Friday, April 13, 2007

Advanced Maternal Age

I have been thinking about this label a lot lately. It is the first diagnosis on all my perinatologist's reports - ahead of Type 2 Diabetes, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Hypo-thyroid - obesity doesn't even make the list although I know it is yet another factor for my high-risk assessment.
I will be 62 when this baby graduates from high school. My Mother died at 62. She died of lung cancer after 40+ years of smoking. I quit after 27 years - was it soon enough?
How can I continue my slapdash approach to my health (mainly weight and exercise)? Am I crazy or just selfish?
Who came up with such a derogatory sounding diagnosis? And why would it start at 35? Most women can conceive well past their 40th birthday and the risks increase at the same gradual pace from age 25 onward.
I saw my OB yesterday and told him I definitely want the tubal ligation while in the hospital for this baby's birth. I think that's what triggered this introspection. It is hard to make that decision to end your fertility, but it makes so much sense for me. As much as I would have theoretically liked a 3rd biologic child, the reality is that I will be 45 in August. I am most likely capable of having one more - but at what cost? I had 3 miscarriages before this pregnancy and 1 before Kimo. Would that mean 9 more miscarriages to have another child? My psyche cannot comprehend that much pain. They (my medical team) have me running between Perinatologist, Ob/Gyn and Endocrinologist NOW - I can't imagine keeping that up for another 3 years either. Hell, if it took 3 years again to conceive a viable pregnancy - I would be 48 at delivery! HELL NO, I won't go!
However, it is still a very final decision. Fertility has been part of me for some 30 years now. Most of that time it was an inconvenience and something to outwit, not celebrate. But it was an integral part of my womanhood. I distinctly remember being told the (only) benefit of menstruation was that I was capable of having babies.
Trying to turn that around in my head, I can see a certain freedom in no longer having to consider pregnancy. No diaphragms, no fertility charts, no trying to weigh the pros/cons of the pill, no buying pregnancy tests at 6 am on the way to work and no more dashed hopes by the negative results. No more dashed hopes by miscarriages. No more excruciatingly painful 1st trimesters (aka weeks) while I wait with breath held to see if I will miscarry or not.

In other news -
I return to my ob in 2 weeks for my first NST (Non Stress Test) - this is a fetal monitor they hook up to watch heartbeat, movement, etc for 10-20 minutes, or even longer depending on what baby is or is not doing. I will then have an NST every week until delivery. I must be getting closer.

Endocrinologist on Monday - I just HATE that I won't have results from the bloodwork until Friday. I really must ask why they are still in the dark ages and sending me info via snail mail. They have the results late Monday, mail out a form letter to me when they get around to it - Tuesday most likely and apparently the only outgoing mail is in the am - so it's not in the mail til Wed. My home is 60 miles away, so at least 2 days for delivery - voila! Friday. I don't get the mail until I get home from work, so god forbid if I have a question, it must wait until Monday when I can catch their office open. They only answer the phone from 8:30 - 11:30 and 1:30 -4:00 Mon- Thurs and only half a day on Friday. I would freak if I was expected to accept this type of service from or just about anyone but a medical professional!

Day Off today - I took a vacation day today. Full weeks are exhausting and I have some time saved up. I've actually been taking a day every other week now - if you count Good Friday, or the politically correct version - Spring Break day. We are having a bad snow storm - almost a blizzard according the news. A blizzard in mid-April. This and the piss-poor soil here are the 2 things that may drive me from Colorado. I really must get started on my to-do list!


nita said...

hi there
thanks for the link! i'm not a preachy type at all, but pick up 'eat to live' by dr fuhrman. at the very least it is the best education about food you'll ever come across.

(my husband lost 50 pounds and i've lost 20. pretty painlessly !!)

okay, going back to read more!

and NO DOUBT on the horrid names for most conditions!

Dr. Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related scientific study interesting to you:
Human Longevity and Parental Age at Conception