The emotional highs and lows of one woman’s quest to have children
I’m a 44-year-old mother of two – one boy and one girl. Are my children getting ready for high school? Nope. Surely they must be tweens. Nope. Middle-school aged? Nope. One is 3 years old and the other is 6 months old. I’m that mother – advanced maternal age.
I met my husband when I was 37. He’s five years my junior. I was leaving behind an old relationship and starting my life over in a new state, with a new job, with a new sense of freedom. The last thing I wanted to do was to fall in love again and remarry, but that’s what happened. We married just shy of my 40th birthday. I was pregnant with my daughter eight months later. Sounds like a fairy tale right? Yes and no.
Shortly after my husband and I began dating, I became pregnant. We were shocked and thrilled at the same time. I remember going for that first ultrasound. I was about six weeks along. As we looked at the monitor we saw that there were two fetuses. We had talked about having twins and couldn’t believe our eyes. When the doctor came in and told us that there were no heartbeats, I felt my world come crashing down. How could this be? I had already told family and friends. How would I tell them the news? We walked out of the office in a daze. I was devastated.
Needless to say, it was such a loss. I was thoroughly heartbroken. I had just started my yoga teacher training and immersed myself in it to absorb the pain of this loss. Four months later, I was pregnant again and we waited to tell anyone, harboring such a magnificent secret that we dare share with the world. The first ultrasound had us terrified, but there was a heartbeat. Only one. The doctor had me come in the following week to do some tests due to my “advanced maternal age.” It was then that we heard no heartbeat.
We asked for a testing of the tissues so we could start to get some answers of why this was happening. The tests came back that the fetus wasn’t compatible with life. It was nothing that we had done, it was just not meant to be – genetic mumbo jumbo. I had many tests done after that just to make sure that the possibility of a baby was even feasible.
I was 39 years old and had spent so many years trying not to get pregnant that I had no idea if I even could. All the tests came back negative, but there was nothing wrong with my husband or me. I got pregnant one more time and miscarried naturally around four weeks. So, we shelved the baby thing for a while and focused on opening our yoga studio.
We talked about adoption and we talked about no kids. I truly wasn’t sure that we would ever have a family.
The year 2010 was a crazy one for us. We broke ground on our dream home in April. We got married in July and moved into our home on Christmas Eve. We found a space for our yoga studio and opened the doors in March of 2011, and I found out I was pregnant in April. We were petrified.
The doctors had me coming in for HCG tests to make sure things were progressing. Everything looked good and we heard that heartbeat. However, I never truly relaxed during my pregnancy with Zoe. I was so terrified that something would go wrong given my history.
Once the first trimester was over, I stopped worrying about miscarriage, but then obsessed about what size fruit the baby was that month, or how much weight I had gained, or how many kicks I felt. Guess it was a combo of being a first time mom and having nerves about growing a healthy baby.
I delivered Zoe naturally on Christmas night 2011. She is happy, healthy and a joy in my life. Two-and-a-half years later, her brother Teddy joined us. And we weren’t trying – things just happened. I was much more relaxed during my pregnancy with Teddy, as it went by faster and I wasn’t as obsessed about many details. He was born last June 2014. He is the happiest baby I’ve ever met.
Now, I have two amazing, happy, and beautiful children that I never thought I would have.
Once we stopped “trying” to have a baby, that’s when it happened. Trust in God, your universe, your partner and yourself. Things do happen for a reason and happen when they are supposed to be. Yes, I’m an older mom, but I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
Bjorn and Jody-Lee Turnquist with their 3-year-old daughter, Zoe, and 6-month-old son, Teddy. The family lives in Kittery. Courtesy photoJody-Lee Turnquist, a 44-year-old mother from Kittery, with her children, Zoe and Teddy.Courtesy photo