An easy natural conception for her first child at 39 years old led Leann and her husband to believe that it would not take that long to conceive their second child. Several years later with a miscarriage along the way, Leann shares her “Pregnancy After 40” story and journey, including an emergency induction due to high blood pressure which turned into preeclampsia. Many hours later, Leann’s daughter was born several weeks early and had to return to the hospital days after being discharged because their pediatrician initially disregarded the seriousness of their newborn’s jaundice, which required an admittance to the hospital again where their baby almost needed a blood transfusion.
To hear more, tune in to this episode for Leann’s entire “Pregnancy After 40” Journey and Story.
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Disclaimer: The content in this podcast episode article is merely the host’s and guest’s experience, opinion, and information - not advice. If you have questions, you should always seek the advice of a doctor or another appropriate medical professional.
w/ Guest Leann
MICHELLE: Hey everyone, welcome to the Pregnancy after 40 Podcast, I'm your host Michelle Johnson, and today we have Leeann joining us. Leeann has a 3-month-old daughter who was born to her at the age of 45. So, we're going to talk about both of her pregnancies. She had her first baby at 39, which is actually considered "geriatric", although I know we all hate that word, and she had her daughter at 45. Leeann thank you for joining us today and sharing your story.
LEEANN: Thank you.
MICHELLE: So, we're just going to start from the beginning. I know I mentioned your age. You had your son at 39 and your daughter at 45. So, are those the only two children that you have?
LEEANN: My only two biological children, yes. Sorry to clarify, I had her a week before my 45th birthday. So, I actually delivered her at 44. But I turned 45 the next week. So, sorry about that.
MICHELLE: No problem. So, over 40 for sure.
LEEANN: Over 40, yes.
MICHELLE: So, tell us about your journey, first with your son, I guess. You had him at 39. Were you trying to get pregnant with him, did it happen? What was your journey getting pregnant with your son?
LEEANN: With my son, my husband and I definitely talked about having kids and we had decided, "Hey, let's stop preventing pregnancy." Literally, I was pregnant two or three weeks after that. So, that one happened pretty quickly. We just decided we were going to do it and I ended up being pregnant. So, that was really easy.
MICHELLE: Wow, so you stopped preventing pregnancy. What were you doing for birth control before that?
LEEANN: At the time mostly just condoms and pull-out method, things like that. I couldn't take birth control because I had a liver tumor that was hurt by birth control pills and things like that, and caused by it, so I couldn't be on birth control, anything hormonal.
MICHELLE: So cool, so three weeks and you were pregnant. How was your pregnancy and delivery with your son?
LEEANN: The pregnancy was super easy. As a matter of fact, people didn't know I was pregnant for the longest time. I remember getting my maternity photos done, and I was 36 weeks at that time I think, or 37, and the photographer told me to stick my belly out so that I looked pregnant. So, it was kind of funny that I didn't even look pregnant. But this pregnancy was super, super easy. Yeah, I was like, pregnancy isn't so bad at this age. Then, he went to 41+6 before he was born. He was set to be induced at 42, so the next day, and he came the day before that. My water broke middle of the night and I kind of labored at home for a little bit because it was the middle of the night. So, at 7 AM we called, and they told us to come up because I was also StrepB positive. So, if my water had broken, they needed to get me on antibiotics. I came to the hospital, checked me and said, "yup, your water definitely broke," and then my labor stopped. So, they had me wait for a while at the hospital, they said, "let's hang out and see if labor kicks back in again." By two o'clock that afternoon, labor had not kicked back in, so they started the induction process, started giving me Pitocin to start moving labor along.
MICHELLE: That's so interesting. Usually, labor does not stop once your water has broken, so that's really, really interesting. Do you remember how close your contractions were up until your water broke?
LEEANN: They weren't horribly close. I was still in the very early stages of labor at the time. It was weird because I didn't have the big gush or anything, so I wasn't 100% sure that my water broke, so that's why when they tested me at the hospital, they weren't sure. As a matter of fact, the nurse said, "it probably isn't your water broken," and then they tested me and were like, "oh, nope, your water did break." So, it was one of those shocks to everyone that my labor had stopped and that I actually did have my water break. So, it was kind of an interesting... We always joke about my son just didn't want to come out, he wanted to stay in there, he didn't want to come out, so labor stopped. Yeah, it is interesting, and actually with my daughter, after they broke my water with her, my labor stopped too. For some reason, with my body, when the water breaks everything stops. That's not normal, so I don't know why.
MICHELLE: Wow, that's interesting. So, how long was your labor with your son?
LEEANN: He was 27 hours, total, and that's pushing and everything. I had 3 solid hours of pushing with him, he just did not want to come out.
MICHELLE: So, did you have an epidural, were you natural, what was your labor and delivery like with him?
