Category Archives: pregnant over 40

Deeper into dream*

Picture from liivia on Flickr

I’m lying on my back, looking at my huge, pregnant belly. I feel uncomfortable, awkward, heavy and ungainly as I roll over and try to get up. I know it won’t be long now.

I must have had this dream shortly before I woke up on Monday morning, because I was surprised, in those first few moments of waking, to find I was not pregnant, I was just the same old me.

And here’s the thing – I never dream about real things – things I’ve been obsessing over, big upheavals, new loves, stresses. Nothing that relates to my real life, or my fantasy life. You know when you have those lovely daydreams (at whatever time of the day) and you want to take them to bed with you? They never come to bed with me. Instead, weird, disjointed, seemly unconnected, and really quite random people, events and places appear in my dreams. People pop into my dream life unbidden. Once I dreamed I was having a torrid affair with Ryan Philippe. I’d never seen a Ryan Philippe film, nor ever thought about him, had only occasionally seen his picture alongside Reese Witherspoon (the dream was some years ago – the torrid affair was really vivid!).

So I’m wondering if it’s a sign. Does anyone believe in dreams as signs? I’m not sure; of course I’d love it if it were true, a true sign or augury. I believed it was a sign immediately on waking, but my certainty has faded.

My friend K has assured me it is a sign though, having had an especially vivid dream about George Clooney a few months back. She is the world’s biggest George obsessive stalker  fan. So much so that her daughter believes that George is her mum’s boyfriend. Apparently in the dream she was in the shower and George was in the kitchen making a cup of tea. Raunch!!

Anyway, George is coming to Sydney next week to speak at a summit on collaboration, and of course, K has got her hot little mitts on a ticket. So her dream really was a sign that George would be making an appearance in her life. She’s pretty convinced they really will be “collaborating” over a “cup of tea” soon.

So, anyone have any insights into dreams?

*The title of this post is also the title of Ben Lee‘s latest album. Which I must buy. I love love love his music and outlook on life. We’re all in this together.

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And on the seventh day…

… she created life. Hopefully.

Today I got impregnated, again. Two ice babies successfully made the short journey from the freezer to my uterus, stopping only to thaw nicely in the lab. Clever little dividing cells.

Let this be the one (or ones). This is either the start of an excellent new (and very intense) adventure, or the end of the road. It’s been a strange cycle this one. Not nearly as intense. It’s easy to forget that I’m doing it (well, almost). I even had wine, since I figured I wasn’t growing any eggs that would be useful, and any effects of the small glasses of wine would be metabolised quickly.

I tell you, it was pretty damn easy to fall off that wagon. You would think that after being practically teetotal for the first time in my adult life, it would be a) hard to give up in the first place, and b) having more or less given it up, that taking it up again I’d be like the Cadbury’s kid – a glass and a half would be more than enough. But I still have to stop myself at one (or two). Of course, that’s all over for the foreseeable future. The foreseeable future being the next two weeks.

Two weeks of Christmas parties, end-of-year lunches, silly season dinners. With nary a champagne bubble in sight for me.  I think for the sake of avoiding having to lie, I’ll be at those parties, lunches and get togethers with a glass of wine spritzer, rapidly warming in my hand.

I’m feeling confident and convinced of failure in equal measure. Today anyway, perhaps because the weather has turned arctic, blustery, grey and cold, despite it being day 4 of summer. Please come back sun. And please let me be pregnant – I’ll even take twins – insta-famiglia.

Namaste little baby/s. You’re very welcome here. I promise to provide a healthy and safe home for the next nine months, and for the rest of our time together in this dream.

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The year of living dangerously, or selfishly, or just under a general

My ovaries are sending Morse code, but I’m not sure to who. I guess to me, I’m the only one listening. I think they are saying they are ready – and the doctor agrees. So off to hospital I go again tomorrow for egg pick up. For someone who had never had an operation before – not even tonsils or appendicitis as a child – this year has been the year of anaesthesia. This will be the third time I’ve gone under, and weirdly I’m looking forward to it. Yeah that is weird! Because it’s really not the funnest thing on earth.

