Ok, all babies are small. Compared with grown adults, that is. But I think we can all agree that some babies qualify as big babies. That is, compared to other babies, they are big.
What am I getting at here? I guess I am just up speculating on baby size. I have big baby fears. Not just because I already bought an entire box (the big box) of tiny newborn diapers and packed my labor bag with mostly adorable newborn clothes, tossing in perhaps a single onesie that was 0-3 mos, just in case, but also because….my vagina. Otherwise known as “the birth canal”. I’ve had two babies that were not big and I tore twice. Small tears, but still. Plus, the sensation (some might call it “pain”) of an entire baby’s body emerging. Cool, but whoa. Know what I mean?
Now, on to the speculation portion of the evening. I had stretch marks on my belly with Ruth. Not a ton and not all over the place, just a small patch that quickly faded from reddish back to skin tone and shiny. And, though I gained the most weight with Ruth out of all three pregnancies, it was mostly water weight as I had a mild case of preeclampsia, and she was tiny. Really small for a 40+1 full term baby. 7 pounds 2 oz.
Then came Joel. In the last few weeks with him, I got a few more stretch marks. Still nothing out of control, but more, and he was slightly bigger. 7 pounds 14 oz. 12 oz bigger to be exact. And I was careful about my simple carb intake in the last couple of months with him. Like, I wouldn’t eat sugar at all, even fruit was a touchy subject (a bit silly, I know).
Now, with this one, I am a bit more careless in that, though I swore I would, I have not cut out sugar by any means. Sometimes, I’m a downright sugar fiend. And it feels good to be a little more relaxed about it this time around. Except…I have new stretch marks. Again, nothing ridiculous, but more, and in different places. And it’s got me a bit concerned. Not to mention the fact that I still technically have close to two weeks to go, and, if he’s like his brother and sister, I still have exactly two weeks to go. So, still time for even more growth and new stretch marks, though I have read that sometimes babies slow down in growth or even stop putting on weight in the last couple weeks.
I have to believe that he’s going to be a little bit bigger, the biggest yet. Now, if he follows the pattern set by his older brother, and is 12 oz. bigger, he’ll be 8 pounds, 10 oz. A big baby. Not huge. But I haven’t been cutting out the sugar, as I said. And I worry that he might be even more biggerer than Joel than that.
It seems like a trend, though certainly not a rule, that for many people, each baby is slightly bigger than the last. Babies are kind of like goldfish in that way: they seem to expand to fit their container. During the first pregnancy, when your stomach muscles and fascia are all nice and tight and firm and young, that’s when we have nice small-sized, non-vagina-compromising babies. Then, in subsequent pregnancies, things are a bit looser, more roomy, and the babies….they seem to like to stretch out.
It’s just like this “spinning babies” website I recently asked my midwife about (I’m sure people are familiar?). Concerned that, because every time I have a contraction I feel it in my lower back and that his feet seem to be mostly front and center, combined with the fact that I have an anterior placenta and, some speculate, that might make a posterior baby more likely, that he is in fact, posterior, I asked if I should be doing these basically hand stands on my couch as demonstrated by the website to try to pop his head out of the lower part of my uterus (where it seems to be firmly wedged) and then do different exercises to encourage it to settle towards the front, where it should be. “I wouldn’t do anything to ‘pop’ his head out. This is your third pregnancy. Everything is kind of loose and you could pop his head out and he might decide to just flip around on you (laypeople: turn breech. Automatic c section)” said my midwife. She then proceeded to tell me a horrific story of a woman who was on her 6th baby who, at her last appointment had a head down (vertex) baby, but when she came in in labor after her water broke, had a surprise breech and was scheduled for an immediate c section. Do not pass go. Do not vaginally deliver your baby. Terrible story and one I could have done without hearing. Apparently, around baby number three, things start to get real pliable in the abdominal cavity.
So, maybe all of this is just silly. After all, it’s not really the big baby that can cause too many issues, but rather the big head, which scares me even more. Luckily, both Greg and I are small-headed people and both our kids have had small heads (there was even a pediatrician appointment for Ruth when she was a few months old that they had to re-measure her head to make sure she hadn’t fallen off the growth curve, barely clinging onto the 20th percentile head circumference). But, my brother’s kids have kind of bigger heads. And I’m related to him. He’s my brother, which means some of those bigger-headed latent genes might just decide to start popping up in my line at random.
Let us hope this is not the case.