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Pregnant at 41 - in total and utter shock

(36 Posts)
ChrisQuean Wed 17-May-17 09:46:24

Please share advice and thoughts.

I found out last night. Something niggling at the back of my mind - even though I have no symptoms and I'm only about 5 weeks gone - made me test. I nipped into the chemist on the way home from work and nearly fainted - two lines on a First Response, clear as anything.

I have two DSs of 6 and 4, both conceived after many rounds of IVF. DH's sperm count is practically nil, I have ovarian cysts and I have never, ever conceived naturally. We were told we never would.

This is completely unplanned even though we haven't used any contraception in 12 years. I know that sounds bonkers, but that's because either we were trying very hard to have a baby and then, after we had our family through IVF, it never crossed our mind to use any (naïve, yes, but we had tried everything for years to conceive naturally and nada). We only had sex once this month.

3 or 4 years ago we talked about using our frozen embryos to have a third child, but DH said a firm no - said he was too old (now 44) and he didn't want to go through the stressful baby years again, our family was perfect and I had had pre-eclampsia with DS2. Plus the IVF had been emotionally, physically and financially draining and so would a FET. I was upset and disappointed at first, then completely accepting.

DH is not going to be thrilled. How do I tell him? I worry that the baby will have special needs because we are so old and how it will affect family dynamics. Financially we are comfortable enough, but we are not set up for an unplanned third. The child will be at school when DH is in his 60's.

I wonder if the pregnancy will even continue - higher risk of miscarriage. I don't know whether I want it. But I don't wish it away either.

paap1975 Wed 17-May-17 09:51:03

I appreciate it's a shock and I understand your concerns about your husband's reaction, but presumably he knows you aren't using any contraception. Don't try to second guess his reaction, it won't necessarily be negative. When you feel ready, just have an honest discussion with him about where you go from here. Don't rush into any decisions. You have time. Good luck!

Ginlinessisnexttogodliness Wed 17-May-17 09:55:37

@ChrisQuean 41 isn't too old for a baby. I'm 42 and expecting my third I had my second at your age.
The vast almighty of babies born to women our age don't have special needs or problems you're not ancient!
I don't think that's the real issue though here is it.
As long as you are still menstruating there is always a chance, however small, that you might fall pregnant even if you had clearly thought not. So if you both made the choice it's both your situation to deal with in the sense that your husband can't really be cross with you and not himself.

You need to talk to each other and perhaps by doing that your true feelings will become clearer, i.e. Whether you can face a termination or want to go through with it. Perhaps your DH will feel differently knowing you are actually pregnant.

Your other children are really only young still, it's not as if they are teenagers.

Good luck

theBaldSoprano Wed 17-May-17 09:57:41

No one can advice you, and you need to discuss the medical issues with a professional of course.

Just wanted to point out that 41 is NOT OLD! There's not a big gap between a 4 year old and a baby either, so your DH won't be too old for one but not the other.
It's not even a modern thing to have children in your 40s, what's different is to have the 1st one then.

Anyway, good luck, it's hard to know what to do but ultimately you do what's best for you and your family.

sandgrown Wed 17-May-17 10:00:52

I had a surprise third baby at 45 . There is a 21 year gap from previous youngest child and its been fine . Your children are relatively young. After all you have been through this baby is a blessing. Just go for it! I will be 66 when DS graduates but I don't care. He keeps us young

Devorak Wed 17-May-17 10:03:04

I agree with paap there that is a world of difference between discussing DC3 hypothetically and saying you don't want one and finding out that you are going to have DC3.

A few years ago my friend (had a single child) was lightheartedly laughing at PG me and DH saying there was no way they wanted another child etc. A month later they discovered she was pregnant. A surprise of course but they were delighted.

You need to talk to your DH. Discuss options such as a termination for your health, termination because you don't want the child, higher risk of disabilities etc. and, if you do want the baby, the practicalities.

You two aren't terribly old but I understand your husband's feelings. Remember though, they were feelings about a hypothetical child; it all changes when it's real.