LEEANN: With him I needed to get an epidural. It was interesting because they had started the Pitocin, and my body responds very quickly to medications, so I had shared with the nurse to go real slow with the Pitocin because it could have a big effect, and they said, "oh don't worry, we start small." I remember I was sitting in the rocker in our room at the hospital, and I looked at my husband and it was 5 minutes after they had put the Pitocin into the IV and I was like, "I think I need to go to the bed right now." He helped me get over to the bed, and then literally, the alarms went off, the people are rushing in, they're throwing back my bed, and they're putting oxygen on me because apparently, the Pitocin had kicked in so fast and hard that apparently my contractions were coming on top of each other, and I wasn't breathing very well. I don't remember not breathing, but I remember them saying to me, "you've got to breathe, you've got to breathe for your baby." Then they had to put the monitor on my son, and then they called for an epidural because I was in a fetal position and could hardly move. It wasn't regular contractions that just come and go, it was just bam, bam, bam, bam, and no break. So, they turned off the Pitocin to see if it would kind of kick it back into a normal rhythm again. After that point, I needed to have the epidural because it was just so intense with the pain. From that point on I was on the epidural. Unfortunately, it did wear off and I had to push, unfortunately. So, those three hours I endured, I didn't get the epidural anymore at all. In fact, afterwards, I wanted to use the restroom and they said I couldn't get up, and I said, "I promise you I can feel everything." They had me stand up and I was truly fine. So, they were shocked to see the epidural had worn off at that point. But, it did at least go through the main points where the labor was very intense.
MICHELLE: That's a lot. 3 hours, I just think, oh my gosh that's a lot just delivering and pushing. That's a lot. I tell everyone, I told you before we started this, my delivery was, the pushing part, was 3 pushes and I was done. So gosh, 3 hours, that's exhausting. I know, when I'm pushing, I'm not breathing, I'm just pushing. To do that for 3 hours is absolutely exhausting.
LEEANN: Yeah, it was at the point where your legs are shaking kind of exhausting. I just remember even when the doctor came in, because I was pushing with the nurse and my husband for a while, and they were waiting to get her up till I was ready to go, because it was overnight. I remember the doctor was coming in and they were getting her scrubs on, and she yells, "stop pushing! Stop pushing!" I was like, "you can't tell me to stop pushing!" That was when they found out his shoulder had gotten stuck. So, they didn't want any damage to him or to me, so I had to stop, and once you're in pushing there's no way to really stop it. So, once they unhooked his shoulder, then he came out, and then it was over.
MICHELLE: Ok, tell us a little about that because I have actually heard that. With my last son, I remember two or three days before I was supposed to be induced that because my son was bigger that I may have to get a C-section because once the baby gets too big his shoulder might get stuck behind the pelvic bone, and then I'd have to do a C-section and other stuff. So, what was it they did to unhook him, do you remember?
LEEANN: I just remember the doctor kind of having to go in and kind of manually move him a little bit. I couldn't feel it necessarily, what she was doing, I just remember there being more pressure and she said she was kind of rotating him a little bit to get the shoulder around and out. He wasn't a very big baby, he was born at 7lb 4oz, so he was not too big, he was on the smaller side. So, it wasn't anything to do with him being too big. The hospital I delivered at with both of my children, they don't push people into C-sections, which I really appreciate. If they want to have a vaginal birth they try to do everything they can possibly do and use that as a last resort if that's the way you want to go. So, surprisingly, after those three hours, they didn't send me for a C-section. I thought with him I would have a C-section after all the pushing and not progressing, but he came. He eventually came, and he came naturally.
MICHELLE: So, he was healthy. So, your son is a couple of years old. So, after that, when did you, or did you ever decide, to start trying to have another baby after your son was born?
LEEANN: Yeah, I mean, my husband and I had talked about having another kid. We kind of took it in the vein of, if it happens it happens, we just didn't stop it from happening. For a while nothing, we didn't get pregnant again, we didn't get pregnant, we didn't get pregnant, we didn't get pregnant. So we, at that point, in my mind I kind of assumed I was getting older, maybe I just wasn't able to have kids again. I did have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for years, so I thought I had my son Lucas and maybe that was the good thing and I just couldn't have another kid. So, we really didn't think much of it until Spring of 2019 I actually had a missed period. I personally assumed I was maybe going through menopause, because I didn't feel pregnant, it didn't feel like a pregnancy thing. I was very stressed, I assumed maybe it was me being stressed, or that I was at a pre-menopausal stage, so I didn't think anything of it. Then, when the second month came around and I still didn't have my period I went to the doctor, and they confirmed that I was pregnant at the time. It was kind of a very big shock to us, we had no idea that had happened. Something with that pregnancy never quite felt right. So, it just didn't feel like what had happened with my son, I didn't feel pregnant. So, we did end up having a miscarriage. There's debate about whether it was 6 weeks or 10 weeks along because of the size and being able to see it on the ultrasound. So, I'm not sure, technically if you looked at when my period stopped it was 10 weeks, but I think they were thinking it was closer to 6 weeks along when I had a miscarriage.
