Category Archives: Parenting

My Third Pregnancy: Advanced Maternal Age (part 1)

Image of Mother with Child

From the Library of Congress, Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection

My third child was similar to my first two because she was a wonderful surprise. When I was a teenager I was told that it would be difficult for me to have children. With each surprise, I realized that the doctor had been wrong. However, this third pregnancy was different from the others in that I had turned 36 during the 2nd month, and therefore was considered advanced maternal age, or high risk. Sure, I had complications in my previous pregnancies that might have made me high risk, such as preeclampsia with my first, and gestational diabetes with my second…but to be told that I am high risk simply because I’m over 35, or medically considered an old lady with a swiftly shriveling reproduction system, was a tad enlightening. And somehow, when my son was born with me at 34, I wasn’t too old to have babies naturally yet.

So, it began when I was 3-4 weeks along. In my many old years I’ve come to know my body quite well, and after two previous pregnancies, I knew the signs. So on my way home one day I asked my husband on the phone, “How would you like to have another baby?” His answer was, “You’re pregnant? You’re kidding, right? So much for not being able to get pregnant easily.” I had wanted another child, so I was very excited. My husband was happy too, but being the less positive of us, was concerned about how our high needs, still breastfeeding two-year-old would do with a new baby. I knew that my son could adjust and that a little sibling could be really good for him.

Our eldest grew up somewhat like an only child, and had quite a few lonely years when we lived in a neighborhood with very few children. Play dates and sleepovers were great for her, but on weekends without those, she played alone and made friends with butterflies, caterpillars, and our cats instead. She says that she didn’t mind being an only child until she was a teenager because there are advantages, but she also said that she wished many times for a sibling. However, by the time our son was born, our daughter was fully transitioning from child to werewolf, er, teenager. She was no longer interested in having a sibling, especially if it arrived as a crying baby.

At my first appointment, near 12 weeks along, I was told that I needed to stop breastfeeding to prevent early contractions. Two days later I was called and told to start taking prometrium for borderline low progesterone. I started researching this right away. I called the doctor’s office the next day and asked, “Could my breastfeeding be causing the low progesterone?” I was told no, and that progesterone isn’t affected by breastfeeding. So then I began to worry and wanted to see another doctor. When I did finally see another doctor, the first thing that the new doctor said to me was, “You know you’re high risk because of your age, right?” Oh great, another discussion about my shriveling, ancient, mummy-like body. They made it seem like it was a near miracle that I could even be carrying a baby.

I then went home, started to think about all of the talk concerning how much this old lady needs medications to stay pregnant. It seemed that the medical professionals were telling me to be really scared about the impending doom of my unnatural pregnancy. So what did I do? I began to get scared. I mean, if the professionals thought I should be concerned, maybe I should, right?

I knew that the La Leche League stated that breastfeeding is perfectly safe while pregnant. And I knew that breastfeeding could affect progesterone levels. I also read about how some doctors don’t agree that prometruim helps pregnancies stick, and some even refuse to prescribe the medication because of potential negative side effects. So I knew that the medical professionals weren’t always right. But I was also told that because I am now an old lady, I should be getting all sorts of tests to make sure my baby didn’t have several different issues or problems, and that I needed to complete the tests before the abortion cut-off date. I refused all tests. I wanted my baby no matter what might be wrong or different about her. And I certainly wasn’t performing any test that could potentially harm her, no matter how slim that chance. I don’t judge those that make a choice different from my own. We all have to do what is right for our circumstances. But I already loved my baby so much and decided long ago that I would love my children no matter how they came to me.

I loved my baby enough to give her the best chance at life. I decided to take the prometrium regardless of my knowledge and doubts, just in case there was a slight chance that it would prevent any issues. I then weaned my son, who was breastfeeding only two times at night, so that I could take medications and not harm him with any potential side effects. Weaning him was really far more difficult for me than it was for him. He only asked to breastfeed two more times.

If my body was going to be considered too old, I thought I had to do what was needed and protect the baby. Little did I know that taking the prometrium and staying with my first doctor would cause me so much worry, doubt, fear, and trouble.


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Brief Explanation for My Hiatus (Or Why I Abandoned the Internet)

When I decided to give my family and myself more energy and time, I converted from a full-time academic librarian to a part-time public librarian which gave me more time to have another baby, build shutters for the house, enter photo contests, watch PBS Kids shows, use crayons, visit new museums, eat healthy meals, go to medieval fairs, and rediscover my identity. I had far less time to write, go out to eat with friends, daydream about the glory of being a mom, shop alone, use the bathroom without a toddler around, or eat out of vending machines. It has been a crazy readjustment to life that I didn’t expect.

