I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 33. In my head, I felt like I was mostly safe since I was under the “35 year” mark.
At the age of 35, many women see their pregnancies labeled as “geriatric pregnancies.” The term itself is a little outdated, and many doctors don’t like using it anymore. And that can be because, no matter what, miracles do happen. It is possible for women to deliver healthy babies after the age of 35. and it happens every day.
“The rates of women having their first babies even in their 40s have actually doubled,” writes Healthline . “The definition of a geriatric pregnancy is definitely changing as the trends of when women start their families evolve over time.”
And, that makes a recent headline-worthy pregnancy even cooler. A 51-year-old woman just successfully gave birth to her own granddaughter, further proving that science is amazing.
Breanna and her husband Aaron couldn’t be happier about the new arrival. As you may suspect, it was a long time coming. “It was definitely a surreal process,” Breanna stated on Good Morning America . “All the feelings came at once, just watching my mom go through everything and all she’s done for me and is continuing to do.”
Julie has had two pregnancies prior to giving birth to Briar. This time around, she had to have her first C-Section, after it was revealed that Briar’s umbilical cord was causing an issue. All in all, with 2020 the way it’s been, it must have been a much different experience than she was used to decades prior.
“She definitely rocked the pregnancy and the birth rocked her a little bit, but she did a great job,” Breanna said. “It was a super emotional day with lots of tears and lots of happy times and some scary times but our doctors and team were great.” Breanna was next to her mom offering support during the big day.
It may seem unusual to use your mom as a surrogate, but Julie was more than willing to do this for her daughter. “I’ve run 19 marathons and done many triathlons,” Julie said. “I felt like health-wise I could do it and I had really easy pregnancies with my two kids.” That alone is dedication, especially as Julie was likely heartbroken by her daughter’s struggle for biological children.
Breanna went through a lot before asking her mom to go through with the surrogacy. She worked with Dr. Brian Kaplan of Fertility Centers of Illinois, who initially told her to try and find a surrogate that was a friend or family member. Prior to, she tried IVF — but, that didn’t work for her.
While IVF usually has good rates, it can still fail — especially due to age. For women who are younger than 35, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 54.4%, according to VeryWellFamily . Breanna suffered from multiple miscarriages and learned the hard way that her body wasn’t able to carry a baby.
Many women are in Breanna’s shoes — it’s just that not a lot of people talk about it openly. Women’s Health reports that about 10 percent of women from the ages of 15 to 44 are infertile. That’s a huge number if you think about all of the women in the world. For many, they learn this news later on in life after struggling to conceive.
Julie went to a doctor’s appointment with her daughter to learn more about her diagnosis, and that helped seal the deal in becoming her surrogate. “”My mom came with me as my support person and she brought up that she wanted to carry,” said Breanna. “When [Dr. Kaplan] met her I could tell that he was really starting to think about it as a possibility, but he didn’t tell us yes right away. There were a lot of hoops we had to jump through to make it possible.”
Julie had to go through multiple testing to make sure her body was able to carry the pregnancy. Pregnancy can be hard on the human body for many reasons. But, her five specialists felt good about Julie’s chances of successfully carrying her daughter’s biological child.
“She got past all of us with flying colors,” Dr. Kaplan admitted to Good Morning America. “I think it’s very important for me as a physician and for this field for people to know this is not routine and not everybody can use their mom. It has to be a unique situation.” If Julie wasn’t on top of her health, this may not have been possible.
Due to the multiple losses the family had suffered through before, they were cautiously optimistic about Julie’s pregnancy. They knew that these were abnormal circumstances, but knew nothing would be guaranteed. Julie officially became pregnant this March, just around the time much of the world had shut down. That, alone, must have added an element of tension to the process.
“We couldn’t jump for joy yet because we’d had so many losses and so much trauma,” said Breanna. Only halfway along the pregnancy did they allow themselves to celebrate the new arrival. Many moms who have dealt with loss before have felt this same way. While pregnancy is often a blessing, it can often come with a lot of heartache if something goes wrong.
But, this story ended positively — and it’s a reminder that so many people out there are in the same boat. It can be heartbreaking to witness loss after loss, and bad news. But luckily, science has provided so many safe ways to achieve this goal in life. As for Breanna, Julie, and Briar? The three now have a bond like no other.
“It’s really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re going through infertility,” Breanna said. “But as long as you can keep telling yourself there are so many ways to become a mother, it’s not just pregnancy. There are so many ways to become a parent, whatever option you choose.” Breanna’s mom showcased the most beautiful act of motherly love, and she’s a reminder that so many women are capable of anything.