MICHELLE: Ok, so with that miscarriage, how did it come to be? Did it happen naturally? Did you go into the doctor and you had an ultrasound? What happened when you actually miscarried?
LEEANN: We had an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, and they could see the [fetal pool] and saw that it was there, you could see the baby a little bit; they're so tiny at that point. So, we were excited, everything was good, and then a couple days later I started spotting. So, I called the doctor and the doctor said, "Why don't you come in and we'll look and see." He scheduled me for an ultrasound, and we had another ultrasound. You can just tell sometimes, but the radiologists that do the ultrasounds aren't supposed to tell you anything, but you can kinda tell that something doesn't seem right. So, I said, "Is everything ok?" She said, "Well the doctor is going to call you and talk to you." That, to me, was kind of a red flag that something is not right. So, we did get a call from the doctor and they said, "We think it's a possible miscarriage happening." It was a Friday that I had the ultrasound, they said, "Let's let you go through the weekend. What could happen is you could have bleeding, cramping, you might pass the tissue." So, I just kinda hung out through the weekend, and by Sunday, I think, I definitely was bleeding heavily and cramping heavily. So, at that point, I knew I was in a miscarriage. So, they did schedule me for a couple days later to have another ultrasound and confirm that it was a miscarriage, and did another one later on to confirm the tissue had been removed, but I had definitely passed the miscarriage naturally. I didn't have to have any interventions.
MICHELLE: So, after the miscarriage, when did you decide, or again did you decide to try again after that point? Since you knew at that point you actually could conceive?
LEEANN: So, after talking with the doctor, his one thing was that a miscarriage is actually a test that you can get pregnant. He's like, "That means you're fertile and you can." Any time after, I think they say, six weeks to wait, your body can go back to normal. I think six to eight weeks he said, "You can try anytime after that." So, again, my husband and I decided that this was exciting to be pregnant again and maybe we should think about having another kid. We attempted to try, but we weren't going to go through any fertility treatments or anything like that. We just figured if we were able to get pregnant naturally again, then it was meant to be, but if not we were ok. We already had my son Lucas, and I have two step sons as well. So, our family was totally ok with not having another kid but was also excited with the prospect of having another kid. So, right after I thought, they say you're the most fertile after a miscarriage. When I didn't get pregnant again I thought, well maybe it's just not in the cards for us. Then, COVID hit and my husband and I were both kind of locked down for a little bit out here. I was working from home and, again, I missed a period and this time it felt like a pregnancy because I had some nausea and things like that, some bloating, and I was like, "I might be pregnant." So we went and got a pregnancy test, and I was definitely pregnant. It definitely became positive right away. So, then we were very excited because we were like, "OK, here we are again." But again, very cautiously optimistic, because we knew with the last one we had a miscarriage and we didn't want to get too excited right away. So, we didn't tell anybody for a while either till we knew we were in a safer place. I wanted to get to my 12-week mark before we really made an announcement.
MICHELLE: Yeah, definitely a lot of those quarantine conceived babies.
LEEANN: Conceived and born.
MICHELLE: Yes! You know, we had time and opportunity.
MICHELLE: It happens, it happens. So, how long was it in between your miscarriage and when you conceived your daughter?
LEEANN: I had my miscarriage in early June of 2019, and then we found out we were pregnant with my daughter in April of 2020. So, almost a year from when I probably would have gotten pregnant in 2019. So, almost a year from when I conceived last time.
MICHELLE: So, what was your pregnancy like with your daughter versus with your son? Was it still easy or was it a little bit different this go around?
LEEANN: This one was very different. It was a very hard pregnancy for me. Luckily, I was able to work from home for the bulk of it. If anything, that was the one positive out of COVID, that I was able to work from home. If I had to be out of my office, or out in the field where I work, it would have been very trying and I probably would have had to take more time off. It started, I had a lot of nausea with her, I was very nauseous the first trimester, and actually halfway through my second trimester. So, I actually had lost weight with her. Every time I went to the doctor's office and got on the scale, I was not gaining weight. that was just because I couldn't eat very much, because of the nausea. About two weeks into my second trimester, it went away and I had kind of a two-week, what I call, sweet spot where everything was good in my second trimester. Then, she moved or got big, I'm not sure which had happened. This pregnancy was very low, she sat very low, so she was sitting kind of on my sciatic nerve, and I had sciatic nerve issues before, so it set off my sciatic nerve where I was in constant pain on my right side. So, being home and having to work on the computer all day, it hurt to sit and hurt to stand, so I had to alternate back and forth. I even bought a big yoga ball to sit on and kind of roll around and that helped a little bit to stretch it out a little bit, but very painful. Even my OBGYN said, "Wow, you can't catch a break in this pregnancy, can you?" Usually, the nausea is over earlier than it was for me, then usually the second trimester is the blissful trimester where you feel better, and I wasn't feeling much better. Because of my age, my blood pressure was a little bit elevated even before I was pregnant. They were kind of messing around with blood pressure medicines with me and couldn't find one that worked, because it would just tank my blood pressure. So, I really wasn't medicated for any blood pressure issues at the time, but because of that and my age they wanted me to see a specialist to make sure, because I was a preeclampsia risk with my mild high blood pressure. So, I did see a Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor, and she saw me all the way up to 28 weeks, I think, 28 or 30 weeks. My blood pressure stayed really good my whole pregnancy, so she actually had said, " I think we're going to be good." She gave me a baby aspirin to take every day, she thought I was going to be able to go to term with my daughter. Everything was good until about 36 weeks when my blood pressure spiked up. It was around Christmas time, and I was taking my blood pressure at home as well, just to monitor myself, and I had a really high reading and they told me to go to Labor and Delivery, at Labor and Delivery my blood pressure was pretty high, it was in the 180s. So, they admitted me and had me do a 12-hour urine test to see if I had protein in my urine. Then my doctor saw me that next day and I had both protein in my urine and the higher blood pressure, so they gave me some shots of blood pressure medicine, and also sent me home with a prescription for blood pressure medicine, and a plan to see my doctor the next day to talk about being induced because of preeclampsia. So, we thought we had dodged that bullet until, like I said, 36 weeks it hit with a vengeance.
