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

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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A Chat with Philippa

I love chatting to other ‘geriatric mums’ about their experiences and I am so glad to bring you Philippa – read her story – it’s ace and her attitude to being an older mum is nothing but brilliant.

The stats:

Name: Philippa Newland

Age: 50

At what age did you have your first baby? 36

At what age did you have your last baby? 43

Read Philippa’s own words below:

I enjoyed my teenage years, in fact, they were pretty wild. In 1989, I left home with my first real boyfriend, and we got jobs in Israel, travelled through Egypt and worked the holiday season in Greece.  This was just the first year. 

The next year we enjoyed the un-spoilt beaches of Thailand, stayed a little bit too long, so took a gamble with our last $50 and discovered Tokyo.

This was the life, and with regular trips there in the early 90’s, funded many more years of travel.

Without trying to show off, I consider myself lucky.

I’ve flown on Concorde, (showing my age now..), been paragliding in South America, (in fact, I broke my pelvis!), jumped on and off a cruise ship travelling along the Panama Canal, hand raised a monkey, spent years renovating and running a backpackers lodge in Malawi and danced under the full moon in the ruins of Maharashtra Fort, to name but a few.

My body clock was ticking though, and I hadn’t met anyone interesting and I didn’t even know where I wanted to be.

On a brief trip back home, and in the middle of the Notting Hill Carnival madness, I met the man that had the same ideas as me. 

He was to settle me down and father the 3 children we had always wanted.

The only thing was, I was about to start an 18-month stint on a cruise ship, as a photographer, but he was patient and waited until I finally came home.

So we made our home in South East London and we had our first child pretty soon afterwards at 36, and the second at 38. I thought nothing of the fact that I was probably a bit older than most of the woman at the clinic. I was fit and healthy, didn’t look my age and thankfully there were no issues.

I had a boy and a girl, what more did I want? Yeah, but didn’t we always say that we would have 3? Our youngest had just started school, and I was feeling a little bit lost. Shall we? Shan’t we?

And so it happened, there I was, 42 and pregnant! It happened SO quickly, I just didn’t think it would happen straight away, but I was absolutely thrilled and with no reservations whatsoever!

 

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Unfortunately, after the first scan, my blood tests weren’t good. In fact I was high risk in every bad way. I was advised to have an amniocentesis* which wasn’t very pleasant, in fact it was absolutely awful! If I had actually looked at the tests, all 3 tests from each of my pregnancies were identical, it was just the fact that the odds go crazy once you hit 40 which led to the amnio test.

I absolutely LOVE being pregnant and this 3rd one was probably the best. Am I bothered that I may be the oldest mother in the playground? Absolutely not! I’m proud! I ABSOLUTELY HATE the term GERIATRIC MUM though!! My aim is to be a fit Grandmother! I have a great diet. I juice daily, don’t eat processed food, haven’t got a sweet tooth and I haven’t really eaten meat since I was 17.

I’m blessed with the ability to have children. They are my world.  I couldn’t give a monkey’s what people think of my age! In fact I was 50 last week! Yay!!

 

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Philippa’s World

 

And when asked what advice Philippa would give to other ‘geriatric mums’ she replied;

Sleep when the baby sleeps! Delegate! I had a lot of help the first month, and as I have 3 children, this was invaluable. Take gentle exercise, no high impact, save your knees! I walked, and still do, sometimes 2 hours a day.

Don’t you think Philippa is an inspiration? her attitude to life and kids is so wonderful to read and I know she might help other GMs to think in a different way about their circumstances.

Thank you Philippa!

Lucy x

Have you joined my free facebook group yet? It’s a great place for us GMs to share stories and experiences; Join We are Geriatric Mums group

Philippa is a photographer and you can find her here:

Pip Newland Photography

www.pipnewlandphotography.com

*Amniocentesis is a test you may be offered during pregnancy to check if your baby has a genetic or chromosomal condition, such as Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome. It involves removing and testing a small sample of cells from the amniotic fluid – the fluid that surrounds the unborn baby in the womb (uterus).

