Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ten Pound Baby - Too Big!

I've heard it a hundred times and I should be used to it. But I'm not.
It happened again last week.

My friend was having her third baby. She's already pushed out two babies without problems - an 8 pound and a 9 pound baby.

She's into natural birth, even considered a home birth... but then got nervous thinking about it and went on with the obstetrician. He is a nice man. I like him a lot. If I had to pick a doctor, he'd be in the top dozen that I know. But he works in the hospital and thinks the way he was trained.

Two months ago my friend came home from a prenatal with the shocking, horrifying news, "Mary, they did an ultrasound and my baby already weighs over five pounds! He's gonna be HUGE by my due date!"

I talked her through it: She'd already pushed out a 9 pound baby. This one probably wouldn't be that much bigger, if even that big. She has a great body for having babies. If she was worried about her baby getting big, she could stay away from refined carbs and sugars.
She looked skeptical. I wondered if she really was scared of doing labor again and was hoping for a c-section. I hoped not, but I had to think that perhaps that was going through her head... I loaned her some books and told her that she'd already done it twice, and I was sure she could do it again.

About two weeks ago, they did another ultrasound. This time she was told that her baby already weighed a whopping TEN pounds! Her doctor didn't like the idea of her birthing a 10+ pound baby, and she really didn't like the idea. They mutually agreed that she'd have an elective cesarean section on the following Monday. She'd be 37 weeks. Everything would be fine.

So last Monday, her belly was sliced open and this "giant baby" was extracted. He weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces. She sighed and laid there waiting for everyone to put her insides back together while he cried and squirmed in the warmer.

The doctor smiled - another successful c-section! No respiratory problems for the baby, no issues with the mother. The ultrasound estimate of size was a little off... but no harm was done, so that really didn't matter, right?

The nurses smiled, too. All was well as the new daddy stood near his baby and held his hand and the mommy was stitched neatly closed.

This is birth... the American way.

50 comments:

natalie said...

Wow. It is so sad that this type of thing is normal!

Sheridan said...

UUUUGGGHHHH. My heart just breaks for this momma. How is she doing with it? Is she upset? I would be royally angry at my OB. It is just so absurd.

Laurel said...

This makes me cry. For this family, and for how "normal" this has become in America.

Jamie said...

How sad. That's just terrible. :(

Jill--Unnecesarean said...

Well, if she has the funds, she could sue for malpractice. That was an unnecessary surgery based on a wrong diagnosis.

Rachel Garcia said...

okay.. this makes me furious. First, even the ACOG recognizes the 2 lb margin of error that ultrasounds to predicts weight can be.. therefore their own recommendations are that no induction be made to extract baby UNLESS the U/S reads 13 lbs for a non-diabetic mom and 11 lbs for a diabetic mom. I'll have to find that link and repost..

Stephanie Jo Price said...

The doc and his way certainly are dubious, but mom consented. She didn't *have* to have surgery.

Dou-la-la said...

Utterly infuriating. I, too, am curious about how mama is feeling about this now.

Michele said...

It's sad how often I hear stories like this--even one on the mainstream gag-fest "A baby Story". But no matter how many times I hear it, it is just as infuriating and sickening.

I hope the mother is doing okay (as well as the premature baby). I wonder if this will bother her in time... if it doesn't already.

Beverly said...

Poor little baby would have liked a little more time inside.

TheFeministBreeder said...

It is infuriating. But all I can do is roll my eyes and think "well, she got exactly what she asked for."

Honestly, I really hate to say it, but so many women just want cesareans and convince themselves they need them. She had two 9 lb'ers before, so why in the world would she think she couldn't birth whatever baby she grew?

Any doctor who'd section a woman at 37 weeks without reason should have his license reviewed. That is intensely irresponsible. Nobody supports that. But, this mom chose her doctor, and chose her situation. Yeah, she was lied to, but it sounds like she welcomed it.

Sarah L said...

If she wasn't going to push out the baby anyway, why didn't they wait until 38 weeks? "Delivering" a baby at 37 weeks instead of 38 weeks *doubles* it's chances of winding up in the NICU. What was the rush?!

Kristen (BirthingBeautifulIdeas) said...