MICHELLE: So, I want to ask a couple questions about a couple things you mentioned earlier. One, with the sciatic nerve pain that you had in your side, what did you do to help alleviate that, or was it alleviated at any point?
LEEANN: The big thing I did, I did see a chiropractor, who I was seeing prior to my pregnancy as well. She specifically targeted making sure my spine was always in alignment so that would help keep the pressure off, and then also coupled with massage. So, I did prenatal massage as well, and both of those things helped significantly. I feel like they helped get me going. It didn't totally take the pain away, but it took some of the edge off the pain, I guess I would say, so I was able to be functioning again. By the time I would see them I was at the point I wasn't functioning, I was in really bad pain, so it definitely helped get me to be able to function again.
MICHELLE: How often did you actually visit with the chiropractor and get a massage?
LEEANN: Chiropractor I saw between once a week to once every other week. She kind of left it open to where if I needed to come in any time I could come in, but definitely, it was about a week to every two weeks.
MICHELLE: Was that the same thing for massages?
LEEANN: Massage as a little bit longer stretches. Because with COVID they weren't taking as many patients at a time, so it was harder to schedule. So, I wasn't able to see her as often, and I would say I probably saw a massage therapist once every four weeks.
MICHELLE: So, something else you mentioned. You said later in your second trimester you went to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist and that they prescribed a baby aspirin. This is interesting to me because the moment that I had my pregnancies confirmed over 40, it was immediately, take baby aspirin. So, did they recommend it earlier in your pregnancy, or was that the first time they recommended it for you, in your second trimester?
LEEANN: Yeah, that was the first time in my second trimester, when I saw Maternal-Fetal Medicine, they hadn't said anything prior. My OBGYN is really, he hates the term geriatric pregnancy and all that, he just believes if you can get pregnant you can get pregnant, age is not a factor. So, he also is of the belief that you don't over-medicate unless you need to. He doesn't buy into, I guess, some of the things like you have to take this if you're over 40. So, I really appreciated that about him, that he wouldn't only do things if he felt like there was a reason to do it. Even with the threat of preeclampsia he never once said, "We have to take the baby early." He said, "We're going to try and get you to full term and get you as far as we can. We're not even going to make a plan until we get there, and we know we need to do it." He's been in practice for over 30 years, so he's delivered a lot of babies. He never believed I was too old, I never thought I needed things like baby aspirin. So, he let Maternal-Fetal Medicine do that, that they felt needed to happen.
MICHELLE: That's awesome. So, I am going to ask this. I know for me and a lot of other women when they do have miscarriages, when you subsequently get pregnant again, they're full of anxiety. Did you experience that with the pregnancy of your daughter, or were you pretty much ok?
LEEANN: I definitely, before the 12-weeks, was very worried that, "Oh gosh am I going to be excited and end up with a miscarriage again?" So, I definitely had that feeling. Once I hit the 12-week mark and started seeing ultrasounds and seeing the doctor, every time I would go in they would say, "Everything is good. Everything looks healthy. Everything looks great." So, that started to put my mind at ease a little bit. But, I would say, not till mid-second trimester did I really feel... I would say that catches the 28-week mark, 28 was where I finally said, "OK, if at this point if the baby were to come, she'd end up in an ICU, but she could come and it would be ok." Once I got to that point it felt like everything was going to be ok. But yeah, I was definitely on pins and needles up to that point worrying if I was going to be excited and then end up miscarrying again.
MICHELLE: It's just kind of amazing that is kind of how we think, those milestones. "OK, if I make it to 8-weeks I'm good." Then the next marker of 10-weeks, 12-weeks, then second trimester, "If I get there then I'm good." Then when you're in your 20-24 week period you're like, "OK, do I know anyone that had a baby at 24-weeks that survived?" Yeah, they're over two pounds. So, it's just amazing those milestones that keep you going, "Just get me to this point, and then I can breathe a little bit. Then this point." So yeah, totally understand that.
