13-and-a-bit weeks

The morning of the Nuchal scan, and I still haven’t received my results from the non-invasive test. (They shouldn’t be far away.) Having this test in your 40s feels a hell of a lot different to 10 years ago. Actually, come to think of it, I didn’t have a Nuchal 10 years ago with #1.

I am anxious as Ryan Gosling’s new girlfriend.

It is a difficult tightrope to balance: watching your baby’s features on the ultrasound, and trying to maintain some sort of emotional distance, just in case. S/he’s perfect, floating along there, waving a little hand. The sonographer can’t get a neck reading, and quietly says she’s going to ask her boss to come in. My heart stops. After some dodgy attempts at small talk, a wave of the wand, and a bit of prodding, I’m told it looks ok. Numbers are clicked on the keyboard. I’m told my Downs probability, based on this scan and my earlier blood test, has dropped from 1 in 30 to 1 in 600-ish. Which is a relief. They don’t recommend an amniocentesis.

We visit my obstetrician, who waves two thumbs up. The iGeneScreen results have just arrived via email, and they’re good. That’s two positive screening results. I am so relieved my legs turn liquid. Dr Atticus tells me I’m fine to “go shout it from the rooftops”. I think we’ll quietly tell our 7 and 9 year old sons first.

Elderley multigravidas business

I am having bloods taken today for an iGeneScreen and the Nuchal test, for which I’ll have a scan around 13 weeks.

This morning, I read something that says by my age, 90% of my eggs will have something wrong with them. Now that’s a pleasant thought for today.

I go have a chat to the chickens.


There are eggs, and then, there are eggs.

Off to Dr Atticus

The morning before I visit my obstetrician, in my head, I run through a medical history since last time I saw him (nearly 8 years ago). It takes a while.

Bring on the tests.

It’s reassuring to visit my doc. We both agree the priority is chromosomal tests. (And I’m itching to get an all-clear, so I can tell my family about this baby — and stop sucking in my stomach!)

I visit the pathology center in the hospital to organize a non-invasive test: it’s called iGeneScreen, and it has to be done on a certain day so the blood can be couriered to the airport to the USA. It tests for Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13. I could also find out the sex, which I decline. I’ll also have a Nuchal Translucency Scan, so I book that in for three weeks’ time.

Limbo angst


This limbo, somewhere around 9 weeks, where nobody knows save him and me and a couple of medical/allied folk. This limbo, it’s almost like the baby doesn’t exist. All smoothly rolls; I’m a little tired, nothing noteworthy. Nobody would guess. Sometimes, not even me.

Until this morning.

This morning, when my eldest advises me of a project due TODAY involving printing pictures on vaguearama topics: his culture, his aspirations, as well as the usual family and friends happy snaps. (I can’t find a picture of all four of us more recent than 2009.) The first computer cracks a spaz. The printer refuses to cooperate. I cough on a mouthful of muesli and choke with sudden nausea. Everyone is late. We have no bread. My back aches, and I dread how it could feel with another 10 kilos hanging off it. My breasts ache, as always. I am blue, and angry. Making the boys’ lunch, I try to snap Saladas in half, and they shatter. That’s when I start crying. One son disappears down to the chickens, the other pats my arm, confused.

I can’t do this.

My old body is not up to this pregnancy.

My mind is not ready for the depression I’d forgotten comes freely with pregnancy hormones.

I am not the person to do this. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant the last times: I suffered some depressive episodes both pregnancies, plus PND after #2. I am scared shitless of losing the wonderful positive mental frame I’m in right now.

I lost about a litre of blood with the birth of #2. I am a bleeder. I don’t want to die giving birth.

I don’t even like babies much. I gag changing nappies. I’m not really into kids, either: I don’t like all children, just like I don’t like all people, or I don’t like all dogs.

We can’t afford this.

I will be 65 when this child turns 21. (Daddyo will be 69.)

We were quite content and comfortable as we were. How are we even going to fit a baby into the house? (I’m going to lose my new bookshelves!)

It’s not fair to do this to my sons. Maybe it’s not fair to do this to this unborn little one, either.

Off the turps*

It’s surprising just how easy it is to keep this a secret. Unlike my 30s, where every vow of temperance seemed to be met by a cynical tummy-glance, at the moment every second middle aged friend is also giving up the grog for a little while.

