A Chat with Linzi

This post is about Linzi, a mum of twins. Despite living with illness, Linzi had healthy twins at 42 and in this interview she tells you what she faced and some of her experiences when she was pregnant and as an older mum. Over to you Linzi…

What is your full name? Linzi Meaden

What is your current age? 44

At what age did you have your first baby? 42

At what age did you have your last baby? 42

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant with your over 40 baby? Well my parents were floored! They never thought they would be grandparents and so it was the best news ever for them, and others were hugely excited and happy for us. Only a couple of people suggested it would be harder work and that they are glad they now have teenagers, not babies!

Were you offered any memorable words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy? Not really. Because I was expecting twins my family and friends couldn’t relate, so understandably no advice was offered. My midwife, doctors and consultant all said that it would be tough at my age!

Describe how it felt to be an older (geriatric) mum? For me, it felt the right age. I wasn’t ready in my twenties and was too ill with Crohn’s disease in my thirties. Being 40-something meant I no longer cared what others thought, too. I can remember saying, when I was 30-something, that I never wanted to be an older mum! Oops! I’ll admit that I’m exhausted with having twins and chronic illness too, but I can’t actually put into words just how blessed and lucky I feel to finally be a mum… a mother! It is love at a completely new level and I highly recommend it.

Is your child in school yet? and if so, how do the other mums and teachers react?No, they are only little. 

And below, Linzi has written some more about her experience of pregnancy, birth, babies and more. It is a lovely story and amazing what the human body can do even when faced with the struggles of illness.

From the age of 27 I was in and out of hospital having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, associated arthritis and osteoporosis – an illness normally reserved for post-menopausal women. As a result, dating was off the cards whilst I focused on my health and holding down a career in HR.

Fast forward to 2007, I was 32 and I decided to go speed-dating with a friend on the eve of St Valentines Day. That night I met my now husband, who also happens to be an amazing hypnotist – am I still under his hypnotic spell I wonder?!! Ha ha!  On our first official date he told me he had 2 boys from a previous relationship (not married).  They were 6 and 4-years old and looked super cute in the photograph, we didn’t have Smart phones back then!

A few years later, he proposed on my birthday in 2011, which was also the eve of the Royal Wedding (Kate & William), and we planned to marry in 2012.  However, in November 2011 I decided to start looking at venues and found a beautiful country house with a last-minute date available – it was just 4 and a half weeks away and we we went for it.  Several family members asked if I was pregnant, I wasn’t, and we got married on 20 December 2011. It was a fabulous Christmas wedding.

My husband and I set up our own business together and had plans to relocate to LA, with a therapy clinic in Beverly Hills.  We were rushed off our feet with business, travelling and making plans and the years just flew by without us realising how much older we were getting.

In February 2016 I visited my Chiropractor and realising I was ‘late’ I popped to the chemist to get the magic stick.  When I got home, I tested straight away and yep, I was pregnant – it took seconds to show the positive reading.  We were both absolutely over the moon, yet a little bit apprehensive about being ‘older parents’ – my husband was almost 49 and I was 42.

After speaking to midwife, I was referred to the hospital for a 9-week scan.  Thinking it would be a general check, I said to my husband he didn’t have to come along as the 12-week scan wasn’t far away.  To my total amazement, the sonographer turned the screen towards me and voiced “here’s one healthy heartbeat and look, here’s another… you’re expecting two babies”. Well, that floored me!  I could not believe it and I burst into tears. Part of me wished that I hadn’t said to my husband he didn’t need to be there, I would love to have seen his face.  Anyway, that evening, I left a bottle of brandy with the scan pictures in the kitchen for him to see when he got home.  When looking at the scan image, he thought that there was just one baby and only when I told him to look carefully it clicked that there was two. The brandy was most definitely needed!

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The much needed brandy!

I suffered with bad morning sickness, so had to stop seeing clients.  We managed a last holiday away to Spain before our new arrivals, so that I could top up my Vitamin D levels and I even got a last round of golf in back home in the UK when I was about 6 months pregnant – that was fun!