LEEANN: That's exactly how it went for me.
MICHELLE: So, tell us a little bit about your labor and delivery with your daughter.
LEEANN: So, they induced me at 37+6. They were trying to get me all the way to 38, and that was as close as they could get me with my doctor's schedule. That way they wouldn't have to give me the steroid shot, because I guess if you go before 38 weeks, they give you two rounds of steroid shots. However, when I was in the hospital with the high blood pressure they did give me one of the shots then in case the doctor had made the call to deliver right then and there; but he didn't, so we didn't have to worry about that. The labor itself, they started slow, because again they were inducing me, so we ended up at the hospital at 4AM on the 5th of January. They started with Cytotec, which is a different kind of induction medication, and they put me through the courses of that. Labor started slow, and this one felt a lot more natural, believe it or not, even though I was induced this whole time, because it came on kinda slow and progressed. Once they exhausted the Cytotec they progressed to Pitocin. Again, the contractions were coming on a little more formally, but still were manageable, I could breathe through them, I was kind of excited about the prospect that I wouldn't need an epidural this time because I was able to manage it with breathing. So, we kept going and going, and I remember at one point, I think it was around dinner time, the doctor had seen my contractions on the monitor at the nurse's station and he said, "Wow, I wish Leeann 's contractions looked like that," and the nurse said, "nope, that is Leeann 's contractions." So, he came in to visit me and was like, "Wow, your contractions are doing really well, how are you doing?" I'm like, "I'm breathing through them, I'm doing good, I feel good." He's like, "Great." So, he went to look to see how far along I was dilation wise and he came back and said, "Good news is your contractions are going good, bad news is you're only dilated to 2cm. So, even though your contraction patterns are doing well it's not dilating you. So, we're going to have to up the Pitocin a little bit." So, I was kind of bummed after that because I thought everything was going good. Which it was, it was progressing, just not good dilation. They would keep inching it up, and inching it up, and inching it up, and then the doctor said, "I think our next course is to break your water and see if that kicks labor into high gear and helps you dilate a little bit more." So, they broke my water, and about half-hour, after they broke my water the doctor came back, and my labor had actually stopped. So, kind of the same thing that happened with my son, once my water breaks my labor stops. I don't know why that is, but that's what happened. So, that was kind of frustrating for the doctor, because he thought it was going to kick it up and it kicked it back. So, we ended up having to do even higher levels of Pitocin, and again I was still laboring along without an epidural at this point, hoping I wasn't going to need one. As the night started wearing on, because we started at 4AM so now we're into the evening times of 5, 10 o'clock at night, I started just getting exhausted really, just physically exhausted, and the Pitocin was kicking in harder, and I was still trying to hang on, and hang on. It got to the point where I was just so physically exhausted that end labor was pretty intense that I needed an epidural, I couldn't do it anymore at that point. So, they came in and gave me an epidural. They were monitoring my blood pressure the whole time, and as they were upping the Pitocin my blood pressure kept going up. So, right after I had my epidural, my blood pressure spiked up to 206 on the top number. That was when they all came in, all the nurses and doctors, and the doctor looked at me and said, "I'm sorry to say that we're going to have to give you magnesium." Part of the reason he said he was sorry to say that was, when we made the decision to have the induction I had asked the doctor directly, I said, "Can we have a conversation about should I be induced or should I wait a little bit longer?" Because the blood pressure medication they were giving me was lowering my blood pressure and I thought maybe I could go a little further and deliver more close to my natural, like have her more naturally. The doctor said, "Well let's make the decision to make the induction because you never know, it could get worse. Your blood pressure could get worse," and he'd rather err on the side of caution with how high my blood pressure had been. I said, "Does that mean I get to avoid magnesium if I get induced?" He said, "Well I can't guarantee that, but let's hope we don't have to use magnesium." So, back to my labor, when that happened and he said he had to use magnesium I remember I'm wearing my mask, it's COVID, and I'm crying, just bawling my eyes out like I'd never bawled before. The doctor came right up to me and held my hand and said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't want this for you either, but you're going to be ok. It's magnesium, women get magnesium all the time for preeclampsia, you're going to be ok. This baby is going to come, your baby is going to be healthy and happy, and everybody is going to be happy." He did everything he could to calm me down so that we could continue. Then they put the magnesium in, and that started that part of my labor. So, I ended up preeclamptic, unfortunately.
MICHELLE: So, let me clarify real quickly. So, your issue with the magnesium was that meant you had preeclampsia, there was an issue, or there was a threat of preeclampsia. Is that why you were upset or didn't want to take the magnesium?
