Those of you who know me know that having a huge baby was always a fear of mine. My husband was 12 lbs when he was born and I would regularly tell people that we were adopting so that I didn’t have to birth his giant spawn. When I actually did get pregnant, his siblings assured me that all their babies were normal size, so mine probably would be too. It was a nice thought, but it was wrong. My perfect, wonderful, amazing giant of a son was born 1 oz shy of 10 lbs and was a whopping 22 inches in length. Granted, its not as big as 12 lbs, but I’m smaller than his mom so I think proportion wise it evens out. Anyways, I wanted to share the story of birthing my giant and instead of doing it in a boring long narrative (which STFU Parents has informed me is not cool) I’ll simply share with you a few tips I learned during the birthing process. I don’t get graphic, but I do mention the V-word a couple times so if that makes you uncomfortable, you should probably skip this post (I’m talking to you, dad.)
Tip #1- Don’t ask how big the baby is. Knowing that will just freak you out. If the baby’s size is a concern, the doctor will tell you. If you’re still concerned, simply ask if the baby’s size is measuring healthy. Under no circumstances should you ask for a specific size estimate at any time, not even during labor. About halfway through my pushing process the midwife pushed on my stomach and realized that my son’s feet were much higher than normal, indicating that he was, in fact, a giant. My sweet husband saw her face and said “It’s a big baby, isn’t it?” She answered with a look that said “We’re gonna need a bigger vagina.” Thankfully, though, I was unaware of all of this until after the fact. Had I known, I probably would have just given up and demanded a c section. When it comes to baby’s size, ignorance is bliss.
Tip # 2- Eat. They don’t let you eat in the hospital until after the baby is born, so before you go in eat, eat some more, and then eat one more time. Giant baby’s don’t just slip out of your lady hole. They are a long time coming and you need your fuel. Of course if you’re like me you’ll barf it all up within the first 9 hours of labor, but I’m pretty sure some nutrients still get to you.
Tip #3- Get in the tub. If I had to birth my giant over again I wouldn’t be in such a rush to get to the hospital and would have spent at least another hour in my tub at home. I was having contractions 4 minutes apart for two hours before I went in, but I still would have waited longer. When I got to the hospital they were worried about my blood pressure so they made me stay in the bed. I would have much rather been at home in my bathtub, which was the greatest natural pain reliever.
Tip #4- Get a good partner. Birthing a giant is definitely not something to do alone. Get a good birthing partner, or in my case, a birthing team. Joe was awesome. He was super encouraging, always telling me how awesome I was, and the whole day he asked what he could do to help me (and sometimes he didn’t have to ask he just knew what to do.) He was always calm and positive. He was my rock in every sense of the word. My mom and my sister in law where also awesome. Towards the end they had to physically lift my shoulders off the bed for every contraction. And of course, all my nurses and my midwife were absolutely the best.
Tip #5- Ask for more meds. If you decide to go without drugs, more power to you. But if you ask for the drugs, don’t be afraid to ask for more. When my epidural started wearing off I thought I was just going to have to tough it out the rest of the time. But my sweet angel of a nurse came in, saw that I was a wreck, and immediately called the anesthesiologist to up my dosage. Since I was only 7 cm at the time, the extra meds helped me get some more sleep before the big show.
Tip #6- Find a focus point. Again, this goes back to the point that birthing a giant takes freaking forever. I wouldn’t have gotten through three hours of pushing if I didn’t have something to focus on. I had brought visuals just like our lamaze instructor recommended, but what ended up being my focus point was AJ’s health. They were concerned about his heart rate as it was elevated during the entire pushing process, and I used that as my motivation to keep going. Every time I wanted to give up I just told myself “you have to keep going. You have to get him out so his heart rate will go down.”
Tip #7- Yell. In your labor or lamaze class, they are going to tell you to be as calm as possible. They are going to tell you that yelling will only deplete your oxygen and make things worse. This is probably true, but there will definitely be times in the birthing process when yelling will be worth the wasted oxygen. For example, if your very smart and capable midwife somehow forgets to use numbing cream before she cuts your lady bits. That’s a true story folks and that was definitely a yelling moment.
Tip #8- Speaking of oxygen…get the oxygen mask. Have you ever been doing an intense workout and realized you weren’t breathing? That was me the entire three hours of pushing. Luckily sometime during hour 2 the nurses gave me an oxygen mask and it was a lifesaver. It not only reminded me to breath but it helped me relax in between contractions, since I wasn’t one of those lucky people who fall asleep in between contractions.
Tip #9- LImit the visitors, increase the icepacks. After you birth your giant, you’ll be exhausted and in indescribable amounts of pain for days. Seriously, sitting, standing, lying down….it all sucks. Don’t torture yourself by entertaining guests. Those moms you see with a room full of family, hair all combed and their makeup done? Trust me, they just sneezed out a 6 pounder. Your lady bits, on the other hand, just went through freaking Vietnam so don’t push yourself post partum. Don’t be afraid to tell people to postpone their visits. Don’t be afraid to ask for more ice packs. And be sure you take home a ton of ice packs, numbing spray, pads and whatever else the nurses offer you. You’re gonna need it.
Tip #10- If at all possible, avoid having a giant. While genetics would have prevented me from having a tiny baby, I’m pretty sure he would have just been a normal 8 lbs if I hadn’t gorged myself on watermelon the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son and would go through that whole process all over again for him. He’s healthy, happy, a good sleeper…I really couldn’t ask for a better baby. But if we are crazy enough to ever forget the condoms again, you can bet your booty I’ll be restricting the sugar intake towards the end because birthing a 2nd giant would be just plain insanity.