My intention is for at least six good eggs to be harvested, and six to be fertilised (do you hear that universe – SIX GOOD, HEALTHY, FERTILISED EGGS), so I have some to freeze. But of course, when the first lot are put back into their nine-month rental, they (well ONE) will attach and stick and grow into a fat, happy, healthy baby. (Do you hear that universe? A FAT, HAPPY, HEALTHY BABY).

That is my intenti0n, and if you, dear readers, can put that intention out there that would be be very helpful. Thanks.

Lots of caps there. More to come.

A few weeks ago, some obstetrician in Perth made comments in the media condemning “older” women who choose to have babies as “entirely self-centred”. He said, “It is selfish and self-centred of older women to have babies because they are not just babies – they are babies for a little while and they become people.” If you really want, you can read what he says here.

Gosh, who knew? I mean seriously, WHO FUCKING KNEW THAT?? Here I was labouring under the misapprehension that I would just have a cute little accessory that I could dress up in Prada booties until I tired of it (I can’t afford Prada booties for myself, but I would buy my little accessory only the best. I’m THAT selfish). Little did I know that – apparently – they grow up to be human beings who require unconditional  love, affection, food, a roof over their head, schooling, and that’s just for starters.

Funny, because my reasons for having a child are the complete opposite of selfish. In fact, my whole life until this point has pretty much been about me, and I am, quite frankly, a bit bored with it. I actually WANT to not be selfish. And I would have thought that having a child, at no matter what age, would be the most selfless thing a woman could ever do (I don’t leave men out of this, a man can want a child for completely selfless reasons too).

Apparently this bloke’s beef is that we would be burdening the child (who I have only just found out grows up to be an adult) with a geriatric parent. He does not mention men. Who I have already mentioned in an earlier post, are sometimes quite reluctant to come to the baby-making party, because they do not have quite the same biological time-bombs ticking away. They are not selfish apparently. They don’t seem to be even involved in the equation, if his comments are anything to go by.

For me, and for many, it was not a “choice” to be doing this at this late date (I refuse to call myself “older”!), it just happened. I didn’t – haven’t yet – met the man of my life. There are many reasons for this, only one of which is that I’m a fussy cow!

I presume it was in response to the aforementioned good doctor’s remarks that some other “expert” – the head of Monash IVF in fact (lots of quotation marks today as well) has been counselling women work “harder to find a partner or change their criteria for Mr Right… maybe you have to settle for Mr Not Too Bad.” Oh dear God, all I have to say to him is BUGGER RIGHT OFF.

Because that’s not selfish at all is it – I want a child, so any old guy will do. What should I have done – back in 2002 sitting in, I don’t know, The Light Brigade pub in Paddington (we used to go there a lot), say to my friends, “Right, the next bloke who walks into the bar is MINE, because I want to get knocked up.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have many, MANY times berated myself for being too fussy, not giving guys a chance, dismissing someone for the most spurious of reasons, etc, etc. But that’s me. My personality. Partly because I am unwilling to “settle”, partly because I am, or have been, terrified of commitment, partly because it takes a long time to get to know me and by the time I’m ready to show myself, the guy has lost interest. How much am I fucked up? Let me count the ways.

The point is, My Half-Right just doesn’t appeal to me – funny huh.

Perhaps old men should keep their mouths shut and stop judging women for their motives, of which they know nothing.

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How low can you go …

… before you do the LIMBO rock?

This week I’ve vacillated between:

Oh my god, I’m so excited I’m going to have a baby … to

I’m pretty sure I am … to

I really hope I am… to

FUCK I hope I’m not … to

What the hell was I thinking, I’m 46 years old (birthday was on Sunday, thanks for the birthday wishes…) and I’m going to have to work for the REST OF MY LIFE and will never have any free time again and I’ll never be able to afford to buy a property and I’ll be the oldest mother on the school pick up and how am I going to do this by myself and, and, and…

So this week can’t go fast enough.