Good luck whatever you decide.

toomanyloos Wed 17-May-17 10:04:06

I had my second at 42. No health issues for either me or the baby. I had the Harmony test which is a maternal blood test at 10 weeks which screens the baby for genetic abnormalities. I'd recommend this if you are worried as unlike amnio it is non invasive so no miscarriage risk.

roarityroar Wed 17-May-17 10:08:03

Congratulations!!

Maybe your DH will be thrilled.

Just to add, my own DF was 46 when I was born and he was bloody brilliant.

ChrisQuean Wed 17-May-17 10:11:23

Thanks everyone. I know that writing "Hey folks, we don't use contraception, but now I'm unexpectedly up the duff!" looks ridiculously naïve and careless blush. But 12+ years of unprotected sex and very actively TTC had resulted in nothing. Plus, until perhaps 3 years ago, a miracle like this would have been amazing. I think that's what's floored me most - after years and years of baby heartbreak this has happened. Gulp.

Thanks for the wise words. I needed reminded that DH, of course, bears 50% responsibility for this. He knows I am not on the pill/coil and we don't use condoms. I'll tell him tonight, but need to get my thoughts in order first.

Ginlinessisnexttogodliness Wed 17-May-17 10:14:44

Good luck. I hope it goes well. Keep us posted!

Maroonie Wed 17-May-17 10:15:32

Maybe your DH was also put off TTC because of the stress of IVF etc.
Deciding not to go through that again is different to not wanting another by natural conception

ChrisQuean Wed 17-May-17 10:22:30

Thanks all. You are really helping me get my thoughts straight. On balance I am pleased but fearful. I'll report back on DH's reaction.

But I'm sure DH doesn't want a third. I think his objection is to do with the sleepless nights, the stress of newborn babies, the extended years of child rearing just as we have our life back. he's done with that stage, plus the fear of being mistaken for granddad in the playground (although he will not be alone in being an older father round here).

perfectpanda Wed 17-May-17 10:51:14

I'm 44 and 35 weeks pregnant with my unexpected 3rd. I was horrified and so negatively fixated on my age at the start . And both of us were very grumpy at the thought of starting again, other dc are 9 and 7. But my thoughts have changed enormously over the pregnancy, the medical team have kept a slightly closer eye on me due to age and I did have the tests for chromosomal issues. I'm now nesting again, and really looking forward to it. And touch wood, so far pregnancy has been best yet. Best of luck .

Oldschool41 Wed 17-May-17 11:04:00

I'm am 41 and 9 weeks pregnant my youngest daughter is 21 so a big gap... 😀

twinkle1972 Wed 17-May-17 11:06:45

44 and 8 weeks here! My other children are 21, 19 and 18!!

Devorak Wed 17-May-17 11:10:48

And what do you think Chris?

Is a termination (not for health, just personal reasons) something you'd consider?

goldenrachita Wed 17-May-17 11:14:02

Congratulations! I wanted to point out a couple of things. Firstly that is sounds like a lot of your fertility problems were caused by a low sperm count so there is always the possibility (even probability) that your DH will feel secretly pleased with himself that his body definitely didn't fail him this time! (I think a lot of men do attach the idea of high sperm count to their masculinity even if they shouldn't have to think that way). So for him that could be a plus. You also mentioned that you're worried "the baby will have special needs as we're so old". There are only really 2 risks attached to AMA (advanced maternal age) pregnancies. I'm 41 and having my first so I looked into this a lot! The risk of certain syndromes (Edwards, Down) rise but you can detect those easily and at a very early stage now with a Harmony or Panorama or similar test. They are very expensive (£450ish at most private scanning places) but they get you an almost 100% yes or no result at only 10-11 weeks so you can set your mind at rest. I strongly recommend you do that. Then the other risk is that your hospital may want you to be induced early at maybe 39 weeks as placentas can pack up earlier when you're over 40, and the baby can stop growing and so they are cautious about letting you go beyond 39 weeks.(Although plenty of AMA mums go to 40+ weeks with no issues). They'll also scan you a bit more (28 and 34 weeks) to check on the baby's growth. Other than those two easily manageable things, there's no reason at all to worry. I'm your age and I never feel like an old pregnant woman so be aware that a lot of it is your perspective rather than your actual health. You've been trying for children since age 29, so 41 feels old to you. I started trying at 40, so 41 seems normal to me. I'll even try for another one after this at 42. My pregnancy has been totally standard, way less trouble than a lot of people's. Pregnancy over 40 is not the problem you might imagine. And I don't think you're remotely silly for not using contraception given your circumstances. Chat to DH and think about the positives because I think there are loads.

