Advanced Maternal Age

Eating Healthy ~ Living Well

When I first heard those words, “advanced maternal age,” I felt sick to my stomach.  What a truly offensive and vulgar term to use for a vibrant, healthy, fit woman in her thirties!  It was May 2006, and I was sitting in the office of a new obstetrician.  I was eight weeks pregnant and had just seen my little duck on an ultrasound for the first time, beating heart and all.  What a crushing blow to such an amazing experience to listen to this woman.  She went on to lecture me about genetic testing and recommended a very long list of tests.  When I declined without hesitation, she looked at me as if I were the most irresponsible, idiot on the planet and did not deserve to have a healthy baby.  She then had the audacity to tell me that my eggs were old and that I should not be taking this so lightly.  I was really rattled by this experience.  I never saw her again.  I continued my prenatal care with a different doctor whom respected my choices.  I kept telling myself that I was much healthier than I had been eighteen years earlier with my first child.  I was walking five miles every single day on hiking trails that gave me a great cardiovascular workout.  I started taking prenatal vitamins a full year before I became pregnant.  I had also lost about thirty pounds two years earlier and kept it off.  I really had never felt better and was taking great care of myself.  I understand that our eggs are older than we are, and that the majority of them are damaged.  I read that a perfectly healthy 25-year-old woman only has a 20% of conceiving each month because four out of five of her eggs are already unsuitable for fertilization.  Well, I got pregnant too quickly and too easily, but that is a story for another time.  I chose to have a positive attitude and tell myself that my healthy egg was fertilized because it was perfect and that my baby would be fine.  He would be healthy and I did not need any of those tests.  After reading about the odds of miscarriage from the invasive tests, there was no doubt in my mind that I was making the best decision.  Although not invasive or dangerous, I declined the maternal serum screening, which is just a blood test, and the nuchal translucency.  It simply tells you if there is an increased chance that your baby has a problem.  Because I was unwilling to do the invasive tests, including the chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or the amniocentisis, the blood test results would only cause me more worry and stress if anything negative was indicated.  I was not going to consider aborting, so why risk miscarriage?

Looking back on my pregnancy, I had nothing to worry about.  If only I’d had a crystal ball.  I worked full-time in a physically demanding job up until the night before I gave birth.  I continued walking five miles a day up until I delivered.  I never had heartburn.  I never had aches and pains.  I never had swollen ankles.  I passed the glucose test for gestational diabetes with flying colors.  I never went into premature labor.  I had a painful, but very fast labor and delivery with no epidural or pain medication.  I was up and ready to leave the hospital the same day I gave birth.  In one day, I shed every pound I had gained during the pregnancy and wore my pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital.

In the end, my Christmas baby boy was born several days early and could not have been healthier.  I did the best I could, kept a positive attitude, and the outcome could not have been better.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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