I switched to a midwife.
Even at the all-natural, crunchy birthing center where we had Claire, I was told to count on going passed my due date and to be ready to be induced because of my “Advance Maternal Age” (Ah, AMA…slightly better than being a geriatric, but not much).
I didn’t help my plight much by consulting Dr. Google for reassurance. He is the king of doom and
In a sense, I don’t envy the position of those in the medical community though. They need to prepare women for possible outcomes. But there's a fine line between a gentle heads-up, and being just plain old scary. A lot of doctors (and midwives) seem to have this way about them that makes everything that comes out of their mouths seem like a foregone conclusion.
And, really, they have nothing to lose by scaring you. If they are right, they get to say “I told you so”. If they aren’t, they can say, “Well, thank your lucky stars you had a medical provider as excellent as me”.
I can place myself in the latter category. And I am thankful, very, very thankful. While I wouldn’t describe my pregnancy, labor and delivery as a bed of roses, I think it was a good one. No gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. I gained a normal amount of weight. I delivered Claire naturally two days before her due date. My labor was eight hours long from start to finish. I pushed four times, et voila!
Not bad for an old lady, eh?!
If I sound like I’m bragging, well, maybe, a little. But I’m also trying to illustrate a point…
Individuals make up statistics. Individuals are not statistics. Neither are babies.
One of the biggest challenges I faced trying to get pregnant and during my pregnancy was counteracting the negative voices that I heard. Dr. Doom and Gloom definitely set up camp in the back of my head.
He made me scared.
He put doubts in my head about our decision to try.
He made me feel isolated.
Not things that a woman (of any age) needs to feel the first time (or any time) she is pregnant.
Do I really deserve a medal? No. Really, all women who give birth deserve medals. What’s amazing to me is that this feat of daring athleticism happens every minute of every hour of every day!
So I’m qualifying the beginning statement of this post: I deserved a medal for having a baby at 44 in the face of the medical community’s dire predictions about the fate of my baby and me.
In case this statement sounds less than humble or I'm guilty of minimizing the decided risks of pregnancy, let me tell you that I'm being slightly tongue in cheek (slightly). I also know that nothing in life is guaranteed. I know that George and I are lucky and blessed that everything went down the way that it did. I know we could have just as easily been a statistic too.
But women like me deserve to have hope despite the odds. We deserve to be supported along an often daunting, lonely and unpredictable path. We deserve to remember that doctors aren't always right. They are not God, even though they sometimes like to pretend that they are.
Claire and I are living, breathing proof!
To this point, wanna know what I learned after my pregnancy? The statistic about how a woman’s fertility drops like a stone after 35 is based on French birth records from 1670-1830. Yes, you read that correctly. The author of this captivating and eye-opening Atlantic article goes on to say that "surprisingly few well-designed studies of female age and natural fertility include women born in the 20th century".
Makes you wonder about all the other statistics as well, especially, given this country's stellar record of focusing research dollars on women’s health (dripping sarcasm here, in case you were wondering).
But, whatever the facts may be, I’m happy that I kept my eye on the prize and did my best to ignore Dr. Doom.
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Photo Source: David Rosenbergy, Wikipedia Commons, this photo has been altered, which does not suggest that the licensor endorses me, this blog or its use.
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