New Zealand's oldest mother, Lyn Mason, and her husband Ian tell Denise Irvine how they cope with their young family and other people's curiosity.
It's a few days before Celine Mason's birthday, and when asked what she'd like as a present, she replies promptly, "a little pony".
This is not of the four-legged, ride-on variety, but the brand of My Little Pony toys popular with girls, and Celine would like to add another one to her collection. She fishes in the toy cupboard and shows some of her favourites.
Big brother Dean, 8, had his birthday in July, and he got a Star Wars Lego set that he's obviously had hours of pleasure from.
Both the Mason kids have a light sabre, and they've recently been to a dress-up Star Wars disco at Hukanui Primary. "Some big people were dressed up in Star Wars costumes," says Dean. "They looked real."
Dean and Celine cuddle up to their mother Lyn for a photograph in their pleasant home in Hamilton's northern suburbs. The years since they were born seemed to have flashed by, and yesterday Celine celebrated her sixth birthday. There's nothing particularly remarkable about that. Except that Lyn was 55 when she gave birth to her daughter, and 53 when she had Dean.
Lyn made history as New Zealand's oldest mother, and both children were conceived by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), with their father Ian's sperm and donor eggs from a family friend. Although several women overseas have been reported to have given birth in their 50s, 60s and 70s, to the best of everyone's knowledge, Lyn holds the New Zealand record.
This Pregnancy Over 40 story was found on Stuff.co.nz
Read more: For the love of kids
Originally posted on November 10th, 2010.
Photo credit: Stuff.co.nz
All rights reserved
TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
The Empty Picture Frame: An Inconceivable Journey Through Infertility
by Jenna Currier Nadeau, Mike Nadeau
-- What has amazed me over the last four years is the ability for every person who learns about our struggle to provide us with the most well-intentioned, yet inane advice possible. "Have you tried timing intercourse?" "I've heard yoga can help" and of course the knife in the heart, "If you stop trying, you'll be amazed at how quickly it'll happen. Just relax."
No offense to the fertiles of the world, but just because you have a child doesn't mean you have any idea how it got here. I'm sure in your 8th grade science class you learned of fallopian tubes, ovulation, sperm, ovaries, and you might even have been witness to the frightening movie where the mother screams as the baby is being delivered in a horrifying display of excruciating rips and tears. I'm sure you might have even been scared when you heard that a woman could get pregnant anytime, and that's why protection was crucial.
What you probably weren't told was that a fertile couple only has a 20% chance of getting pregnant in any one month, and that more often the window of opportunity isn't 28 days, but closer to 48 hours. You probably missed the part of the lesson that explained how the thickness of the endometrial lining had to be a certain number of millimeters, and that how much fat your body was made of actually played a considerable role in the whole process. The body is a remarkable thing, and can compensate for many imperfections, and for most people it is forgiving of the slightly tilted uterus, or a semi-closed fallopian tube, a weaker quality egg, or a few extra pounds. But for the millions of other women in the world, conceiving a baby is a process that is truly a miracle; a precise combination of old fashioned faith and the most modern medical technologies.
Infertility is a disease that affects over 6 million people in the United States alone. What that statistic fails to consider are the people who are affected by those millions of infertiles; the people who don't know what to say or how to act. These people can't conceive of the inconceivable because they have not faced infertility or they have not had desire to raise children. On both sides of the disease are people who feel helpless; unable to fix the problem and incapable of eliminating the pain.
By picking up this book, you are opening a door to the life of an infertile. The journey of my husband and I may not be exactly that of your loved one, but I can assure you the worries, decisions, pain and frustration will be similar. Read these words and you may be able to view your infertile loved one in a new light, and with that light you may understand and empathize with their struggle.
It is my hope that infertiles reading this will find solace in the words of a fellow veteran of this disease. You won't hear me suggest that there is a sure fire method to fixing the problem. I don't necessarily believe that in the end everything will work out as it should. What you will hear is my deepest admiration for the path you are on. Perhaps you will find comfort in the words of an infertile couple who has been to hell and back, and has the bruises, both literal and figurative, to prove it.
Paperback: 196 pages - Click to order/for more info: The Empty Picture Frame - US | Canada | UK
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