What Are The Odds?

Five. That is the number. Five. That’s it. Five percent. What am I talking about? Well, it’s something I’ve known about for quite some time but was a little nervous to share until now. Although my blog is called “Life after religion”, I find myself talking about religion a lot. That’s because, even though I live my life religion-free these days, it is still a huge part of my life’s story. Good and bad, it has shaped who I am today. But this post is not about religion and that’s okay. Even though what I am about to share is not supernatural in any way, it is almost miraculous from a statistical standpoint.. As I stated already, five percent was all the chance I had. There was a 95 percent chance that this wouldn’t come to pass. Anyone guess yet? A few of you may have figured it out.

My wife and I are expecting another child. Now that may or may not be that impressive to some of you, but to me it is. Why? My wife and I are over 40. I will be 43 when this child arrives and my wife will be 42. The odds of conceiving after 40 without some form of medical intervention is about 5% per cycle. Usually, procedures such as IVF are needed. To conceive naturally at this age does happen, but it is not as likely as it is at younger ages. For example, according to http://www.parents.com, in your early 20’s (ages 20-24), your chances of getting pregnant within a year if you try every month is around 96%. Between ages 25-34, it’s around 86%. Between ages 35-39, the number drops to about 78%. Once a woman enters her 40s, approximately 90% of her eggs are chromosomally abnormal, which is why there is such a huge drop in the odds of conceiving. The quality and quantity of a man’s sperm is also compromised at this age. Intervention is usually needed. Of course, it isn’t always necessary, but for many, it is. We were two of the outliers.

There is a test, referred to as non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) that helps to determine the health of a pregnancy. The popular (brand) name of this test is the Panorama test. This test gives prospective parents statistical data regarding their baby to prepare them for the potential risks involved. And, as parents over 40, the risk factor is much greater. Common risks include Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy. The older you are, the higher the risk. This test also reveals the gender to anyone who is interested in knowing. We had this test done as soon as we could and got the results rather quickly. It was great news. We are at the lowest risk for every single thing that was part of that screening. Not only that, we found out we are having another girl. We have 3 boys and a girl already, so number five helps to close the gender gap just a little. We couldn’t have asked for better results.

In case any of you have been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been completely disinterested in writing lately. Reading too, actually. I lost my desire to do things that give me joy and I found myself getting caught up in the day-to-day routine of going through the motions. I’m tired. All the time it seems. Between work and a full house, I’m drained. My passions have fizzled out a bit and I find myself constantly wondering when I’m going to snap out of it. Is it a mid-life crisis? Maybe. Maybe not. It could be that it’s just how life goes sometimes and there is no crisis, just exhaustion. I want so much to be excited to write, share, explore and soak up all that life has to offer. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. I struggle sometimes to keep my focus. I find that some of the things that once gave me joy and excitement, no longer do. I sit and watch the world pass by as I drift into mundanity. I think that’s maybe why the thought of a new chapter in my life at this stage is so exciting rather than daunting.

A family of 6 turning into a family of 7 is not what I expected at this stage of my life if I’m being completely honest. It was a shock at first (although I’m fairly certain of what led to this situation…wink, wink). After the initial shock wore off though, the excitement of what is to come set in and I was reenergized. But there’s a catch. My excitement involves constantly walking on eggshells. All of my hopes and dreams are dampened by the knowledge that anything can happen at any time and we could go right back to being a family of 6. You see, this would be child number 5 for us, but this is not our 5th pregnancy. My wife and I have been pregnant 9 times. We know what loss looks like. We know what loss feels like. We know all too well how quickly joy and excitement can turn into grief and devastation. We once had a holy crutch to lean on, but that ship has sailed. There are no more prayers to utter for us; prayers that do nothing more than calm our minds and temporarily give us comfort and relief from our stress. There is no longer a Jesus to watch over us and protect us. If you re-read what I wrote a few sentences earlier, you’d see that Jesus wasn’t around for our other pregnancies either. If he was, he certainly did not intervene or give us comfort in any way.

