Things that are Weird

Weight gain is weird.
I lost five pounds in the first trimester due to a chronic case of gagging upon thinking about dinner, but gained 15 in the second, due to a chronic case of discovering food again. I’ve been more than steadily gaining during the third trimester, enough to the point where a nurse practitioner (who I actually like a lot) had a little chat with me about it. I was basically gaining twice what I should in a week. This little chat was at my OB appointment just before Thanksgiving. I fretted and stewed over this, especially her warnings of a 10 pound baby. Despite all this worrying, I did exactly nothing differently (except eat, if possible, more – it was Thanksgiving after all) in the two week gap between the Weight Discussion appointment and my next appointment, but you see where this is going, right? I lost three pounds. How is that even possible?

(Side note: I’m not used to gaining weight. Please do not hate me, but it’s one of the few ways I’ve lucked out in the genetic lottery. (I’ve “won” plenty of other shitty shitty genetic traits, so seriously, don’t hate me too much.) I know I’m supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, and I certainly AM, but it’s so, so odd for me to catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and think, “who is that chubby pregnant woman?” only to realize that, hey! that’s me. I was looking at some pictures of me from our baby shower over Thanksgiving weekend and was astonished to find photographic evidence of a double chin. And an ass that, how can I put this, just won’t quit. Ultimately, I’m not too crazy far outside of the recommended weight gain range, and my mom (who is super thin) gained like 50 pounds when she was pregnant with me (and lost it all within a month or two). I know everyone gains and loses weight differently, especially in pregnancy, but damn it is a strange and not entirely comfortable phenomenon.)

Baby size is weird
La fetus has been measuring ahead this whole pregnancy, basically since the very first ultrasound when she was nothing more than a squiggle and a cheerio. I like to joke about how advanced she is, but now I’m getting all kinds of worried because she’s measuring two whole weeks ahead. The perinatal doctor (where my OB sends me for ultrasounds) and the ultrasound tech kept asking me if I have diabetes. Excuse me, I can’t hear you over the sound of me crunching on this kit-kat. What was the question again? (No, I don’t have GD.) After the ultrasound, in which the tech told me she looked perfect but was “just big…all over big…BIG baby,” I had a sit down with a high risk doctor. She also warned me about the size of the baby (93 percentile!!!!!!!) and then segued into a discussion of the hospital policy on cesarean birth.

(Side note: the doctor asked me if I was a big baby (nope, 7 something pounds) and then tentatively asked me if I knew how big “the father” was at birth. We told her we didn’t know how big the donor was at birth, but as an adult he is 6’1” and 170lbs. So, not enormous, but not a shrinking violet, either.  Tammy then volunteered the information that she was a big baby, being over 9lbs, mostly just to make conversation and to point out that her mom had vaginal births will all of her kids, all of whom were over 9lbs. The poor doctor was very confused by this information but did her best to integrate it into our discussion by saying that Tammy’s birth weight explained why I was carrying a big baby. Ha! Not so much. Poor confused doctor.)

Now, first of all, I know that ultrasounds are not the best predictor of birth weight. The doctor even admitted that their measurements can be up to a pound off, and when we’re talking about a fetus that weighs 4 pounds (per the internet average) or 5 pounds (what the ultrasound measured my baby at), that’s a margin of error of 20%! My fundal measurements are a lot closer to where I know I should be (sometimes a week ahead, sometimes only a few days ahead).

But, with that out of the way, what if I DO end up with a big baby? I would like to avoid a c-section if possible (what the fuck was the point of taking the damn Lamaze class, I ask you) but at the same time I don’t want to spend all that time (and pain!! Let’s not forget the pain!!) in labor only to end up with an emergency C anyway. It’s like the worst of both worlds.

Basically, the hospital policy is that if the baby looks like it will be around 10 pounds they strongly recommend a scheduled C. The baby is head down, so I could probably have a chance at a vaginal birth, but my hopeful suggestion to the doctor that big = come early was shot down, as was the suggestion that they induce me around 38 or 39 weeks. Apparently the risk with big babies and vaginal births is that the risk of the baby getting “stuck,” either head or shoulders, is higher than with an average or smaller baby. And that could potentially cut off oxygen to the baby and all sorts of other dreadful things.

I’ll probably have another ultrasound in a few weeks to see how the baby’s grown and figure out the plans from there.

