Today I am 24 weeks and had my follow-up freak-you-out ultrasound.  It went fine and there was no freaking out.  The u/s tech poked around and measured all the chambers of the heart and all the other important stuff and then said everything looked good.  What a relief.  At my birthing center the u/s machine is in one of the birthing rooms, so I was able to show my mom and my husband the tub and we could all envision the big event happening in that very room.

I'm having a few not-very-nauseated days in a row; I just ate vegetables, in fact. 

The incident with the mean lady on Tuesday has energized me.  What is out there for us older moms?  Where's our iVillage?  Some Googling revealed a few resources and an annoying, irritating amount of "articles" and "helpful information" that isn't helpful in the least. 

The articles concern how hard it is to get pregnant at an older age – Really?  I hadn't heard that?  Something about eggs? - and then segue to how hard it would be to stay pregnant with lots of scary miscarriage numbers and stats about "birth defects." 

Here is some wonderful twaddle from an unattributed, uh, article at a website called "Solveyourproblem.com" under the heading "Lower Your Risk:"

See your doctor the minute you decide to try to have a baby. After you conceive, have tests done to check for a healthy uterus and ovaries. Also, have your partner’s sperm checked to make sure the majority of them are normal and not genetically flawed. If you have to undergo IVF, make sure the doctor screens each embryo for genetic defects so that they only place healthy ones in your womb. Once you are pregnant, make sure you see your doctor as scheduled. Early prenatal care and good health habits will result in a healthy baby and a happy mother.

Is this not hilarious?  "After you conceive," have tests done to check for a healthy uterus? Have your partner's sperm checked?  There is no genetic "sperm check" that is supported by good studies.  There is some distant relationship to medical truth in these statements but it's mostly so, so wrong, and then wraps up with the fabulous promise that "early prenatal care and good health habits WILL result in a healthy baby…"

Assuming we haven't been warned off by all that, the articles then concern themselves with how hard it is to go without sleep and muster up the energy to parent babies and toddlers at an advanced age.  I guess I would be more moved by this if all the twenty- and thirty-something parents I know didn't constantly complain about how exhausted they are.  I'd be more worried if they were okay with it, like the kids who went dancing after running the marathon when I had to do the hot bath/ice pack combo before sleeping for 16 hours.  It seems to me that kids use up all that you have, whoever you are, and who knows who has more, or less?  It's all used up!  I personally have had insomnia since I was 35, and I rarely sleep 8 straight without drugs.  I have lost my sense of sleep entitlement, and that has been the key to my coping. 

Who knows how much energy younger people waste, getting used to less sleep and less "me time," fending off pushy parents and in-laws, stressing about finances and careers.  Not to mention trying to parent while still firming up their own identities.  Meanwhile we older parents are more established, we no longer care so much what our mothers will say – we're just glad we still have our moms, those of us who do – and we have more resources to hire help or take off from work.  We're not sitting around thinking about what glorious life adventures we are missing because of having kids – we either had those adventures already or sacrificed them to pay for our IVFs.

Anyway… the articles are not much help.  I mean, really, who is sitting around at age 28 saying "well, I think I'll wait 'til I'm 40 to have a baby… it'll all work out."  Please.  Obviously lots of us "weren't ready" at earlier ages – I had the worst kind of male factor infertility, i.e. no husband – but that's not the same as making a conscious decision to wait that long.  Every single woman past the age of thirty that I know is thinking and worrying about her declining fertility.  If you have ever watched your 35th, 36th, 37th birthdays pass with no decent boyfriends, not a lot of decent dates even, and then gotten the "fertility talk" from your GYN (usually right after he shoves the cold metal speculum in and tells you to "relax"), you know what I'm talking about.  It's not about shrugging and saying "oh, I'll just do IVF, that always works."  It's about rushing out of the doctor's office so you can cry your guts out in the car.  

As a very unsympathetic, fertile female relative once asked me: "Didn't you think about that before you got married?"

Yeah, b****.  Every single day. 

Most of us find we have arrived at the advanced age and THEN we begin either hoping to get pregnant / acquire children, or find ourselves in the process of gestating or acquiring and agonizing about it.

The fear-mongering gets my goat too.  Consider this excerpt from CBS News online, quoting some doctor named Smith:

Overall, Smith says, while it's possible to become pregnant later in life, experts caution that, risk-wise, younger is still better than older, your own eggs are still better than another women's eggs, and it's still too early to really know how kids of much older moms will fare down the line.

"Younger is better than older."  Duh.  "Your own eggs are still better than another women's [sic] eggs"?  Really?  Better how? 

Obviously I want to see articles that say how great older moms are and what great parents we will be and obviously I'm not going to see that everywhere.  But I'm not seeing much to balance the generalizations and fear-mongering and oh please, must I always hear about the celebrities?  Have I not been insulted enough, before I must also be told that I'm having a late-in-life baby because I read that Susan Sarandon or Geena Davis did?  I'm pretty sure that I don't plan large life decisions on what celebrities do. 

I'm just not seeing much of anything that I need online, so I'm now reading books on the older mom subject. I have three, and I will tell you if they're any good.

In the meantime I have read "Sippy Cups are Not For Chardonnay," by Stefani Wilder-Taylor, and that was, while not on the over-40 topic, hilarious and also useful.  This book has surprising depth even though it looks like it'll be all jokes all the time.  I learned some good stuff.

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