Pregnant at 40

Advanced Maternal Age IVF New York City Perimenopause Pregnancy SMBC Sperm Donor

Because every woman has her own journey.

I’ve never had much luck with men. Long-term relationships, and commitment just weren’t my thing. I partially attribute this to my upbringing. My parents are from Japan; and growing up, my dad had all the authority in our family of three. I cannot say my mom had an issue with it. She never spoke badly of him or went against any of his wishes. Not even the slightest attempt - whatsoever. He was always right, regardless of the situation. She wouldn’t even attend dinner with friends against his will.  She genuinely felt secure this way. Something about that didn’t sit well with me, from a very young age. Into my teenage years, tensions rose between myself and mom because of her unrelenting acceptance of my dad’s ways. Then again, who was I to judge?

High school, college, and grad school went by, and I never found myself in a relationship that lasted longer than a few months. I have a somewhat strong personality and wasn’t going to take the backseat in any relationship I pursued. I did have a great group of friends and that kept my life in NYC vibrant and full of adventure. Wednesday night, closing down the wine bar—that was us. Into our early thirties, three women in our group of seven were married and pretty MIA in our downtown scene. Three years after that, all but two of us had children. Seeing their growth through motherhood was something I truly appreciated witnessing. At this point, I was making a conscious effort to seek a long-term relationship. I was 37 and knew it was either now or never. For those of you familiar with the dating scene in New York City, it is impossible. Do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise (or maybe that’s just my luck). I’ve tried speed-dating, online dating, church dating, neighbor dating—it just wasn’t working for me. Then I thought, I like my life. I have a wonderful career in advertising, a great apartment, and I’m pretty darn happy. I don’t know if I’m suited to share that with someone else. One thing that I felt was lacking:  this tiny little place in my heart. A void only a child could fill.

A week before my 39th birthday, I thought more seriously about my future with a child. A husband or partner just wasn’t happening for me. And that’s completely okay. I proceeded with fertility testing and learned that my ovarian reserve was diminished. This wasn’t too shocking considering my age. I started the IVF process in January and was given a 10-15% chance of having my own biological child with donor sperm. I made the choice to select an anonymous college-educated sperm donor of Japanese descent.  It just felt right.

Throughout the process, I consulted with a fertility doula who provided me with all the emotional support necessary for this gruesome process. IVF isn’t for the fainthearted; that’s a fact. Don’t know how I would’ve done it without her. I started medication and my body responded exactly as I’d hope it would. On egg retrieval day, 9 eggs were mature, 3 of which were fertilized. Out of those 3, a single lucky egg made it to the blastocyst stage. Being on a journey to single motherhood; one that already has a slew of challenges, I decided on genetic testing of my single blastocyst.

It was a girl, and completely normal! I was overjoyed!

Shortly after, my embryo transfer was a success. The doctor had called to reveal that my blood test numbers were high enough to verify a pregnancy. I later went in to ensure the levels were rising, and they fortunately were. Pregnancy was tough, but that was expected. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel lonely going to appointments, seeing the sonogram for the first time, and picking out names for my little miracle angel. The loneliness long disappeared when I gave birth to my daughter Amelia Sakiko at 40 years old. My daughter is such a burst of energy and I’m already positive she has a brilliant future ahead of her. I am so thankful for my unconventional, and miraculous journey to motherhood. And frankly, wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

 Misaki, Brooklyn, New York 

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