While I’m quietly freaking out over this new development, I do have to laugh. In all those panic attacks, all those meltdowns, all those hysterical moments to Tammy, not once did I worry I would have a baby that was too big. I worried about miscarrying, I worried about her health, I worried about preterm labor (I love that I said I wasn’t worried about preterm labor in that post. LIAR!!!), and on and on and on. But a big baby? Never entertained the possibility.

Ha. Ha. Joke’s on me, I guess. But you know what? If this is the “worst” thing that happens, I’ll take it. Every single time.

21 thoughts on “Things that are Weird

  1. Ugh! Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking you have an enormous baby. I’ve had so many clients who were told that and ended up having normal sized babies. My last client was told her baby was in the upper 9s and baby was 7 lbs 13 oz. I had another client who was bullied into a scheduled c-section because they said baby was around 10 lbs and her baby ended up being 6 lbs, 8 oz. You do whatever you feel is right. You or Tammy can push on your stomach and feel how big baby is. That’s how most midwives check the size of baby. Know your options and be an advocate for whatever type of birth you decide is right for your family! Good luck dear!

    • That is so encouraging, thank you! I’ll ask the doctor or NP at my next OB appointment how closely related fundal measurement and baby size are, and that will hopefully reassure me further. xo

  2. I didn’t gain any weight while I was pregnant. I did, technically, but I lost so much in the beginning and then when I had to follow a GD diet, I was still around my prepregnancy weight when I delivered. Then I lost 40+ pounds in the first six weeks postpartum. I’m thinner now than when I started (breastfeeding is AWESOME).

    I’ll also add, if you’re going to a perinatal office for your growth scans, their equipment and measurements are usually more accurate than at the OB. Gus was measuring in the 10th percentile when I was nearing the end, and he ended up weighing exactly what they predicted (only 5-8 and I still needed a csection).

    I’ve been told I’ll likely need repeat csections in the future since I’m so high risk and this delivery was complicated. I will say, at least in my case, recovery was better than I thought it would be and it wasn’t as traumatic as I’d expected (it was an emergency, and by that point I just wanted him out and safely — I would’ve done anything).

    • Interesting, thanks. And you’re totally right: at the end of the day all I want is a healthy baby and healthy me. How she gets outside of me will not matter that much in the long run. With that said, I do want to be as informed as possible so I can make a decision based on facts, not fear.

      • Absolutely. I didn’t read a thing about csections or recovery, because I was being induced! That was the plan! Haha. Plans! I didn’t know what to expect or what was normal, huuuuge oversight on my part. Thank god for iPhones and sleepless nights.

  3. Ohmygod the poor doctor. Your Artsy Engineer was just trying to make conversation, and she dug herself a little hole with the “father” comment and then flopped about trying to make it better. Oh dear. I wish I could have seen the looks on everyone’s faces. Maybe she thought Tammy donated the egg and you were gestating it??? Her head was probably about to explode. 🙂

    I don’t know about the big baby thing. Mine are on the little end, which is also not ideal. I’m also fearing the big C. It is not terribly uncommon for women with twins to vaginally deliver the first and then need a c-section for the second. The double whammy, as they call it. That would be far from ideal.

    Maybe baby just went through a growth spurt? If they do it on the outside, surely they do it on the inside, too!

    • I know, I felt badly for the doctor. She was…trying, I guess. Poor thing! We mostly just kind of awkwardly laughed and looked uncomfortable. Good times.

      In re: twins & c-sections, read this blog post: The woman had twins and really wanted to avoid a c-section. She did it, but the doctor had to reach up inside her after she delivered the first to position the second properly. It can be done!

      I’m hopeful the baby went through a growth spurt and maybe took the extra calories I was consuming instead of them going to my butt. Or chin. Or whatever. I guess I’ll see in a few weeks!

      • I’ll head over there now! It seems that is a rather common occurrence! My doctor, in trying to explain one of the reasons why I probably wanted to get an epidural if we go with a vaginal delivery, demonstrated the reaching motion and said (and I quote), “it takes a unique individual to be able to tolerate someone reaching inside of them up the elbow.” Yup. Yes it does.

