Jeremy Peterson, MD, a provider at Fairview Clinics – Princeton, and his wife Heather, are sharing their pregnancy journey with us. In their first blog post, they discussed some of the issues they’ve faced with this pregnancy. Now, Heather describes what it’s like to be pregnant with their third child at an ‘advanced’ age.
Being over age 35 and pregnant, I’m considered advanced maternal age. I don’t feel like I’m at an advanced age and certainly not a “geriatric pregnancy,” which is another name for it. I do feel like a more mature mom, but I think this has more to do with having two previous term pregnancies as opposed to being of an older age.
I’m more tired with this pregnancy than the others. I don’t know if that’s because I’m seven years older than the first time, or if it’s being pregnant and being a mom of two active children. When we were pregnant with Isaac and it was just Jeremy and I by ourselves, when I needed to take a break, it was easy for Jeremy to take over doing the things that needed to get done. When we were pregnant with Anna, it was a little more challenging because we had a toddler to care for. Yet, we could still divide and conquer the family obligations. Now, it is organized chaos, and each work week our goal is to make it to Friday!
While every pregnancy comes with its own risks, there are more risks for moms and babies after age 35, so my doctor, Kathleen Abrahamson, MD, referred us for genetic testing and an in-depth ultrasound at University of Minnesota Health’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center in Minneapolis.
A great learning opportunity
It was the first time we had to do anything besides routine prenatal care, but we approached it as an important part of our pregnancy journey, as well as a great learning opportunity. I’m a high school biology teacher and teach a unit on genetics, so having a real-life application will be useful for future lesson planning. Jeremy was looking forward to gaining personal knowledge of what to expect and being able to share the process when referring his own patients for this service. I admit though, as we got closer to the appointment date, I did have some anxiety about what potentially could be discovered.
At 20 weeks, we went to our appointment. First, a genetic counselor reviewed in detail our personal and family medical histories as it would relate to genetically known conditions. Next, we had a very detailed ultrasound which we got to watch on a large screen television. The technologist did a great job of telling us what she was looking at, but not whether it was good or bad (she told us that was up to the doctor to do). She also warned us when not to look so we could continue to keep our child’s gender a surprise!
We learned first-hand that ultrasounds can be difficult based on the position of the baby—as our child was one of those uncooperative ones. I had to do lots of moving, drinking ice water and using the restroom to try and encourage our child to reposition. Eventually, the technologist was able to get all the views she needed.
Next, we met with our doctor who gave us the news that everything on our ultrasound looked great! We also opted to do the Innatal™ Prenatal Screen, a noninvasive blood test that checks for common chromosomal disorders. We feel fortunate those results came back normal, too.
As I’m writing this, I’m about 22 weeks along and the baby is about 11 inches, one pound and the size of a small spaghetti squash. I started feeling a lot better after week 20. The nausea and vomiting has finally subsided (with the occasional sneak attack). Sleep is becoming a bit of a challenge, my legs tend to ache after work and some of the growing discomfort is beginning. However, I’m finally starting to get some of that second trimester pregnancy glow I remember from the previous two pregnancies.
Both of our kids have now felt the baby move, which was extremely exciting. They are convinced that the baby is already playing with them. Anna, age 3, is talking a lot about how she can’t wait for the baby to be here and is practicing a lot of with her dolls. Isaac, age 6, likes to put his head on my tummy and “listen” to the baby. We aren’t quite sure what he hears, but he must know something we don’t.
To make an appointment with Dr. Peterson, Dr. Abrahamson or anyone on our care team, call 855-FAIRVIEW. Visit fairview.org/OB for more pregnancy information and to meet our care team.