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Twins a startling surprise for baby boomer couple

Before Mother’s Day, I wrote a tribute to baby boomers having babies.

Beach shoot retouched My niece Debra decided to have a baby when she was 50, making me aware of the joys and challenges of being a boomer and having a new baby.

Laura Petrie saw the post and left me a wonderful comment on boomer parenthood. Here’s her story:

I guess you could say I’ve always been a late bloomer: late 20s when I finally graduated from law school; nearly 30 when I married my husband, Michael; now, my 40s for becoming a first-time mom!

Not that we didn’t want or try to have children sooner. We spent the better part of a decade on the emotional roller-coaster ride called infertility treatments, trying every new procedure known to science, with no luck. There we were, two healthy, otherwise happy, successful professionals with everything in the world going for us, except no apparent ability to do what most people simply took for granted: producing children.

When I turned 40, we finally gave up. Our 12-year marriage had produced no children. We were empty nesters who’d never had the privilege of actually experiencing a full nest.

To combat our disappointment over being childless, we made a list of fantasy goals and resolved to accomplish everything on the list. We bought a very kid unfriendly beach bungalow with magnificent ocean views, but zero backyard; a ridiculously expensive and impractical two-seater sports car; and we began traveling the world.

As near as I can tell, it was probably Paris where we must have conceived. It had been a month of touring the wine regions of France and Italy, No. 4 on our fantasy goal list. The City of Lights was brimming with a spirit of romance, and we were as two young lovers once again.

Back in California, relaxing on the front deck of our home, sipping wine purchased in Tuscany, and watching the sun set gloriously into the Pacific, we might have seemed to all the world as possessing the perfect baby boomer lifestyle. But it wasn’t what I’d envisioned when we first walked down the aisle all those years ago. I’d thought by now there would be a house filled with kids.

It was a week or so later that I took a home pregnancy test. ‘I think I might be pregnant,’ I told Michael, my tone of indifference reflecting that there was no way the test could be correct. I took a blood test later that same afternoon at a doctor’s office just to prove the home test wrong. A nurse called the next day: ‘Congratulations! You are pregnant.’

My husband and I spent several moments just looking at one another, mouths agape. The nurse interrupted our telephone silence by suggesting a visit with the doctor the next day, ‘Just to be absolutely certain.’    

The doctor did an ultrasound and pronounced us definitely with child. ‘A nice strong heartbeat,’ he announced. ‘Wait . . . make that two strong heartbeats’! At that, I burst into uncontrollable tears. My husband felt the need to grab a chair to keep from losing balance and toppling over. ‘That’s impossible,’ I sobbed, ‘there are no twins in either of our families.’

‘Apparently, there are now,’ the doctor responded.    

Our twins are now two years old. Watching the world anew through their eyes is truly our greatest fantasy goal come true.

When I e-mailed Laura to thank her for her story and to see if I could feature it on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, I asked whether she had girls or boys or one of each and what she and her husband did about the beach house and small car.

Here’s her reply:

It has been nothing short of amazing – though exhausting – to be the mother of twins. We have a boy and a girl. We are so lucky.

There are no twins on either side of our families, but my doctor informed us that multiples are far more common in older women – women over 35 to 40 – than in younger women. I never knew that before.

We still have our little beach house with no yard. It's been listed for sale since I got pregnant, but the real estate market in California is horrible and we’ve had no buyers. So, we make do. There are nearby parks for the kids. And, of course, there's always the beach for the kids to play on. But I'd “kill” for a nice new tract house with a bonus room and a big grassy backyard.

We traded my husband's pride and joy sports car for a seven-seater wagon. He has expressed no regrets... at least none that he's verbalized.

Thank you, Laura, for telling us your inspiring story.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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