make sure she retains a balanced attitude while enjoying the benefits.

While there’s no doubt that being an older parent can take a physical toll, I’ve found that mentally and emotionally it’s been a good experience. At this age, I’ve got my act together and I think that makes me a better role model for my daughter. Of course, every generation thinks that parents get things wrong, so check back with me when she’s in her teens and see if I feel the same. I hope I do!

 Share your story!

Sharon Hurley Hall has been writing professionally for almost 25 years, and she does it because she loves it. She is a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend, fanatical about grammar, and is fascinated by learning new things. Her story was original published on Living Better at 50+.

Sharon’s Story: Part 1

From age 27 when I first married through age 38, I was regularly asked “when are you going to start a family”? I had a set answer, one that seemed very socially acceptable: “I do not think that my husband and I are going to have children.”  I was perfectly content with that response both in my head and my heart.

Fast forward to the present day: age 44 and being married to a different, caring man who comes from a large family. This chapter of my life is the best and includes a healthy infant boy. Sweet Shannon was a pure miracle or accident depending on one’s perspective. Is the old adage, “good things come to those who wait (and wait and wait)”? This one was worth the wait.

Shannon (yes, that is a boy) is a very smiley seven-month old as I write this. With bright blue eyes, fair skin and fine, strawberry blonde hair. He is what empowers me most in my busy, ambitious life that includes owning a one-year-old retail business, co-founding and leading marketing and business development for a new marketing research agency, and being a writer.

I am proud to have an infant son again. I hold him dearly and am truly amazed. He nurses, nibbles at pureed vegetables and smiles with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen on a baby. His smile melts my heart, truly.

Just one year ago my husband and I were awaiting the results of the CVS test, the much dreaded and highly accurate embryonic test for genetic abnormalities. I held my breath during the procedure in the perinatologist’s office. The same lack of air enveloped me when I got the call back from the genetic counselor whom I know well. She was calling with good results this time. I was already 43 years of age and having been through the test twice before I knew the odds. I exhaled and smiled. I haven’t stopped smiling.

Like most babies, Shannon has suffered from many minor infant ailments: jaundice at birth, colic during the first three months of life, hair loss at four months, a bit of eczema, and he also tends to spit up more than other babies. (This is what bibs and burp cloths are for.) Nothing rattles me though. Shannon takes it all in stride too–smiling, laughing at all of us but mostly at his big brother and soon-to-be adopted sister.

Our family is bigger than I could have ever imagined or dreamed. At age 38 I was busy with my career as a market research executive, lots of business and personal travel, volunteer work and hobbies. I liked young children though I wasn’t prepared to have my own.

What changed? Not the proverbial biological clock but an awakening instead. This was the right place, person and time in my life. Today at age 44 ½ I have two healthy sons and a daughter in the middle. They are all active, bright and loving.

Every nook and cranny of my pre-child home is filled with their lives. Their books, stuffed animals, building blocks, clothing, coloring pages, and other remnants of their childhood are everywhere. Organization hangs by a thread. We can still find everything we need (most days) but it is far from my neat and clutter-free days when I inhabited this place on my own, just five and a half years ago. It is never dull or un-exciting. Someone always needs something and I am able to help, at least one of them at a time. We are outnumbered but getting used to it.

Sibling bonds are already forming. They joke and giggle together. They run, pull hair and sing together. They are already making music that’s beautiful to my ears. The “big kids” ages 4 and 20 months tickle Shannon and make him giggle. I could not have imagined this time. This is my time to have a family. This is my advanced maternal age. It’s filled with sincere appreciation for these young lives and their love. It’s a very rewarding time in my life.

 Share your story

Sharon Munroe owns Little Green Beans, a unique children’s and maternity consignment shop, is an executive in a market research agency called ReconMR and has 3 young children. She blogs for each business and is thrilled to be working with Jennifer on this exciting new and personal writing project.

Kristin’s Story

AT LAST…
As I handed my first husband the divorce papers, he said to me, “The one thing I feel kind of bad about, leaving you, is that I know you wanted to have kids, and you’re already… 33.”

I know I know I know, I was thinking in my head as I calmly said, “I’ll be fine.”  Despite my bravado, that comment set off a mini panic inside.  Tick… tick… tick…  As Marisa Tomei famously said in My  Cousin Vinnie: “My clock!  It’s ticking – it’s ticking –  it’s ticking!”

