I never really considered myself special. I mean, I never had one specific great claim to fame…until I became a parent.
The first six months of my first pregnancy, I gained six pounds. The doctor informed me that she would like to see a little more weight gain for the next visit and that I really should be following the nutritional guide she had provided. My husband and I attended the childbirth education classes the next week, and he scolded me that perhaps I wasn’t eating enough cheese. I felt fine but decided that I better check the scales to see how things were progressing. I stepped on, I stepped off, on again, off again, one more time…yep, there is a weight gain. Eighteen pounds in 3 weeks! What in the world is going on?
I called the doctor, and she felt there had to be an error. I went into the office for an official weighing the next morning and when I tipped the scales, I burst into tears. The nurse, in a comforting way, suggested we try another scale. We did, and sure enough there was an errror…it wasn’t eighteen pounds; it was twenty-one. She took my blood pressure, tried to calm me down, and told me to go home and rest while she consulted the doctor. The nurse called later that afternoon and said that the doctor had scheduled a sonogram for Monday and that I should rest over the weekend. I asked hesitantly, “Does she think it could be twins?” The nurse kept her answer brief and replied, “At least.”
I had the sonogram, and it looked like I was going to have one big baby. I kept gaining weight at a normal rate and approached my due date. No baby. Every night I went to bed and woke up disappointed that I was still there. Finally, with tears in my eyes, I asked the doctor to help me out. The baby was getting bigger and bigger and didn’t show any interest in coming into the world. She agreed to break my water the following morning.
Always feeling that attitude was the biggest help in labor, I tried to keep a positive outlook the whole time. I think I can, I think I can, became my motto. Finally, after pushing for two-and-a-half hours, I quietly said to my doctor, “I don’t think I can do this.” She said, “I don’t think you can either,” and the baby was born by Cesarean Section. I was awake for the procedure and heard the cries from the operating room. “Oh, my gosh, his head is so big…He’s huge…Have you ever seen such a big baby?” I was getting nervous, not to mention somewhat insulted, and I asked my doctor how much he weighed. She chuckled and said, “I don’t know. I can’t lift him.” As soon as the delivery was complete, they shouted for the scales to be brought in. My bouncing baby boy weighed eleven pounds, three ounces! I was shocked and said, “No one has eleven-pound babies.” and the doctor said, “You just did.”
The rest of my hospital stay, from my room across from the nursery, I could hear people ooh and aah over the babies. “Look how sweet, look at the hair, OH MY! Look at this big bruiser!” Even the nurse giving expectant parents a tour of the facility stopped at my doorway and said, “There’s the woman who had the eleven-pound baby!” Comfort and acceptance came for me when my minister visited. In his prayer, he asked that my son be not only big in body, but big in mind and spirit as well.
I still, on occasion, will meet someone, and they will ask if I am the one with the big babies. (I delivered my daughter two years later who weighed ten pounds, 5 ounces and my youngest was three weeks early and weighed eight pounds, nine ounces.) I have come a long way in my confidence since those “new parent days” and I am proud of my big babies. I am sure they will be big in mind and spirit as well.
Originally published in The Doula Magazine Fall 1996