Happy Birthday to Charlie, a Menopause Miracle!


A post by my friend Jan McKelvey. Her son Charlie turns 17 today.  Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Jim and I both grew up in Michigan, met at college (Eastern Michigan University) in 1973, married in 1977, and lived for many years in Howell, Michigan, where 3 sons were born:  Josh, Ben and Mike.

Sadness hit when we lost 3 babies, 2 to miscarriages and one son lost to stillbirth at 34 weeks gestation.

We decided to move to North Carolina to be closer to my parents when their health started to fail, and came here in 1992.
Despite keeping busy, I was starting to be bothered by hot flashes and hormonal surges at age 42. It was a little early onset for menopause, but my mother had started menopause early, too.

I got Gail Sheehy’s book,The Silent Passage, and read through every page and every chapter to learn more about menopause symptoms and what to do about them.

At that time in the mid 1990s, women were still readily taking hormone replacement medication.  So, I made an appointment at the doctor’s office to discuss menopause, and maybe get a prescription.

A few months later, on the way home from choir practice, I started to wonder, “Gail’s book didn’t say ANYTHING about feeling nauseous.  I’m having hot flashes and nausea.  What’s that about?”

Because of my history of needing to redirect to more positive thinking, I thought, “OK, I’ll just go to WalMart and get one of those pee-on-a-stick tests, to shut my mind up.  I can’t be pregnant.  I’ll take the test, and that will be that.”

Did I mention that my husband had a vasectomy 9 years prior?

And I was having hot flashes?

I stopped at the store on the way home from choir practice, went home, and feeling very foolish, took the test.

My husband had no idea why I was waving something in his face when I woke him up.

Later, he told me he wondered if there was a menopause urine test!

It was positive!

After this surprise, I went to the doctor’s office the very next morning.  That urine test was positive, too.

When I asked the doctor what were the chances that both the WalMart test, and the clinic urine test were wrong, he responded, “They’re not wrong.  Congratulations!  You’re pregnant!”

I burst into tears.

The doctor thought I was upset, and I had to quickly explain my history and why I was so happy.

He whisked me down to the Ultrasound machine, where he showed me the tiny little fetus with a steadily pumping heart to convince me.  Such joy!

I was followed in the High Risk group, which I refer to as the” Geriatric Pregnancy Group,” and delivered a healthy baby boy when I was 43.

Charlie has been an additional blessing to us, just as our other children have blessed our lives.

We are so thankful for all of them.

So that empty nest?  It has to wait!

Now, we have grandchildren, and more opportunities to play with precious children!

Charlie at the Fair

Charlie McKelvey as an infant in 1996

From Top:  Charlie just before he turned 17;  Charlie,  age nine, at the North Carolina State Fair; Charlie in his infant seat crunching the newspaper; Jan on a recent cruise to Alaska;  the whole McKelvey family with Charlie as a baby in 1996.

Jan on Alaskan Cruise

McKelvey family picture with Charlie as a baby in 1996

Jan McKelvey writes:  “I continue to work as an Occupational Therapist, now thankfully working with our veterans full time at the Durham VA, with weekend work at Duke Raleigh Hospital.  We are thankful for all of our friends and family and many blessings.” Jan lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and still sings in the church choir!

Thanks to Jan’s husband Jim, photographer extraordinaire, for the photos.

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Charlie, a Menopause Miracle!”

  1. Happy Birthday, Charlie! I remember when Jan told us she was pregnant with Charlie. She told us her history and what a miracle this was. We were all so excited for her and Jim. But it also made us all a little worried about the possiblity of having a big surprise ourselves and sent my husband back to the urologist to make sure his vasectomy was still intact!!


  2. Love this story especially because we all love Charlie so! What fun to watch him grow up. He is quite a 17 year old! Happy birthday Charlie!


  3. Thanks to everyone for the fun posts, and sharing of memories of this surprise pregnancy. And the blessing of raising another child! Many of you have journeyed along with us the whole time!


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