LEEANN: Yeah, it wasn't that I didn't want to take the magnesium, it's that I didn't want to have to get to that point. For me, yeah, it meant that I was preeclamptic. It meant that I obviously needed it to avoid a seizure. But also, I had a friend who had preeclampsia and she said that the magnesium was the worst part of it for her, that she didn't feel good and felt like she was burning up a lot. Also, magnesium will slow down labor too, so it kind of counteracts the medicine they're giving for induction. So, it kind of has that effect as well. I didn't want to get to that point where I'd gotten this far and then my labor gets to slow down again. That was part of the reason why. At that point, when I got the magnesium, as I said, it was late at night, probably 10 or 11 o'clock at night, and we'd started at 4 in the morning, so it had been a long haul at that point. I didn't want to do anything to slow my labor down, basically. That was the big thing for me. I didn't want to get a C-section going that far either.
MICHELLE: So, did you have any of those side effects? Did you have where you didn't feel well, or anything like that? Or the hot flashes I'll say? Did you experience any of that with the magnesium?
LEEANN: You know, it's interesting, I don't remember the hot flashes. By the time I'd gotten the epidural and by the time they had talked to me about the magnesium, my body was kind of in this weird state where it was shutting down. My body was shaking really hard, I couldn't control it. I was sweating but I had the chills in a way, if that makes sense, I was cold but sweaty. I was in this state where I just wanted this to be done, "I don't feel good, my body doesn't feel good." I think that helped me to not feel the magnesium as bad as it should have been because my body was in this shutdown stage that it was. I do remember after, because after you have the baby you don't want to get post eclampsia, so you have to get magnesium after you have the baby as well, I do remember that part of it, just feeling kind ugh. Here I should be happy and have my baby in my arms, but I felt kinda nauseous and not so good.
MICHELLE: Yeah, it's just amazing what our bodies go through, just having a baby. The blessing is that under good medical care and supervision, that they can monitor you. If you do have to take something you can, so you can be healthy and baby can be healthy. Yeah, just amazing what our bodies can go through right?
LEEANN: It absolutely is. It's amazing what our bodies go through and then technology as well, medications they can give you to fake labor and all that. So, there are so many different dynamics that we have nowadays.
MICHELLE: So, how long was your labor overall with your daughter? How much did she weigh when she came out? How did everything go with her?
LEEANN: So total, start of induction to delivery, it was 25 hours, so it was a long haul. She weighed 6lbs 2oz when she was born. Ironically, it was kind of funny because having the three hours that I went with my son, of pushing, after they had given me the epidural and the magnesium they let me rest a little bit, and when the doctor checked on me it was probably 5 minutes to 6 in the morning. The monitor had fallen off the baby's head they had put on there and he was going to replace it, and he goes, "Oh, the head's right here. We got a baby to deliver right now." So, I'm kind of groggy and out of it, they're throwing the lights on, all the nurses are rushing in, they've got the baby warmer, and he's barking at people to hurry because the baby was right here. He said, " Leeann, I think you only have to do one push and she's out," and that's literally all I had to do, one push and she came into the world. So, after having three hours with my son, it literally took less than five minutes to push her out. So, that was the one benefit of it. She was a little bit on the small side too, so it was a little bit easier. Yeah, she just surprised us. So, going from 2cm, and then when he checked me in the middle of the night, I think it was 6cm, so we'd gotten a little further along. I was worried when they checked me overnight that I was going to have to have a C-section the next day, and then to find out that she was there and ready to go, I just cried tears of joy, "I don't have to go through surgery or do anything else, she's here."
MICHELLE: So, she's born 6lb 2oz. How was she afterward as a newborn, after you got home and all that?
LEEANN: Well, being on magnesium has an effect on the baby as well. So, unfortunately, she was a little bit groggy, slept a lot. Newborns sleep a lot anyway, but she definitely slept a lot more, especially in the hospital. I had a little bit more trouble breastfeeding because she kept falling asleep, so she wasn't getting as much nutrients in. She was slightly jaundice, but not enough to keep her in the hospital, she was at like a 6 in the Bilirubin count. I think under 13 is fine and they send you home. She still struggled, she slept a lot and wasn't feeding as much. I remember we were discharged on a Thursday, and by Saturday I felt like something wasn't right, she looked really yellow to me and I was worried. So, I remember calling the on-call doctor, and the on-call doctor wasn't my normal pediatrician, so I think she felt like I was feeling a little like I just had a baby and a little bit too, I don't know what the right word is, but maybe felt like I was making a big deal of it. So, she said, "Just hang on, if anything, make an appointment with your pediatrician on Monday." So, on Monday I called and the pediatrician got me in that day. When I brought her in he was like, "Wow, she's glowing." I said, "Yeah, I was really concerned, she got really yellow and her eyes were yellow and everything." So, they did a blood test on her and she had a really high Bilirubin. They actually called me at 5 o'clock that night and told me to go over to labor and delivery immediately. So, I had to bring her back to the hospital. Her Bilirubin count was over 26. Anything over 13 was dangerous, and she was at 26, so she was really high. They actually put her on a double dose of blue lights in the hospital for 24 hours and just had me feeding, and pumping, and supplementing, and just getting as much fluids through her as possible. Luckily, at the end of 24 hours, they sent us home because her Bilirubin had gone down enough. She was in a danger zone of having to almost go and get a transfusion at the children's hospital. So, it got that scary for a while. It's shocking because it was 5 days later, and that's not something the pediatrician said they normally see. Usually, as they get older their Bilirubin goes down, and hers went up. So, we had that issue occur, and that was a big one for us. I think, since then, she's recovered from the jaundice, but she still likes to sleep a lot, struggles to eat, so she's in the 1st percentile for weight. So, we're seeing a nutritionist, I've been seeing a lactation consultant, and we see the pediatrician. So, we're seeing a bunch of different doctors to try to boost her weight up as much as we can. So, she's currently being breastfed and supplemented. Breast first and then supplementing after, so we can get her weight up as much as we can.