We joined an NCT group and had our first local group meet up in September 2016.  There was another mummy expecting twins who I’d met at the local TAMBA meet up in May of that year, so it was good to be able to share the experience of expecting twins.  We were super lucky in that our group of 8 couples (expecting 2 sets of twins and 6 singletons) everyone was friendly and fun.  The youngest parent (mum) was 27 and the eldest, well yes, that was us!  The majority being 30 somethings.  We set up a whatsapp group and we’ve messaged every single day since.  We all regularly meet up, with and without the children, and I can’t imagine life without them – each and every one of them is amazing and I’m proud to be able to call them our friends for life.

Fast forward to the birth itself. We opted for caesarean section based on medical advice.  I had no idea what to expect. We were advised that the twins were to be born no later than 38 weeks and we chose 31 October (Halloween) to give birth to our little witch and wizard, which was 37 weeks and 3 days.  The pregnancy itself went really well, apart from the morning sickness. I was lucky because growing 2 or more babies, being geriatric (!) and having a chronic illness on medication could have gone against me, but it didn’t. Even the C-section was a breeze with the relaxing sound of Il Divo playing in the theatre.  Shortly after the birth, I started to feel pretty damn awful, despite being dosed up on morphine, but I couldn’t feel awful because two hungry little mouths and squinty little eyes were looking up at me wanting food and comfort.

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The new twins!

From that moment, my life changed, and it’s been the best most amazing time ever.  I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I am over 40 and I gave birth to 2 babies at the same time.  Yes! I’m exhausted, but that just says to be me that I’m doing something right.

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Thanks to Linzi for sharing her story on geriatric mum. Do make sure you are following geriatric mum on social media, links below:

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Lucy x

Is Meghan a geriatric too?

The news broke this morning about Meghan Markle’s pregnancy at the ripe old age of 37. Harry is 34. When I say ripe I am obviously saying that in jest, because in my opinion, it is a wonderful age to have a baby. I had my first at 34, second at 37 and our third is due at the grand old age of 43! – now that’s ripe!

If I cast my mind back to my twenties or my early thirties, I was still very immature if I am honest. I lived in London, was surviving hangovers, massive nights out, I loved shopping for just me, I had weekly arguments with my boyfriend and I was not in a place where parenting was even a thing – ur no thanks! I remember one of my ‘party friends’ telling me that she was expecting and I have to say I felt a sense of loss. Selfish as it sounds, I felt sad that I was losing nights out and cool parties with my partner in crime for her and for me – so in a sense, that feeling demonstrates how immature I was in my early thirties. I met my now husband at 30-years old and one of the first things we did together was dash off around the world for 10-months.  You can’t do that when you have kids, not in the way we did anyway – booze, partying, crazy bus rides and living life to the max. We returned, got jobs again and whilst living in a vibrant part of East London, I found out I was pregnant. We lived in a top floor flat, had a party life-style, I loved my freedom and I was 33. When I told my Mum I felt like a little girl again. “Hi Mum, urrrrm, I’m pregnant” was kinda how it went, but my point here is that I was 34 and still felt very young and, in a way, not ready.

If we think about Meghan, she is a woman of the world, she only recently married her Prince and today, her pregnancy was announced. This makes me feel and ponder a few things:

  1. How bloody brilliant that she is expecting her first child at, what seems to be, the right time in her life.
  2. Women learning of her news today will think a few things; a) wow that was quick! b) it is ok for the Royals they have it easy and will probably have a nanny once the baby is born (I had this very conversation at the school gates this morning) c) she is quite old for her first baby d) Amazing news e) she seems to have conceived easily
  3. I wonder if her obstetrician classifies her as ‘advanced maternal age’ or yep you guess it, as a ‘geriatric mum’

You know, the thing about being an older mum, in my experience and from talking to 460 women in my facebook group (We are Geriatric Mums), is that often women who are more mature (I use that term loosely) are more in tune with what they believe in and with their bodies, too. Of course this isn’t always the case, but I speak to ladies all the time who say that they feel more settled, more capable and more understanding of pregnancy and birth, as an older mum. Meghan may well be seen as a geriatric mum at 37 because some medical professionals in the UK class an expectant mum from 35+ as advanced maternal age.  I understand this is because of the known risk to the baby and the mother at an advanced age, so I don’t take offence to this categorisation at all. I just want people to be aware that older mums can do it too.

