Photo by Faith Ninivaggi
It's no secret around our humble little office that I am a big fan of chubby babies. Could there be anything cuter than dimpled arms and thigh rolls that go on forever? So squishable. So huggable. So lovable. Starting at 36 weeks pregnant, resident OBs began pressuring me to induce... Knowing that no induction is normal, I held out to let my son come into this world in his own perfect timing (at 44 weeks, 1 day) and he weighed in at 10lbs 3.2oz.
Biased, yes, but I thought he was perfect - and he seemed a bit less 'breakable' too. We were, however, an anomaly of sorts at the hospital that weekend when everyone had to come in to see "one of the biggest babies we've ever had." So I know a little of how Amanda Byron, 21, must have felt this past weekend when she gave birth to her 13lb, 2.6oz son at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, near Boston, Massachusetts.
After just 4 hours of labor and 10 minutes of pushing, Byron naturally birthed her first baby - Jonathan Patrick Rozzi. Her doctor had 'warned' Byron to expect a big baby (ultrasound estimations can be off by as much as 4 pounds in either direction, but they suggested a 9lb baby). Still, birth was not as tough as Byron thought it would be. She told The Boston Herald, "Everyone's asking me, 'How did you do it?' It wasn't as much pain as I thought it would be. So I just smile and shrug."
Sounds a little like the way birth is supposed to be... blissful. And babies grow to fit their mommas. A perfect plan all around.
Byron continues, "The nurses were all so surprised at his size. I was told the last big baby was 12 pounds, but that was a c-section. The doctor said [Jonathan is] the biggest she’s delivered naturally."
Just as I had no idea that my chunky 10-pounder was a baby to behold, Byron said that when she found her son weighed 13lbs, "I didn't realize how big a deal this was until everyone started taking pictures."
The largest baby I know of in our area (born naturally, at home, in water) was 14lbs. And born to a petite momma, with no complications. Countless other (healthy) homebirths in our city have brought forth 12lb babies. And when you talk with midwives, most will tell you that the average homebirthed baby is heavier than the average hospital-birthed baby. I have a sneaking suspicion this has something to do with the current state of birth in the United States. (1-4) If we had less unnecessary induction (read: no artificial induction unless the life of mom or baby was at risk) and less elective surgical birth, would we see a slight shift upwards in terms of average baby weight? Six to seven pounds seems terribly small for an average baby. This means there are many who are below that light weight at birth. [The largest baby on record, in case you are curious, was born to a mother in Italy in 1955 and weighed 22lbs, 8 oz.]
Byron's pregnancy was healthy and uneventful. "They don't know why he's so big. I had a normal, well-balanced diet - avoided caffeine and sodas." Neither she nor her fiance, Eric Rozzi, come from families with atypically large babies.
I'm hoping Jonathan was spared any unnecessary pain, pokes, and prodding (not to mention surgical cutting) because when my own "big baby boy" was born I had to almost forcibly stop nursing staff from continuing to heel prick and test his blood. Jonathan, like my son, is deemed to be in perfect health - no sugar anomalies, no metabolic concerns - just a big healthy guy.
“He cried when he came out, but for the most part he’s a quiet baby. Definitely a cuddler! So far he’s eating a normal amount of food, but I got a lot of support from family. I’m looking forward to motherhood!" said Byron.