  4. Love your poor, confused doctor, hahaha.

    I have been suddenly thrust into the FOBB (fear of big baby) this week, thanks to finding out that SURPRISE I have gestational diabetes! I did NOT expect this at all since I’ve never been overweight, I eat pretty healthy and am pretty active. But it just goes back to the point that no matter what we pick to worry about, our bodies are like, “HaHA! But did you think of THIS!” And then we’re like, shit, no, thanks a lot. Anyway, all that to say I feel ya, girl. But our babies will be great, and we’ll be great, and everything will be great. This is what I am telling myself.

    Bonus – big babies sleep better than tiny babies. Tiny newborns have to eat more often because their tummies are tiny, but big babies have bigger tanks so they can go a little longer. So there’s that?

    • Love the bonus. Thank you! Sorry about the GD, that sucks. You’re right about how our bodies like to totally screw with us. Sometimes it feels like an extension of infertility, how my body is out of my control, etc., but then I remember that everyone feels like this during pregnancy. I hope.

  5. I know two women who have gotten the “your baby is likely the most enormous baby ever to be born” talk. Both delivered babies under 8 pounds, one of them was only 6 pounds. There is so much variation in those late third trimester weight guesses. If your fundal height is more or less on target, I’m betting you have a totally normal, healthy sized baby.
    If I know 2 women this happened then that’s more than an anecdote from an internet stranger. It’s a full on scientific study 🙂

  6. Yes! Agree with Jess. With Bup, I was told I really needed a c-section because they thought he would be around 11 lbs. I agreed reluctantly because I just wanted a healthy baby and they scared me with what could go wrong. My midwife though had estimated him to be a healthy 8-9 lb baby based on feel. So, I had a c-section and he was 8 lbs 15 oz. still a solid baby, but I could have managed that! This baby is measuring big too, but I’m ignoring it. If I end up with a c-section again I will deal, but better to avoid it if possible. It takes a lot of fun out of the postpartum weeks! I hope all goes well for you either way! And maybe Lentil is right-my cousin and her partner did do that. Cousin carried baby but it was partners egg. At least your doctor was trying. 🙂

    • Good to know. I’ll ask to OB or NP at my next appointment to feel around the belly and estimate weight/size. I want to be armed with as much information as possible!

      Yes, I’m assuming the doctor thought Tammy’s point in mentioning her birth weight was because she was somehow genetically related to the baby. Not so much, sadly. I can totally see how the doctor got confused, and honestly don’t blame her. I feel bad for her!

  7. U/s weight predictions are, as noted above, often extremely wrong. My son was considerably smaller than predicted — and I further second the people saying that big babies are easier. It sure seemed that way to me, with my tiny, very, very hungry (read:always awake) baby who wasn’t strong enough to nurse well.

    I had a similar experience in that pregnancy of gaining weight “too fast” and then losing weight over the Christmas holidays. Who the fuck knows, is what I have to say about pregnancy weight gain.

    No one has said boo to me this time, despite my weighing at 30 weeks what I weighed at 38 last time. This could be because I am at a more rational practice — maternal weight gain is HIGHLY variable — or it could be that, under the circumstances, everyone is just relieved that I’ve started eating again.

  8. Yikes! – so much info based solely off of estimations! My OB doesnt do the estimations at all. She said they are generally so inaccurate that unless there’s a major issue and a best guess needs to be made, they dont even bother.

    Cant believe the ‘father’ comment. I bet Tammy (and you!) is getting tired of all these awkward comments or wrongly-assigned childbirth groups. Oh well, that beautiful baby of yours will make it all worth it! 🙂

  9. I just love how your humor jumps off the screen! I had to read part of it to my hubby.
    My doc actually said, “Did you REALLY gain 10 pounds in one month?” to which I said, “Yes?” I did the whole, lost 5, gained 5, gained 3 over pre-preg weight, then gained 10, then gained 8, and have steadily been gaining a pound each week since then. It’s so much fun to imagine how big he is in there! I’m sure most of my weight gain is fluid since I’ve been consuming over 100 ounces a day!

  10. I had a big baby. The u/s estimated 9lbs 4oz at 39 weeks and some change. A week later, I had a vaginal birth with no drugs and my little guy weighed 11lbs 5oz. U/s are less accurate as the baby gets bigger. My OB said they would do a scheduled C-section if he reached 11lbs. I’m so glad the u/s was wrong. It’s amazing what our bodies can do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s