On episode 62, Gayle was pregnant at 42 and 45, but this is her story at 45. Her fiancé, Dean is nine years younger than her. She calls herself an original cougar. They have been together for almost 17 years, so she was ready to have kids before he was. Today, Gayle is a young 49 and lives near London in a place called Brixton with her fiancé and their two children. She is a business mentor for businesses with female founders. She helps women with confidence to help them be fabulous in all business matters. Gayle and her fiancé are both from large families: Gayle is from a family of four kids and her husband is one of five. She always wanted a sibling for her first child, so they would have a close bond like she had with hers. She just couldn’t imagine just having an only child. When Gayle’s daughter turned two years old, she thought about their family plans. Her husband, Dean was just getting his head around it, but was definitely up for it.
If (pregnancy) is not possible anymore, I need to know.
At first, she didn’t track her ovulation because she hadn’t done it with her first child at 42. Her plan was to have sex every night regardless if they just had an argument. She has lots of conflicting thoughts in her head like, “They needed to get going… I’m getting older and don’t want a massive gap between the babies. I want to be relaxed…I don’t want trying to have a baby consume our conversations.” Then she downloaded a period tracker app for her phone, so she could see the days the she was fertile. She used it a lot. She started to realize she was only fertile for a short period of time each month. If their schedules weren’t coordinated, she could miss a whole month. She went back to the sex every night method again. After a while, she said she relaxed and eased off of the pedal for a bit. It wasn’t happening. She decided she was going to bite the bullet and go to the doctor. She wanted to know if pregnancy wasn’t possible anymore. The thought of it not being possible scared her, but it came to a point where she wanted to do something.
She went to her regular GP in London. Gayle went to the doctor to have a blood test for fertility and to check her levels. She had a blood test on day 13 of her ovulation and day 21 to check the levels. She remembers the nurse calling her when she was at the park. The nurse told her there was nothing wrong and that she should be completely fine. Her estrogen was a little high, but Gayle was still breastfeeding her first baby. She had been breastfeeding the whole time she was trying to conceive. The nurse told her to come back on day 21 to finish the test. Gayle never went back to finalize her results.
After over a year into trying to conceive, Gayle took her daughter, Roxy, to the nursery one day. When she picked her up, the nursery teacher told her Roxy said she was pregnant and congratulated her. Gayle told her she wasn’t pregnant, but she hoped to be soon. The teacher replied that Roxy was adamant she was pregnant. Gayle never went back to complete the testing at the doctor because she was already pregnant. She thinks that’s why her estrogen was high from the day 13 numbers. Gayle believes once she and her husband finally relaxed, it seemed to work. A week later, Dean said he thought she was pregnant, and she thought the same thing. She did a home pregnancy test and it was positive. She felt happy, relief, joy… and fear. She wanted to relax and enjoy it, but there was also the anxiety. She didn’t want to tell anyone until the scan after three months. Gayle told most of her close friends and family.
The more you desperately want something to be true, you almost don’t believe it until you’re holding your baby in your arms.
Gayle enjoys being pregnant. She felt really free and confident. She really likes how everyone treated her really nice everywhere she went. On the flip side, she also worried if everything was going right. She googled everything on the internet and the stories of heartbreak from other mothers were at the forefront of her mind. When she was pregnant the first time, she wasn’t surrounded by women that were pregnant or had kids. She thinks the more you desperately want something to be true, you almost don’t believe it until you’re holding your baby in your arms. She was labeled a geriatric pregnancy and given a consultant. The only reason for the appointment was because of her age. There was nothing else that would make her be a high-risk pregnancy. Because of that, the consultant told her she didn’t have to come back unless the midwives told her to make an appointment. At one appointment with the midwife, the nurse could only hear a faint heartbeat. She said the baby could be behind the placenta, but she needed to go to the hospital and get checked. She took the tube to the hospital and saw someone she hadn’t seen in ages. They hugged and she started bawling. She visited a little more and finished the walk to the hospital. After an hour of being strapped to the machines, they told her everything was fine.
