Carolyne wasn’t going to let a number get in the way of her dream.
Here, Carolyne, 58, tells the story in her own words.
H￼e has to be out there, I reasoned, looking down at my bare ring finger.
Recently divorced, I’d just celebrated my 40th birthday. Life was amazing – I’d travelled all over the world and loved my career as
a receptionist.But my heart had a hole that no holiday could fill. I want to be a mum, I thought.
As the years went by, I dated, but I didn’t find my perfect match. Often, I’d click with younger guys who just weren’t ready for fatherhood. When I was nearing 50, I looked into IVF with my then boyfriend, who was in his 40s. I feel like I’m pushing him I fretted. I needed my baby’s dad to want to be a parent as much as me.
Enjoying my 50s, I crossed Cambodia and Thailand off my bucket list and even took up salsa dancing. Still, a tiny voice inside me nagged, persistently. Is it ever going to happen for me? I’d panic when I saw a mum cradling her little one.
As 60 crept closer, my positive veneer began to crack. I’m never going to meet a man who’s going to start a family with me! I worried. Adoption was an option, but it was a long, drawn out process. Looking into IVF, most clinics I contacted refused to work with women my age.
Researching online, I discovered a clinic in New Delhi, India, that could help me. Scrolling through reviews, countless parents praised specialist Dr Rita Bakshi for helping them conceive. For a year, I put away any extra cash I had, even though I’d started studying counselling full time. As my bank balance neared the $8000 that I needed, I finally shared my plan with my sister, Rhona. ‘That’s amazing!’ she exclaimed. With two teenagers, she knew just how much love children could bring. Other close friends were more dubious. ‘Why would you do that to your body at your age?’ one asked, shocked. Rather than scare me off, it made me more determined. At 57 years old, it was now or never!
To prepare my body, my GP started me on pills to thicken the lining of my uterus. Now, I just had to choose an egg and sperm donor from the list the clinic had emailed over. ‘She’s the one,’ I knew instantly, fighting back tears. In her early 20s, the sweet Indian girl was petite with glossy chocolate hair. Her favourite colours – purple and red – matched mine, and like me, she loved tigers, dancing and shopping. We were even the same height! Then I chose a Caucasian sperm donor from the US who, at 6ft, was tall, dark and handsome. ‘That’ll do me!’ I laughed. From their generosity, an embryo would be created.
Flying to New Delhi last March, my friends were shocked at my ‘sudden’ decision. But there was nothing rushed about it – I’d been waiting for this moment my entire life. Over five days, I was given more medicine to thicken the lining of my uterus. Please work, I prayed, as the implantation took place. ‘You might have triplets,’ Dr Bakshi grinned afterwards. She’d transferred three to boost my chances. A week later, I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive! I felt elated – finally it was happening.
As my bump grew, I kept expecting the swollen ankles and awful morning sickness all my friends had promised me, but I felt brilliant. Still, I was terrified of losing my bub. Luckily I had more scans than most mums because of my age. And my precious little boy, who I decided to call Javed, after a famous Indian poet, was just perfect.
About to pop, I still hadn’t told my dear dad Robert, 88, who lived back in Scotland where I grew up. I was worried about his response. ‘The thing about kids is, they’re quite tiring,’ he said, no-nonsense. But thankfully he was over the moon. Delivering via C-section, at 37 weeks last November, my friend, Silvana, was with me.
Born slightly jaundiced and very cold, Javed was wrapped up like an adorable little Eskimo.
Kissing my precious boy on the cheek, he was whisked away to a heated cot. Thankfully, he was totally fine and three days later we were discharged. Finally, at 58, I was taking my baby home!
Now three months old, Javed is a sweet, lively little boy who kicks his legs with glee at bath time. ‘He’s gorgeous!’ strangers coo when we’re out. ‘Oh yes,’ I’ll smile back, pre-empting their next question with: ‘I’m an older mum’.
So far, no-one has a negative word to say about my choice. And why should they? Looking after my health, I plan to be around for a long time to come. When Javed’s old enough, I’ll explain exactly where he came from and I can’t wait to take him back to India.
Right now, I’m happy as a single mum, but if the right man came along, I’d happily share the journey. It truly is my greatest adventure!
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!