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  • How I Became an Antique Mommy

    July 13, 2005

    I once saw a cross-stitched pillow in a craft booth kind of store that read “Grandma’s Are Just Antique Mommys”. I am not a grandma. I am a 47-year-old mother of a 3-year-old.  I am an antique mommy.

    Some of my friends who are also not 25 and have toddlers are bothered by my use of the word “antique”. I don’t find “older mother” to be any more flattering. How about “senior” or “mature” mother? Maybe youth challenged? I am what I am and I am not a young mother.

    I went through my 20s and most of my 30s not ever intending to have a child. I had never really been that fond of babies, although I did start to get an unexplainable yearning when I stepped over that 30-year threshold. Even though kids in general terrified me and I knew nothing of the care and feeding they seemed to need so much of, something happened in my heart and I found myself looking wistfully at women with children. Nonetheless, I just couldn’t see myself in that role and my husband made it clear from the begininng that he didn’t really want kids.

    Well, there is another saying that goes “Man plans and God laughs” and that is pretty much what happened to me. I had a very nice life going for myself — a husband that I adored and a nice house, friends, travel, blah blah blah — and then I found myself widowed at 34 very very suddenly. It was two years before I emerged from the foggy anesthesia that is grief only to discover that I was 36 and alone. The women I saw strolling their children made me feel even more alone. 36. Too young to go through the rest of my life alone and I felt too old and damaged to start dating again. Single groups? I’d rather have eaten thumbtacks. So eventually I ate a few thumbtacks and went to a singles group at my church. Unlike Stella, there was no getting my groove back. Didn’t even want my groove back. I wanted my old life back.

    So I came up with another plan that I would be single for the rest of my life and that would be that…. Then a family moved in down the street. They knew a very nice man who was single and they knew I was single and they invited him to a neighborhood gathering. And I swear to you, the second I saw him I knew that I had found my tribe. I was 36 at the time and he was 39. We dated for two years and then married. You do the math.

    We started trying for children immediately with no luck — which was amazing to me because it never occured to me that I wouldn’t get pregnant immediately. After all, I had spent nearly the previous 20 years trying not to get pregnant. After six months, a good friend who is a fertility nurse advised us to consider infertility treatment.  And again, we had a plan. Ha! We would only do invitro, but we would not under any circumstances consider donor eggs or surrogates or anything like that. We would just do what we could do semi-naturally and if after that, we had no luck, we would accept that. The funny thing about desperation though is that those lines you draw in the sand shift and move the more desperate you get.

    Anything that could be incompatible with conception was me. First it was the fibroids. Three tennis ball-sized fibroids. Which, again, was amazing to me because I’m not that big of a gal to be packing a can of tennis balls and not know it. Anyway, I said to the good doctor, Fine! You just go in there and takem’ out. I may have even snapped my fingers at the end of that sentence. So that is what he did — four months later after a trip down Lupron Lunacy Lane. Lupron shrinks the tumors to make the surgery less traumatic to the uterus, but it also puts you in a temporary menopause with all the accompanying hot flashes, mood swings, etc. I was just spreading joy and sweat everywhere I went in those days. But I survived and recovered from the surgery and figured I’d have my baby by fall. I was certain it was all going to be worth it very soon.

    Post op, we found out that I only had one functioning tube through a very barbaric and unpleasant test with an equally barbaric sounding name. If you’ve had the test, you know that of which I speak. Having only one tube was not good news, but the doctor said with invitro we could get around that. Then we found out I had a septum in the uterus that had to be removed. Yet, another surgery.

    Finally, a year and half later I was ready to actually start the infertility program. I got lessons from the nurse on how to give myself the injections, three different kinds of needles, several times a day, I pee’d in cups, I gave vial after vial of blood, I drove back and forth to the hospital several times a week and finally the day arrived to see how many precious little follicles (future eggs) I had created!! Two. How many did they want to harvest? 15. I was a tad bit short. After all the surgery and all the waiting and praying and all the drugs I could not make an egg. I was now 40 and I had no eggs. That was just great.