This is so heartbreaking. Just utterly heartbreaking...and infuriating.

One of the many questions on my mind is: Did *she* lack the confidence to birth a 10 lb. baby, or did *her OB* strip of her any confidence she may have had? To me, it sounds like the latter, but of course I don't know the situation in its entirety.

And don't even get me started on the apparent lack of informed consent here...ughhhhhhh!

Niecey said...

*sigh* such a familiar story too. No that mom has to deal with recovering from surgery while trying to deal with a newborn. She has risk of infection in the wound and will have more trials with breastfeeding. But hey, at least the DR got to have more control over the whole thing and also got to make more cash. So it's win win right? From that perspective anyway..

Mary said...

It is heartbreaking... and part of it is that the mother could have had something different, but she didn't know if she wanted to do the work to push another baby out. When I said that she and her doctor mutually agreed on the 37 elective c-section, I meant it. I tried to talk her out of it, but she thought it might be "easier" and "safer" than laboring and pushing out a big baby.

And seriously, she's read all the research. She was not ignorant. She just succumbed to the "I'm so tired of being pregnant - just cut it out!" feelings.

Now that it's over and she holds her tiny boy, she mutters about how she could have pushed him out just fine and why was she silly enough to go with the c-section plan... But she pushes those thoughts to the back of her mind and doesn't say much about it, because everyone else coos and says, "What a sweet baby! At least he's here safe and healthy! That's all that matters!"

s said...

that is just heart breaking....and it happens daily...

s said...

Mary: "What a sweet baby! At least he's here safe and healthy! That's all that matters!"
and in the end when women try to voice complaints about being lied to this is what they are told.
Jill - I would love for a case like this to go to court - but what Mary said is most likely what would come of it...

Jill--Unnecesarean said...

Mary, that does introduce a new element into the story that she was personally wanting an early cesarean. And in spite of knowing all of the research.

I remain troubled by the fact that she was told that her baby was 10 pounds at that time. She made her decision factoring in that information, which was so wrong that it lends itself to suspicion. Ultrasound EFWs aren't usually more than 2 pounds off. 3.5 pounds is absurd.

The other possibility, I suppose, is that your friend wanted a cesarean and worked with her doc to get a medical justification on the books so insurance would cover it. Maybe she wasn't totally truthful with you?

But based on the original story as posted, I think it's deplorable to blame a woman for making a decision about her health based on misinformation and berating her with "She should have known better" or "She should have been more educated." Give her a freaking break!

Angela said...

:( This makes me tear up. So sad.

Morgan said...

That is absolutely crazy. I've heard of women saying their doctor told them to have a c-section due to baby size, but never witnessed it first hand. Why in the world wouldn't they at least let a woman labor first? Why would they just right into scheduling a c-section?!?

My first child measured 5 pounds at only 32 weeks via u/s. He was 8 1/2 pounds at birth (which was at 39 1/2 weeks) and I did attempt a vaginal birth. Never did my doctor even suggest scheduling a c-section with my first son even though I'm teeny tiny and we knew he would be big.

Morgan said...

Oh, and I wonder that too Jill-

"The other possibility, I suppose, is that your friend wanted a cesarean and worked with her doc to get a medical justification on the books so insurance would cover it. Maybe she wasn't totally truthful with you?"

pinky said...

Wow, why not try a little induction at 37 weeks? I am not a big fan of inductions but if every one is afraid the baby will result in shoulder dytocia, then why not give her a gentle induction. By gentle I mean give her a smidge of pitocin and see what her body does with it. If she takes off and it sends her into labor great. If it does not, she can still go home and think it over. Or she may go home and go into labor...I know ACOG does not condone inductions for suspected macrosomia but better to give her a gentle induction than an a c-section. There is no gong back with the section. The induction can be stopped.

Sarah Dorrance-Minch said...

And people wonder why I choose homebirth, and the midwifery model of care. I've already had one all-American, red, white, and blue unnecessarean. Got the standard "you should be happy, all that matters is a healthy baby, and look how beautiful she is" crap. Once was enough, thank you.

Bobby said...