paap1975 Wed 17-May-17 11:27:54

When I mentionned contraception, I didn't mean it in a negative way. Just that your DP, just like you, knew there was a risk, no matter how tiny. And you are definitely not too old, so stop worrying on that front!

LorLorr2 Wed 17-May-17 11:34:51

Well whatever his reaction and whatever you decide to do about the pregnancy, you know you have MN to come to smileflowers

Frazzled2207 Wed 17-May-17 11:53:24

Congratulations.

Different circs but I was beside myself with panic when i realised I was pg with number 2. Once we'd all calmed down it was fine.

The situation is not ideal but I've known couples much older than you. But we have 2, I'm a similar age to you and I know how panicked I'd feel if I was unexpectedly pg again!

Take your time to speak to your dh- as you say both of you take 50/50 responsibility here but in your situation I don't think I would have used contraception either. Be prepared for him to be completely shocked too. But whatever his reaction is, he may feel very differently in a few days once its sunk in.
Best of luck and take care of yourself in the meantime.

Montsti Wed 17-May-17 12:35:39

I'm 41 and 19 weeks pregnant with no.4...this was planned but my only "natural" baby as the other 3 were clomid...

Even though this will be our 4th in 8 years, we have struggled to fall pregnant!!

Good luck with whatever you decide but I'm sure, once you're over the initial shock, you'll start to look forward to it!

ChrisQuean Wed 17-May-17 12:59:07

@Devorak I don't know about termination. I am pro-choice and if my baby had severe abnormalities I would not want to continue with the pregnancy. But at this point I haven't really considered a termination as an option. I guess I'm waiting for DH's reaction when I tell him tonight, after which I will know whether he is (on balance) happy or not and my feelings will crystallize around that.

paap1975 Wed 17-May-17 13:19:25

Don't rush into any decisions either way. You may both find your feelings change once the initial shock has worn off

SecretWitch Wed 17-May-17 13:32:23

I was 42 when I my last child. She is 9 now, her siblings are 18 and 20. I was thrilled when I found out, my dh not so much. He came around when he understood I had no plans to terminate. She is his little darling now and they are thick as thieves.
Please make the choice that best suits you. Having a baby is wonderful. Choosing to terminate because you don't wish to become a mother again is also your decision. Best of luck 💐

ChrisQuean Thu 18-May-17 10:35:33

Thanks for all the amazing support yesterday.

I told DH. I was so nervous that I was shaking. I said "I have some news that will blow you away. Sit down".

He gaped, gold-fished his mouth and didn't say anything for a long, long time, shook his head then, finally, he asked how long I had known (24 hours or so). Then he smiled, hugged me and I bust into tears and he said warmly "Oh Chris...now we can never retire. And we'll need a new car. And we'll all have to squeeze into our little house. But it's lovely." We then spent the rest of the night in contemplative silence, every now and then shaking our heads and saying "wow, it's a lot to take in" and "we should never have given away the cot".

DH said that he really didn't want to do IVF again and go through the stress and heartbreak when we had two wonderful DC miracles anyway and he was shocked and felt old, but that we'd just have to take a "surprise" third in our stride.

DH did ask "Are you sure it's mine?" - he was joking (his man humour at times of high emotion and a dig at himself after being told he would never father a child naturally hmm). And then said "I'd better go and google 'vasectomies' tomorrow. Now that's something I never thought I'd say."

I'm now going to go and read up on Harmony and CVS tests, buy some folic acid and maybe join the "Due in January 2018" thread with the all the first time youngsters.

As @LorLorr2 said - I'll always have Mumsnet smile

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