    The doctor correctly advised me to cut my losses and move on with my life. Perhaps adopt. With one tube and no eggs, he said I had a “one in a million” chance of conceiving. I sat on the edge of the paper covered table sobbing into the hospital gown until there was just sobbing and no tears. I couldn’t believe after all that, it had come to this. The coming days brought a river of tears at the least unlikely times and nothing consoling could be said. Several weeks later, we made an appointment to talk to another doctor about donor eggs. The line over which we would not cross had just moved. After that appointment, we didn’t really make a decision other than to just stop for a while and lick our wounds.

    So, I made yet another plan. I would have a wonderful life with my wonderful husband and wonderful home and we would travel to wonderful places and have wonderful things and it would all be (sob sob) wonderful. In the meantime I could not look at a pregnant woman let alone go to a baby shower. I was beyond bitter.

    Cut to three years later. I’ve enrolled in a graduate program to prove that I’ve gotten on with my life. I’m visiting my OB/GYN for my annual check up and I tell her I’d like to have a hysterectomy. I’m now 43 and hopelessly infertile, so what good is a uterus to me? Besides I’m tired of having a period. She is open to that but hands me a prescription for birth control pills to help with the irregular and heavy periods until we can get the surgery scheduled. I take the prescription and stuff into the bottomless pit that is my purse never to be seen again.

    Two weeks later, I’m realizing that I don’t feel quite right and that I haven’t had a period for some time, which was not all that unusal. Nonetheless, I go to the grocery store and pick up a pregnancy test just for the heck of it. I don’t really think I’m pregnant. I’ve probably spent a thousand dollars on those stupid tests and have never even come close to getting a positive. I take the test and it is immediately, unquestionably, and without a doubt positive. I could not believe it. Could. NOT! Believe. It. Something must be wrong with this stick. It must be broken. I just stared at it for several minutes. Then I re-read the directions about ten times. I even tried to read them in Spanish. Yes, hold the stick down, I did that. Pee on it. I did that. Put it on a flat surface. Did that. Finally I realized that I was pregnant. Change of plans.

    And that is how I became an antique mommy with all it’s mostly joys and sometimes challenges. I was nearly 44 when I had my son and since then, I have learned so many things, not the least of which is how to count in months. I’ve also learned to not make so many plans.

    21 Comments »

    1. katie says:

      I am not sure how I came across your site. I guess you are 6 degrees from someone I know. Anyway, thank you for writing your testimony about your family. I loved it and will share it with a friend.

      August 28th, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    2. Kathryn says:

      A reader of my blog referred me to your site. In 2005 I had 2 miscarriages at 42. In November 2006 we saw a fertility specialist to discuss options. The following month I got pregnant, and I’m 10 weeks 5 days along. My first doctor appointment is today. I am hoping dearly this will go well. If it does, my baby will be born in late August, two months after I turn 44. I’ll be back to read more of your blog!

      February 2nd, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    3. Anjali says:

      This is an incredible story, which would make an even more incredible memoir. I hope you consider it someday. I’d preorder it from Amazon!

      March 20th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    4. Christy says:

      Oh, I’ve been down Lupron Lunacy Lane. I know it all too well. Only mine was for endometriosis. Six months spent traveling that road had me cracking up at the statement about spreading joy and sweat everywhere – that was totally me!

      April 5th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    5. Twisted Cinderella says:

      As I sit here 35 years old and finally pregnant after four years of trying to have my second child, I have tears running down my cheeks. I am so happy for you and your little guy. You so deserve the joys that you are going through.

      May 11th, 2007 at 9:46 am

    6. Cindy La Ferle says:

      Great site, great stories! Thank you, and Happy Mother’s Day (a day late, but still heartfelt!). I agree — great material for a memoir.
      Cindy, Cindy’s Home Office

      May 14th, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    7. Stacey says:

      I read about you in Good Housekeeping and had to check out your site. I am 41 with 2 young children and just last year I had a miscarriage and was heartbroken. I count my blessings that my girls are healthy but I’m still sad that we lost my last pregnancy. It’s heartwarming to read your story and I’m so happy for you that you were blessed with your son Sean. Thank you for sharing your story!

      June 20th, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    8. Kimmy says:

      Wow! What a story! What a blessing! My husband’s mom had him when she was 45 years old. He was her 11th child and he was not planned. His next sibling in line is 9 years older than him. From the photos you have on your site, you look amazing. I would have never guessed you to be 40-anything! I found you through Christian Women Online and I look forward to hearing your journey through motherhood. I think I’m going to enjoy it here. Have a great day, and feel free to visit me up in Canada, via bloggerland.