The other odd thing was that I started to love my work. Not just the work of being a mom, but also being a librarian. However, I’ll explain my new love of being a public librarian in a later post in order to remain true to the title of this post and keep this as brief as possible (unless being brief is an impossibility for me and I’m already not being brief by discussing being brief).

I didn’t merely abandon my blogs, but I even committed social media suicide and deleted my Facebook account. Some might think that extreme and others know that’s perfectly healthy. Besides quitting my full-time academic position, quitting Facebook was one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I immediately felt 80 pounds lighter and far less like a social media zombie, or slave to checking status updates. Honestly, I really don’t care what my old high school chums had for dinner or why my coworkers’ political beliefs are the way that they are. And I seriously didn’t need to see more than half of the photos or posts that my pseudo-pals posted. Sometimes it’s better not to know. It also gives me far more time to read about things that I’m really interested in, such as breastfeeding in public. But that, too, is something I’ll leave for a future post.

If it weren’t for the newborn and toddler in my house who don’t like to sleep, I’d feel almost human. But then there is the writing, which I’ve missed dearly and which consistently makes me feel more human. And I have so much to say, but fewer people who take me seriously with spit up all over my suit. Looking back…I guess I really can’t be brief.

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Return from the Deep Dark Cave: Tale of a Full-time Working Mother

After obtaining a Master’s degree, I moved many hundreds of miles away to become a full-time working mother. At the time, my son was just 3 months old and my daughter was in middle school. I thought that I could be Supermom and do it all. I mean, throughout college I was winning awards, presenting at conferences, working more than 40 hours a week and taking 5 graduate courses some semesters. So, why couldn’t I have a baby, work full time, never sleep, guide a teenager, take another graduate class, chair several committees, participate in volunteer work, write a novel, breastfeed for at least 2 years, and manage to clean the house, exercise regularly, shop for dinner and eat healthy meals?!

Although I should have guessed that things wouldn’t be as easy with a baby, somehow time and hope make you forget how difficult it is.

After months of coming home too mentally and physically exhausted to do more than stare at things and mumble silly utterances — not only because my son decided he was NEVER going to sleep through the night — I decided that I was near crazy and many things needed to change immediately.

Well, “immediately” took about 1 year because I stubbornly grasped onto the naive thought that I could make it work. But after continuously feeling, as Bilbo wisely said, “…thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”, I took a long vacation. It was only then that I fully realized what I had been missing: My family.

We didn’t really need the stuff that my income allowed us. And my children certainly didn’t need a mom so wrapped up with work and projects that she couldn’t spend more than an hour or two an evening with her loved ones. After attempting to be Supermom for nearly two years, I was burnt out and not much of a mom at all. So, I opted to make a few drastic decisions; I let go of my titles and projects, altered my career ambitions, and walked out of the deep, dark cave and into the sunlight. I’m working a part-time position, getting healthy again, making my family my first priority, and being a real Supermom in the way that works best for me and my family.


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Adventures in Crib Purchasing (Day 32): Lessons Learned

1) After selecting a crib that you’ll love to live with for at least 5 years, check for reviews about the chosen crib before purchasing it. even has Proposition 65 warnings for those of us without the privilege of living in California.

2) When you find the crib you love, don’t get attached until you know it is in good condition or that one in good condition is obtainable before the baby arrives! Buy a crib when you have  5-6 months to go, in order to have time to deal with potential problems and delays.

cracked crib

3) If you decide to purchase at a store or have the item shipped to a store, have the clerk at the store check your box for everypossible issue with the item before leaving…especially when the store is 20 minutes or more away. Are all the tools and screws there? All the boards without cracks and dents? Does the finish look good? Even the most expensive and sturdy cribs may have problems.

4) If something goes wrong, exchange or return the crib to the store immediately! Do not keep the crib and wait for parts to arrive at your door. If you do, replacement parts may arrive in the wrong shade, with similar problems, or incorrect parts will be sent.

5) Although I am currently waiting on my 3rd crib to arrive, a great crib will be found and obtained eventually! It helps if you know someone with natural great luck and let them help you choose one. 🙂

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