Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Pregnancy Story from Britney R

My father once told my mother, "You've been in an unusually good mood lately. I think you might be pregnant." And guess what. She was.

While I did not get those pregnant-euphoria genes that my mom has, I must say that my pregnancy was an enjoyable time for me. I have a long torso for the baby to fit into, my hips are already wide, so none of that bone-moving stuff for me, and I am one of the lucky ones who didn't really get sick, as long as my blood sugar was boosted immediately upon waking and every hour thereafter.

Everything was smooth sailing. At week 13, I was informed by the fetal medicine doctor that I was having a boy, and my nurse told me that I could trust that opinion. At week 20 we had another ultrasound, and the prognosis and good health of the little guy were confirmed. He was a little on the small side, however, so we scheduled a follow-up ultrasound at week 30 to confirm that he was growing well.

Week 30 came, and the doctors were beginning to worry about our baby. He was still small, and his percentile was dropping. He was the right height, but just skinny. I was diagnosed with Intra Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), meaning my son was estimated to be in the bottom 10th percentile in weight. While 1 in 10 babies falls into this category, most small babies are born to petite mothers and fathers--something at 5'9" I am definitely not--or they are one of a set of multiples. I was told to eat 100 grams of protein a day (usual recommendations for a woman my size say to eat between 30 and 50 grams) and take it easy.

In the next couple of weeks, my doctor had worsened the order. I needed to eat 150 grams of protein and 3,000 calories a day. Ugh. My part-time job had recently ended, and not really being in the situation to find a new one, my new job was to eat. I sat on the couch, watched TV, and tried to stuff my face.

That sounds like fun and games, but when you are already 7 months pregnant with a squirmy baby, there is not much room left for food. Most days I would eat as much as I could and then wait for more room to manifest itself. And when there was more space, I would stuff it as well. I began counting calories for the first time in my life--for the opposite reason than one would expect. A sirloin burger for lunch equaled 35 grams of protein, plus cheese on the side, and a bun—but the numbers didn’t add up as fast as I would have liked them to. I pounded protein bars, protein shakes, cheeseburgers like crazy, and anything else that possibly sounded good. Told by my doctor that I shouldn't worry about fat and sugar, I began looking up restaurant meals that should be avoided and sought them out. And did you know that ice cream does wonders for heartburn?

(Click to see bigger.)

About 2 weeks before J was born, the doctor's estimate for his weight put him at about 4.5 lbs. The doctor scheduled an induction a week before my due date (the logic being that if he wasn't getting enough nutrients in there, we needed to get him out and feed him). After a blessedly easy labor, J was here--healthy, crying, and pink. And when we placed him on the scale the numbers that flashed up were better than expected.

6 lbs 8 ounces

I'd like to think that it was all of those hamburgers I ate that pumped J up in those last weeks, but I don't really know for sure. Was the doctor's estimate off? Who knows? Either way, as I saw those numbers come across the scale, I knew I had been twice blessed. Once with a beautiful little boy, and twice with his good health.

J is still a skinny little boy. At 14 months, he's off-the-charts small on weight and head size, and average height. While I still try to feed him anything he'll eat, I'm starting to believe that's just the way he is. And he is perfect.

From Britney R of Happyful.
Ice cream image via Creature Comforts.


Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I'll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I'd love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to


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Blogger Design Mom said...

I am a heartburn queen when I'm expecting. I'll have to try that ice cream tip.

(I'll take any excuse to indulge in a little creamy sugar.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 2:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stephanie said...

My first son was IUGR. His was because the umbilical cord wasn't working properly. Apparently, it only had 2 vessels and just stopped providing nutrients a good portion of the time.

Bed rest and LOTS of food were ordered. The sad thing was I gained 35 pounds and he was still a measly 5 pounds!

He just caught up on the charts (he's 2). He's on the shorter side, but we're at least on the chart now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 3:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger Emily said...

My first was on the small side, and I too was orded to eat tons of protein, 120 grams a day. It's not easy to eat that much!! Lily came out quite a good size, and I'm really glad your little one was too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 5:00:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Julie Stephens said...

My baby, Jack, was an IUGR. Turns out there was a knot in the umbilical cord. He was born 8 weeks early and Dr. Negative predicted around a 2.5 lb. weight. Nope! 3 lbs, 10 ounces. It was the first time I ever thought having a three-pound baby was spectacular. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Christy said...

Wow what a great birth story. I loved reading it. I wish my dr would tell me to eat whatever I want - ha! (due in april) I discovered that ice cream helped with my heartburn in my first pregnancy - loved that knowledge!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger Amber said...

just started following your how you bring in posts from others. also, Nella's birth story was amazing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 1:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jenelle said...

I had super heartburn when I was pregnant with my son, so I'm going to remember the ice cream tip for next time!

My son was 5 lbs, 6 oz when he was born (not early or anything). But at 19.5 inches long he was perfectly healthy, just a little small. He stayed in about the 5th-10th percentile for the first 3 years of his life, but at almost 4 now still a little small but he's perfectly healthy, so I wouldn't worry about your son being small too :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 2:06:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Amy S said...

Wow, I can relate to this one with my 4th baby. I remember being told to cram down as much fat & protein as I could eat and going to bed eating trail mix and Hagen Daaz!

My baby was born about 2 weeks early, and weighed 6 lbs 13 oz! We were so relieved. Aside from having reflux, she is now a very chubby, active sweet, 10 month old.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 12:49:00 AM EST  

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