Although the doctor performed an unnecessary cesarean, with the information he had been given he made the appropriate choice. However, I would have been more than a little upset about such a huge miscalculation in the babies weight. But then again, a healthy baby was the ultimate result and who could possibly feel anything but blessed.

Olivia said...

So, so sad. :(

Anonymous said...

My wife recently gave berth to our son, he was 5.4 kg 11.9 pounds. she was 42 weeks and the ultrasound at 41.5 weeks said that the baby weighed 3.5 kg 7.7 pounds, thats a lot of difference he didnt grow that much in 3 days. as the baby apeared to weigh 7.7 then the hospital were happy to go ahead with natural berth but it ended up in a c section as he wouldnt come out. once out they realized why, he is huge.

Anonymous said...

Well, let me tell you that 10lb babes can be born vaginally. I am and my son are proof... he is my first child and even with his 14.5 inch noggin I did not need a c-section. I also have a friend whose first child was over 9lb, second over 10lb, and last was an even 12.5lb... all were born at home without intervention. It is unthinkable to me that someone be induced so early and without at least a trial of labor. Alas, it seems to be the way that OB's are doing it these days. C, RN

Anonymous said...

Correction to last post meant to say sectioned so early instead of induced.

jl said...

My mother-in-law was allowed to go almost 3 weeks overdue with my husband and he was a 9 lb. 12 oz baby. Funny how hospitals and doctors ideas about birth have changed over the past 30 years!

jl said...

My mother-in-law was allowed to go almost 3 weeks overdue with my husband and he was a 9 lb. 12 oz baby. Funny how hospitals and doctors ideas about birth have changed over the past 30 years!

lovinglandbase said...

it would be interesting to know if there have been any studies about how often the ultrasound's weight predictions are wrong. i'm seeing people in the comments say there is a 2 pound margin of error... but i wonder if they keep track of how wrong they are and how often...?
and other than having the ultrasound "tell" you the weight of the baby right now, think of how often they are used to scare people with, "if the baby is this size right now, it will be ___ by your due date!" in which it seems they can make up whatever weight they want to! they did that with my cousin- told her that by the due date her little guy would be 13 pounds, and guess what, he came out at 8 pounds. they were trying to tell her that she shouldn't go full term or that she should schedule a c-section, but she refused.

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read the blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

satish said...

Its very furious, it make me cry how much the pain she would have gone through

Paper Baby Campaign said...

That is terrible. Do they do weight estimates as standard in the US? I had a couple because of me being underweight but unless there is some particular reason you wouldn't have a scan after 20 weeks. I knew that the estimates weren't that accurate but I had no idea how absolutely way out they could be. It just goes to show how utterly pointelss they are really.

The Mama said...

So sad for the momma! 10+ lbs CAN be done! Just had my son via VBAC 4 months ago, 10 lbs, 11 oz!! No tearing - yay for wonderful midwives! :)

Anonymous said...

WTF? What about the recent hype about no cesareans until 39 weeks? That doctor is a stinker! What a chance to take and another late preemie.

Sugared Harpy said...

Argh, did you see this recently?

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/635234.html

The U.S. now has lower birth rates reported, and the reason is a mystery! Except that this is the exact same story I hear over and over again. Inductions, c-sections, all before babies are ready.

Amy Paul said...

It is sickening and WAY too common.

Duree Pamilya said...

I have to laugh every time I hear someone say "I'm going to have a HUGE baby!!!" because of something the ultrasound tech said. I had a friend who really looked like she would be having a rather large baby. She wasn't due until October but looked full term in July. Her OB said to expect a c section because of an unusually large baby... She vaginally delivered a 7lb baby girl on her due date, lol

Anonymous said...

Everybody is different! I gave birth vaginally to a 10.5 lb. baby. He got stuck. It was the scariest moment of my life. I am pregnant again....if the doc thinks this baby will be 10lbs. He can slice me open!

Lynda said...

Hi,

I have been searching for birth and breastfeeding blogs and came across yours at Better Birth. I just read this post on the c/s for weight- loved it!! Would it be alright with you if I included the article name and link as well as your blog link in my "Fully Dilated" birth blog carnival?

It'll be my first one and I am hunting down really outstanding posts. If you have suggestions or recommendations for other articles/blogs, I'd be grateful for the direction!!

