Hi. I’m Jennifer and I’m advanced maternal age. Seven years ago, when I was pregnant, I had been given this unfortunate designation by medical personnel.
I was too blissful to feel negative about the moniker. I was elated to be pregnant after two miscarriages. I felt beautiful; I let anyone touch my belly and I was disproportionately pleased to buy maternity clothes.
During the pregnancy, my husband and I decided to have a home birth. We had a lovely team of midwives who would come to our house to chat and feel my belly. It felt amazing and non-medical which was perfect for us. I envisioned cooking a pot of vegetarian chili while laboring. I imagined feeling cozy and comfortable in our house when welcoming our new baby into the world outside my womb.
In my 35th week of pregnancy, I went to sleep one night and had a dream about hot springs. This was not all that unusual of a dream for me – my husband and I frequented hot springs and even got engaged at one. And, I generally have very vivid dreams, so it all felt quite normal until I figured out that I wasn’t having a dream. My water was breaking and gushing all over our bed. My husband was not yet in bed so I called him over. Luckily, he was thinking clearly and decided that we should call the midwives which we did; the midwife told us that my water broke too early to have a home birth and we should go to the hospital.
This brought on an hour or so of chaos. We didn’t have bags packed for the hospital since we weren’t intending to give birth in a hospital! Luckily, I had worked a bit as a doula and had some reference books in my collection which talked about what to bring to the hospital. We followed the list, got packed up and took showers (another one of my husband’s fabulous ideas.) We walked to the hospital (only a block away) looking at the stars in the sky. It was about 1 in the morning.
I could go on for a while talking about all the hours of hospital details that came next. Checking into the hospital without having an ob-gyn or having been pre-admitted to the hospital. Never getting into a hospital room but staying in triage all night. Being told that we had to have a c-section because the baby was facing the wrong way and couldn’t be turned because my water had already broken.
Eventually, our preemie baby girl was born by c-section about 9 hours after we got to the hospital. She spent over a week in the NICU because she was small but other than that, she was quite healthy.
Thinking back to this time in my life still feels overwhelming. So much of what happened felt out of my control. I felt powerless in a situation where I hoped to feel like the main actor.
When I tell this story (aloud, in writing, or in my head), I get a bit stuck at this point. On one hand, there are all the clichéd platitudes I, and others could say by way of comfort. At least I have a healthy child now. All’s well that ends well. It could have been a lot worse.
Yes, all true, but the journey was significant and deserves a space to be processed so that I can perhaps heal.
Written By: Jennifer Pesetsky is the mom behind www.coaching4moms.com Want to know her secret to self-care? Check out her latest blog post. https://www.coaching4moms.com/blog/the-secret-to-self-care You are worth it.