Gayle didn’t find out the gender for her first at 42. They wanted to be a surprise for the first baby. In her heart she really wanted a girl and that’s what she had. This time, her daughter was adamant she was having another girl. Gayle wanted to find out this time in case she was having a boy, and she could prepare her daughter. She wanted to also find out so she could experience finding out in two different ways. It was a secret just for her, her husband and her daughter to know. She didn’t tell anyone else the gender, well- she did slip up a few times. One time she slipped up on a family WhatsApp group chat, but only her sister realized what she had said. They found out they were having a boy at one of her scans. The midwife said it was definitely a boy. She looked at the joy on her husband’s face and burst into tears. It felt a little weird having a boy rather than a girl, but she was happy. She told a friend, “I’m growing a willy inside of me. It’s weird.” She doesn’t want to say she was disappointed, but if she is only going to be able to have two kids, she wanted it to be a girl. She yearned for the closeness of sisters. There were a lot of mixed feelings and emotions about it, but she was excited about it in a whole new way. Everything was going to be completely different. She also needed the rest of the pregnancy to decide on a boy’s name.
She was preparing for a vaginal birth. She ate dates to help soften the cervix. She didn’t do anything specific to prepare for birth. She had her first at 42, in under four hours and barely made it to the hospital. This time, she didn’t have a birth plan because she wanted to be relaxed about it. She didn’t want to have her baby at home because she didn’t want something to go wrong and not have the right equipment nor the right medical personnel. She wanted to be in a safe place. Because Roxy’s birth was so fast, she planned for the same thing at 45. She wanted to go as close to her due date as possible. They kept saying that he was going to be a big baby. They wanted to induce her. She didn’t want to do it, but she also wanted everything to be ok. At 37 weeks, they planned to induce her on Thursday at her Tuesday appointment. She didn’t know anything about induction or how it would work. Because she had done it before, she really didn’t want them to tell her what to do. She was able to be seen by the head midwife. The midwife check her and did a membrane sweep. She said everything looked fine and suggested if she went home, she might have the baby over the weekend. She went on to say because her first birth was so fast, she wasn’t sure she would be able to get back to the hospital on time. The midwife wanted to break her water then. Roxy was staying at a friend’s house, so she said go ahead and break her waters. That meant she would have her baby that same day. She wanted to birth in the room they were in because she had her daughter in the room next door. The midwife confirmed she could stay. Gayle asked when she was going to break her water, but she had already done it. She went into labor straight away after that. Now she waited. Dean went down and got food. He came back and spread the buffet along the windowsill. Gayle and Dean relaxed, chatted and listened to the radio as she laid there with a towel between her legs. About an hour later, the midwife came in and checked her to see she was having contractions. She said her pain threshold is very high. The second time the midwife left, Gayle had to call her back to tell her to call the community midwife immediately. She was only there about 10 minutes when she told Gayle to slow down, but there was no slowing down. Her son was born in only a few hours. She says birthing the placenta is just as painful as the baby.
Her recovery was great. She wanted to stay in the love bubble as long as possible. To her, this meant she wasn’t going out and she didn’t have company at her house very often. She wanted it to be just her family for as long as possible. It was also November, so it was easier to stay inside and snuggle down. She really didn’t have any pain. Dean is very good about not letting her do a lot, so she did a lot of lying in bed. They had friends take Roxy to nursery. It was nice. This recovery wasn’t any harder than her first at 42.
I know that I am totally blessed to have these two children and be able to breastfeed… but it was my time… I’m truly lucky.
Both children latched on immediately. She meant that they popped out and latched on. There were no problems with Roxy whatsoever. She kept breastfeeding Roxy until she was three and naturally stopped during her pregnancy with her son. Gayle describes breastfeeding as a power to be able to comfort a child immediately. Her son latched on also after birth. When Monroe was three weeks or so, he had silent reflux. He would bring it up and then swallow it back down. He didn’t cry but looked so very sad. She could only do a little bit of milk at a time, prop him on her shoulder so he’s upright, then he needed to eat some more. He had to sleep upright. She purchased a mattress that would lift up on one end. She also gave up dairy and cheese. It was hard. It took about six months for him to grow out of that. She was getting less sleep than ever. Today, she has been breastfeeding for seven years total. There was maybe a four or five months gap, but that’s all. She plans to gradually wean off her son soon.
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