I need to know! I’m in limbo and it’s a weird place to be – all plans for the future – even as close as the weekend – have two paths that stretch out into the misty distance. One that involves a baby, one that involves going back to my “old” life. And to be honest, both have their appeal.

Perhaps that sounds strange – after all, I have thought a lot about this, hoped and dreamed about this, planned this, paid a lot to get here. But I think it’s normal – any kind of life change brings fear, and there is no greater life change than having a baby, whatever your situation. You can’t really get your head around the reality of it – the abstract is fine, but the reality? It’s scary.

And there’s no point in reading all the “two-week wait” sites, working out which symptoms I may or may not be feeling – I AM feeling some pregnancy symptoms but that’s because I am injecting myself with hcG – the pregnancy hormone. So I’m just left with the wait.

Oh and I’m beginning to feel almost healthy again after the trauma of the past 2 weeks. Yesterday I even had wine. Three glasses! Well, the thing is, no less than four girlfriends have confided that before they knew they were pregnant they had had a couple of benders – completely mullered. And as one of their doctors said, if it’s going to stick, it’s going to stick. And I figure by now, it’s either stuck or it hasn’t.

What day is it?

Every limbo boy and girl, all around the limbo world…

Yoga, I think, is the order of the day. At least I’ll be flexible enough to get under that limbo pole, no matter how low it goes. And meditation, to let go of attachment to the outcome.

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Little bubbles

That’s what the embryos (I think they’re technically called blastocytes) looked like on the screen before the doctor put them back in. A cluster of cells, but more like little bubbles. Amazing to think the potential they have to grown into – who knows – a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, a prime minister, a parent.

It was all over in a few minutes, just like having a pap smear.

I walked out of the clinic giggling hysterically to myself  – “I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant!” I kept saying to myself. And since then I have continued saying it, and sending  “attach and stick” vibes to my uterus.

The doc said “Just be yourself” when I asked if I should or shouldn’t do anything. But I’ve kept it low key this weekend, a bit of shopping, a yoga class, meditation and lying on the floor at home in supta baddha konasana and viparita karani, which help improve blood flow to the pelvic region. They are also lovely and relaxing. And lots of mantras and affirmations – “I’m pregnant!”, “Stick little babies!”.

As to why the clinic prefers to transfer more than one – I’ve just read this:

“There are some suggestions that embryos help each other to implant.  In other words, the more embryos that you transfer, the greater the chance that each one will stick.”

I’m hoping for just one but if they both stick? Che sera, sera. I’ll just have to go public, sell my story to New Idea or something, get a sponsorship deal from Huggies, and put the kids to work as baby models, because they’ll be gorgeous right!

Side effect update

After the egg collection I was feeling very tender and delicate, and still am a bit. It’s easing off somewhat but my whole abdominal region feels revolting – like I’m all blown up with gas. Which I think is actually what it is. The doctor said it was constipation but it feels more uncomfortable than that. A girl I met while waiting for the transfer – she was having her embies transferred too – said the same thing. Hope it goes away soon – not to mention the discomfort, it makes it hard to work out whether I’m feeling implantation cramps or not. Though I’m sure I am!!

Anyone out there with a similar experience? Anyone know how long it takes for the embryos to attach?

Just a little bit annoyed too

I spoke to my dad today for Father’s Day. It took him a while to get around to the “what’s happening with the IVF?” question, and even then it was in a roundabout way.  I got the feeling  when I got the courage to tell him a few weeks ago what was going on that he thought “you’re too old”. He didn’t say it – in fact he didn’t say much – but that’s the feeling I got.

Anyway, today, when he did get around to broaching the subject, he told me my aunt (his brother’s wife) was “beside herself” about it. What do you mean, I said. Well, she just thinks it’s dangerous, and you’re too old blah blah blah. She’s already said this to me before but I was so pissed off. Dangerous? To who?