MICHELLE: So, how many months is she now?
LEEANN: She's three months. She just turned three months yesterday actually, or two days ago.
MICHELLE: Are you pumping as well, or just the nursing on the breast and formula?
LEEANN: I'm doing nursing on the breast and a silicone pump, a Haka they call it. I kind of do that to get as much milk as I can out, because they actually wanted me to lessen the amount of time on the breast. She was taking an hour to breastfeed, a half-hour on each side, so by the time we had finished a nursing session it wasn't much further till I had to start nursing her again. So, it was kind of hurting my supply a little bit, and also they think part of the reason they think she wasn't gaining weight was because she was taking so much time and energy to feed that it was actually burning calories rather than giving her the calories she needed. So, they have me on a very strict regimen of breastfeeding for no more than 25 minutes total, both sides. That's where we're at now. So, through seeing a lactation consultant she actually has a lip and a tongue tie, and we're getting that assessed on Tuesday from a pediatric dentist. We think that's part of the contributing factor, that she's not able to latch well enough to get enough milk. so, we're in the process of doing that as well. Yeah, so it's kind of a mix. They do say the most important thing is to get food in her, so if I'm not producing enough milk at the time to give her formula and pump, and try to get as much out as I can, so I'm alternating. But I'm trying to not pump if I can, I'm trying to keep her on the breast first and as much as I can.
MICHELLE: Yeah, that's always hard. We always have this thought of, "Yeah I want to nurse, I want to nurse, I want to breastfeed." But at the end of the day it's just important that they get fed, right? Get the supply and nutrients they need. Even though it's hard on us we have to do what's best for our babies.
MICHELLE: So, now that your daughter is here, how is your son with your daughter?
LEEANN: It's kind of funny, because in the beginning when he found out he was having a baby sister he was so excited because he thought, "Oh, I 'm going to have somebody to play with." His older brothers don't live with us, so we only see them in the Summer, and we don't have any kids in the neighborhood, he doesn't have anyone to play with. So, when the baby came home he was like, "Oh, she's tiny." I was like, "Yeah, she's just a baby." So, I think he was a little disappointed she wasn't an instant playmate for him. But, he's done really well. I mean, my son is a definite feeler and definitely has a heart of gold. So, he loves to give her hugs and kisses and rub her head. The teachers at his school, he's in Kindergarten, say he talks about his baby sister all the time. So, right now I feel like he's doing pretty well. I know behavior-wise, at home, his behavior has gotten a little bit worse. I think it's more of that attention-seeking behavior, but we kind of expected that to happen because a baby in the house means that there's somebody else getting attention and not just him. So, we are managing that. Overall, I think he's done really well and I think he still is excited to have a baby sister, so that makes me feel good that he's ok with it.
MICHELLE: OK, so this is your husband's fourth child. How is he now, with all the kids and the kids you have together, especially now that you have your daughter?
LEEANN: He does great, he's a great father. He loves kids, so it works out really well. It's hard with him being back at work, he did have paternity leave from his job for a while, so that was nice, but he just went back to work. When he gets home he loves to hold her, and I will say, even though she's three months, she's already a daddy's girl. She'll be crying with me and daddy will take her and it's like, "Oh, daddy has me, I don't have to cry anymore." He's really good at burping her. I can't get a burp out of her, but as soon as he picks her up she burps for him. So, it's kind of funny how she's already that daddy's girl.
MICHELLE: That's so funny, I remember that with my son as well. I could never burp him, but my husband would take him and he would burp. I was like, "You know what?" I just gave up. I was like, "I can be there for 30 minutes burping him and he wouldn't." I was like, " I just prepared him for you, that's what it was."
MICHELLE: "You need to thank me."
LEEANN: Exactly, that's exactly how it is for us too.
MICHELLE: You're not special.
LEEANN: He's like, "I don't know why you can't get her to burp, I just tap her on the back once and she burps." I'm like, "mmhmm."
MICHELLE: So, tell us a little bit about your support system, before we wrap up. Were your family and friends supportive of having a baby, especially at this age? That's the thing, some of us have all the support in the world, some people just don't. What was the reaction of family and friends?
