40 at 40

Apparently, age 40 is practically geriatric in the baby delivery world. Even though I feel healthy and spry and finally have a bit of a grasp of this whole parenting thing, I’m apparently much too old to have a baby, and far too old to carry the baby past term.

But let me back up.

When I first had Jackson, I was 30. It was exhausting; I will never forget the sleepless nights. In fact, I was so tired that I slept like the dead during the 2 hour stretch where he wasn’t nursing or wanting to nurse each night at several intervals.

There was a house fire on our block one night when Jackson was about 3 months old. The flames shot up so much that we could see them from our bedroom window, even though the house on fire was a few houses down the street. Fire trucks wailed down our street, and the smoke was thick. I slept through all that, only awakening when Jackson cried. In my groggy, sleep-deprived haze, I had no idea why our room had an orange glow or was filled with smoke until my husband also woke up and told me what was going on.

I remember thinking at that time that I knew why people had babies in their 20s. When I was in my 20s, I had less trouble staying up all night (partying and drinking, of course, but who’s counting?). By the ripe old age of 30, those days were long gone and I felt far too old to keep up with the rigors of a newborn.

The sleep deprivation is the part of parenting a newborn that scares me the most this time around, at the practically ancient age of 40. Will Elliot be a good sleeper like Grace? Or will he wake up every 2 to 3 hours all night long like Jackson? Or will he present some different, as-yet unknown scenario? We will find out in a few days; Elliot is scheduled to be induced next Tuesday night, if he is not already born by then.

Other than a healthy baby, one of the things I wanted most from this pregnancy was to go into labor naturally, since I never have before. But from the very beginning, my midwife has told me about a new-ish development in OB-GYN care called “40 at 40.” It means that when the mother is 40 years old, she should not be allowed to go past 40 weeks’ gestation. We have talked a lot about it, and she assured me that we could go a little past, but because I also want a healthy baby I’m nervous about pushing it too far. After a great deal of consideration, I decided that if our favorite midwife was working, I could schedule the induction for her shift so that she would be the one to deliver the baby. (She also delivered Jackson and Grace, so it would be really nice to have her there.) It turns out that she’s working overnight on Tuesday, August 7, and all day on Wednesday, August 8. So, it made sense to schedule the induction for late at night on August 7—we will go into the hospital at 11 pm to be induced, and if everything goes as well as it did with Jackson, we should have a baby by Wednesday afternoon.

You would think that after all we’ve been through with Grace I would be used to having things not go my way. And, for the most part, I am. But this time seemed so different—it seemed like all my dreams were coming true. It’s hard to give up any part of what I had hoped would be the perfect labor and delivery. And truthfully, there is still a chance that it could work out perfectly—a very slim chance, but a chance nonetheless. I don’t have a lot of hope for that, though. I am feeling despondent about having to be at the hospital an extra day while the baby is induced.

It’s for a good cause; we definitely want to give Elliot the best chance at being a healthy, happy baby that we can. And he will for sure have time to get all the IV antibiotics if we are induced, so that’s good too.

But still… I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll make an early appearance. C’mon, little man! Do it for Mom. 😉


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