I met the man who would become my second husband later that summer, and married him two years later.  Swept away by romance and love, I silenced the clock and focused on our marriage for the first two years.   My husband started commuting to Texas for three weeks a month, and we knew we couldn’t start a family with that kind of schedule, so we made plans to move to Austin.   In November of 2008, we left behind my house and my life of ten years in Atlanta to drive halfway across the country to our new home.

A month later, we were pregnant.  When I tell the story, I like to say that all it took was for us to be in the same city at the same time.

It was New Year’s Eve on the day we found out we were expecting, two weeks after my 38th birthday.  I had purchased a pregnancy test the day before, and for some reason was holding onto it.  I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl that morning, and as I sat and waited for the verdict, the little “plus” sign appeared in the tiny window.  I goggled at it for a few seconds, and then a smile split my face and I tried to conceal it as I walked toward my husband in our new one-bedroom apartment.    I handed him the stick.

Hey, we’re having a baby!” he said, and hugged me.   And then, “Why am I holding a pee stick?”

The months went by, and when our son was born in September of 2009, I was nearly 39.   After months of gestational diabetes, my doctor sent me to a specialist for regular ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s size and health, considering my “advanced maternal age”.   I eschewed coffee.  I watched my carbs like a fanatic.  I exercised twice a day – gently, of course.  I took my folic acid and slept on my left side.  I dutifully read every baby book in sight and succeeded in driving myself crazy.

One week before my due date, I was feeling extremely anxious about my baby, wiggling and moving around every time I didn’t think he was kicking and moving enough.  My eyes begged my OB to tell me that we were ready to go.  She said, “Look, I think it’s time.  We can either induce you and you’re likely to be in labor all day and have a c-section anyway because he’s going to be a big baby… or we can go ahead and schedule the c-section now.”

I said, “Sign me up.  Whatever is best for the baby is fine for me.”

I was incredibly relieved to get to the hospital the next morning, and ignored the kvetching from my husband about the early hour.  Just wait, buster.  This is cake, I thought.

As soon as our son was born, I sang a lullaby to him and he stopped crying.  At that moment, I didn’t notice my age.  I didn’t notice anything but the fact that I had a sweet baby in my arms, just like any new mother.

It was the most beautiful day of my life.  For an old woman.

Share your story

Kristin is a mother of a sweet 2-year-old boy and wife to a fantastic 6th-generation Texan, living in Austin, Texas.  Loves: her baby boy, airplanes, airports, classic cars, sports, Italy, and dessert; not necessarily in that order. You can reach her via Twitter @AustinKVS or via her blog http://www.twocannoli.com

Kim’s Story

Like most girls, I wanted to have children.  In my twenties, I thought that someday I would have four.   Something got in the way-no husband.  I knew that I didn’t want to parent alone, so I held out for Mr. Right.  Well, it took me a while to find him.  At one point in my early 30’s, my mother had actually mentioned that I just go get pregnant (MOM!!!) without getting married because I was getting up there in age. I started dating my husband (Jason) when I was 34 and we married when I was 36.  Because of “my age” we started officially trying soon after we returned from our honeymoon.  I’m pretty sure my mother expected me to come home from our honeymoon pregnant.  She had actually expressed this thought out loud to some of my co-workers shortly after the wedding!

And so it began. In Novemeber 2006 I went off the pill, saw my OB/GYN for a checkup, and started on prenatal vitamins.  I really didn’t expect to have any problems conceiving.  In fact, a few friends had told me that they had conceived within months of going off the pill.  Needless to say, I was disappointed when this didn’t happen to me.  After six months of trying, I went back to my doctor.  She suggested we do some tests because of my age.  My age? I thought I was young! I felt young, I was healthy, no major health issues.

So the tests began.  Not just for me but for Jason, too.  Lucky for me he didn’t object to it and he was supportive of all I would need to go through.  His sperm counts were “perfect”………..whew!  Then I went into surgery for a D&C just to check things out. All good there, too!  My doctor thought for sure I’d get pregnant, but I didn’t.  Next, I had a Fallopian tube study– again all good.

We were now almost to September 2007. Why wasn’t I pregnant??? We had been trying for almost a year.