At 42, I feel bloody amazing. I also feel really in tune with this pregnancy in a away that I didn’t or couldn’t before. I have two girls in full time school, I work for myself as a Confidence Coach which means that I can pick and choose my hours and I have time off if I need to. I am under the care of an NHS consultant which, for me, feels wonderful. I have more scans than ‘normal’ and because I am older and dare I say wiser, I feel like I understand what I need and want more than ever. I listen to my instincts when I can and I don’t compare myself to other pregnant women like I did in my first two pregnancies. Why on earth should expectant mums compare bumps and weight gain? I’m pleased to say that I don’t do this anymore and Meghan, neither should you. What I am more aware of these days is the comments from others that I do not let stick in my brain like I did during pregnancy number 1 and 2. Like “ooh your bump looks really big” or “you don’t look nearly as big this week” yehhh cheers for that – how to worry a pregnant woman! I had these two comments in the last week and I do let them wash over me and respond with a “oh do I?”

As a 42 year old women, I know my body and I am good at flagging concern, asking questions and trying to do what is best.

So Megs, if you get a chance, fling me a copy of your pregnancy notes, I would love to see if you have anything on there referring to your age. Are you a geriatric? Or, did you swerve any kind of age reference because you are a royal? (not my words, the words of another mum at the school gates).

Lucy, Geriatric Mum (27-weeks pregnant and 42 years old – gasp!)

Consultant Care

As a 42-year old woman of advanced maternal age, I am under consultant care – which I have to say feels good. It feels good to be cared for and knowing that my unborn baby is cared for, too. In my situation, consultant care means I had my first consultant appointment at the hospital at 22-weeks and I have been told I will have further appointments with her at 28, 32 and 36 weeks. I understand that this is standard practice for older mums-to-be which I am told (by my consultant) is 40+, although Mr Google does produce 35+ as a measure. I am currently researching the definition of a geriatric mum further so when I find out the official age, I will post it for all to see – although I suspect this differs a bit depending on who you talk to and what county you live in.

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One of the joys of being pregnant is seeing the very first scan, the heartbeat, the fingers and toes and the backbone in all its glory and knowing that we have access to free ultrasound scans throughout our pregnancies in the United Kingdom, is pretty incredible. Over the duration of my first two pregnancies, I had the standard 12-week and 20-week scan and it was left at that. This time around I have already had five scans. Each time they were booked so that the sonographer could re-check some measurements and to look at polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) which was pointed out as a concern at my 20-week one. This since has subsided a little, but it is still at high-normal.

I took my mum to one of the scans and she was quite amazed. I am the youngest of three children and 42-years ago there were no routine baby scans like we have today. She didn’t have a single scan in any of her three pregnancies so to see a baby wriggling around at 16-weeks was pretty incredible for her. I went in on my own first for fear of bad news I think, plus the girls were with us so it felt best to go in to be checked first. It was the school summer holidays and my parents were visiting from Lincolnshire and I did really want my mum to be with me for support and so that she could experience the kind of scan we get in modern maternity care. The kids and Mum were fascinated, my eldest kept saying “is that the head”… “what’s that bit” over and over and the sonographer didn’t seem to be overly keen that she was there asking 101 questions. I tried to do the SHHH eyes but it didn’t help a bit. She was too excited and it was lovely. I wonder if they will remember seeing their little brother in years to come?

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In a recent consultant letter that was sent to my GP and CC’d to me, it read “despite her age of 42”. Now this has to be taken in context and I don’t want to copy the letter out for the purposes of this post, but I have to say that I smiled when I saw it. I have no problem with my age or the fact that I am pregnant at 42 and I understand that the medical profession note it down because there are known increased risks of having a baby at a later stage in your life – 40+. The harder thing for me, as I said in my first ever post (https://geriatricmum.co.uk/42-and-pregnant/), was the reaction of the people around me, do read the post to see what some of them said.

I do always come back to the fact that we are so lucky to see and know what is happening to our babies during our pregnancies and like I said before, as an older mother, I do feel extra well cared for with phone calls from my consultant, letters from the consultant, numerous scans and more to come and nice conversations at my hospital meetings.

My advice, thus far as a GM, would be to question the questions, ask for the reason why, to understand what the medical professionals are telling or advising you and to take care of yourself throughout the process. We all know that pregnancy and birth can be exciting, worrying, troubling, fearful yet amazing – but we don’t always know how to ask for what we need or to understand fully what we are being told along the way. The medical profession looks after us women of advanced maternal age and we need to ensure that our friends and family do that, too.

Lucy Baker, 42, 26-weeks pregnant

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