      June 22nd, 2007 at 1:10 am

    9. becca says:

      AM, just read this post…again…and it is still wonderful. That’s the mark of good writing for me. It’s a story that I love hearing repeated.

      June 23rd, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    10. Just a mom says:

      I would like to come back and catch up on yoru blog. I love the fact that you are an older mom.

      July 17th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    11. Kamismum says:

      I’m an antique mommy myself. I’m 48, and the proud mother of a 3 year old girl, and 6-month old girl twins, all conceived through in vitro. I’ve had the “Lupron Crazies” several times, but it was all worth it. Five in vitro attempts brought me three beautiful girls.

      July 18th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    12. betty says:

      I am the very proud mother of a 2 and a half year old precious little boy. I turned fifty the day after he was born! We had Locke, our son, with a surrogate mother and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful experience. We had tried for 14 years and had 5 miscarriages to prove it but I just couldn’t give up and am so glad I had the perserverence and guts to carry on until we had a baby. I love being an antique mother (until I finish sizing up the ages of all the younger mothers after a trip to Target!) and even on those days, I take one look at Locke and my worries melt away with his captivating smile and sparkling eyes.

      On the trip home from the hospital, as I was leaving a friend a voicemail announcing his birth and I found myself saying, “since his birth, the miscarriages suddenly somehow made sense because Locke was the baby we were suppose to have all along.” I encourage those that still have hope, to allow yourself to follow your dreams. I never gave up and my dreams have come true and then some!

      August 8th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    13. catherine says:

      I just found your blog and it’s great. Today my Pastor commented on my blog saying that dreams do come true. Yours did. Not when you wanted it to, but when God ‘s time had arrived. It’s going to take a few days for me to read all your posts. I anticipating enjoyment. Your write superbly. Thank you.

      August 11th, 2007 at 12:20 am

    14. scriptexam says:

      Just another Antique Mommy here. I found out I was pregnant at age 41, and six weeks after I’d filed for divorce! (That make-up sex will get ya everytime.) Regardless, I’m 44 now, my 26-month old daughter is the light of my life, and my ex-husband and I get along better now than we ever did in marriage. I never expected my life to be like this but I wouldn’t change it for anything!

      Loving your blog! Can’t wait to read more.

      August 12th, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    15. Antique Mommy says:

      Imported Comments from Blogger:

      Karen said…
      What a wonderful story. I’m sure you will be happy, whatever God has in store.

      8/01/2005 9:11 PM
      Hannah’s Mommy said…
      I have lot’s of Antique Mommy moments. I am 41 and have a three year old daughter, obviously, Hannah is her name. I came across the criss cross, applesauce saying for the first time a couple of months ago. Imagine having to learn this new hip phrase from a 3 year old.
      My daughter is always a genetic scary duplicate of myself. When I was 4, I could be found cleaning nasty, public bathrooms. My daughter does the same thing. She also makes up words, and pretends to be sick to get out of school, just like me! As an adopted child, it just amazes me to have a genetic copy of myself. She may have looked like my husband when she was born, but she has definitely turned into a mini-me!

      1/24/2006 3:36 PM
      scarbie doll said…
      THAT is an amazing story. A friend of mine, who has suffered many miscarriages, once said, “You can’t force a baby who wasn’t meant to be into the world, and you can’t keep a baby who WAS meant to be out of it.”

      I think it’s fabulous that we can experience motherhood at any age. My cousin’s wife had two boys in her 40s (was her second marriage) after much difficulty and fertility stuff. And you know what? It was totally fucking worth it. They are now 12 and 10 and mean the world to me.

      Glad you came across my blog.

      3/19/2006 2:21 PM
      Veronica Mitchell said…
      What a blessing. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

      4/01/2006 3:32 PM
      PAgirly said…
      it’s interesting how you do not even personally know a person but you feel close to them by a story they share with you.

      YOU are truly blessed and were meant to be a mommy after all you went through. God has mysterious ways of working, doesn’t he?

      4/02/2006 12:00 PM
      MikeysJack said…
      This story touched my heart. My mother was also widowed at 36. I was 14, and I have two siblings, so Mama already had children, obviously…but anything that close to home just gets to me.

