Tag Archives: pregnancy

Old Mom (Mum)

We took Declan to “Blast Off” for his second birthday. This is one of those places with ball pits, tunnels, slides, ropes, and random socks. (I think they call it “soft play” in England, though I don’t know why, because not much of it is soft.)

Declan had a blast, and we had a great time chasing after him and rescuing him from tunnels. It was busy, full of young parents and crazy children. There was a couple there with a toddler and a baby. I was fascinated by them, because she looked at least as old as me (I’m 37). I wanted to go up to her and say, “hey, you’re an old mom! Can we be friends?” But I didn’t, mostly because I was scared she’d tell me she was actually the grandma. I’m not kidding. If we still lived on the east coast, I’m sure I would know many moms as old as me and older, but here? Most moms of toddlers are in their early twenties. That’s around fifteen years younger than me. FIFTEEN. If she was in her forties, she could have absolutely been the grandma.

Being 34/35 when I was pregnant with Declan was scary enough, because 35 is when you hit that awful “advanced maternal age” line and suddenly become high risk for no other reason than your age. Now I’m pregnant again. I’m going to be 38 when this one arrives and all the risk factors get ridiculously scarier. My first trimester screening came back with a very, very low result for my Free Beta HCG hormone. This is a concern, since a low number here has been associated with miscarriage (terrifying), fetal growth restriction (baby stops growing, terrifying), pre-eclampsia (all kinds of terrifying awfulness), and trisomy 13 and 18 (beyond terrifying; do not google). I don’t even know if this result is due to my age, but when combined with my age it just compounds the risk factors for all kinds of complications for me and for baby.

We waited and waited to have kids because a) we weren’t 100% sure if we wanted them and b) we couldn’t figure out how to make it work with our schedule on the east coast (out the door by 5am, home usually after 7pm, four hours of commuting, complete inability to keep fresh food in the house…). Then we moved to Idaho, life was great, and I got pregnant within a few months.

The first few months of Declan were so, so, SO tough that the thought of doing it all again is terrifying (have I used that word enough yet?), but we would like two kids and we didn’t want to wait too long to have the second because I’M JUST GETTING OLDER. I’ve heard people say that it’s good to wait until you are older to have kids. You’re more mature, you’re probably healthier (less binge-drinking, better diet), and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on romantic weekends away, evenings out, or all the other spontaneous fun things that DINKs* get to do, because you’ve been doing all of those for years. All of that is true. But that doesn’t mean I have my sh*t together any more than I did 15 years ago. My house is still a junk-filled disaster, we don’t own any matching mugs or wine glasses, there are tiles falling off in the bathroom, don’t get me started on the state of our yard or basement, and we can only successfully cook dinner three times a week at the most (tbh, that last one actually is a significant improvement from 15 years ago when the average number of home-cooked meals in a week was zero. At least we now own an oven). 

Sure, maybe I’m wiser than I was in my early twenties, but I’m also so, so much more bone-achingly tired-er. I was collapsing on the sofa in the evening and heading to bed before 10pm long before a kid arrived on the scene. The seemingly endless energy, ability to party, and nonstop enthusiasm of my twenties is a distant memory. Combine the general exhaustion with the increased risk factors of an “advanced age” pregnancy, and I think it’s safe to say that having kids in your twenties is a good idea if you can swing it.

I’ll be 40 when Declan heads to elementary school. If you’re a fellow old mom and see me in the playground, please come say hi. 😁

NOTE: this is not a pity post. I’m musing on the way things are, not lamenting. I wouldn’t change how life has unfolded for us. But I wouldn’t say no to a few positive thoughts on my current pregnancy, either, if you wanted to send some my way. ❤️

* DINK = Double Income No Kids

Pregnancy sucks. These five things helped me survive.

My mum captured it accurately when she said: “some mums-to-be glow with happiness at the miracle of pregnancy. You’re not one of them, are you?” At this point, I know I’ve been complaining nonstop since June (sorry). I waited with great anticipation for the “joyousness” of the second trimester that my nurse promised, but it never happened. And now I’m at almost 37 weeks? Ugh ugh ugh ugh (yesterday I had a meltdown because I couldn’t fit in the bath. My poor husband). I’ve had a pretty easy pregnancy when you consider all the symptoms and complications I could have suffered, but it’s still been miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited about the fact that I’m growing a human, and I know how lucky I am that we were able to get pregnant when we wanted to, but the array of crappy side effects have certainly been an unwelcome surprise!

If you find yourself as pathetic and full of self pity as I have been, here are five things that might help:

Fetal Heart Monitor

doppler
The first half of my pregnancy was defined by paranoia. I felt a bit silly when I first decided to buy the heart monitor, but it has been the best thing ever. For the first 20 weeks or so I was checking the heartbeat every couple of days and it made me feel so much better to hear it. Even after I started feeling movement, it wasn’t consistent for a long time so it was reassuring to be able to check the heart if I hadn’t felt a kick in a few days. It helped build excitement for the baby inside the bump, and I’m sure it saved countless unnecessary calls to my practitioner.

Maternity leggings and knickers
Comfort, comfort, comfort! Most of my maternity clothes were donated/lent by friends (thank you thank you Dana, Lindsay, and Lara!), but I did buy a few things. Towards the end of the second trimester and throughout the third, I was eternally grateful for maternity leggings and knickers, and especially the knickers! You might think you can get away with your regular underwear, but if so – you’re missing out. Embrace the granny panties and celebrate the opportunity to wear gigantic, ugly, but OH-SO-COMFORTABLE pants whenever you can.

The hospital class & tour
We took an evening “Newborn care” class and a day-long “We’re having a baby class” at the hospital where I will be delivering. The day-long class included a hospital tour and a close look at one of the delivery rooms. This was a definite turning point for me. There are still (obviously) a lot of unknowns about labor and I’m still pretty scared, but the tour and class made me feel reassured and much more prepared. Knowing where to go when labor starts, being able to imagine the delivery room, and understanding specific hospital policies when it comes to labor/delivery/postpartum, is a huge weight off my mind.

Pregnancy pillow!

pillow
This has been essential during the third trimester. My bump was causing all kind of strain and pain no matter what position I tried, and this pillow made a dramatic difference. I use it constantly in bed and on the sofa. I haven’t taken it to work yet, but that day may be coming soon.

TEA

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I don’t understand how Americans survive in general without the obsession with tea that Brits enjoy, but now that I’m hardly sleeping and feeling constantly crappy? Tea is a godsend. It makes everything better. It also helps Christian, too. He understandably does not know what to do when I’m having one of my ridiculous meltdowns, but offering me tea is ALWAYS a good idea. (And let’s be clear, I’m talking about proper Yorkshire Tea with milk. None of that herbal crap).

I promise this is my last post complaining about pregnancy. Now you can just look forward to all the posts complaining about being a new parent… 3ish weeks to go!!