by Cassandra R. Elias
At first, Robin Brussel thought she was experiencing perimenopause. Hormonal changes at the age of 47 aren't uncommon after all. Being pregnant wasn't on her radar. So you can imagine her surprise when her doctor told her that she was in fact, pregnant.
Robin, mother to four older children ages 18 to 28, would be having a baby at 48! The baby would be the first for herself and husband of four years Mark, 56. Mark also has older children, the oldest being 36 so he was also not "expecting" such news.
After successfully carrying the baby for 39 weeks, Robin gave birth in December to a 6-pound, 10-ounce boy named Noah via C-section. Noah is already an uncle to the couple's grandchildren who are in their mid-teens.
During the pregnancy, Robin developed gestational diabetes and a rapid heartbeat. She has chosen not to breastfeed because of the medications she’s taking.
Robin's case is unique. Any pregnancy over 35 is defined by the National Institutes of Health as high-risk. As a woman gets older, the risk increases for issues such as genetic disorders and miscarriage. What makes Robin's case so unique is that many if not most pregnancies so late in life tend to start through in vitro fertilization.
The National Vital Statistics Report says the number of women having children after age 45 is the only U.S. birth rate that has increased, trending upward since 1992. Other ages for birth rates have decreased.
Births to women ages 45 to 49 rose 3 percent from 2008 to 2009. In context, however, that still amounted to only a few hundred total births. In 2009, the younger age groups accounted for 4.3 million births.
New mom Robin said she realizes that when she's 60, Noah will be 12. She says to that fact, "But with the way our children are with him, I know he's going to be loved and cared for no matter what happens to us."
New dad Mark recalls his thoughts upon finding out that his wife was pregnant, "When she told me she was pregnant, I said, 'Unbelievable. It's gotta be a mistake, you gotta go to the doctor.' My concern was that they were healthy. When the doctor said that, I was excited about it."
Being a dad at this age will help keep him young, he said. Teaching Noah how to throw a baseball and other sports, "I'm sure gonna try" he said.
Having lost a daughter when she was 18 in a car accident, Mark said "Maybe this is God's way of repaying me."
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