A teacher has become one of the oldest women to give birth in the United States, after welcoming her baby boy at 57-years-old.
Barbara Higgins and her husband Kenny Banzhoff are celebrating the arrival of their miracle son, almost five years after suffering the heartbreak of losing their 13-year-old daughter.
Active and fit throughout her whole life, Barbara said her third pregnancy was easy, and lifted weights until the day she went into labour. “All that crazy CrossFit stuff that you hear about,” she told NBC Boston.
When her baby boy named Jack was born on March 20, Barbara became one of the oldest women to give birth in the US, a fact which isn’t lost on her. “The whole thing was a bit surreal, quite honestly,” Barbara told TODAY. “We beat the odds,” Kenny added. “I’m so proud of her.”
New hope after heartbreak
The couple admit they didn’t even tell people about the pregnancy until they were halfway through, and the reactions were mixed. “Expressionless. Staring at me. And we didn’t tell anybody anything. And I didn’t tell anybody when I was pregnant until I was 20 weeks in, pretty much.
“So I would make this sort of announcement, ‘Hey I have something to tell you, I’m 20 weeks pregnant with a baby boy,’ and just…silence.”
The couple endured the devastation of losing their daughter Molly in 2016, which led them to the path of another pregnancy. “Molly was 13 and had an undiagnosed brain tumour and died suddenly,” Barbara explained. “I started having these dreams that I wanted to have a child, and I thought, ‘OK, Barb, that’s a little crazy.’
“It began shortly after the death of my daughter Molly, so my immediate reaction is I’m losing my mind, I’m sad, traumatised and all,” she said. “But the dream was pretty consistent, and it was just about the process of having a baby, that I’m supposed to do this, and sometimes the voice in my dream would call me ‘Mummy,’ other times the voice in my dream would call me Barbara.
“It wasn’t a super-specific dream, but I would wake up with this compelling feeling that I need to call the doctor today, I need to work on this, I need to begin this process. And we didn’t rush into it at all.”
But her husband was supportive, so they successfully underwent IVF. “Jack is here, he’s a little boy on the planet, and he gets to live a life,” Barbara said. “Nobody gives birth to a baby and know with any certainty that they will be alive to see that baby grow up.
“I don’t know how I will be in 10 years, but how will you be in 10 years? And why should Jack not get to be alive because I’m old?”
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More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: Renee’s baby wasn’t waiting till they got to the hospital
- Birth Story: Mum falls pregnant with triplets while on the Pill
- Birth Story: Claire’s ‘rockstar’ breech birth
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