Who’s freaking business is it of anyone else’s anyway? I have really tried to avoid anyone negative during this process but you can’t avoid your family can you? Lucky they are on the other side of the country.

She ain’t getting a hold of my beautiful baby, that’s for sure. Huh.

Anyway

The mythical two-week-wait begins. And we are waiting.

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Trending now

“Older” celebrity women giving birth well into their 40s. They can’t all be using donor eggs! It’s really very fashionable – didn’t you know?

And here I present to you incontrovertible proof that women can and do get pregnant and give birth after the age of 40.

  • Jane Seymour – twins at 45
  • Monica Bellucci (in my next life can I come back looking like her please?) – 45
  • Cherie Blair – 46
  • Carla Bruni – 43 and about 6 months preggers
  • Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones) – 43 and 48
  • Kelly Preston (John Travolta’s wife) – 47
  • Jane Kaczmarek, actress. Babies at 42, 44 and 47. Rock on!
  • Halle Berry – 41
  • Salma Hayek – 41
  • Iman – 44
  • Susan Sarandon – 45
  • Holly Hunter – twins at 47
  • Marcia Cross – twins at 44

See? Everyone’s doing it! And there are probably a whole lot of non-celebrities out there, just gettin’ on with it.   I just wanted to provide myself and others out there with hope and belief.

Perhaps a lot of these are due to fertility treatment, but who cares? They did it.

Apparently in Europe, the percentage of births to mothers age 40 and over has nearly doubled since the late 1980s, from 1.6 percent to 3 percent.

Tomorrow I will have my two little tiny embryos put back into me. I’ve got to make sure at least one sticks!!

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The first day of spring

And two little egglets have been fertilised and are multiplying in a test tube. Or whatever they multiply in. A petri dish? Anyway.

Early trip to St George Private Hospital yesterday, arrived about 7.45. Checked in, had my identity checked about 57 times, read my book, and finally got wheeled in to the theatre about 10.30am. The doctor said they would write the number of eggs they retrieved on my hand. Blackout. Aren’t general anaesthetics weird? Where do you go while they are spreading your legs, inserting a needle through your lady bits, and generally poking around with probes, ultrasounds and other such un-fun stuff? It’s not like being asleep, you are just … gone.

I came to I guess about 45 minutes later in the recovery ward. Groggy, tender and feeling delicate and a bit unsure as to who I was, the first thing I did was to check my hands. Nothing!

Aah! wha..? A nurse came by and checked my records. They got 11. Eleven! Seemed like a good number to me.

On my way home, the clinic called. Four of the 11 were suitable for fertilisation – the others were not quite mature enough. I was hoping for six.

Home, and treated myself with a tub of Sara Lee butterscotch and honeycomb icecream (yep, a whole tub), chocolate and the sofa.

This morning the clinic called – two of the four have made it past the judges, the other two have been voted off. 😦 Why? I was so hoping all four would pass muster but two just didn’t get on with the sperm, or the sperm didn’t get on with them. When I asked why, the girl in the lab said, “Humans just aren’t the best reproducers in the natural world.”

Still, it’s the first day of spring, when new life bursts forth. The sun is shining and my little egglets – I should call them embryos now – are growing strong and sturdy and tenacious.

In the book I am reading, the heroine has just discovered she is accidentally pregnant. It’s a sign!

And in my guided meditation through the Chopra Centre today, the mantra given was “Om vardhanam namah” which means  “I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me”, which to me seems to fit with today and the next few days and months ahead.  Another sign!

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The Final Countdown

Last Gonal-f injection – tick

Triggering (Pregnyl) injection – tick

Fasting from midnight tonight – under control, I’ll be asleep

FYI – Pregnyl apparently completes the maturation of the eggs, and if the weird feelings I have been experiencing in my belly today are anything to go by, it’s doing its job. “Weird feelings” kinda just feel like trapped wind, but it’s in the general vicinity, so I presume it’s my ovaries warming up.

