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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Knocked up at 41!

Most people I know start their families at a young age... get married in the 20s, kid number one at 25, kid number two at 28... you know the routine. I started out this way. Got married at 21 and had my first child at 27. Then I spent the 30s building a career in marketing and advertising while staying in a not-so-exciting marriage where I ran a business, raised a child and reluctantly dealt with a husband.

After 20 years of marriage, I had decided enough was enough. My husband was lazy and the more money I made, the more money he spent. We had it all... a big farm, fancy cars, a big boat... and a miserable marriage. So, there I was on my own at 39 with a 13-year-old son who had a dad who just didn't pay any attention to him.

I began dating a high school sweetheart and we had a blast. It was the first time I had actually had fun since I was 20. We had tickets to the Van Halen concert in Orlando on February 14, 2008 because, well... I grew up in the 80s so this mama loves her classic rock and roll. And, it was Valentine's Day... how romantic, right? Well... here's the deal... 20 minutes before we left for the concert I got knocked up. Of course, I had no idea at the time, but I do remember getting a terrible case of pink-eye at the concert! :) By the time we got home I had a huge, swollen red eye and was not only a very sexy looking cyclops - NOT - I was pretty cranky. Not so sure that the pink eye and crankiness was a result of being instantly pregnant, however I did take note of that later.

For those moms out there considering having a baby in your 40s, and for those who are pregnant in your 40s, one thing I can tell you is that it is a totally different experience than when you are in your 20s. Wow. We're talking OB/GYN visits every week, a Fetal Specialist every week, diabetes, high blood pressure, home visits from a nurse in the last trimester... ugh... it's some serious work. But, I will say that being a diabetic throughout the pregnancy had it's benefits. I don't think I've ever eaten healthier and was in great shape, so I'm thankful for that. A pregnant 41-year-old mom can certainly be vain, right? I rocked that pregnancy! I sported my 5-inch hooker heels and jeans like a teenage hot mess. Or, at least that is what I like to tell myself!

Throughout the pregnancy I became obsessed with the Discovery Channel. They had all sorts of shows on there about high-risk pregnancies and abnormal birth defects and women who delivered babies and didn't know they were pregnant. It became a sick obsession of mine. The problem was that I immediately thought my baby would have the same problems. I'd obsess over it and every time I would visit my doctor, I would have a new ailment or symptom that I was certain about. At one point I was convinced that my baby was going to be born with a million hairy warts on her body because I had watched a show about people born that way. It was horrible! After about seven months of constantly having a new birth defect to worry about, my doctor told me I wasn't allowed to watch the Discovery Channel again until after the baby was born. I wasn't very happy about that.

Because of the many visits to the doctors, I received ultrasounds every couple of weeks, so it was a lot of fun watching the development of my baby girl. However, on the very last ultrasound - a 3D version - my child looked hideous! She was making a terrible face and her nose was huge and her ears were deformed. I remember saying to her father, "Oh my God! Poor thing. She is so homely, but we'll love her forever."

Because the pregnancy was "high risk" since I was a "mature mom-to-be," my doctor insisted on a C-Section. I'm terrified of anything to do with surgery or hospitals or doctors, so you can only imagine how well this went over. I cried. I threw fits. I begged. Nothing worked. He scheduled the C-Section for October 24th - three weeks early - because little baby girl was a tad bit large. I remember being in the hospital and having a meltdown panic attack. I got up off the table and started to head out of the door. My mother kept saying to the anesthesiologist, "You better give her some happy medicine or she's going to bust out of here!"

As I was bolting for the door, my doctor walked in and blocked me. Damn! He pointed to the table and said, "Get back on that table now!" and my reply was, "I'm not doing this! I'm going home. I don't want to have a C-Section. I don't want to have a natural delivery. I'm done! I quit!"

Once back on the table, the doctor and anesthesiologist scrambled quickly to hook me up. And hook me up they certainly did! Within minutes I was as happy as a lamb... ready for my C-Section. As a matter of fact, I would have just performed it myself if they needed me to. I talked and laughed and was a great pleasure to everyone in the room. In about 5 minutes my daughter's father was holding her and I could hear him crying. I kept saying, "Is she homely? Poor little thing!" and he said, "Oh no... she is so beautiful." And beautiful she was. Big blue eyes, gorgeous skin and a head full of hair. Normal ears. Normal button nose. No hairy warts. She was magnificent.

During the pregnancy, I believed I wasn't bonding enough with my baby. It really concerned me. I remember sitting in a bubble bath with my huge belly and saying to her, "Oh baby girl, I sure hope you and I get along and bond once you're born." It was different for me with this pregnancy. Looking back I think I might have felt disconnected to her because of the hundreds of doctor visits we experienced together. I had to focus so much on staying healthy and, of course, on horrible Discover Channel birth defects, that I wasn't focusing on her. But, one thing I can tell you was that the first night in the hospital I was so excited about my new baby. I held her so close to me and smelled her skin and nuzzled her sweet face. I remember saying to my mother, "Mom! I am in love with her. I love her so much I just want to lick her precious little perfect face!" My mother just busted out laughing and said, "Told ya you'd bond with her!"

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