Barbara Higgins knew that having a baby at her age doesn’t happen often, but it felt like the right time to her. And she was right.
One week ago, the 57-year-old Concord, N.H., resident and her 65-year-old husband, Kenny Banzhoff, became the proud parents of a healthy newborn baby boy named Jack.
Higgins said she started thinking about having another baby after suffering the loss of one of her daughters.
“In 2016 my daughter Molly died from an undiagnosed brain tumor,” she said.
Losing her “was a traumatic, life-altering, horrifying experience,” she said. “It hobbles you completely.”
As her family mourned the loss of Molly, Higgins began to have dreams about having another baby.
“It was a pretty persistent dream,” she said. “I’d wake up with an overriding feeling that I need to have another child. I was 53 at the time.”
Higgins and Banzhoff found a fertility center in Massachusetts — Cardone & Associates Reproductive Medicine & Infertility LLC in Stoneham — that would provide treatment to women in their 50s.
“What a wonderful place. They’re phenomenal,” she said.
And it was during the process of trying to get pregnant that she discovered that she had brain tumors. She went to New York to have them removed.
“I look at Jack as my life saver,” she said.
If she hadn’t been trying to have another child, “I never would have found those tumors.”
Higgins graduated from Boston University in 1986 and has worked as an educator for her whole professional career. She teaches health and physical education to elementary grade students at an online charter school and also serves on Concord’s School Board.
“I’m a lucky person,” she said. “I’ve been athletic my whole life. I have a very youthful body. I’m very healthy and physically fit.”
Higgins said she eats well and exercises regularly. She said she also tries to “focus on the little positive things” that come her way.
Higgins belongs to a CrossFit gym and works out five to six days a week, and found weight lifting to be the perfect exercise for when you’re pregnant.
“I worked out right up until they said, ‘you have to have this baby now,’ ” she said.
When Higgins gave birth at Concord Hospital on Saturday, Jack was 18 inches long and weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces. He was due April 13 but arrived a few weeks early, so they stayed at the hospital for an extra day. They got to come home Tuesday, she said.
“We stayed three days instead of two,” she said. “He’s doing great, and he’s gaining weight. He’s adorable.”
She said her 19-year-old daughter Gracie “picks Jack up like a professional,” she said. “She’s enamored and in love with her little brother.”