Having a baby is one of the greatest joys we can ever experience
However, sometimes things can turn into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. One of the unlikeliest of things occurred on March 22nd when Concord educator and board of education member, Barbara Higgins, gave birth to a baby boy. With the birth of her son, Jack Kearsley Banzhoff, Higgins is now one of the oldest women to ever give birth in the United States.
Jack arrived into the world weighing 5 lbs, 13 ounces, and approximately 18.5 inches long. Those numbers aren’t the ones you need to focus on as Barbara herself gave birth at 57 years, 7 months, and 20 days of age!
“The whole thing was ridiculously amazing,” Higgins said on Monday, during her last scheduled day at the hospital. “But, I’m exhausted.”
The doctors predicted Jack’s arrival to come a bit later around April 13th, but his premature birth gave rise to several concerns in Barbara’s health. Higgins’ blood pressure suddenly began to rise and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. This is a condition that could have potentially dealt a potentially fatal blow to her organs; leaving Jack to also suffer the consequences.
“It’s different for each woman,” she said. “But my blood pressure was 194 over 115. That’s insane. But, I felt completely fine. So, I was a bit irritated, at first. But, when you’re in your ninth month and you’ve made it that far, it was time for him to come out.”
After three hours of labor, Jack was finally brought into the world. His health is completely stable and he is developing normally as any tiny baby would. It’s a miracle considering what had just happened to Barbara and also because of her sensitive age.
It was more than meets the eye with the birth of Jack.
Previously, Barbara and her husband, Ken Banzhoff, had experienced severe loss and grief with the death of their daughter. Molly Banzhoff had passed away due to a brain tumor back in May of 2016 and the couple had to fight hard to recover from the devastation.
“We were struggling in every way,” she said. “Things were so complex. “It wasn’t a specific person or event,” she said, “but it was an overriding feeling. It wasn’t even about having a baby although (Jack) is the final product (of the dreams).”
Higgins began having dreams of another child. It wasn’t as weird as it seems considering the recent loss she had just been through. Although the family struggled and even faced severe health issues with Ken and malicious lawsuits, they still persevered all thanks to keeping a level head and discussing proper options through the process.
Even before it all, Higgins was taking medication for an acute nerve pain in her face called trigeminal neuralgia. This had been an ongoing thing since 2013 and the pain she felt was comparable to a sharp stabbing. After a magnetic resonance imaging, she too, like Molly, had been diagnosed with brain tumors.
“If we hadn’t been trying to do this, I could have been lying with a drool rag, (in a lifeless state) having survived a stroke, due to the tumors,” she said. “The discovery of the tumors would have never happened had I not been going through the process of seeing if I could get pregnant again. It was too bizarre to not be a coincidence.”
Higgins is a warrior and is now going to finish strong
She understands the circumstances of being an older mom to a young baby. It’s not a common thing to undergo, but she says she’s ready for the challenges ahead since. Since dealing with her life-threatening issues, Higgins is brimming with confidence that she’ll be a spectacular mother and will no doubt fight hard to keep living her best life day by day.
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