Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maternity Maturity

"Maternity Maturity" sounds much better to me than the typical Advanced Maternal Age which is really just a nice way of putting what a friend of mine had written on her medical papers..."elderly!" Since when is 40 elderly in the maternity ward?! Just check out Hollywood and the standard they've been setting over the last few years: Halle Berry, 41;
Madonna, 42; Nicole Kidman, 41; Marcia Cross, 44 - just to name a few.

Now I must admit, 40 was definitely my limit. I wasn't about to consider giving birth at age 41 for myself, despite the rise of older moms in our society. I had always wanted to be a young mom and have all my children before I turned 30. That worked for the first two - they were right on track - the first at age 27 and the second at age 29.

However, the desire I had for always wanting 4 kids stuck with me. So after years of pleading, as 40 loomed on my horizon, the deal was struck and the compromise was made - we would at least try for a third child before I hit my self-imposed age limit.

My personal struggle over the past 17 years with various health conditions was a major concern for my husband and I as we considered having more children. It is one of the main reasons why we had not added to the family before this and our biggest hesitation in making the decision to see if God would bless us with another child. (Of course, I was praying for twins to fulfill my desire for four kids, but now that the big day approaches I'm quite thankful to the Lord for only having one...what was I thinking?!)

Fortunately, being pregnant at 40 has been the best and healthiest pregnancy for me yet! My chronic vertigo and fibromyalgia symptoms have been almost non-existent over the past nine months. This is attributed to hormones...yeah! Usually pregnancy hormones get blamed for all the yucky stuff, but for me I'm quite grateful to the surge of hormones that has kept me feeling great for most of the pregnancy. I did have to take extra hormones in the beginning, due to a previous miscarriage as well as my "maternity maturity", and I must admit that they made me pretty queasy in the first trimester. However, considering I never experienced morning sickness in any of my pregnancies (a blessing I'm well aware of after comparing notes with several friends who suffered much misery), I can hardly complain over a few weeks of queasiness.

Up until late June I was able to work out on a regular basis (something I only did half-heartily with the first child and I can't even remember much of the second pregnancy as I was chasing a 2 year old the whole time!) With the first two kids I gained 40 lbs and 38 lbs respectively, but with this one I'm only at a 25 lb gain...yeah! Previously, I suffered from sciatica, irritable bowel, horrible leg cramps, severe mood swings, depression and cravings - all of which have not reared their ugly heads at all during this pregnancy (although my family might question the cravings as I've had a deep desire to serve them green peas for many meals... they just happen to be my favorite veggie!)

I can only assume that it was a combination of factors (plus a lot of prayer!) that lead to a relatively easy pregnancy for me, despite my "maternity maturity." Since the cravings did not really hit hard I think I managed to eat healthier, in addition to the fact that I had just been doing Weight Watchers for the previous year and was able to switch to a nutritionist for a few pregnancy visits. This, plus, making it to the gym on a consistent basis helped to keep the weight gain down and the energy level up. I believe these things, combined with my weekly chiropractor visits and doctor administered vitamins and supplements, have all helped to keep many of my previous pregnancy ailments at bay and make this the healthiest pregnancy yet.

Now, before you think it's all been a dream, the baby has been keeping me on my toes during the third trimester. You'll just have to tune in tomorrow to hear the saga...as long as I don't go into labor tonight!

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