Is everything we thought we knew about older women and fertility WRONG?

Sarah, who turns 52 in September, has just started a part-time admin job, she’s married and, most incredibly of all, is a mother of three. Her youngest child, Edward, was conceived when she was 48; all her pregnancies were natural, without any fertility treatment.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2377056/A-controversial-new-book-claims-getting-pregnant-35-far-easier-doctors-say.html#ixzz2zX5mXkpC 


The Myth: Your Fertility Plummets After Age 35


Thanks to one of our future moms on Facebook for sharing this important health news link found on Oprah.com: 

After reading the findings of this study, I'm trying to refrain from doing what my mama told me never to do: jump up and down and say 'I told you so.'  Seriously, in the coming years, I believe research will shatter many commonly-held beliefs about fertility after 35 and in your 40s.

The study reaffirms to me that we should never put our faith in what “they” say about fertility after 35. After all, there is a Power greater than circumstances. There is Hope. There is God!

Babies born to moms over 35 may have lower risk for certain birth defects

Women in their late 30s or 40s are often told that the odds of delivering a baby with a birth defect rises with age. But a new study suggests that the opposite may be true when it comes to certain types of physical abnormalities. http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/24617810/babies-born-to-moms-over-35-may-have-lower-risk-for-certain-birth-defects

TINA MARIE JACKSON -FEATURED MOM UPDATE-FEB-MAR 2014




Tina and Famiy


Cynthia’s note:  When Tina was the Featured InSeason Mom in June 2013, she and husband Reggie were expecting their second child.  Two years earlier at age 42, she had given birth to Braylon, their first son. I invited her back to share the birth story of their second son, Bryce, born in October 2013 when Tina was 44.


TINA’S STORY

SUPPORT

My story is such a blessing! My doula and hubby Reggie were with me. I believe having a doula this time around made the experience even more joyful because Reggie was able to focus with me. My doula took pictures (of the birth).  She did things that I wasn’t able to do and see things I would not remember.  Reggie and my doula made my experience truly surreal and amazing.


LABOR & DELIVERY

I was checked in the hospital a week later (than my due date). I was in active labor for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I did have to be started on Pitocin but I was at a 4 cm.

We had worship music playing.  We prayed as a team, and her (doula) direction was so encouraging with the timing and contractions. The big surprise was when I kept having contractions my doula told the nurse, without my knowing, that the doctor needed to come in. She told the nurse, "I do not want to have to deliver this baby."

At that moment, I was unable to stop pushing. Even though the epidural was requested, the anesthesiologist was on his way but there was no turning back.  Our baby was ready.  I kept saying “where is the epidural.” 

They said, “It’s Showtime! He is coming out!”  At 12:54 PM, I gave a half a dozen pushes and our Lil Angel came out healthy and natural. Au natural! I couldn't believe it! There was no way I thought I could endure this pain, but God knew.

In spite of the pain, we were blessed with a baby boy named Bryce Jackson.  Bryce was born on October 6, 2013 and was 7.10 pounds and 21 inches.  For this I am truly grateful!

We stayed in the hospital a couple of days to recuperate and enjoy time alone before returning home. Hubby and big brother even stayed which made it one big slumber party and celebration of our 2nd little prince!
 



LIFE AT HOME

Bryce is 102 days/3 months already! (Cynthia’s note: 102 days at the time of this interview)We are having a ball with him, watching him smiling more and more every day. He is attached to me— of course being with me constantly.

I feel truly blessed to have two healthy boys who love each other thus far. Prince #1 Braylon needs my attention at times and finds ways to get it even as I breastfeed. I believe it is partly because we breastfeed through my first month of pregnancy and had to stop right away.

My prayer is for the boys to share and grow together and teach Reggie and me how to parent the best way possible to raise these boys to men.

Thank you and enjoy the journey ladies!




Cynthia’s note:  Thank you Tina for sharing your story with us! Here's the link to Tina's previous June 2013 Featured InSeason Mom story:  http://inseasonmomreflections.blogspot.com/2013/05/featured-inseason-mom-june-2013-tina.html






DECEMBER INSEASON MOM-DINAH MEYER CICENAS

Dinah with son John


Name: Dinah Meyer Cicenas    

Age:46

State of residence: Ohio

Child's name and age:  John, age 6

Current Profession: Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Psychologist


PREGNANCY

ISM: How long were you trying to get pregnant?

Dinah: I was not! I did not get married until I was 39, and my husband was 48. We just kind of assumed that we were too old to have a child, and I foolishly thought that 39 was too old to get pregnant!

ISM: What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?

 Dinah: I became pregnant about 3 weeks after our wedding, but I didn’t find out until I was about 8 weeks along. I had been feeling ill nearly every day for a couple of weeks, but the sickness never hit me until about noon, so I never recognized my “morning sickness”.

I taught a 1:00 class and would sit in my office beforehand feeling sick as a dog, so I had to cancel that class several times. One day, driving home after cancelling the class yet again, I was ready to call my doctor because I was sure I had some virus. It suddenly hit me that I should take a pregnancy test, although I was sure that couldn’t be it.

