So I went off the pill. Wouldn't you know it, within six weeks of saying "I do", there I was alone in the bathroom pacing as much as you can in a 9' x 4' space quietly waiting for the little window on the test strip to do something. I couldn't believe my eyes when that "plus sign" appeared. "Oh my God!" I thought "What have we done!!"
My first reaction was to panic but it wasn't long before a big smile spread across my face. Could this really be right? I didn't even think it was possible to get pregnant at this age without some sort of fertility treatment or donor eggs. But I had. I was staring at the proof right there on that little wand.
We didn't tell anyone, I was afraid to jinx things but I breezed through that first 8 weeks. No morning sickness, I had started doing prenatal yoga everyday, I was excited and felt great!
But once the medical community caught wind of my condition, the testing and in-depth screening began. Being over the age of 40 made my pregnancy extremely high-risk in their eyes and it didn't matter how terrific I felt or how great my ultrasound results had been. They couldn't wait to run every possible exam and test in the book on me. We had a nuchal exam at about 12 weeks and aced that but then a few weeks later, it was time for the dreaded amnio which I later wished I had refused.
For those of you who believe this test is 100% foolproof, think again. What they neglect to tell you is that this test is only as accurate as the cells that are drawn and how those cells are handled and reproduced once they are extracted. Let's just say for the record that it was a terrible experience that I don't want to go into. Several weeks later when they recommended that they go back in for a test on the cord blood no matter what the risk to the pregnancy, I firmly said "No way!"
Thanks to that amnio test, I ended up in a large hospital 2 1/2 hours away meeting with genetic specialists, getting in-depth ultrasounds and poked with even more needles for additional blood tests and screening. It's nice to know this assistance is available for those who need or want it but thanks to a botched amnio, I was subjected to enough unnecessary stress and anxiety to nearly cause a miscarriage or heart failure!
Bottom line, in spite of the results of that "foolproof" amnio test, I had a beautiful, healthy, 7lb 6oz baby girl at 39 weeks. Great, she even came a week early so I wouldn't be freaked out in week 40 every time she hiccuped!
So during this entire pregnancy, what symptoms of pre-menopause had I missed?? For me to have the hormone levels of a postmenopausal woman just two years later, I must have been in full-blown menopause either during or right after the pregnancy.
Let's see, if you do a search of pre-menopausal symptoms, you will find:
Unexplained weight gain. I wonder how I missed that one LOL, do you think the 35 pounds I gained during the pregnancy might have been a clue?
Mood Swings, well I think that anyone who was pregnant at the age of 44 might be a little touchy, especially being subjected to so many tests so I missed that one.
Irritability, oh I don't know. I was lugging around a gut the size of a barrel LOL! I still remember the day I was coming down the stairs and my husband looked over at me and commented that I had finally reached the stage where one half of my body was now made up entirely of stomach! What a guy!
Fatigue, well carrying around this bundle of joy would have tired out a 20-year old. Of course I was tired, I was 44 years old and pregnant!
Low metabolism, did I mention I gained 35 pounds!!
Water retention, did I mention I was pregnant!
Well the list goes on and on and for anyone who has been pregnant even in their 20's, none of the pre-menopausal symptoms would have stood out as anything unusual except maybe the hot flashes, which I didn't have.
So needless to say, nothing that was going on with my body that could have been that "Hey, I must be pre-menopausal" was going on that couldn't be easily explained by the pregnancy or was I just missing some obvious sign!!??