When I became pregnant with my second child, I was 5’3″ and weighed 118 pounds. Growing up, I was always the shortest kid in class and was prominently featured in the front row of all group photos. I do not share this about myself to be vain; I want to emphasize the fact that I am little. I have been a short, small girl for my entire life. And yet, somehow, last September this little woman managed to push out a 10 pound baby.
Throughout my entire pregnancy, my child was incredibly comfortable. He got himself into position when I was 25 weeks along and stayed there. I only felt him move about once a day — he was content to stay perpetually snuggled. He was so comfortable, in fact, that he didn’t feel the need to make an exit until he was 11 days overdue. Those 11 days were the longest of my life. Every morning as my husband kissed me goodbye on his way to work, we both had the same thought: “Crap — still pregnant.” For the last month of my pregnancy, my back ached and my knees hurt. To say that I was ready for my baby to come out was a total understatement.
And yet, I was also not interested in evicting him before he was ready. When I gave birth to my first child, I went into labor naturally and my labor progressed so quickly that I had no choice in pain meds. By the time the midwife came to check me, I was fully dilated and there was no time for an epidural. I had a relatively easy labor — I pushed for 40 minutes, and my recovery was easy. I had hopes that my second labor would be just the same. They say second babies come out much more quickly, so the second time around I was willing to wait to go into labor naturally because I believed a quick, easy labor awaited me.
Turns out, I was right. When I finally did go into labor, it was quick and easy. My son was born three hours after we arrived at the hospital, with only ten minutes of pushing. I have never in my life felt such an overwhelming sense of relief as when that warm, gooey, sweet baby was placed on my chest. After waiting so long to meet this little man, I had no desire to let him go.
My midwife, however, had a much different reaction. As soon as she caught him, she said with surprise, “That’s a big baby! I’m going to need that baby weighed!” Of course, I didn’t believe her. I thought perhaps my son had needed those extra days in utero so he could get to maybe eight pounds. After all, his older brother was born at 7 pounds, 14 ounces. And no way could this little girl give birth to a big baby. Heck, even at 41 weeks and four days pregnant, I really didn’t look exceptionally big.
We had our skin-to-skin time, and when it was time for my son to be weighed I heard cries of surprise from across the room. “Honey, you’re going to want to see this,” my husband said to me. They turned the scale toward me, and this is what I saw:
My mouth gaped open. Did that scale say what I think it said — 9 pounds and 11.7 ounces?! You have got to be kidding me!
The pediatric nurse said to me, “You realize that we round up, right? So that’s 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Plus, he pooped before we weighed him, so you pretty much gave birth to a 10 pound baby.”
Me?! The girl who was always the shortest in class? The asthmatic kid on the playground? The woman who in her entire life has never run for more than a mile? Never did I imagine I would give birth to a 10 pound baby. As I stared at that scale, I felt like a superhero.
I’m sure some women are absolutely horrified at the idea of being 11 days overdue and giving birth to a 10 pound baby. They would much rather be induced than wait an extra week and a half for their baby to be born. Frankly, I can’t blame them! I also realize that every woman is different, and every situation is different. My story is not a prescription for every big-baby delivery. After all, this was my second labor and delivery. And I give a lot of credit to my midwife for my easy birth. She kept me on my feet as long as possible, and she let me labor and push in the position I was most comfortable.
However, if you’re like me, and your hope is to go into labor on your own, I encourage you to wait for your baby to arrive. As I have heard several midwives say, “When the apple is ripe, it will fall from the tree.” This proved to be true for me. As a result, my labor, delivery, and recovery turned out to be an absolute breeze, and my son was beyond worth the wait.
And yes, big babies can be born from small women. No need to be afraid.