Four things happened a month before my 45th birthday:
The first was that my back went out for the first time in my life. It was so bad that I had to be taken by stretcher to the Emergency Room. I ended up having to do three months of physical therapy.
The second was that I got the role of Eunice in “A Streetcar Named Desire” – and also had to do dialect coaching for other actors (something I am really good at, since I speak a handful of languages quite poorly).
The third was that they thought I had some sort of mass in my uterus. Lemme tell you, that caused weeks of sleepless nights and worry. I went to my rehearsals and was sicker and more tired with each passing day, waiting for the diagnosis from my doctors. I was convinced I was dying by the time I started almost throwing up all over my co-stars.
The fourth and biggest thing was that the diagnosis was NOT some sort of death sentence- I WAS PREGNANT.
PREGNANT. AT. 45. YEARS. OLD.
I was in shock. My three sons were 15, 20, and 25 years old at the time. How could that even be POSSIBLE when my gynecologist told me months earlier that I was in peri-menopause?
I thought back to a few months prior when I was told to take the supplement Ubiquinol (it is a form of COQ10 that is more beneficial to over-40s people) for more energy. I heard that it would give my skin tone a boost and make me healthier in general. I was green juicing/juice fasting, doing the mostly raw vegan thing, and trying to get in shape for my show. Later, after the positive pregnancy test, I found out that Ubiquinol was ALSO known to rejuvenate eggs in elderly rats, giving them strong and healthy litters.
I was like those rats. Ubiquinol did it’s job.
Now, getting pregnant in your (late) 40s is a different experience from getting knocked up in your teens/20s/30s. They sent me straight to a doctor 45 minutes away who specialized in ‘geriatric’ pregnancies. I had a bad back, vague lupus/autoimmune genetic issues. I just received my DNA health report from Promethease.com and 23andme.com that said I was positive for MTHFR and Factor V Leiden (both genetic issues that cause miscarriage in older women- Factor V is a blood clotting issue). The DNA reports solved the puzzle of WHY I had 2 previous TIAs (mini-strokes) and why my mother was experiencing vascular dementia. I had high blood pressure, also a genetic gift from my folks, that I controlled with exercise and diet.
The doctors didn’t think this pregnancy would last. Most ‘natural’ pregnancies (and lots of IVF pregnancies) at my age bite the dust early on due to chromosomal problems. I was immediately put on heparin (a blood thinner) to prevent blood clots, aspirin, and a blood pressure medication. I had weekly ultrasounds and monitoring. They ordered this new nifty non-invasive blood test called MaterniT21 that could tell me as early as 10 weeks whether or not my child had abnormalities. Still, the pregnancy continued and flourished. I had to quit my show when they put me on bed rest. I had to stop physical therapy as well.
I received the results of my MaterniT21 via the phone. I was sure for weeks that something was going to go horribly wrong. I knew that at the very least, I was sure to have ANOTHER son. My body never seemed to want to spit out females, much to my sorrow (not that sons aren’t great- they are, but they tend to suck the estrogen and female-ness right out of a mother when you have them en masse.) OF COURSE, I was alone in the house when the phone call came.
The phone call went like this:
WOMAN: “Hello, Ms—–, I am calling with the results of your test. Everything is fine and you’re having a baby GIRL”
ME (wailing loudly in shock at this point, snot running down my face): “WHAT?! WHAT?! Can you tell me that again???!”
WOMAN: “Ma’am- everything is fine and you’re having a baby GIRL”
ME (STILL crying): “ARE YOU SURE?! ARE YOU SURE?!!!”
The poor lady proceeded to tell me the results 2 more times until I calmed down. I was in shock and I think I lost a bit of my bladder function during the call (hey, I was PREGNANT). She asked if I was all right. I think I must have hung up on her at some point, I don’t really remember.
I was gobsmacked. I was pregnant, 45, with a perfectly healthy FEMALE fetus in my innards.
I knew NOTHING about girls or females or baby ‘ginas. All I knew about were boys/men/males.
Many of my friends were GRANDPARENTS already.
Sure, everyone and their cat was pregnant in 2014 (thanks to the Winter of Hell that blanketed the nation). I didn’t know a single woman MY AGE who was knocked up. I’d already had my body fixed up years prior (tummy tuck, you name it) after the boys.
This was going to be really interesting...