Monday, December 30, 2019

A Baby Story

A little over a week ago I turned 39. If you had asked me 20 years ago if I thought I'd be pregnant with my first baby at this age, I would never have believed it. But, as I've learned through many experiences, events in life unfold exactly as they should, in their own time, despite what we may otherwise wish would happen.

I have always wanted to be a mother and although I tried my best to be patient in realizing this dream, truth be told, there were many times when I wondered if this would ever happen for me. I've been single most of my life and as each birthday came and went (particularly into my thirties), I was becoming fearful of my ever ticking 'biological clock'. About three years ago I went so far as to consult with my doctor about options for having a baby on my own and started doing lots of reading and research on single motherhood. While this route wasn't my first choice, I wasn't willing to give up on my dream simply because I hadn't yet found the right guy. After all my research, I had a choice to make: move forward with having a baby on my own or wait a while longer and see what else my dating life had in store for me, all while my fertile window was closing (damn you biology!!!). I decided to wait...six months later I met the man who would become my husband.

pregnancy baby story
I've already started shopping for Baby R., including a thrift store cable knit sweater

After Farmer Man and I married this past summer we decided that because of my 'advanced maternal age' (which is apparently the nicer term for a 'geriatric pregnancy'), we would start trying for a baby right away. I fully expected it would take months of trying because of my age and because of so many stories I've heard of people struggling to conceive, particularly as they get older. I did lots of research on conception, bought ovulation test strips, and used cycle tracking apps all in the hopes of increasing our chances.

About a month after we started accurately tracking ovulation, I decided to take a pregnancy test 'just for fun'. I say this because even though we were actively trying for a baby, I really, truly did not think it would happen so quickly so I was expecting a negative result. Well, again, events in life unfold in their own time and I found out that day that I WAS PREGNANT!! I called Farmer Man and told him there was a very faint line on the pregnancy test and that I would take another just to be sure. We were both excited but also hesitant to believe that it was really true. I also initially felt really freaked out at the thought of this little thing growing in my body! It's such a weird experience and I really didn't know what to expect or how to react.

Could not believe my eyes when I saw the very faint lines

I wasn't really sure what to do at that point but I quickly found out that there's really not much you can do except wait and hope for the best. Miscarriage rates are higher for older women as are rates of abnormal chromosomal issues so although we were really happy and excited, this excitement was tempered knowing that really anything could happen. As the weeks progressed, I was feeling pretty good overall, with very mild symptoms. Then at around 7 weeks, I started to have spotting (light bleeding) along with cramping and low back pain and was fearful that I was losing the baby. Our first prenatal appointment wasn't scheduled for another 2 weeks so we had no way of knowing if everything was developing normally. Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with another doctor a week later and cried as we heard the little heartbeat during the ultrasound. Baby R. was measuring right on schedule and they couldn't find any reason for the spotting- all was well.

Per my doctor's recommendation, we did opt to do a couple genetic tests at 10 weeks and subsequently, the sex of the baby was also determined. I did not want to find out the sex until the baby was born as it just wasn't something that was important to me and I prefer more gender neutral clothes, toys, and decor. I also thought it would be such a fun surprise on 'birth day'.  Farmer Man made several passionate speeches as to why he felt it was important to find out the sex and because it seemed very important to him, I had the doctor write it down on a card at my 13 week checkup. We now know the sex of Baby R. but are going to keep that between us and our close friends and family. We have settled on a name as well, but we are keeping that a secret until birth day!

Based on what I've read and heard about pregnancy symptoms, I feel very lucky to have had a pretty easy time of things overall so far (other than the scary bleeding incident). I had some mild nausea during the first trimester, usually setting in around dinner time and remedied with crackers and apple slices and not lasting more than a few weeks. My only cravings so far have been apples, orange juice, and BLT sandwiches. Farmer Man has been very helpful and thoughtful, always offering to run up to the store or rub my back if need be!

Crafty Teacher Lady Pregnancy

I'm now 16 weeks along and there has not been one day that's gone by that I haven't felt SO GRATEFUL for this opportunity. Because I've waited so long to become a mother and because I have witnessed grief in the hearts of some of my very best and dearest loved ones who've struggled with infertility and miscarriage, it is impossible for me to take this opportunity for granted. I've cried many tears of grief for the hurt of those who long to be parents but have not yet been given the opportunity- it weighs heavy on my heart.  I honestly don't know why I've been given this opportunity and I don't know how this story will/could end, but I feel so incredibly thankful and grateful!

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