Welcome to mothering, Amanda! ❤
1) Block, Jennifer (2008) Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
2) Buckley, Sarah J., M.D. (2008) Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
3) Odent, Michel, M.D. (2008) Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth
3) Wagner, Marsden, M.D., M.S. (2008) Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First
That's so awesome!! :) Such a cute lil guy!ReplyDelete
What a sweet chunkalicious baby!!! :o)ReplyDelete
Holy mackerel! That's a huge baby! My 15 month old only weighs 19 lbs. (though he's very small). Wow. Thumbs up to her.ReplyDelete
Wonderful story, way to bring out the positive aspects of big babies, i hope more mamas figure out that a big baby isnt always in need of inductions or c sectionsReplyDelete
I don't know about giving birth being "blissful"! But WOW WOW EE to the huge and cute little muffin! Good job! I know a woman, from the states, whose OB has her patients sign a form saying they will induce at 39 weeks because "the chance of stillbirth is very high after 40 weeks"! What a load of BS, hey?ReplyDelete
That's amazing!! Congrats to the new mama!! He is one lucky baby boy! :)ReplyDelete
Wow. My son was born at home in the water and weighed in at 11 pounds, 6 ounces, and I thought that was big! Thirteen pounds with no drugs is awesome! Way to go Amanda!ReplyDelete
Wow! That's so awesome! And he is adorable.ReplyDelete
I have to comment, since my second son was born at home and weighed 11 pounds, 1 oz. It was a fast and comfortable five hour labor and after a few pushes out he came. Ok, I'll admit crowning was tough but still - no tears. Bravo to Ms. Bryon and every other mama who births a big 'un!ReplyDelete
Love it my boys were 11lb 6oz and 10lb 7 1/2 oz. Small in comparison!ReplyDelete
Great post! My daughter was born at 42 weeks (when I took cohosh to avoid a hospital induction) and was 7lb 4oz - one of the reasons I refuse to believe she was actually 42 weeks. I was my mother's smallest baby at 8-6, her biggest was 9-14. Barely 7lbs seemed so tiny to me!ReplyDelete
Good for her for birthing normally! It's really too bad that she didn't choose to breastfeed him :(ReplyDelete
I had a 10 lb 2 oz baby, good for her that she was able to get a hospital to not "force her" into a C section.ReplyDelete
This is the best story I have read in ages! What an amazing mom! Hooray for BIG BABIES!ReplyDelete
Love it! Go mama!ReplyDelete
Yee haw! Great job momma!ReplyDelete
we are women - we where made for this!ReplyDelete
So, you mean to tell me a woman *can* indeed give birth naturally to a "big" baby? Who'da thunk it? Smh...ReplyDelete
DH's uncle was 13lbs and birthed naturally too! Way to go mama!
I had a 9 lber for my first, and I thought THAT was huge--13 lbs, I agree, ouch! Guess my midwife must be right when she says not to worry about a big baby because "fat squishes".ReplyDelete
Fat squishes! Like a chubby little hamster through a little tube, lol.
How wonderful that this mama is so nonchalant about her baby's size! It's a great mind-set to have, that your baby is just the right size for your body.ReplyDelete
My own great-grandfather was a 13 pound homebirthed baby back in the 1910s, so I'm always excited about chunkies!
Even though my child was 8lb 8oz I never thought he was a big baby, even though that's what some people would say, i thought he was a good average size. And when i hear of women who naturally birth a baby 10lbs or more I can only hope they hold their heads high and know they are among the strongest of usReplyDelete
Yuppers, my grandma was 12 lbs. vaginal birth, and my great grandma was a teeny tiny little thing! :)ReplyDelete
13lbs?! Good for her!! My first VBAC after 2 C-sections was a whopping 11lbs 12oz!ReplyDelete
I hate it when a woman's size seems to be an automatic disqualifier to birth "bigger" babies. Countless friends who were short and skinny had c/s b/c their "big" baby (8 or 9 lbs) was too big for them to birth :( stories like this just prove your body won't create a baby too big for you.ReplyDelete
OMG April, that's one of my pet peeves, too! People say, "But you're so small! How could you have a baby that size?!" I say you don't know a thing about what's on the inside by looking at the outside. The CNM who assisted my birth with my son, upon weighing him, said, "It's always the skinny ones who have these big babies!" That cracked me up, but she was right! Lots of skinny women I know have had 9+ pound babies, and easily at that!ReplyDelete
When my first was born, he was 8lbs 4oz. He felt and looked tiny. When he got down to 7lbs 5oz thanks to jaundice and feeding issues, I was positively terrified because he was minuscule to me. The idea of birthing a baby even smaller than that is absolutely petrifying, and far scarier than a "big" baby!ReplyDelete
Lovin' on the chunker, Mama. Congrats to her. :)
I have several books on pygmy tribes. Their women, who average 3 feet in height, regularly give birth to 7-8 lb. babies. Which is the equivalent of what this woman did.ReplyDelete
I think I just got a cheeks overdose. I'm in love! :>ReplyDelete
Of course a squishy baby feels better coming out than a stick like baby. lolReplyDelete
I've had an almost 12 pound baby, VBAC. my first VBAC was 9.2. I actually tore with that one a little, NOT the big one.ReplyDelete