I’ve had an ear-to-ear grin all day. Work colleagues very concerned – “I hope everything’s ok”, “Hope it goes well” + worried looks and so they are probably wondering why I am so chirpy about the prospect of going into hospital.

I am glad this process is over though (remember the mantra – pregnant first time). It’s taxing in ways that are hard to explain, difficult to pinpoint.

Some are easy to to work out – the physically taxing:

  • The drive to the clinic is 45 minutes to an hour on a good day, nearly an hour and a half on a bad day. Yesterday I went twice – four hours in the car.
  • The injections – have I done it right? Have I missed one (despite having the alarm set on my phone)? There were a few days when I almost forgot whether I had done it at all.
  • The side effects, though minor, have left me feeling not great. Not completely awful, just not in fabulous, tip-top condition.
The emotionally taxing – not so easy to figure out.
Because I am not in a relationship, I have not been trying to fall pregnant forever. This is the first time I have ever tried. I can’t imagine the amount of emotional stress some couples have found themselves dealing with in this process, because I guess for them this process is the end of a long road, and the start of a new road. A road which may or may not be as long and arduous as the last.
But for me – well I suppose it has been a long road to get here, I just travelled it differently.
Then I guess there’s:
  • The worry about the expense of it all – not so much the expense, but the expense if it didn’t work. What then? $10,000-odd for nothing?
  • The secrecy at work – I’ve only been there 9 months, lost my job when the last financial kerfuffle hit, and really cannot, CANNOT, lose this one. Especially now.
  • The breathless anticipation, mixed with a tinge of what-if-it-doesn’t-work.
  • The injections again – on the plus side, you feel like you are doing something positive, taking action to achieve your dreams, but all that excitement is physically and emotionally exhausting!
And so here we are, T-minus 18 hours. My friend is coming over tonight to take me to hospital in the morning – we have an early start so we’re having a slumber party! Usually similar such get togethers would involve alcohol (plenty), but tonight it will be herbal tea.
Ha – and I’ve just realised I’m getting all excited about the harvest, when the real deal will be on Saturday, when they put them back in – this time fertilised! So it’s T-minus 4 days, but what’s a few days pregnant with anticipation (pardon the pun) between friends huh?!
(Yes, I changed the look. This is more me.)

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Ripe and ready for picking

Turns out I only needed the really expensive extra drugs for 2 days – Saturday and Sunday.

I took a day off work today to attend the clinic for an early blood test and scan. Apparently my eggs are looking pretty ripe and are ready to be harvested. This week. In fact Wednesday, so a week early!

I don’t know why they are ready so soon, all my life I’ve been a slow starter (which is how I got here!) and now the egglets are ready early.

For some reason it took me a few hours to get my head around this – just a week earlier than expected but whoa! this is really happening now. Kind of bad timing work wise, but most of the horror busy-ness has passed and it will tail off from Thursday. Still, I’ve taken today off and now Wednesday and Thursday, eek. Only feeling slightly guilty, as I have a doctor’s certificate mentioning some vague gynaecological issue.

I also got a new donor list so I chose a total hottie who I’d be happy to have in my bed any time quite frankly, if he wasn’t so young. Is that wrong?!!!? And he says his hero is the Dalai Lama, which is really rather serendipitous, as he’s my hero too. I’ve been in his presence three times, twice where I’ve had the amazing good fortune to actually meet him and shake his hand, so I know. It’s meant to be!

So just one more day of work and two more injections (tonight) till D-Day!

I think this is where I say Oh. My. God.

And the transformation from single gal to hot momma begins…

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This week I have mostly been eating…

I take it back, the injections are starting to hurt. My belly has tiny pin pricks on either side of my belly button and is starting to look a little bruised, similar to what I imagine a junkie’s would look like if they  ran out of veins and had to resort to their belly. Sorry, yucky analogy.