We are quite a ways along now. My wife is close to 24 weeks. She is, as with all of her previous pregnancies, diabetic. It is only gestational diabetes and goes away instantly after delivery. It does, however, add to the stress we are already suffering from. It’s constant testing of blood sugar levels. It’s constant insulin injections at mealtimes and bedtime. It also means that the doctors will induce pregnancy a week early to avoid the risk of having a baby that’s too large. We’ve never had that problem, but it’s their protocol.

July 20th. That’s the date we’re expecting to bring this little girl into the world. It’s unbelievably hard to get too excited about it, given our history of loss. I want to, but I can’t. Our first child was lost due to being born prematurely. We are just past how far along we were with her. That was our precious Tiffany, who we lost in 2004 at 22 weeks, 4 days. That was the hardest thing I have been through in my life and that includes losing both of my parents at a young age and my best friend when he was only 20. I want to think we will be okay, but once you’ve experienced loss, you aren’t able to breathe freely until that child is safely delivered and home in your arms. For that, we’ve got about 15 weeks to go.

Anyway, it’s good to get something out. I haven’t written in so long. Sometimes this is all I need to get out of the funk I’m in. Hopefully, I’ll get motivated to share more as the days go on. It’s springtime now and that’s always a huge boost to my mental state. Trapped inside for months during the winter can be awful. Now that the weather is starting to turn around, maybe my mood will as well. Maybe the dark cloud that’s moved in and settled above my head will start to float away and let the sun shine for a bit. Time will tell.

18 thoughts on “What Are The Odds?

  1. I had my youngest when I was 47and the missus 40. It’s been the funnest one of all. That she has nieces and nephews bolder than her is a fun dynamic too. All the best Ben! Congratulations

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear. I am looking forward to it. I just wonder how different it will be than when I had my oldest who turns 16 next month…and starts driving lessons in June. We’ll see.

      Nice to hear from you Jim.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats, to both of you.
    Chin up, Mister Ben. No need to be miserable. Just think of all those sleepless nights looming on the horizon … and lots of dirty nappies.
    Oh, bliss!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly. Who can be miserable when they’re elbow-deep in poop? Oh wait…

      Not sure what the future will bring but I’m sure my mood will change. Partial pandemic lockdowns combined with being stuck inside most of the winter takes a toll. However, spring has sprung here and the weather is turning nice. Getting back into nature is a great cure for whatever ails you.


  3. Oh Ben I think that’s awesome! It really is a great adventure and New Hampshire isn’t so far away that I couldn’t come there and play Nannie MacPhee. (If not for Covid!). 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’m not going to lie, a nanny sounds awfully nice. It’ll get hectic and frustrating I’m sure, but life is short and family is what brings me happiness. It’s all good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations! I wish you all the best. It looks like you have some challenges to deal with but I’m sure you and your wife can handle it. Having a child later in life is getting more and more common, actually. I know a lot of people who wait until they are in the late 30s before they even think of having a child because of their financial situation and things like massive student debt and that.

    As for going through a loss of interest in things, well, I’ve been down that road as well. I think that’s why I keep challenging myself to learn new skills all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sister waited until she was 40. Her husband is a few years younger than her though. That was 10 years ago now. She had her career to keep her busy most of the time and a child would been difficult earlier on. As for me, this is just how things worked out. With my first child, my wife and I spent thousands of dollars on several rounds of infertility treatments due to my wife’s hormonal imbalance. With all of the other ones, her hormones were in perfect balance and we got many surprises out of it. Go figure.

      I think my loss of interest may be due to not trying new things like you suggested. You’ve learned new skills. I’ve just been doing the same things for a long time. Maybe it’s time for a change. I’ve been having a lot of good new ideas of constructing a new koi pond. It can be a lot of work and rather expensive but It’s worth it. The one I have now is only about a thousand gallons. I dug it out by hand. Just me and a shovel (after loosening the soil with a tiller of course) and the effort I put in made it special. I can always look at it and say, “hey, I built that.” But now it’s time for a change.

      Nice to hear from you. Hope all is well with you. Keep sharpening those skills. Your wood-turning projects are amazing. Take care.


