What I can tell you about pregnancy at age 39

*Trigger warning* The topic of loss & miscarriage is discussed

One of my goals for my 39th year on this Earth is to conceive my second child. I did just that in August one month after my 39th birthday and after my daughter went on a 3-4 day nursing strike with Hand, Foot & Mouth disease. It was only my third postpartum cycle  and the first cycle of retuned ovulation (practicing ecological breastfeeding, I did not get my first period until 24 months postpartum).

At the end of August, with a brief spotting incident followed by a week of no period, I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive! I took another 2 days later, one week later and they were all positive. By week 4 or 5, my appetite dropped, food was no longer appealing, nothing tasted right and by week 6, I was sick. Not just in a hang-over type way, but like I had the flu and my life literally stopped for the next 5 weeks and I experienced mood swings, exhaustion, nausea, migraines and the dreaded BLEEDING.

From the go, I new this pregnancy felt off. I was unable to function, eat, taste, or get excited about being pregnant. The heart beat was found at 5 weeks and 6 days, despite bleeding. The ultrasound showed a “pool of blood” next to but separate from the gestational sac that was the cause of the bleed. I was told this is not uncommon and will bleed out or reabsorb.

At six weeks and 4 days, I was seen again with bleeding. The heart beat was good and the baby was growing, so I would come back in a week and a half. October 5th, I was now 9 weeks and 4 days, the heart beat was great and the baby was  looking more like a baby. But I was REALLY struggling. Physically I was not doing well.

I came home with the ultrasound pictures and put them on the side table. I was disconnected, tolerating my symptoms, and miserable. I was not like this with my first pregnancy and I chalked it up to the adage that “each pregnancy is different”.

The weekend began and my nausea did not kick in at 3 am, it waited until 8am. It was lessening, ever so subtly. Monday night, I was bleeding, but it was different. It was rust color, not bright red. In the morning I called the nurse and was scheduled for an ultrasound at 3pm. I saw right away that there was no heartbeat.  My baby was safe with me, peaceful and still. There was fluid building up on the spine indicating an issue with development. I felt love and relief in a way I had never experienced before. I knew this was meant to happen, as sad and unfortunate as this experience is, I felt LOVE.

I know this may have been a ‘strange’ response to a sad moment, but I was thankful for my body too. Such an intelligent machine, my body was doing exactly what it is designed to do to keep me safe and end an unhealthy pregnancy. I trust my body more than ever. The bleeding was my body signaling me that the pregnancy was terminating. The tears I cried later that evening were a mix of grief, hormones, and relief that I was fertile and OK.

Following the loss, I was due for a D&C the next afternoon. It was unpleasant, I felt dizzy, crampy, but relieved. 48 hours later I am no longer nauseous but feel like I am starving. I have barely eaten in 5 weeks and barely weigh 112lbs now.

So where does this leave me? I am 39 years old, still nursing my toddler and waiting for the return of my cycle again. Will we try again right away? Will we wait a few cycles? This I am not sure. On the positive side, this means I got pregnant pretty  quickly once my period retuned. I am 39 and fertile. On the not-so-positive side, this also means that my risk for miscarriage has increased quite a bit since my first pregnancy 3 years ago. My husband is also 45 years old, further increasing our risk of miscarriage.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, women who are 35-45 yrs old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage. This increases for women who have had a previous miscarriage (me) and if the father is also 40 years or older.

However, after pouring over the statistics I came across this brilliant article. Any woman reading this who is 35 years of age and older, hoping to conceive, this article will put your mind at ease.

Another great read can be found at the blog Expecting Science. This post analyzes numerous studies and debunks some of the popular statistics out there than create  the gloom and doom version of pregnancy for mothers over 35 years of age.

I am not debating that the chromosomal risks for my age group are not real (they are!), but fertility does not decline the way popular media portrays. Trust your body, it has been designed to create life for millions of years.