Did I mention that during this time period we had sold a house, built and moved into a new one, and I had lost my mother to cancer?  Stressed? YES! YES! YES!

In early October, I found out I was pregnant!!!  We were beyond ecstatic.  But it was early, and my levels were not very high.  Back to the doctor for more lab work the following week. My levels still low, but they put me on progesterone.  Another recheck in a few days.  By then I had started to bleed a little.  I miscarried.  I was upset of course, but it was early, and we hadn’t told anyone-so luckily I didn’t have to do go back and tell everyone that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.  We decided that in a couple of weeks we would take a little weekend trip to celebrate our first anniversary and get our minds off of it.  The next  month I went on Clomid to stimulate my ovaries.  It worked!!!  I became pregnant after one month!   But again the disappointment.  I miscarried at about six weeks.

So now I was worried.  The self doubt really came out.  It was all my fault, something was wrong with me.  Maybe God didn’t think I’d be a good mother.  I missed my mother.  Next, it was suggested that I see a fertility specialist.  It had been over a year of trying.

So I made an appointment.  I tried to relax but it was really consuming me.  Lucky for me I have a husband that was very supportive of me during all of this (and some really good girlfriends too!).  We went to our first appointment with a new Dr. in January 2008.  It was very overwhelming to say the least, even for people in the medical profession (my husband and I are both registered nurses).  We met with a nurse, nurse practitioner, someone from billing, and finally the doctor.  After talking with the billing/insurance lady we realized how money driven this practice was.  She suggested that we change our insurance because our current would cover IUI,  but if we needed IVF-the other insurance we could get through our employer would cover it.  We went through our health and pregnancy histories and treatment options were given to us.  More blood work for me to start off with.  They started off talking about ovulation stimulating drugs and quickly moved on to intrauterine insemination.  Within a few minutes they were talking about invitro and egg donors!  After all, are you ready for this ?……… I was over 35!  WAIT A MINUTE……..this was too fast for us.  We had been able to conceive, didn’t want someone else’s egg  (at least not yet) and we were nervous about the possibility of multiples.  Yes, I had wanted four children, but not at once–and that was years ago.  I had smartened up.

It was decided at that appointment that we would start off by trying some stimulating drugs.  Honestly, now it all seems like a blur.  We spent the next few months back and forth to the dr’s, giving me injections and having sex.  UGGHHH………it all became so tedious.  My husband and I had always had a great sex life, but now we were being told WHEN to have it.  Definitely a downer.  We would do a series of injections to stimulate my ovaries, have ultrasounds to confirm that an egg was there, then have sex on such and such a day–whether or not either of us were in the “mood”.  I’m pretty sure that there were a few times in that period when sex was the furthest thing from our minds.  I guess this went on for 3-4 months–nothing.  The next step was IUI.  But there was a chance of multiples with IUI, probably JUST twins though.  JUST TWINS!!!  I think Jason fell off his chair.   It was one thing to have twins naturally but …..
I have a few friends with twins, some via IUI or IVF and a couple naturally.  It’s hard.  I wasn’t so sure I could handle it.

It was now that we decided to take a break.  Not a break from our marriage but a break from all this craziness.  We felt like we weren’t us anymore.  My 38th birthday was coming up, and I just wanted to relax and celebrate it with Jason and a few friends.  There was an annual festival in our city that we always went to. Not that I consider myself a big drinker, but I did like to have a glass or two with dinner or on a night out.  I rarely drank during my treatments because I didn’t want to mess anything up.  So we celebrated with a few, three or four wine slushies.  I was feeling pretty good.

A few weeks later I was due for my period.  We had some decisions to make.  Would we continue our break?  Was it time to try IUI?  I was late but just a couple days.  But I was always on time, like clockwork.  The morning of day five or six, I decided to take a pregnancy test.  I’m not even sure I told Jason that I was going to.  It was a Thursday morning, June 26th to be exact.  I peed on the stick, got into the shower, and forgot about it.  As I was drying off, I glanced over at the stick.  THE LINE WAS REALLY BLUE!!!!!!!!!  I’m pretty sure I was jumping up and down at this point.  I wanted to scream out to Jason, but he had gotten up early that day to go to the gym before work.  The excitement was overwhelming.  Pretty soon I heard the garage door open.  The minute he saw me, he knew.  I was pregnant!