I know now that was the Lord telling me what was going on, because I was clueless!  Of course, the test stick turned blue in a second because at that point I was nearly 8 weeks pregnant. I was so shocked I took the “used” test to a public dumpster to throw away so my husband wouldn’t find it! I then took a second test and was able to get into my Ob/Gyn that afternoon, where a blood test confirmed the news.  I waited another day to tell my husband, so he could accompany me for the ultrasound, which I insisted upon because I just couldn’t believe it.

SUPPORT

The Medical Community

ISM: How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

Dinah: My longtime OB/Gyn, Dr. Stephanie Costa, was so happy for me, incredibly supportive and calmed my concerns about my age.  She kept telling me that tall women (I’m 6’1) do very well during labor and she was right in my case!  I did have some issues with low blood pressure and fainting during the pregnancy (unrelated to my age) so I was also followed by a cardiologist.


ISM: Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?

Dinah: No, I couldn’t have been happier with Dr. Costa.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

ISM: What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?

Dinah: Shock. We had just gotten married, and I think everyone else had assumed we were too old to have kids!  However, everyone was thrilled. My in-laws were in their mid-80’s at the time (and are still going strong!) and were so happy that their only son was having a son.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

ISM: Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?

Dinah: Yes, we took childbirth and breastfeeding classes. Both were helpful, although I feel that no class can adequately prepare you for the realities of breastfeeding. I found it to be the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, but a one-on-one consultation with a lactation consultant a week after my son’s birth turned everything around. I nursed my son for 14 months and loved every second.

ISM: Where did you give birth?

Dinah: Riverside Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

ISM: What do you remember most about the birth experience?

Dinah: It was the happiest day of my life. I stayed at only 2 cm for about 6 hours, but after having an epidural, went to 10 cm in about 45 minutes! I’m so happy I had the epidural – after that I felt intense pressure, but no pain and was really able to enjoy my labor and birth! 

I do have to admit, however, I wasn’t prepared at all for the roller-coaster of post-partum emotions. From the moment I got in the wheelchair to leave the hospital with my baby and throughout the 40 minute drive home, I sobbed in the back seat while my husband drove. All I could think about was how scared I was and how suddenly our lives had changed forever. I’m very blessed that those feelings dissipated quickly and I had no problems with post-partum depression, but I encourage women to seek medical help right away if their sadness persists.

The other very memorable thing is that my son was born days before my own birthday - in fact, we came home from the hospital ON my 40th birthday! What a miraculous gift.


I’M A MOM!

ISM:What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?

Dinah: I do worry at times about my son being an only child with 2 older parents. My husband and I have both had some health issues the past few years, but are taking care of ourselves the best we can. We want to be grandparents someday!

ISM: What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?

Dinah: Everything. Every cliché you hear about motherhood is true – I never could have imagined experiencing such an intense love and I’m so grateful that I didn’t miss out.

ISM: How has becoming a mom changed you?

Dinah: After living pretty much only for myself for 39 years, the sacrificial part of parenthood has definitely been an adjustment, but one I’ve taken on happily. Motherhood changes every part of you – you can’t look at the world or other people the same way anymore.

ISM: What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?

Dinah: Well, I’m not sure I’d wait as long as I did if one has a choice (and I know some women don’t have that choice) – I do have less physical energy than I did 20 years ago.  However, I’m so appreciative of every moment with my son, and think sometimes how much “color” he’s added to my life.  I would encourage more mature moms to build a support network of other moms with young children. I’ve been blessed to find a group of amazing women with kids my son’s age. Most of these moms are in their late 20’s and early 30’s, but we’re all at the same developmental place in our lives right now.

ISM: Dinah, can you tell us about research and online survey you’re doing about new moms over 40. I understand this is part of your work as a faculty member in the psychology department at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.

Dinah: Yes. Very little research has examined the experiences of new mothers over 40, so it is my hope that the knowledge gained from this study will further our understanding and care of growing population of mothers.

I am using an online survey to assist in my research.  The questions ask about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the post-partum period. The questions are both medical and social/emotional in nature.

The online survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and participants’ responses are completely anonymous – names or any other identifying information will not be asked.  Also, the participants will not be contacted in any way after their participation. To participate in this study, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/First-timemomover40

InSeason Mom (ISM) Cynthia would like to thank Dinah for being an inspiration to moms across the world! If you would like to be a Featured Mom of the Month, please email info@inseasonmom.org for details.




NOVEMBER FEATURED INSEASON MOM IS ANITA

Anita enjoying time with friends 

Name: Anita

Age: 54

State of residence: Virginia

Children: Hayley was born in 1995. Kelly was born in 1998. Mallory was born in 2000.

Current or former profession(s): I have a B.S. degree in Business Information Systems. One month after earning it, I began a career as a computer programmer analyst, which lasted 15 years. I married at age 36 and ended my career to focus on marriage and my desire to have children. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom.

PREGNANCY

InSeason Mom Cynthia: How long were you trying to get pregnant?

