If you originally started following me because you wanted to read all about my running, sorry, for this switch. It’s going to be about pregnancy, motherhood, and babies for a (long) while. One, I want to capture some of my thoughts about my experience while they’re still (relatively) fresh and two, I don’t have anything else going on in my life right now.
So while the fertility cliff at 35 is a myth, it would be disingenuous of me to say that there’s absolutely no impact of age on fertility, particularly after the age of 40; the fertility rate for women age 40 and older varies depending upon the source, but it seems to be about 5% up until 42 and then it drops again. Honestly if I had been a little more concerned/aware of fertility concerns at 40, I probably would have tried a little bit sooner.
So when I found myself thinking that I was in a good place to have a child, I was concerned about my age because I was over 40. I was very fortunate that the medical professionals whom I saw prior to my pregnancy and during my pregnancy were all very supportive and non-judgmental. I went to the Park Slope office of The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology and I have nothing but praise for the care that I received there. When I went in for a consultation, I admitted that I had some concerns over conception, but the doctor reassured that I shouldn’t worry and that older mothers were quite common in Park Slope. She said that we should try on our own for 6-8 months and if I didn’t conceive naturally, then we should turn to fertility assistance. We were told to try for 6-8 months on our own because if we were experiencing infertility, I didn’t have time on my side. The advice for younger couples is to try for a year before seeing a specialist.
The funny thing about trying to get pregnant is that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be based on what I learned in human reproduction in school (the “this is how babies are made and now don’t get pregnant” lesson). The teachers made it seem as if a boy just had to look at you and you’d get pregnant once you entered puberty. In reality, a young woman has about a 25% chance of getting pregnant each month and there’s only a narrow window in each monthly cycle where conception could take place. And as I stated before, if you’re over 40, then it drops down to about 5% or less each month.
I didn’t do anything fancy because I have a very regular cycle. I tracked my cycle with an app (I liked Ovia).
I felt pretty smug about myself when I got pregnant after only three months. After reading so many articles that talked about the difficulty of getting pregnant in your 40s and wondering if I pushed it, to get pregnant so quickly and easily, I felt that this was a piece of cake. A week later I miscarried. It turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. I’ll talk more about this in a future post because there’s not a lot of conversation about miscarriages.
After I got over the disappointment I was hopeful that at the very least that this was a good sign that my body was capable of getting pregnant and that I would get pregnant soon. I did eventually get pregnant, but it took another 5 months. Those were tough five months for me. The obgyn said that if I didn’t get pregnant after 6 to 8 months of trying, then I should go see a fertility specialist. After six months I did see a specialist for consultation. Even though I didn’t go through the IVF process, I’ll do a post about that too because I learned an awful lot about reproduction, IVF, and its impact on running.
I avoided needing IVF by literally getting pregnant right before I was getting ready to start the IVF process. I described it as a Hail Mary pregnancy. I’ll do another post about being pregnant, particularly being pregnant during a pandemic (it was interesting) and I’ll also do a post on the birth story.