LEEANN: I think I had a lot of support. I think there was surprise first. My husband and I only have my sister-in-law, his sister, here, the rest of our family all live out of state. So, when we broke the news to everybody it was over Facebook, phones, Facetime, and things like that. I know my parents, when we told them, it was kinda funny because my mom was really excited because she thought she was going to only have one grandchild, and my dad, the first thing out of his mouth was, "Is it safe for you to have a baby at this age?" I said, "Yes dad, it's safe, the doctor said it's ok." He's like, "Ok, well, as long as you're going to be ok I'm happy." So he was the only one that really said anything, but that's my dad, he says what he thinks. Everyone else was very supportive. I even threw some of my Facebook posts up with, "I know, here I am at 44, pregnant, having a baby," and waited for some of that backlash from friends and family. But all of them were like, "You know what? You're a strong capable woman, and you got this." So, it really felt good that everybody was really supportive. Even though most of my friends who I graduated with, their kids are going to college this year, so it's kind of interesting, it's a different dynamic. One of my friends posted that she's a grandma already. I'm like, it is what it is. I didn't feel any negativity from anyone. Out here where we live in Washington we have a good support system of friends who are just so supportive, they've even taken my son from me. One of my friends, our neighbor, she takes him every other Friday and does fun Lucas stuff with him so he can have some Lucas time just to himself, and doesn't have to worry about competing with his sister. So, we've just had a lot of good support. It's been wonderful actually, I feel very blessed we've had the support we had.
MICHELLE: That's awesome, I need to find a friend like that.
LEEANN: She's amazing. I'm always like, "You don't have to take him, or if he doesn't behave you can send him back." She's like, "No, he loves to be here." They're almost like family, she's like a sister I never had. So, they're family to us. They're really great. Like I said, they're neighbors, her mom and dad live behind us, and then she lives right next to them. So, we kind of call it the compound here, he can just walk through our backyards and get to her house that way. So, it's really nice that they're close. She actually kept him for the days we were n the hospital too, during the birth. So, it's great. Her kids are college age, and in the summers help take care of him too with babysitting and stuff like that. So, we're really lucky, especially not having family out here, to have such good friends has been really helpful for us.
MICHELLE: Well, Leeann, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us, I know you have the little ones in the background. I need to tell people, this is real life, for everyone listening. Sometimes I'm sure through this podcast you've heard knocks on the doors, kids yelling, crying, or screaming, but we're moms and we have young babies and young kids we're taking care of. We're trying to keep a nice clean podcast, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.
LEEANN: My son loves to make noises when he plays, so you hear all these noises in the background is my son playing.
MICHELLE: That's normal. Ten minutes ago my son came back and knocked on my door, I'm sure you guys heard it. I don't know, that's probably going to stay in there, but that's what it is. Thank you so much for sharing, and congratulations on the both of your children. You were close to 40 when you had your son, and 44, almost 45, when you had your daughter. That's great, and definitely encouraging, especially knowing that you can get naturally pregnant. I think, in your case, the mindset of, "If it happens it happens," and not stressing about it, because I think stressing about it really hinders our ability to conceive a lot of times. It's so much easier said than done, but sometimes when you let go and let God sometimes, it happens.
LEEANN: Oh, I totally agree. People have different paths. I ended up being a career woman, getting my college degree, my Master's degree, then going into my career. Time just got away from me. I wasn't the 20 year old getting married right away and getting pregnant. So yeah, it feels really good to know that at 40 I'm still able to have that family and the career, I can have both because of where I'm at. The other piece too, I've heard this from so many of my friends, "You're so calm with your kids." I'm like, "You know what, I'm 40, I'm not as stressed as I would have been when I was 20." So, there's a lot of benefit too to being in your 40s and having babies. I feel like I'm a lot more calm than I probably would have been in my 20s having babies. It's that world of experience you get too.
MICHELLE: Right, you're so much more appreciative as well, because you waited for so long. You know it's possible it may not happen at this age, and when it does, "Oh my gosh, I really really appreciate and cherish this baby, or babies." Well, I hope you stick around in the group, because we may hear of another pregnancy coming up from you.
LEEANN: Well, I doubt it at this point, because my husband has gone to have a vasectomy.
MICHELLE: He did? OK, so that doesn't happen that often. You're the second person who said that on this podcast. Most men are like, "No, I'm not doing it," or they talk about it and not do it. So he snipped it?
LEEANN: Oh yeah, he got it done. At this point, he has 4 kids now and he's like, "I'm done." So, probably won't be hearing from me being pregnant, but I'll definitely stick around to support. When people ask questions, I do like to give my experience as well because I think my experience is different than anybody else's, and it's good to hear all sides of the story.
MICHELLE: Well, thank you once again, and again we wish you the best of luck. Take care and we'll see you around in the group.
LEEANN: Thank you, have a good day.