Later that day I went to the dr’s for an “official” test.  I was indeed pregnant.  At this point they scheduled me to come back in on Monday for repeat blood work. Yup, still pregnant.  Now for weekly blood work and ultrasounds.  I won’t say it was smooth sailing from then on.  I was leery.  I had miscarried twice before and knew it could happen again.  I had tested positive for an anti-platelet antibody, so they put me on Lovenox, a blood thinner.  That meant daily injections.  By week nine (I think) we saw the baby’s heart moving on the ultrasound.  I think it was then that I really started to believe it.

For the most part, I had a pretty routine pregnancy.  I did end up delivering via C-section, something I had really wanted to avoid. But I had a beautiful baby girl at 11:41 pm 2/24/2009, with my husband right there by my side. She amazes me everyday, and I feel so blessed to have her.

If there is one thing I can say it is to just try to relax.  Obviously physical reasons for infertility do need to be ruled out, but being yourself and enjoying your partner goes a long way too.  (and I’m pretty sure those wine slushies helped a little to relax me that night. I’m not exactly sure that’s the night we conceived but it’s pretty close.

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Julie’s Story

I am pleased to be writing a true story with a very happy ending! My husband and I met when we were 23 years old. We dated for 7 years before we got engaged. We were in no big hurry! He finally proposed just before my 30th birthday- whew! I was already feeling the steady tick, tick, tick of my biological clock, but could tell that he was not quite “there” yet. We decided that we would start trying to get pregnant once we were married.

We were married in July of 2005. My husband was 31 years old and I was 30 years old at that time. We began trying pretty much right away. That same fall, my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I spent a lot of time with her, my aunt and my mom. During this time I found out that all three of them had gone through early menopause for various reasons. It left me very unsettled. I sought out my gynecologist and explained the situation- we had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months AND had a family history of early menopause. I was hoping that she would say, “No worries, everything will be fine!”.  But instead, she ordered a bunch of blood tests and wanted to do laparoscopy.  Now I was really concerned.

The first round of blood tests came back with an alarmingly high FSH level. Now I was REALLY panicking! We began Clomid and then quickly progressed to injectables and IUI’s. Month after month there was always a negative pregnancy test. I became more and more frustrated and worried. I sought out every possible alternative treatment as well- acupuncture, yoga for fertility, Chinese herbs, dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, and an alcohol-free diet! We met with several reproductive endocrinologists. The first one we met with told us that I was not a good candidate and our only option was egg donor IVF (he told me this within about 10 minutes of meeting us- my husband pretty much had to scrape me up off the floor). The second one was willing to do IVF with us, but warned that our chances were not good. The third (and final) doctor was a breath of fresh air and gave us a glimmer of hope (and was also more affordable!).

All in all, we did 12 IUI’s and 3 IVF cycles without success. Each cycle took more of toll on me. My husband stayed positive throughout. He was a rock and always had an amazing outlook. I, on the other hand, was an absolute wreck! I knew after the third IVF cycle that I just couldn’t do it again. I had to get off the rollercoaster at last. It had been 5 years since we began trying to get pregnant and we had been doing some form of treatment the entire time. We searched our hearts and realized all we really wanted was a baby- it didn’t really matter how he/she came to us.

We began the adoption process in December 2009. We were excited to begin a new chapter. We attended classes and completed our home study. In April 2010, just weeks after completing our home study, I found out that I was pregnant- NATURALLY!!! It was absolutely unbelievable! We were incredibly surprised and terrified! For the first several weeks of my pregnancy I was waiting for the other shoe to drop- it just seemed too good to be true. I wanted so badly to be excited, but was so scared to actually believe it was true. Fortunately because of my history we were able to continue with the fertility clinic for the first several weeks of my pregnancy and had an ultrasound every week. I will never forget the day we first saw the heartbeat. It finally seemed real! My beautiful baby boy arrived exactly 3 weeks early on December 14, 2010 (just a little over a month after my 36th birthday)! He is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and he was well worth the wait.

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Julie is Mama to the absolute sweetest 16-month old boy and a Kindergarten teacher to 44 fabulous students.  She has a fabulous, loving husband and lives in Rochester, NY.!