Thank you for considering,

sara r. said...

37 weeks?! If they are going to do a c-section anyway, why not wait until the baby is more developed?! aaaghghghg. It almost makes me want to cry.

Anonymous said...

Gah! Stories like this one make me cringe that OBs can get away with this knowing how unreliable ultrasound is. The doctors wanted to induce me for what they thought was a "small" baby who was "measuring" 6 lbs. 5 oz. but I knew better. They tried to scare me with the problems of having a small baby though I told them of the previous 3, none was bigger than 7 lbs. 1 oz. so I wasn't worried. I was more concerned with baby not being ready and being too small (smaller than they guessed) but in all reality she felt bigger and was - 8 lbs. 1 oz.! I honestly think they were hoping to make me end up with a c-section because they knew I wasn't favorable - thankfully I was an educated patient and knew better! There ought to be a law against this type of situation - oh wait, they're only practicing medicine - not actually doing it yet!

Anna Q said...

I gave birth to an 8 lbs, 13 oz boy and he got stuck. 50% of shoulder dystocia are with babies that ar less than 8 or 9 lbs (I forget which it was). Baby's weight has little to do with whether he's going to get stuck or not. Positioning, induction, interventions have far more to do with it.

My mom birthed me at 3 weeks overdue. I was over 10 lbs. She barely had a tear and didn't even need to be stitched. I was born at home with a very hands-off doctor and she had no problems. She had far more problems birthing my smaller (8 lbs something) older brother in the hospital.

The answer is not MORE interventions (induce early, schedule cesareans) it's LESS! Leave women alone, stop scaring the crap out of them, stop interfering with nature when it is not necessary.

Zion said...

How did they make such a HUGE mistake?! It beggar's belief, really.

Sooz said...

I had the opposite - I thought he was big and everyone said no,no he is average sized. Me being only 5ft2 and maybe 100lbs was a little worried, as I already had an 8lb and 9lb and I just KNEW this one was bigger! Induced 12 days late and voila - 10lb 10oz, 24 inches long! No tearing either. I must have a pelvis like a freight train tunnel, lol.

Zion Lights said...

C sections here in the UK are thankfully on the decline, and generally considered only as a last option now. I've heard differently about the US. Hopefully spreading stories like these will prevent further madness, in the long run? Poor mum and baby x
Zion
http://mammasforvictory.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

40 years ago my mother in law gave birth to her second child and her first 10+ pound child. He was breech. Her Dr was very progressive or old fashioned depending on how you look at him. He didn't believe in interventions and believed in natural births and practiced naturopathic medicine. He turned the baby inside her and delivered the 10+ pound 24 in baby with no drugs. She gave birth to 3 children all together, her first on was 6 weeks early and weighed only 6 lbs her 2nd and 3rd were over 10 lbs and they were all natural births. So sad today that so many Dr's will cut a woman open at the drop of a hat for nothing more than a guess on how big her baby will be and I just don't understand why they think a woman can't give birth to a 10lb baby naturally or why we women don't think we can do it

Anonymous said...

Wanted to add to my last post that my mother in law was also only 5'2 and barely over 100 lbs and still able to birth two babies over 10 lbs and 24 in long naturally :-) (she's always been my hero because of that)

Anonymous said...

I had an US at 35 wks that said he was over 7lbs already. I had had a previous c/s with an 8pm baby. But luckily I had an ultrasound tech that told me an US this late in the game is terribly inaccurate for wt and I had a Dr. who said the same thing. My Dr. told me if I wanted to try a VBAC we would that it was more about head size, positioning, spontaneous labor etc. I delivered my 7#10 baby vaginally the day after my due date.
My SIL's OB scared her into a c/s the same month. Told her the baby was 9lb & all the horrible things that could go wrong. She did have a 9pm baby but she's 5'10" with hips. Never gave her a chance -no labor, no induction. And she was 6 days over due and sick of being pregnant and scared of what he told her and caves even though I begged her not too. But hey he made more money & it was it was scheduled during the day. My doctor had to sit half the night at the hospital with me.
So some blame falls on the women but my best advice is now what you want, stand your ground, be educated and for goodness sake know your care provider and what they believe.