Carolyne, 58, and her baby.
Carolyne, 58, and her baby.

I became a first-time mum at 58

AT THE age of 57, I'd had a life full of adventure, having travelled extensively and had enjoyed my younger years working in the hospitality industry as a receptionist.

I always felt that I'd like to have a child one day but the years seemed to slip by so fast.

In my 30s I was married but had trouble conceiving and by the time I got around to realising that I needed IVF, my marriage was falling apart.

I didn't want to bring a child into a bad relationship and my greatest fear at that time was being a single mother as I had doubts that I'd be able to cope alone.

In my 40s I was getting involved with younger men who didn't in my eyes seem worthy of being the father of my child. I was in a relationship in my early 50s and considered IVF treatment in Australia with egg donation, but my partner wasn't really interested and so I didn't pursue it.

The process in Australia also seemed quite complicated as I was going to have to find an egg donor myself plus my partner, myself and the egg donor would require counselling.

In my mid-50s I started to research clinics abroad that treated older women with fertility issues.

I also discovered about embryo adoption. It wasn't something that I would have considered at a younger age as I felt it was important for my child to be part of me, but now it was the only option and at least I'd have the chance to be a mother.

Carolyne at the Taj Mahal in India.
Carolyne at the Taj Mahal in India.

The two countries I discovered who offered IVF and that were happy to treat older women were Northern Cyprus and India.

I had always wanted to visit India and really wanted to see the Taj Mahal. My ex-husband was from Bangladesh which was part of the reason that I chose an Indian egg donor and a caucasian sperm donor.

The baby would have similar characteristics to the child my husband and I would have had together.

The clinic in India only uses egg donors in their 20s as the eggs are healthier ensuring more chance of a healthy baby.

I chose a profile from the 10 egg donors the clinic emailed to me. The sperm donor was American and I got to choose him from six profiles that I was sent.

My sister Rhona who lives in England was hoping to join me in India but unfortunately couldn't make it.

So I went alone to New Delhi, which wasn't such a big deal having travelled through Thailand and Cambodia a few years previously on my own. I stayed at a comfortable guesthouse in the affluent suburb of Green Park, which is in the same area that the clinic is situated.

The International Fertility Centre wasn't quite what I expected of an International IVF clinic. It appeared pretty basic, up a narrow stairway, the walls plastered with photos of proud, happy couples holding their babies.

The waiting room with bench seats and a reception desk was packed full of mostly Indian couples.

Carolyne travelled to India to undergo IVF.
Carolyne travelled to India to undergo IVF.

I got to meet Dr Rita Bakshi and she explained the procedure to me, telling me that the embryos would be grown in the clinic for five days to the blastocyst stage and then they would be transferred to my uterus.

Dr Bakshi was a lovely lady and although very professional, her caring personality shone through.

She told me how she felt that every woman should have the opportunity to be a mother if she wanted to, even older women shouldn't be denied treatment if they are healthy.

I asked her about the possibility that the procedure wouldn't work the first time. She said to me that I could return for treatment, but that I shouldn't worry as it would work.

She seemed very confident which was reassuring as I was having my doubts, even though I'm a great believer in positive thinking.

On the day of the transfer I was a bit nervous but in a way excited as well. This was what I'd come here for and I prayed that it would work.

There were four medical staff in the room that prepared me for the procedure and then Dr Bakshi entered and she transferred three blastocysts. She later told me that it was possible that I could have triplets.

I only wanted one healthy baby but she assured me it was to boost my chance of the treatment being successful.

Carolyne and her newborn baby.
Carolyne and her newborn baby.

On my return to Australia I visited my GP and arranged for a blood test to confirm my pregnancy, and I felt a sense of elation when the test came back positive.

For the first three months, I strived to keep my emotions in check and resisted buying any baby things.

After the three months was up I started to have the belief that yes, this baby could actually hang on in there till full term.

I knew by this time that it was a boy I was carrying and luckily the only health issue that I experienced was heartburn towards the end of my pregnancy.

At around 35 weeks the specialist at the hospital was concerned that my baby's growth had slowed down and it was arranged for me to have a planned caesarean at 37 weeks.

I had steroid injections a couple of days before the operation to make sure my baby's lungs had developed properly.

I came across the name Javed as I googled the internet searching for a suitable Indian name that I liked the sound of and that would suit with the middle name of Robert that I'd decided to call him after my Dad, and I later found out Javed is the name of a famous Indian poet which I liked.

My close friend Silvana was with me during the birth and she also spent the first three weeks at home with me and Javed.

I was so happy to have her there with me as she was such a great help, not only helping me with Javed but also with the housework and cooking.

My other friends are really happy for me and they all love Javed. At my baby shower, he received many gifts of clothes and toys which I really appreciated.

Carolyne, 58, and her baby.
Carolyne, 58, and her baby.

Javed's personality is already starting to show at four months. He is such a happy baby and will definitely be a chatterbox if him babbling away in baby language is anything to go by. He loves the water as I noticed from him splashing around in his bath.

At two months I took him to the local swimming pool for a quick dip, and we now go once a week.

He loves to float on his back with me supporting him and doesn't mind putting his head in the water. I think he may a champion swimmer in the making and if it's his passion then I'll encourage him.

As for the future, I won't let motherhood stop me from travelling, and will have my adventures now with Javed beside me.

We are off to New Zealand in April to catch up with Silvana and in May we fly to England to visit my sister, then to Scotland to visit my 88-year-old dad who still lives at home, my mum passed away last year at the age of 85.

As longevity seems to run in my family I'm anticipating being around for Javed for many years.

I received my diploma in counselling in October 2017, just before Javed's birth in November. I plan to work as a counsellor when Javed is a bit older, preferably in my own business, which will allow me to be flexible with my time.

I'm also considering moving back to live in the UK to be closer to my sister and nieces so that they can share in Javed's upbringing.

He sure is a lucky baby with the love of myself, my family and close friends.

I hope I am an inspiration to other older women who consider becoming a mother and I'd also like to assure any women who have reservations about using donor eggs that and I couldn't love Javed more if he'd been born from my own egg. Every day I feel blessed to have such a beautiful baby boy.

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