42 and pregnant

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42 and Pregnant! Back in May 2018, I noticed that metal-y mouth taste on-and-off for a few days and thought to myself, nooo, I can’t be! (metal mouth was one of the first symptoms with my other pregnancies). Anyway, I checked my calendar, no record of my last period (so me!) so I waited for a Saturday morning when Dan and the kids were out and rummaged around in my wardrobe for a pregnancy test that I knew was lurking in there from about a year ago. I did the test, and with shaking hands I placed the stick upside-down on top of the loo and went to wash my hands – for ages and aaaages. I am sure you can guess the next bit, yes the ‘stick’ was positive! After multiple deep breaths and a massive ‘Oh f**k’ I dithered around for about an hour until Dan came home. I kept looking at the stick in that time, to see if the prominent line was fading away, but it wasn’t. It was as clear as day. When my husband got back, I told him the news in our bedroom. He fell back on to the bed and exclaimed a long line of expressive terms, a few ‘really really?’ comments and one ‘I knew it’ remark, and that was that.

That evening, we were due to a friend’s new place for a BBQ. Whilst sitting having a natter in the garden, my friend was kindly filling my glass up with gin, and when her back was turned I was tipping it away! It didn’t feel right. A mum of three herself, with kids from 13 down to 5, I felt she was just the person I could talk to and I needed to get it out! So, when the men popped to the shop to grab more beers, I had to say something. I just blurted it out. The point of sharing this part, is because talking to other mums is such a good thing to do, especially when they have similar circumstances. So apart from my husband Dan, Kath was the first person to know.

For the next few weeks, my head was buzzing with thoughts and worries surrounding the news. My most prominent thoughts were; But I’m too old – I finished changing nappies 5 years ago – I run my own business – I love working too much – Both the kids are now at school – I am going to be 47 when the baby starts school – We have got rid of all the baby stuff – I love my sleep – Three kids?! – Mum of three – and so.many.more, ON REPEAT!

The one thing I kept coming back to was my age. I knew I could cope with a baby. I knew I would have support. I knew our older children would try to help. I knew I could survive on little sleep. I knew I could cope with pregnancy. I knew I didn’t fear giving birth. I knew I was cool with 3 kids. But was I cool with my age? 42 and pregnant. And possibly 43 when the baby arrives. Forty Two!?

After researching online and googling the google out of google, I didn’t feel like there was anything of any value when it came to finding out about ‘older mums’. I read a lot about the risks, the consultant-led care, the term geriatric mum (which was first brought to my attention by my mum, who at 32 was called geriatric in 1976), but I didn’t see much that offered support and advice for us over-40 mums. Us mums who are 42 and pregnant.

I did read that the proportion of over-40s mothers has trebled in 3 decades, which shows that some women are having babies past the average/accepted maternal age.

42 and pregnant is a curious thing, and I say that because of the reactions I have received from others since we shared our news. I know that people mean well, but the comments I have had really are judgemental, unfair and a little hurtful. Yet, I guess they are to be expected.  I think they are pretty normal reactions when thinking about us 40+ mums, due to the stigma attached to being pregnant later in life.

But are they Ok?

I am only 13-weeks pregnant and I have been on the receiving end of; are you mad? – You’ll be 47 when the baby starts school! – Have you thought about your age? – I thought you were happy you have got your life back – Was it planned? – You are crackers now Nancy and Ivy are in school! – Do you think the baby will be ok as you are an older mum? – Your maternal age potentially puts you at risk – Do you think you’ll be able to cope with the tiredness now you are older? And the one that makes me smile only because my 8-year daughter said it – “mum, I was thinking that you are too old to have a baby” – ace!

I am one woman, and I have experienced a lot of these types of comments, already. I wonder how many other women have heard similar things?

On the flip side, I have had some wonderful reactions to my pregnancy news, too. So many ‘congratulations’ and ‘what wonderful news’ comments, but somehow they get a bit drowned out by the ‘I thought you were happy that you had got your life back’ and ‘are you mad?’ style comments.

As a confidence coach I know how to work on my mindset. That said, nothing really prepares you for the comments that are opinionated and a little bit thoughtless. My view now, is that I have honestly thought of all of those things and more than a thousand times over and I did struggle for over a month to come to terms with our new baby news. I had big wobbles and major ‘what the f*ck’ moments, yet I kept my head above water by working through my feelings and talking to those who care. I have never been so honest in all my life, and talking to a few friends and my husband kept me sane even when I was feeling like, at times, I was making a bit of a mistake.

So this blog, geriatric mum, is to connect us older mums up and to change the common opinion of 40+ expectant mums. Whether it is your first baby or your fifth, it doesn’t matter. This blog will be covering health, beauty, exercise, real-life interviews, clothing, product testing and I aim to entertain you, too.

Here’s to us geriatric mums supporting and helping each other to be honest fun mums, whatever our age.

Lucy x (42 and pregnant)

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