In case you missed the headline, I have some news! Yes, I’m 42 and pregnant. And no, it wasn’t an accident. Why am I declaring this? Because I’ve been totally thrown by the amount of people who asked me this!
I can understand why. There’s a big gap between my 8-year-old-son, Maxwell and the newbie arriving this August. Of course I didn’t plan it this way. Maxwell’s father and I separated when Maxwell was one, and it wasn’t until three years later that I met my now partner, Josh (aka, Josh E. Pooh Bear!).
There were a few hiccups along the way – three miscarriages, including an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in the loss of one of my fallopian tubes. Thank goodness I had a spare – it came in very handy!
Related: 5 Popular Fertility Myths Debunked
It was four months after the ectopic pregnancy that we started trying again. Being 41 (at the time) and watching month after month tick past – with only one follopian tube left – is not good for one’s inner-calm, I can assure you that.
I was preparing myself for the IVF journey and all the emotional, physical and financially strains that go with it when, low and behold, 15 months after we first started trying, those magical lines appeared again. I was ecstatic and nervous as hell!
As any woman who’s been pregnant knows, those first 12 weeks are overshadowed by high rates of miscarriage. Add a history of miscarriages to the mix and anxiety levels go through the roof.
I’m only 17 weeks pregnant and of course, I’m still very nervous. Even a tad scared to publish this post. But there’s no hiding it visually now, and every day that passes is that bit more reassuring. I know I’m not out of the woods – I still check for blood every single time I go to the bathroom. And I’ve had a few scares with urinary tract infections (and blood) during this pregnancy which is keeping me on my toes. But the heavy clouds are finally starting to lift…
As is the nausea and the requisite daily naps. I wish I could say the same for my ‘baby brain’ but alas, not yet. This week I’ve (accidentally) taken the dish rack with me as I walked away from the sink (and smashed a load of glasses), spilt countless drinks, left my house keys in the front door, left my phone at home multiple times and continually scheduled my diary appointments on the wrong dates. And it’s only Wednesday. But hey, things can only get better!
So is being pregnant at 42 different to being pregnant at 33? Sure diddly is. In sooooo many ways. Here’s a few highlights …
|Pregnancy Trimester 1||Age 33||Age 41 (I turned 42 at 12 weeks)|
|Nausea||Started at week 7, was gone by week 12. Sick mainly in mornings.||Started at week 4, eased at 15 and was 99% gone by week 17. It was 'all-day nausea' but no vomiting this time.|
|Turn offs||Water and coffee! I could ONLY drink soda water and I remember the day, at 7 weeks, when I ordered a coffee and the smell repulsed me so much I stopped drinking it. I did start drinking ‘Swiss Water Process’ decaffeinated coffee a few weeks later though.||Water! I’m back on the soda water. The Soda Stream has been working overtime.|
|Cravings||Twisties (which I NEVER ate previously) and soda water, often topped with red cordial.||Instant coffee. Seriously. I’d been drinking decaffeinated coffee for about 8 months before falling pregnant then suddenly switched to instant! Fave lunch: prosciutto, fig, bocconcini and rocket salad or roll. Piece of chocolate after meals. Spicy foods with chilli and jalapenos.|
|Energy||Pumping! I thought I was invincible. I travelled to New York and LA from 14-16 weeks and was on the go from dusk 'til dawn.||Zippo. None. Nada. A wave of tiredness comes over me at 1pm daily and I can’t function or concentrate without an hour nap. My brain is dead after 2pm.|
|Smell||Supersonic. Could identify a fragrance from 20 metres. The smell of cigarette smoke was barf-inducing.||Same. I can identify how many beers people drank the night before, how long a dish cloth has been in the sink, cigarette smoke from 50 metres... It’s gross.|
|Baby clothes||Had bought and filled a full size suitcase with designer baby clothes (courtesy of my New York trip) by 14 weeks. Spent a small fortune very quickly.||Have bought one Baby Gap denim shirt that was on sale – and I’m 17 weeks! Blame the budget, nerves and second-time-round experience. And I have bags full of Maxwell's baby clothes I'm determined to re-use.|
|Attitude towards ‘second-hand-items’||Thanks, that’s very kind of you but… no thanks. My baby is having the best of the best. I researched fabrics, safety ratings including the toxicity of paint on baby cots, refused to buy clothes with buttons down the back (uncomfortable for bub), and went premium all the way.||Lucky I’m having a boy, because this little baby has eight years’ worth of Maxwell’s clothes to wear! I've graciously accepted a cot from a friend (without even checking what type of paint was used on it), a baby bath and more. It’s a relief losing my ego!|
|Weight gain||Holy moly. It came thick and fast. I was 17kg heavier by 38 weeks.||Holy moly again! At 15 weeks, I was 8kg heavier. My obstetrician keeps pointing out: ‘There’s a lot of negative health risks associated with too much weight gain you know?’|
|Birth plan||A calm birth in the birthing centre. Post 15 weeks I freaked out and asked for a hospital admission – I wanted lots of medical staff on hand in case anything went wrong!||My doctor: 'Do you have a birth plan or preferences?' Me: 'Nope. I'll just be guided by you...'|
|General attitude||Obsessed. Signed up for parenting and labour workshops. Researched everything – twice. Neurotic. Pedantic. Pig-headed.||Relaxed. I am so not doing another parenting course! After 10 years as editor of Cosmopolitan Pregnancy magazine and 8 years as a mum, I reckon I know enough to wing it this time.|
|Pram||Mountain Buggy. I wanted a 'walking pram' with inflated tyres but didn't like the three wheels - I felt like the pram would tip every time I went up or down a gutter.||I've started researching! Am thinking the Silvercross Pioneer - do you have any advice or preferences?|