Seems that February, coming as it does straight outta partytown, is a great month in which to hide  the early months of an unexpected pregnancy. I don’t even have to extrapolate past a polite decline of offered alcohol and “no thanks, I’m off the turps for a while”.

*Australian for “on the wagon”


I like my obstetrician. He’s got four of his own kids: that’s a good sign. One was bass guitarist in a cool Brisbane band for a while, until they broke up prematurely. Some blame Megan Washington, but that’s another story.

Atticus, my obstetrician

Atticus, my obstetrician

He looks a little like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird. This is exactly what you want your obstetrician to look like, I reckon. Atticus saved my life, last baby, 100 years ago (ok, 8), when he dealt with a delayed hemorrhage. It’s pretty cool to be visiting him again. In a rather life-changing manner of doing so.


Testing, testing…

I speak to my obstetrician. I haven’t seen him yet; apparently there’s not much point so early. Especially since I’ve done this all before ten years ago.

He tells me about screening options. There’s something new: non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). With ridiculous brand names like Harmony and Panorama. I tell him Harmony is now off my list of potential boy names.

They can take a blood test around 10 weeks, send it to the US, give you an early chromosomal heads-up. Earlier detection, reduced risk of miscarriage. 10 weeks sounds much better than 13 to this 43-and-a-half year old.

It costs, he tells me, around $800 – $1000.

The Chinese, he tells me, are working on a cheaper option.


If you’re interested in Queensland Health’s brief on NIPT from May 2013, click here. It’s a solid read.


I return to my pilates studio, and try to get the attention of my physiotherapist. Rudely, I interrupt her private session next to one of the reformers. She frowns. “I’m sorry, I’ll be quick, but this is important,” I whisper. “I am a little bit pregnant. Is it still ok to do my full program?” If anyone else in the room heard, they did a good job of pretending they didn’t. It was an obviously whispered confession. Ascertaining that I have no past history of miscarriage, she assures me that I am right during this first trimester. “Come and see me at 12 weeks,” she says, “And we’ll have a look at your program.” I tell her I’ll make an appointment when I’m “out”.

Just in case, I go easy on some of the tummy stuff.

Ancient celebrities’ babies

I compile a list of celebrities who fall pregnant later in life… Then I see this article, which makes me feel uncomfortable. I understand, by having a surprise natural pregnancy now, that I am unusual, but Ms Friedman’s censorious tone makes me feel quite excluded. Or maybe it’s the hormones.

At least Cosmopolitan reports that “each case is different”. And, if I dig around a little, I can find others in the blogosphere who’ll make me feel less of a freak.


Ancient, knocked-up celebs

  • Halle Berry, 46 (2nd child)
  • Uma Thurman, 43 (3rd)
  • Salma Hayek, 41
  • Mariah Carey, 43
  • Jane Seymour, and Celine Dion, 42
  • Madonna, 40-whatever
  • Carla Bruni, 44
  • Monica Belluci, 45
  • Maya Rudolph, 41(4th)
  • Mira Sorvino, 45
  • Julianne Moore, 41
  • Kelly Preston, 47 (3rd)
  • Marcia Cross, 51
  • Jennifer Connely, 42
  • Meryl Streep, 4 kids in her 40s
  • Susan Sarandon, 45 (2nd)
  • Annette Bening, 41
  • Molly Ringwald, 45!!!
  • Geena Davis, 46
  • Brooke Sheilds, 41
  • Madonna, 41 (2nd)

You can’t tell me they were all donor eggs.

Oh, this blog is shiny and new and already I’m writing about celebrities. I feel dirty.

But, I’ll take Uma, and Molly. And the most exciting exemplar…

Ursula Andress in a bikini

Ursula. Always Ursula.


The winning mature celeb pregnancy is Ursula Andress, who had her first baby at 44, with none other than my high school LA Law crush, Harry Hamlin. She’s also scored some quality doona time with James Dean and Marlon Brando — oh, my teenage self swoons! AND she knows her way around a tiger.

Ursula Andress and Harry HamlinJimmy & Ursula Villa CapriUrsule-Andress

I knew we had more in common than a love of good shells.

And hanging out on coral cays with moustachio’d Scots.


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