- Soon after we got married, I discovered that my period was nearly two months late.
- With four kids between us, and me being in my early 40s with them, I was mixed emotions.
- Although it didn’t end up being a pregnancy, I do wonder sometimes if it is really perimenopause.
I checked my period app: two months late. “Are your ready for baby number five?” I asked my husband. I noticed that his eyes widened and that he was thinking the same thing as me: “Oh no, please not.”
Although we’d been cautious from the beginning, were we being enough vigilant? I searched my memories for any nights that we might have forgotten. Although I didn’t see anything, it was clear that surprise babies do happen. Many of my close friends and relatives have had children in their late 40s. It wasn’t impossible for me to have a baby at 43, when I was newly married for the second consecutive time.
After a long pause he replied, “I mean, yes.” He turns his head to my stomach. “But if it were, it would still be okay. I suppose.
“I think it’s hormones,” he replied. However, my brain was less certain of the cause of my missed periods. My stomach felt firmer, and my stomach seemed a little more round. Could I have been pregnant? Maybe?
Consider another pregnancy in your 40s
As I uttered the words, I was unsure of my true feelings. I knew in my rational mind that I didn’t want more children. Four is enough.
Yet, I couldn’t seem to shake my deep-seated desire to have another baby. We are a blended family, with two children from different births. I wonder what it would be like to have a child with him.
An “ours” baby — that’s what they call them. I love the baby stage. He is a great dad. Now that my daughters are teenagers, I still miss the baby years when they were cuddled, fed, and soothed to sleep.
My periods were easy to track until I was 40. Now, at 43, they turn up at random times — or not at all. According to what I have heard, menopause starts at age 50. So I guess I am too young. It’s something I have avoided thinking about. Although menopause sounds frightening, so does a gestational pregnancy. I wasn’t certain which one I was in for or what I was looking for at that moment.
To find out my fate, I need to take a test
I headed to the supermarket and pulled out three pregnancy tests. I stuffed them under my peanut-butter chocolate bar and Pringles packet. My basket looked more like a pregnant woman’s. As I watched the cashier scan my items, I thought, “I might as well make it louder.”
As soon as I got home, I used all three, one after the other — and they were all negative. However, I was unsure if it was too soon to know. Because I was pregnant with both my girls when the tests confirmed that I was, I knew it. I needed to be sure. I made an appointment with a nurse and explained my situation.
When I arrived, she suggested that it could be perimenopause. The stage just before menopause. You’re still young but in the right age bracket.
I said, “I hope so,” part of me meant it, and another part was completely lying. I wrapped my hands around the urine sample jar, and went to the bathroom.
While I waited for the nurse’s results, I repeated the phrase “You really don’t want more children.” It wouldn’t be safe because of my history with premature births and cervical complications. My hand was placed on my stomach. I thought, “And yet…”
A few minutes passed. “Not pregnant!” The nurse looked at me with relief. The possibility of pregnancies could cause concern among medical staff.
So, perimenopause, then. I returned home and informed my husband. He said, “It would have been nice.” He leaned on my shoulder and I could see that he was having the same inner conflict. “But, we already have four children and babies are hard work.”
“No more babies!” We both laughed and I agreed. We had been discussing booking a vasectomy and this may have been the perfect reminder. Due to the pandemic, and our November 2020 wedding, we put everything on hold. I brought it up with my doctor the following week, but we live in a very small, isolated town and staff shortages have meant vasectomies are on hold for now — possibly until 2023 — unless we travel to get one, which my husband isn’t very keen to do.
What perimenopause is like — if that’s what this actually is
Six months later, the signs of perimenopause became more apparent: mood swings and brain fog hit at random times. It makes me feel like I’m riding a premenstrual rollercoaster. It’s like going back to puberty, but reversed.
My period tracker shows me that I am now at day 107. Doctor ordered blood tests to determine if I was a woman with perimenopause. However, accurate results will not be available for another month. Because of the nature and frequency of hormone fluctuations, diagnosing perimenopause is not an easy process.
I am still thinking about pregnancy. It’s a constant thought in my head. Maybe a part of me will always long for more babies. Sometimes I find myself fantasizing about holding my newborn baby. My babies were my favorite thing about my life. I loved their soft heads and sweet milky-baby smell.
It’s easy for us to forget how hard and exhausting the early years can be. My husband and me are already exhausted from juggling four children and multiple jobs. Although it is nice to have another child, I know that it would be a sacrifice of many freedoms that I enjoy now that my children have grown up.
The pregnancy test I took last month was negative. However, it made me think about other women who had babies at 48/49 after thinking their periods were over. Although I am certain I am in perimenopause now, it might be time to take another pregnancy test just in case.