Name: Darline Turner
State of residence: Texas
Children and ages: 12 year old daughter and an 8 year old son
Current or former profession(s): Women’s Health Coach (Currently), Nationally Certified Physician Assistant(Not currently working clinically); Owner and Founder of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond www.mamasonbedrest.com
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
I could get pregnant pretty easily, but I would miscarry early on before 12 weeks. Started in 2001, had first miscarriage and myomectomy to remove uterine fibroids. I had my daughter in 2002 at age 37 and my son in 2006 (after a second miscarriage in 2004) age 40.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40?
I was put on progesterone suppositories at ovulation because it was discovered that I had a luteal phase defect and my uterine lining was not developing enough to support the pregnancies.
The Medical Community
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
They were supportive of the pregnancy, but not of me or my life in particular. Being older and high risk, I don’t feel they really took to heart the emotional toll it took on me, especially since I was without family or support in the immediate area.
I felt left to my own devices to get the help and support I needed. That is why I started Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. I wanted to be the support I wish I had had; i.e. help around the house, help with my daughter (second pregnancy) and emotional support.
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
No. My OB and her practice were overall very good and very good with dealing with women with my types of medical complications. I opted for the technical expertise over the emotional intelligence.
Family and Friends
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy? My family was supportive, but cautious. I was pregnant with my son and turned 40 during the pregnancy. Having had a miscarriage, surgery to remove uterine fibroids prior to having my daughter, and then a second miscarriage, we all kind of held our collective breaths while I carried my son. Ironically, it was the easiest journey of my entire reproductive life!
LABOR AND DELIVERY
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
Well, I hemorrhaged after having my daughter. Initially, she did not cry when she first was lifted out of me (c-section) and I was moving and squirming trying to see her. She finally cried and then was whisked out of the surgical delivery suite to the nursery. She had fluid on her lung and they needed to “work on her breathing”.
Meanwhile, I was bleeding and throwing up and my OB’s partner (who delivered in my OB’s absence since I was 3 weeks early) worked diligently to stimulate my very “boggy and non- contracting uterus” and to stop the bleeding and stitch me up while the anesthesiologist gave me something to stop the vomiting and calm me down. I was pretty upset that they took my daughter and I really didn’t get to see or hold her!
I remember there was a lot of hustle and bustle as instrument packs were opened and everyone prepped to work on me. My husband had left to go with my daughter and I remember thinking what a horrible joke it would be if after everything I went through, I didn’t live to see/hold my daughter! I was really upset. For a time, every time the OB stitched, blood shot up like Old Faithful. But she was very focused and skilled and after about 45 minutes, I was all stitched up. It was 12 hours before I held my daughter and that was as she was on her way up to the NICU.
My son’s birth was the polar opposite. Since my husband was less than useless during my daughter’s delivery, I asked my sister to be with me in the delivery room. My son was born at 39 weeks via C-section. My OB delivered him and it was a nearly perfect C-section except the anesthesiologist missed while giving the epidural and initially only numbed my left side.
It also really hurt and I broke out into a sweat, started shaking and nearly fainted.
However, once they got the epidural properly administered, the delivery occurred without a problem. My son came out with the most hilarious expression on his face as if to say, “Are you freaking kidding me? It’s cold a stink out her!” He then looked at each one of us and then let out a wail! Dr. Swenson the held him up by his legs, something about letting the fluid out of his lungs and he proceeded to pee around the entire delivery room.
When My OB went to stitch me up, that bleeding thing wanted to start up, so she had my son put to my breast and he nursed like a champ! Meanwhile, his nursing stimulated my uterus to contract and the bleeding was averted. While this delivery went much more smoothly, I had a much harder recovery. Nursing really made my C-section incision hurt and my back hurt for months after the delivery-about 6 months to be exact! Even now, almost 9 years later, on very rare occasions when I’m tired or have done a vigorous workout, I can feel EXACTLY where I had that epidural.
I’M A MOM!
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?
Nothing really. For me, the problem was getting the kids here. Once I had them, I had no concerns whatsoever about raising them.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
I think I’m much smarter. I didn’t worry about having the latest and greatest baby items. I was really clear about how I was going to do motherhood, so I didn’t get sucked up into the commercial/retail craze. Also, being a Physician Assistant, I don’t sweat colds and such. My kids are super healthy and each have had only one ear infection. I’m also much more savvy about their development and behaviors. I don’t sweat things that they do nearly as much as I would if I were a younger mom. Having practiced clinically for 8 years before becoming pregnant really gave me a level of knowledge and comfort I never would have had had I had children younger. I honestly feel I had my kids at the perfect age.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
I let go of a lot of superfluousness! Being single or even a newlywed, I worried about a lot of truly inconsequential things. Once I had kids, I could see a lot of that fluff for just what it was-superfluous fluff! I let it go. I gained a lot of wisdom and perspective having my kids.
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
If you really want to do it, DO IT!! Don’t let people scare you with all sorts of statistics and “advanced maternal age” stuff. If you are healthy and there are no contraindications to you having children, go for it! Just realize that you may encounter a few more complications, but most are easily resolved. Take good care of yourself and you and your baby will most likely be fine!!
I truly believe that if you are meant to have children, you will. I say this because I have a cousin who had a baby at age 52, completely healthy, after having and losing a son at 18 to Sickle Cell Anemia. My little cousin was destined to come and come she did! If you really feel in your heart you are to have children, go for it! You wouldn’t have the desire if it wasn’t for you!