Advanced Maternal Age

biological clockWith a sharp exhale, I dried my hands and put a dampened palm to my sweaty forehead. Blinking at my reflection a few times in the bathroom mirror, I looked at the test again, making sure that I was seeing exactly what it was I thought I was seeing. Had I imagined it? Had I read the instructions correctly? This. Is. Impossible.

I needed another opinion — a pure and unbiased opinion from a pure and unbiased (and not nearly as hormonal) person. So as not to influence my pure, unbiased (and not hormonal) husband , I carefully hid the answer key by partially replacing the torn foil wrapper and summoned him.

“Tell me EXACTLY what you see here. How many lines do you see?” I said in cautious tones, simultaneously standing on my tiptoes and biting my pinky finger, anxiously awaiting his reply.

“I see two lines.” He replied and then looked at me quizzically, his expression asking a thousand and one questions, for which I had no answers. So I removed the wrapper and let him read for himself exactly what the presence of “two lines” indicated on the home pregnancy test. And then I cried. I REALLY cried.

I’d like to tell you that those very first tears after learning we were (shockingly) about to become parents were tears of unbridled joy and expectant bliss. But they weren’t. Those first tears were nothing but sheer, unadulterated fear. Fear that we weren’t ready… Fear that we didn’t have what it takes… Fear that in my 39 years alone on this earth I had grown far too selfish to EVER be equipped to care for an innocent being… And OMG! I AM THIRTY-NINE!

Then the real fear came: The fear that I was too old… Fear that we (but still mostly me) were too old… And fear that my dilapidated-broken-down-ancient-ruin-of-a-nearly-40-year-old body was too old to successfully bear a healthy child. “How is this even possible?!?!” an internal voice screamed. “My eggs are from the FORD ADMINISTRATION!” But apparently it WAS possible, and it IS possible, because it IS happening. And that test (along with the four additional tests I would take soon after) wasn’t lying.

A mother of “advanced maternal age” is what they call you when you find yourself with child over the age of 35, so it’s a pretty safe bet that I am really pushing the envelope here. Apparently, there’s a seemingly endless supply of things that a “woman of a certain age” ought to worry about because of the “advanced maternal age” label, such as: genetic anomalies, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, low birth weight and premature labor and/or delivery. But here’s the thing… I’m choosing not to spend exorbitant amounts of precious energy worrying about all of that stuff because, you see… I wasn’t supposed to be here. Ever.

Many of you who regularly read this blog already know that I have long held the belief that children were not in the cards for me. I had, for the most part, accepted this and Lee and I were about the business of building a happy, meaningful and productive life together sans children. That is, until right before Christmas, when we got this bit of earth-shattering news.

And I can tell you that the most jaw-dropping bit of all is that there was no magic pill. Years ago I tried the magic pills, the magic shots, and the magic procedures and surgeries performed by the magic doctors — all to no avail. And yet somehow I am here now, against all kinds of odds. I am here now—at a ripe, old, advanced maternal age—terrifyingly, dumb-foundingly, shockingly… miraculously.


18 thoughts on “Advanced Maternal Age

  1. Darrick says:

    Once again, I am so, so happy for you guys! You are both wonderful people and will be wonderful parents. Congratulations!

  2. Yes, my sweet daughter, you may have thought you should not be here in this condition but You Are. God is Good and a miracle worker. HE had other plans for you. You dad and I are so excited and so happy for you and Lee.

  3. Kristine says:

    OMG! I don’t use those letters, EVER, but I think it’s fitting now! Congratulations! I am so happy, and excited, for you. In the years that I have known you, you have had your share of struggles and heart-breaks, but I think that God is now rewarding you for your faithfulness to follow him wherever he may lead you. You are Sarah and Elizabeth of our generation. 😊

  4. Amy says:

    Oh Joanna!!! This made me cry. You have just experienced all the feelings that I have felt!!! Don’t be scared! Enjoy😊 I’m always here if you need to talk. I get it & love it!!!

  5. Sandyb says:

    As you may well know I have not been following your blog!! Forgive me, please!! I’m hooked and in there for the long haul!! You, Lee and baby makes three, was God’s plan and His perfect timing!! May God continue to bless your family!!

    • Awe! Thank you, Sandy! I didn’t know that you didn’t read it before but of course I’m glad that you’ll read it now!! I have been terrible about keeping it updated but hopefully this new adventure will allow me to have more thoughts to share. Glad you’re following! 🙂

  6. Oh My Goodness – Congrats – How Exciting 🙂 🙂 🙂 Take care of yourself and the baby and take it easy too. I know a few women who are having babies between 37 to 42 years of age and they are loving being mothers at this stage of their lives. So breathe and hang on for the ride sweetie.

  7. Congratulations! I, too, had a kid at an “advanced maternal age.” It’s a label, nothing more. You can totally do this! And here’s a secret. Just remember that when you tell yourself that you’re not ready, NO ONE is ever ready. If they tell you differently, they’re LYING. It’s overwhelming for most of us, even with the loin-fruit is planned. I don’t say that to scare you, I say that to let you know that you are NOT ALONE. You are NORMAL! Again, congratulations!

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