I Gave Birth To My First Child At Age 53. Here's How I Made My Dream Happen
In our Realtalk series, we're sharing personal stories about fertility and family planning. We hope they offer support and inspire honest, respectful conversation about an incredibly tough topic.
I was a successful Hollywood television producer and believed that someday I would meet the love of my life. When I was 45 years old, he finally showed up. We fell madly in love, dated long-distance, and traveled the world for over two years.
I was 48 and he was 41 when we married. We were very happy, although the topic of having children kept coming up and remained unresolved. He wasn’t sure he wanted kids, but I wasn’t getting any younger, with the approach of menopause starting to heat things up.
After a series of conversations, we finally came to the decision that our role as partners was to help fulfill each other’s dreams. My husband told me he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t help me achieve mine: having a child.
Even though it may sound crazy at my age, I never lost hope that it would happen, in whatever form was meant for me—foster parenting, adoption, surrogacy. I once read “things happen in God’s time; not in yours.” That stayed with me.
We worked for three years to get to where we are today. Our path to becoming parents took many turns. We first explored foster care, then adoption, then surrogacy in a foreign country. It really didn’t matter to me, I could love any baby.
So we were on the road to surrogacy when my doctor suggested I meet his best friend, who is a premier reproductive fertility doctor in Los Angeles. When I met Dr. Najmabadi, he asked me several questions about my health. He then said, “You have a young body and spirit. Why do you think you need a surrogate?” I laughed and responded that I was 52 years old! On top of that, I had had an ectopic pregnancy that had left me with only one fallopian tube. “You only need a uterus to carry a child through IVF. You will need a donor egg. I highly encourage you to try.”
“Excuse me?!” I was beyond stunned. I had never considered this, yet had always yearned for a child and the experience of pregnancy. In that moment, he opened a door to possibilities that I thought had been bolted shut.
I walked out of his office in tears, with a reeling mind and a surreal sense of hope. “What if?” The word “never” was suddenly dissolved and unlimited possibilities opened up. I felt like I might have just won the Lotto.
I was still reeling when I got home. I had struggled with several health issues in the past and was fearful that my husband would say I wasn’t healthy enough to carry a child. He surprised me when he said, “Let’s go for it.”
Our Journey Through Egg Donation & IVF
Finding a donor is like finding a needle in a haystack. But through a series of miracles we were incredibly blessed to find an egg donor who was a young family friend. My doctor was skeptical as she had no track record of pregnancy, but we both felt in our hearts she was the one.
Once the procedures started, I found an online IVF meditation that connected me with the embryos as they were growing. I was in a constant flow of faith by visualizing and praying, as well as surrounding myself with people who were positive and supportive. If I had a tiny hint that someone was a naysayer and might judge me, I wouldn’t mention my plans.
Once the embryos were implanted in me, it would take 12 days to find out if I was pregnant. Those were the longest 12 days of my life! I put myself in a bubble. I watched comedies, listened to beautiful music, walked in nature, played with my dogs, and read a lot but did not indulge in the negatively on the internet.
My OB said I had the most normal, healthy pregnancy despite me being the oldest patient he had.
When we got the news that I was pregnant, my whole world shifted. I felt a sense of gratitude I had never felt before. I bought a pair of Belly Buds and made recordings for my growing baby. I told her how wanted she was and what a beautiful life was awaiting her. During this time, I also made sure to take care of myself. I continued to eat organic as much as possible, eat gluten-free, and take lots of supplements. I also used organic products free of toxic chemicals and I continued with my self-care routine by going to acupuncture, swimming, and meditating.
Welcoming a Baby at Age 53
During the pregnancy, my mother was cautiously optimistic; she was scared that something would go wrong along the way. (Although, now both our mothers tell everyone that I’m superwoman!) Overall, people have been incredibly supportive, inspired, and in awe that I would take this journey at this point in my life.
Of course, some people haven’t been so positive—I have received a few skeptical comments. Like, “Does she realize that when her kid is in college she will be over 70?” To that I answer, “Yes, and I look forward to every moment ahead.” I’ve learned that time isn’t linear. Age is just a state of mind.
In fact, my OB said I had the most normal, healthy pregnancy despite me being the oldest patient he had. (He also said that he had three other first-time mothers in their 50s.) Sure, toward the end my back was aching and I was tired, but as my doula Lori Bregman, said, I was no different from her other 30-year-old clients who were at this point in their pregnancies. It was Lori who gave me the courage to be confident and proud of my age so I could be an example for others who had their own dreams, whatever they were, later in life.
The most amazing part of my story is not just that I got pregnant at 52 but the incredible series of miracles that took place after Sky’s birth.
I was committed to having a natural birth but was also flexible that if I needed medical intervention for the health of my baby or me, then so be it. Five and half hours of pushing with no epidural, our daughter, Sky, finally came into the world. No words can describe holding her for the first time.
This has been the miracle of my life. My experience is all I know. I have nothing else to compare it to. I feel so blessed and grateful every day. No matter how sick I was in the beginning, and no matter how tired I get now, my heart is so full of love and gratitude that it overrides all of that every single day.
The most amazing part of my story is not just that I got pregnant at 52 with only one round of IVF but the incredible series of miracles that took place and the lessons I’ve learned going through this process before, during, and after Sky’s birth.
My precious daughter is my dream come true. I am completely in love. My life is really just beginning.
I’ll be sharing more advice and reflections on my blog itsbetterlate.com, everything from lactation (yes, I breastfed) to the issues older mothers face and the incredible wisdom we embody.
And do you want to learn how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.