57-year-old New Hampshire woman gives birth

CONCORD, N.H. — A 57-year-old teacher set a New Hampshire record Saturday, becoming the oldest woman in the state to give birth.

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Barbara Higgins, of Concord, is used to setting records. Forty years ago, at Concord High School, she became the first female athlete in the state to run a mile in less than 5 minutes, the Concord Monitor reported.

A new milestone was set Saturday afternoon at a Concord hospital when Jack Kearsley Banzhoff checked in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces, the newspaper reported. The infant is the result of in vitro fertilization.

“No lie. I’m sitting here at my age thinking, ‘I just had a newborn,’” Higgins told the Monitor. “Yes, I’m scared and I’m anxious, but I’m so excited.”

Higgins’ husband, Ken Banzhoff, 65, was there when she gave birth.

“It was emotional. It was scary,” Banzhoff said. “He’s the littlest baby I’ve ever seen.”

Ken Banzhoff has battled kidney disease and was on dialysis for years before receiving a kidney transplant, the newspaper reported.

“I feel great,” Banzhoff said. “I feel younger than I did 10 years ago.”

With a newborn in the home, both parents will need energy.

Higgins has remained fit, lifting weights until she went into labor, “Today” reported.

“I do a lot of weight training and all that crazy Cross Fit stuff that you hear about,” Higgins said.

Higgins’ record may have an asterisk because state statistics on the subject are not 100% clear, the Monitor reported.

“The number of women 50 and older giving birth is pretty tiny and pretty rare,” Nichol Marshall, of the state Vital Records Administration, told the newspaper.

In the last decade, the oldest woman in New Hampshire to give natural childbirth was 55 years old, according to state vital records.

“Fifty-seven, well that’s not old anymore,” State Librarian Michael York told the Monitor. “Take a look at the records. We have people living past 100 routinely.”

“The athlete in me loves that little stat,” Higgins told the newspaper. “I also love that it gives some women getting older who think it’s too late, a little hope. I want older women to say ‘see, she did it.’”

Jack eases the pain the family suffered when their daughter, Molly, died in 2016 from a brain tumor, the Monitor reported.

“Molly was 13 (and she) had an undiagnosed brain tumor and died very suddenly,” Higgins told “Today.” “That throws your life into a tailspin of feelings and experiences that you weren’t expecting.”

It was after their loss that Higgins came up with the idea of becoming pregnant again. Her husband liked the idea, and after finding an IVF clinic in Boston that would treat a woman in her 50s, the couple took the next step, “Today” reported.

“It likely wouldn’t have happened if she was still alive, but she’s not the reason we did it,” Higgins told the Monitor.

Higgins told the newspaper that trying to get pregnant saved her life. Doctors discovered Higgins had a brain tumor, which has since been removed, the newspaper reported.

Higgins said older women pushing strollers is nothing new, but she said she will enjoy setting more records in New Hampshire.

“I won’t be the only grandparent in the kindergarten line, but I will be the only one who had their own baby,” Higgins told the Monitor.