  5. Congrats!

    Try not to worry, take each day as it comes and it will all work out. That’s whatI’ve been telling myself for the last 40 years and it has worked for me. Good, bad, ugly, all come through sometime or another, but keep moving forward, and try not to look back. Tomorrow needs you. It’s tougher doing tomorrow when yesterday is hanging on to your coattails.

    I know some yesterdays are harder to let go, we have experienced losses here too. But tomorrow needs us. We have to be there.

    My best wishes for you and yours, and the new one on the way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Excellent advice. I think if I can focus a bit more on the here and now, I can find more happiness than I thought was there. It’s when you’re feeling low though that the past comes back to weigh on you. I have to be better at pushing through that.


  6. Well, your desire to write may have been dimmed a bit, but it hasn’t reduced your writing skills!

    I do offer my congrats to you — but the thought of going through all those “new baby” activities? I’m glad it’s you and not me! 🙃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Nan. Always nice to hear from you.

      My writing is what really gets me down sometimes. If you remember, I wrote a novel about a year ago and got a bit discouraged when publishers gave me the ” There’s a lot to like about your story, but it’s just not a good fit for us right now” line when I submitted it. I’ve only tried a few so I may try a few more if I don’t keep putting it off. Then again, I may just bite the bullet and self-publish. Who knows, maybe someone will read it and spread the word. Maybe not. All I can do is put it out there and see what happens.

      As far as writing here on my blog, I have the urge to do so many times and then give up on it. I’ve got quite the collection of half-written blog posts on here that I may never finish. Even this one was started probably a month ago.

      “New baby” activities is not what I pictured for this time of my life. My oldest will be 18 in a couple of years and now I’m starting all over again. It’s weird. Not bad. Just different. I had my other daughter when I turned 40. She’ll be 3 in August. I’m sure this time around won’t be much different. What’s a few more years, right?

      Always a pleasure, Nan. Take care.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Self-publishing isn’t a negative … LOTS of people go that route! The big difference is YOU have to do your own promotion — but if you want to get your book read, you would want to do that anyway. Besides, using an outside publisher is no guarantee you will get any more sales … OR readers.

        Amazon has a great self-publishing program — and you can do a hardcopy or an eBook or both. Smashwords.com also offers a super program for self-publishing because if your book is approved (based on correct formatting, not topic), they will distribute it to the various online eBook distributors PLUS libraries so you have more sales opportunities.

        Anyway, just wanted to offer some input for you to think about since I’m sure you know that once that new baby arrives, your book will most likely take a backseat.

        P.S. You wouldn’t believe the number of “pending” blog posts I have — so you’re not alone!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great news, Ben. Congrats. One of my friends had her last at 44. I have six kids altogether, but we’re a blended family. My husband was in his forties when we had our youngest together. He’s several years older than me, but is extremely fit and has no problem keeping up with even our youngest grandkids at 75. 🙂 I’m jealous because people think he’s my age. LOL

    Even though I”ve sworn off blogging. Had to respond to your post. Blessings!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ark. Yes, all is well. Been busy with a lot of different things. Landscaping projects, wood stacking, overtime at work, etc. I keep meaning to get back on here and write again. Whenever I turn my phone on, I see the WordPress icon on my home screen and I have all sorts of good intentions to reconnect and then I get sidetracked and it never happens.

      Tracy is doing alright. She is, at this point, very pregnant. We are looking at about three and a half more weeks before we deliver. July 20th or 21st is the target. It’s been crazy around here with kids finishing up school for the year and trying to keep them busy on these nice days as well as plan for another new arrival. My oldest starts his driver’s education classes on Monday. I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I still remember the day I brought him home from the hospital. It goes by in a blink.

      Anyway, I do hope to get back on here regularly but I am not sure when or in what capacity. I do miss the conversations and the community here and I will not be staying away forever.

      I hope you and yours are doing well also. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be in touch with everyone soon. Take care.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. All the very best for July. Say hi to your better half and and now you’ve mentioned the due date I ‘m sure all those who have read this will lend their positive thoughts for Tracy and the little one.

        Liked by 2 people

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