      My sister, who is only 2.5 years older than I, had trouble getting pregnant with her first child, her son. She had had endomitriosis (sp?), but a doctor from our hometown cured that problem without doing too much damage. My sister promptly went on fertility drugs and conceived my handsome little nephew.

      That’s not where it ends….three months after Alex’s birth, my sister was already on birth control. I commented to my brother-in-law that I hoped they could have another child someday to be a companion/playmate for Alex. The very next week, my sister called me and told me she was pregnant again!!!!! One year and two weeks (to the day) after Alex was born, my sister gave birth to her daughter, Juli.

      When she called with news of the pregnancy, I told her to tell her husband that I hadn’t meant RIGHT THEN!!!!!

      Thank you for sharing!

      Love,

      Jack

      4/13/2006 10:02 PM
      Diana said…
      “one in a million chance…”
      Beautiful story, hope you tell Sean that he’s a one in a million baby.
      Congrats on overcoming statistics.

      4/14/2006 12:59 PM
      Faith said…
      What a great story! Love it. I am also an antique mommy. We had 4 children in 5 years when we were young – now we are in our forties and just started over. We adopted our son 14 months ago (at birth). It is different now – but, I love it!! Congrats to you!!!

      4/16/2006 10:14 PM
      kelly jeanie said…
      This is an incredible story. Awesome. Seriously, wow. It doesn’t matter how old you are, infertility rips your heart out…and makes the parenting that much sweeter. I can relate.

      Oh, and my husband is 32 and has been wearing bifocals since his 20’s. For what it’s worth. 🙂

      5/09/2006 11:12 AM
      Chris said…
      What a fabulous story. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

      5/15/2006 10:25 AM
      Jennifer said…
      I just love your site. I have one daughter age 4 and I am 36. I thought the natural progression when she was 2 was to go off the pill and get pregnant. 3 years later we still have no new baby and I am having to learn to accept it. I know thaty God has a plan, just sometimes I wish he would let us in on it! Ha! I am so happy that it happened for you and I hope that you and your readers will keep me in your prayers.

      1/07/2007 2:44 PM
      Jennifer said…
      I just love your site. I have one daughter age 4 and I am 36. I thought the natural progression when she was 2 was to go off the pill and get pregnant. 3 years later we still have no new baby and I am having to learn to accept it. I know thaty God has a plan, just sometimes I wish he would let us in on it! Ha! I am so happy that it happened for you and I hope that you and your readers will keep me in your prayers.

      1/07/2007 2:44 PM

      September 17th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    16. Heather says:

      I found your website through a RT on Twitter. I was an infertility patient at the ripe old age of 28….COULD NOT comprehend how I could be infertile and not yet be 30. Today I have a 3 and 4 year old through the miracle of fertility treatments. I may not be quite as “antique”, but your stories certainly ring true for me! Thanks for sharing!

      May 9th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    17. Larry Who says:

      Awesome story.

      May 14th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    18. Deborah says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m 30 and want very much to have a child. My husband and I have been trying for less than a year, but it feels like it’s been so much longer than that, and it doesn’t help that I have other symptoms that make me fear infertility … your story gives me hope.

      June 13th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    19. Cindy says:

      Wow – I read your story and just love it.
      I gave birth at 44 years old also to my 5th child David.
      I had 4 children from a previous marriage and was single and content for five years.
      Then married again in 2000 to an older man, with two older children.
      The doctor called our little son together a “miracle baby”. Came right down from God. Truly he is the glue that has stuck our family together.
      I like “Antique Mommy”. I may say that the next time someone asks if we are his grandparents!! Blessings To You Always 🙂

      July 1st, 2009 at 9:58 am

    20. Stacey says:

      Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer mentioned you in her Saturday linkage, and I love the cobbler reciepe…and also the explination for Antique Mommy… too bad I never seem to have my spell check when I comment! agh! 🙂
      anyway./. I plan to add you to my list of those I follow… (I’m not a young mommy either.

      August 1st, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    21. Kristen says:

      What a beautiful testimony you have…it shows how God specializes in the impossible! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Have a great weekend!

      Kristen

      October 9th, 2009 at 2:18 am

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