A 57-year-old mother has given birth to a healthy baby boy, becoming one of the oldest women in the U.S. to deliver a child.
Barbara Higgins, a teacher in New Hampshire, and her husband, Kenny Banzhoff, welcomed their son, Jack, at Concord Hospital on Saturday, nearly five years after the sudden death of their 13-year-old daughter Molly.
The mom opened up about her newborn and the heartbreaking loss of her daughter on the Today show, admitting: ‘I’m 57. The whole thing was a bit surreal quite honestly.’
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Breaking boundaries: A 57-year-old teacher has become one of the oldest women to give birth in the U.S. after welcoming a healthy baby boy on Saturday
Proud parents: Barbara Higgins and her husband, Kenny Banzhoff, conceived their son using IVF after their 13-year-old daughter Molly died of an undiagnosed brain tumor in 2016
Look of love: Barbara pointed out that there is no guarantee any parent will be alive to see their child grow up. ‘Why should Jack not get to be alive just because I’m old?’ she asked
Barbara became consumed with the idea of getting pregnant and having another child after losing Molly in 2016.
‘Molly was 13 [and she] had an undiagnosed brain tumor and died very suddenly,” she said. ‘That throws your life into a tailspin of feelings and experiences that you weren’t expecting.’
The mom, who has another daughter, Grace, told NBC Boston that her desire to get pregnant started subconsciously while she was working through her grief.
‘I started having these dreams that I wanted to have a child, and I thought, “OK, Barb, that’s a little crazy,”‘ she recalled, but her husband supported her decision.
The couple knew the IVF clinics in New Hampshire wouldn’t work with a woman in her 50s, so they went out of state and found one in Boston, Massachusetts.
Message: Barbara said she started having dreams about having another child while grieving Molly’s death
Looking back: Barbara and Kenny also have a daughter, Grace. The family is pictured before Molly’s death
Fit mom: Barbara, who is a lifelong athlete, said her third pregnancy was an easy one. She continued weight training up until the day she gave birth
Barbara had a brain tumor of her own while trying to get pregnant and had it removed, according to the Concord Monitor. She said trying to get pregnant again saved her life.
In addition to her health struggles, Kenny had been living with kidney disease and underwent a transplant, but now he feels ‘great.’
Barbara’s OB-GYN Dr. Ashish Chaudhari told Today that he carefully monitored her pregnancy with extra blood work, office visits, and ultrasounds.
The parents didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant until she was 20 weeks along, and when they did, they admitted they were met with silence and shock.
Barbara, who is a lifelong athlete, said her third pregnancy was an easy one, crediting her active lifestyle and good genes.
Healthy: Barbara gave birth to Jack at Concord Hospital on Saturday after three hours of labor
Baby love: Jack weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces when he was born on March 20
Proud parents: Barbara and Kenny appeared on the Today show Friday with their baby boy
‘I do a lot of weight training and all that crazy Crossfit stuff that you hear about,’ said the mom, who continued weightlifting until the day she gave birth.
Barbara delivered Jack after three hours of labor. He weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
The teacher pointed out that there is no guarantee any parent will be alive to see their child grow up, regardless of their age.
‘Who knows how I’ll be in 10 years, but who knows how he’ll be in 10 years,’ she said. ‘That isn’t something that anyone can predict.
‘And why should Jack not get to be alive just because I’m old.’
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest woman to give birth was 66-year-old Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara, who had twins in Spain in 2006.