Anita: Because I was 36 and wanted more than one child, my husband and I decided to start trying 5 months after we were married. I had no idea how long it would take to conceive, however, I’m one of “those women” who could feel ovulation, and sensed that I would get pregnant. I conceived during that first “try.”

InSeason Mom: What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?

Anita: I hoped and prayed that I would get pregnant, but did not physically do anything that I thought would help, besides waiting a month or two after stopping the birth control pill before trying to conceive.

SUPPORT

The Medical Community

InSeason Mom Cynthia: How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?

Anita: My doctor was new to me. I’d only met him once before coming to the office for the official pregnancy test. He was courteous and professional; not expressing any surprise about my “quick” conception. My husband and I were given lots of information on what to expect, and I was asked if I wanted to have an amniocentesis. After discussing the procedure and the purpose for it, my husband and I decided against it. I was glad that my doctor was in agreement with us, and throughout my pregnancy, I felt comfortable being in his care.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

InSeason Mom Cynthia: Who was the first person you told about your pregnancy and why? What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?

Anita: My mother was the first person to get the news of my pregnancy. She was 61 years old and did not have grandchildren. She was absolutely delighted! Afterward, I called a few friends. The “girls” were so happy for me, too. I’m sure they were thinking, “It’s about time.”

For a few years, I actually kept the phone records of the calls I made. All of my closest friends were in other cities, and the bill listed the long distance calls. That’s how sentimental I was about the whole experience.

LABOR AND DELIVERY

InSeason Mom Cynthia: Did you take any childbirth classes? Why or why not?

Anita: During the pregnancy, my husband and I took the childbirth classes offered at the hospital; pillow and all. For me, there was no thought of whether to take the class or not; it seemed the smart thing to do for a first pregnancy – to be as informed as possible. I thought surely I’d be huffing and puffing and pushing out baby, but mine came out by caesarean section.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: Tell me more about your labor and delivery experience.

Anita: At 41 weeks gestation with amniotic fluid decreasing, it was decided that I would be induced. The first step was softening my cervix at night, and then starting the Pitocin the next morning. At 6 centimeters and signs that I was going no further, it was highly recommended that I have a c-section.

My second child was an attempted VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). At 8 centimeters and a fever, I told my nurse, “Get the doctor and let’s get her out.”

Child number three was a planned c-section.

Some women have awful morning sickness, some have to be on bed rest, some feel so uncomfortable and can’t wait to have their baby; I had c-sections. Many women don’t have any of this, even being over the so-called advanced age of 35.

My babies were born when I was 37 (2 weeks before turning 38), 40, and 42. I had a bit of the initial nausea, but cruised through the pregnancies. The old girl (I) was even up within hours after all my surgeries, which I’m told is not the norm.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: What do you remember most about the birth experience?

Anita: I suppose there are as many birth experiences as there are fingerprints. I remember much of it, but what I mostly remember, is seeing my children for the first time; their red screaming bodies and scrunchy little faces, and the love I felt for them.

I AM A MOM

InSeason Mom Cynthia: What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you compensate for this fear?

Anita: I lean more toward optimism; therefore, I don’t have any major concerns about having become a “mom over 35.” Sometimes I do think about the realities of being an older mom, though…like being a grandma. Will either of my girls have children at a younger age than I did, giving me the chance to be an active grandmother?

Will I maintain my energy level long enough to get my children out the door to college?

Will I get through the teen years simultaneously with menopause?

The fact that I can laugh as I say this, gives me assurance that it’s okay. If God enables our bodies to produce into our forties, surely we’re given the necessities to "handle it." Right?

InSeason Mom Cynthia: What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?

Anita: That I am handling it. As an older woman/mom, I am more confident. I am not afraid that my children are lacking now, or that they will lack in the future. They will be their own selves and make their own way. As they’re learning, I’m having fun re-learning with them. I’m giving them my best. Perhaps, I would have felt the same as a younger mother, too.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: How has becoming a mom changed you?

Anita: How have I changed since becoming a mom? I’m NEVER bored. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I also love realizing my own adult maturity that contrasts with the actions of my children…most of the time…okay, sometimes.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?

Anita: I think most women have an innate desire to become mothers, therefore, I wish to those who want children to be blessed with them; especially if they are over 35, an age that has allowed much thought time in previous years. However, I must qualify this statement by adding that women need to know that life as they know it will be gone when baby comes along and to be mentally prepared; yet the fulfillment to someone who wants to be a mom provides the greatest joy.

Occasionally, I hear infertility statistics and health issue statistics for the mom and baby when the mom is over 35. I heard these things when I was 35, but my heart and desire would not allow fear. I have 3 healthy children. Many women over 35 have conceived and have healthy children. Follow your heart.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: Any additional comments?

Anita: For another of my “baby stories” see my post titled “Vaginal vs. C-section” at

Thank you, Cynthia, for featuring me this month and allowing me to tell my story. You are a wonderful spokesperson and advocate for older women who desire to be moms.

InSeason Mom Cynthia: Thank you Anita for being an inspiration to moms across the world!