They started to hurt last week when my period started and I assumed it was just my pain threshold lowering as it does during my period. I learnt long ago that having a bikini wax at that time of the month is not a good idea. Ouchy! My belly is also really fat – don’t know of this is from the hormones or just because I have been eating lots (lots) of fertility-enhancing foods, such as:

Adzuki beans (ask anyone who practises TCM or acupressure, adzuki beans are a universal panacea)

Sweet potato (low GI, high fibre, yummy and according to the book I am reading, guaranteed to get you pregnant. Well, not by sweet potato alone, but you know what I mean)

Wakame (full of iodione)

Quinoa (strengthens the kidneys in TCM, key to fertility and libido – this last sadly unneeded)

Walnuts (full of B6 which balances hormones)

Beetroot (yummy + boost kidney function)

Asparagus (aphrodisiac – again, sadly unneeded right now 😦 but apparently revitalises reproductive organs. It also flushes the system so should deal with my very puffy ankles – from the Lucrin?? Makes the pee very smelly though)

Sprouts (the equation is:  living food + attempting to create a living thing = baby)

Bananas (Phallic…?! craved them this weekend but they’ll send me broke with the price in Oz right now – $12 a kilo!! Made of gold clearly)

Anything green.

No coffee. Minimal tea.

One glass of wine per week (siiiigh. This is my dosage – the doctor said “three while I’m trying but not together”. Did she mean three in total for the whole time, or three per week?). Hmmm…

All in all I think I’m doing pretty well with eating well. Luckily I’m not a junk food person and like nothing better than a plate full of green vegies. I usually like to wash it down with a a bottle of red, but hey, it’s a minor inconvenience. Anyway, part of this process is about change, so maybe that means changing my drinking habits.

There had to be side effects didn’t there?

So now that I find the injections starting to hurt, I have to do two a day. I started the Gonal-f yesterday and have had a doozy of a headache all day today. I called the clinic this afternoon and asked if I could take pain killers because it didn’t ease all day and I was getting annoyed with it, I never get headaches. The nurse said I could take Panadol only – not Nurofen. I’m glad I asked. I would have either martyred myself through it  or caved and taken a Nurofen, so now I know – Nurofen no-no.

Other side effects experienced so far apart from the splitting headache:

Night sweats – hello menopause! For the first week I just thought I was hot because of the hot water bottle, but it’s the hormones stupid!

A period lasting an entire 7 days and counting. Bored with this now! So on top of the cost of the treatment, I have to pay for extra tampons. phlaaghg.

Cankles. Attractive.

Twitching in the vicinity of my ovaries. I suppose this is a good sign – my diagnosis.

Aforementioned fat belly. Side effect of drugs, not overeating.

A total lack interest in work. Oh – that’s probably just me and my general aversion to work, and the fact that I have more interesting things to read than financial analysis (surely not I hear you cry!).

Belief

I’ve been doing a beautiful 21-day “meditation challenge” through the Chopra Centre and yesterday’s meditation focused on the creator, which obviously really spoke to me.

Belief is so important to achieving your goals. The meditation reminded me that I set my goals, and I am the creator of my world, my reality. The theme of the 21 days is to continually ask the question, “Who am I?” – the eternal question on the spiritual path. So they have been asking – or encouraging us to ask ourselves – “Who am I?”. I have just sat with this question, without bothering to intellectualise it or mentally or cognitively answer it. Yesterday though a few descriptions of myself passed through my mind – daughter, sister, friend, editor, colleague, blogger, lover (whose?). Mother.

Mother.

It’s just there, in me. I am a mother. I didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t what I thought I should think, I didn’t force it out. It just came. I am a mother. In about 10 months time.

Ooh – and just  quick post script. I just did day 8 of the meditation and this beautiful passage from the Upanishads was quoted, which is so apt for my journey – and all our journeys.

“You are your deepest driving desire.
As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed, so is your destiny.”

So our desires can actually be our destiny, if we flow it through our will and our actions, our attention and personal commitment.

So I have the desire, and I have taken the action (the deed), and now my destiny awaits. mmm. Juicy stuff.

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