On Oct. 8, 2018, Michele Hall and her husband, Jerry, found out that she was 26 weeks pregnant.
Three of her children, grown and out of the house, and a 14-year-old daughter named Aubrey whom she shares with Jerry welcomed their new baby brother on Dec. 27, but not before Michele and Jerry had two months to prepare — and panic — for their new baby’s arrival.
Michele didn’t realise that the aches and pains she felt, which she dismissed as symptoms of menopause or lupus — the autoimmune disease she has had for more than 10 years — were actually signs of pregnancy.
She says she didn’t experience morning sickness or weight gain — signs Michele would have recognised.
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She had her first child, Aaron Myers, now 34, at age 15. Daughter Heather Yeager, 28, followed, and then Brandon Myers, 24. Heather has two children of her own, a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old.
Perimenopause, which typically starts when a woman is in her mid-to-late 40s, is a years-long transition in which women experience hot flashes and irregular periods.
A woman enters menopause when a year has passed since her last period. Michele didn’t undergo a period for over a year, but that was because she had become pregnant.
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Naples obstetrician Thomas Beckett told Naples Daily News, “She just released that one egg that did it.”
“Everyone was in shock,” Michele told the outlet.
“Definitely in shock,” Jerry echoed.
“So in shock,” daughter Aubrey said.
Despite the shock, however, the couple saw the new baby as a blessing — even if it meant postponing their plans to travel after Aubrey eventually left the nest.
Given Michele’s age, as well as her lupus diagnosis, preexisting high blood pressure and late prenatal care, the baby’s health was a significant concern for both the family and doctors.
A caesarean delivery was scheduled due to the pregnancy being considered high-risk. Since Michele did not know when the baby was conceived, doctors could only estimate how developed the boy was. Believing he was 37 weeks old, the C-section was performed on Dec. 27. However, it was found the baby was only 34 to 35 weeks old. A full-term pregnancy is between 39 and 40 weeks.
The parents named their newborn son Grayson. The baby suffered just one sleep apnea episode and a few episodes where he had a slower heart rate. He was under surveillance at the hospital for 12 days.
Now, at 2 months old, Grayson is the picture of health. He only cries occasionally and he sleeps well, according to the parents.
But this will officially be their last child: During the C-section, Michele opted to remove her fallopian tubes. “I’m 100 percent sure I’m not having any more kids,” she told the outlet. She added, “[Grayson]’s a blessing.