Hugs and baby love,

Mrs. Mother Dirt

 

 

10 Replies to “What I can tell you about pregnancy at age 39”

  1. Hi and thank you so much for joining me on my site. I have been browsing through yours and took a look see at your book collection. I love books about being a nonconsumer and getting back to the basics in homemaking. Great collection and I’ll have to check them out. You have a great site here I look forward to sharing stories. By the way I had my sons at 41 and 43 and I had much easier pregnancies than my 20 and 30 something pals. I also have far more patience now that I’m older and not in a hurry to go do things. I waited decades to have them and savor each moment. Good luck!

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      1. I have one little piece of advice that I felt like writing you last night but had already shut my computer off. DON’T read statistics or listen to any stories that are negative. YOU create your reality. When I had my second son the doctor made me sound like Mother Time with her “due to your advanced maternal age”. What BS. Moer and more women are having children in their 40’s and even 50’s (wouldn’t really desire that). My great grandmother on the Italian side had her last baby at 50 and that was long, long time ago when it wasn’t hip. I never did any testing for this and that because I was older. My pregnancies were dreamy where as my 25 year old friend was bedridden. My children are insanely healthy and normal. I did have C sections and that was the only part…but so did the other young gals. I don’t listen to doctors if it doesn’t feel right in my gut. I don’t read articles…be at peace. You will have great success. You have plenty of time. Plenty!

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    1. 🙂 I had a wonderful pregnancy with my daughter at age 36. It was perfect and problem free (I even went to the gym every day even in my last week). I do know that I am fertile and healthy, so I am going to hold on to that and trust my body. I am also going to switch to a Midwife. The medicalization of pregnancy feel very invasive to me. Thank you for sharing your experience and insight. I guess I will adding a photo of a big healthy pregnant belly to my passion planner collage. 😉 HUGS!!! And THANK YOU.

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      1. Good for you! I send you good wishes and tons of blessings. I just did my dream board today while eating too much chocolate. Boy are magazines crappy these days. I will need to get more to finish.

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      2. Yay! You will have a great pregnancy. I agree with the medicalization of everything. It’s a money maker. I wish I had gotten a midwife, I’m sure I would not have had to have a C section. I did my dream board today while eating too much chocolate. Wow, I haven’t read a magazine in ages and what crap they are these days. I’ll need more to finish my board. I’m keeping mine hidden. I just want some of my dreams secretive and keeping their power.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic, I’m a 34 year old woman with no partner and no children and although I try not to listen to statistics or media ‘information’ it can be hard to shut yourself down completely from external figures and opinions. So, yea I’ve been thinking about the complications as my body changes with age (or as I like to say years around the sun, makes it feel more like a cycle of time rather than linear). Thank you for writing so openly about your miscarriage, it sounds like it was a deeply spiritual process and your level of trust in your body is beautiful. Your post helps me to keep my faith that all will happen if and when it’s supposed to, especially regarding having children. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Emily. Thank you for leaving a comment. I actually did not get married until I was 35 – almost 36 years old. When I had my daughter 2 months before turning 37, I was certainly not an outlier at the OB’s offcie, in fact there were plenty of women my age (and older!) with healthy pregnancies. My recent miscarriage was easy for me accept and understand, but I have struggled with the aftermath (d&c, complications from the d&c, and how the medical establishment treats the loss of pregnancy), not to mention the drop in hormones – that can really feel overwhelming. Age 34 is still young in terms of fertility. You have plenty of time. Thank you again for reading this post. ❤

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      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I can only imagine how tough the aftermath of a miscarriage can be, I so much admire your bravery to share. I always knew I was going to a ‘late’ mum and I’ve not yet felt ready so I am grateful to be able to trust my body, she’ll let me know when it’s time, I’m sure. When it comes to emotional support, any support really, the medical establishment falters. I live in the UK and it’s the same here. I guess that’s why it’s so great woman can connect like this on the internet, to share stories and reassure others they’re not alone. Thank you again, it’s great to connect. Many blessings to you.

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