I've had 3 sections and I'd rather naturally birth a 20lb baby over a section any day! lolReplyDelete
I always laugh when people cringe once they find out DD was 9 lbs. 10 oz. at birth. They say WOW what a big baby! Hmmm not THAT big, she just slid right out.ReplyDelete
I didn't tear birthing my 10lb baby at home. But I tore in 6 places in my premature hospital labor (35 weeks) with my third - 6 lbs. I wonder if that had to do with being overloaded with pitocin and delivering on my back?ReplyDelete
My grandma had 11lbs, 10lbs and even 12lbs babies and never had any problems in the 60s.ReplyDelete
I would never birth in another hospital ever again unless I or my baby were in danger. NO WAY. I had my second at home with midwives, and my next births will be unassisted. And my next will definitely be a lotus birth. I'm so excited to see how it goes!ReplyDelete
I just gave birth to my 2nd child, a boy, on January 6th, 11 lbs 11 oz, in two hours, vaginal, no medications. My 1st child, was 8lbs 10 oz, and had an induced long labor and birth. I refused induction this time, and my body and my baby knew what to do! We are made for this ladies!ReplyDelete
My first baby - a girl (8 lbs 10 oz) was induced and her birth was WAY harder than this (11lb, 11oz) one! I am so glad I refused induction this time!ReplyDelete
Oh he's adorable! I <3 chunky babies. My full-termers were both "average" (6 and 7 lb) and they seemed so little.ReplyDelete
Great story! It goes to show that baby fat is squishy, and big babies almost always fit, especially if positioned well and given time. I know my ancestors delivered some 12 pounders back in the day. I never had one that big, but I will say that my 8 lb. 9 oz. baby came out a lot more easily than my 7 lb. 12 oz. baby.ReplyDelete
Wonderful that a hospital and doctor would support this mother... Wish we had some of those over here in South Africa!ReplyDelete
Your body makes the largest possible baby that it feels certain will fit through your pelvis. That's why first babies are almost always the smallest and subsequent babies almost always get larger each time - your body gets to better know what its pelvis is capable of after each birth and pushes the limits the next time. The pelvic size is so pivotally related to baby size - I have tight hips ("boy hips") and a small pelvis, am about 5' tall and about 130 lbs not pregnant. Many women my size or even smaller (but with a different pelvis) have birthed "big" 10-12lb babies without difficulty (and very few pushes, to boot). My (first) baby was 6lb 4.5oz and took about 1.5-2 hours to push out (unassisted so we're just estimating on time) through my "smallish" pelvis. My point? Women need to trust their bodies to make the *perfect* size baby for their pelvis!ReplyDelete
I had two 10pounders, one c-sec and the 2nd one was a vbac. What I hated most was everyone always talked about how big my baby was, not how cute he was. So today I make an effort to tell mom's of big babies how precious and beautiful their baby is. PamReplyDelete
Great story - being the mother to a 10.5 (born at 41.6 weeks) and a 10.7 (born at 41.4 weeks)I love seeing the big baby stories too. My petite framed mother had me at 10.5 and my brother at 12.4. We have lots of 10-13 lbers in our family and not a single section until this current birthing generation where three of my nieces and my own daughter have all had section and all had babies under 8 lbs :( Our system is so broken.ReplyDelete
I gave birth to a 10lb 4oz baby at 41.5 weeks. We were all shocked and thrilled and had no idea he would be so big (I had no gestational diabetes or any complications during pregnancy, gained 40lbs) Everyone assumes, because of his size, that he arrived via C-section, but he didn't. (And no, I did not tear at all!) The human body is amazing and wonderful and if we let it do what it is built to do it will perform miracles!ReplyDelete
Great to see a normal birth story! Congrats to the proud Mamma!
For those of you expecting: Trust your body. Trust your baby! They know what they are doing!
I have had a 12lb boy and a 10lb boy.... I myself was 9lb9oz. Only AFTER my boys did I think to ask my mother what size she had been......she thought about it and said" Well your Uncle was the 'runt'@ 11lbs and your Aunt was the 'Big baby' at 14lbs, so I guess I was in between that"........ Wow! I'm so glad thar I didn't know before i naturally delivered or my Fear might have stopped me!!!ReplyDelete
my doc insisted that I have a c-section because my child was measuring large at 36 weeks. I wish I had read this prior to that, because I would have insisted on trying to have a natural birth. She was born 5 years ago at 10 pounds even and 4 years later by c-section again I had a 9 pound baby. I would recommend to anyone being told their baby is too big to tell their doctors that they won't be pressured. Good for this woman for insisting on having a natural birth.ReplyDelete
Girl Im proud of you but that story made my VaJ hurtReplyDelete
Love that mama's attitude!ReplyDelete
My mum is only 5'2' and had a tiny frame. She had me in December 1969 and went on to have my two siblings. Despite being so tiny and it being her first birth, she said I was, without question the easiest birth of all.....and I weighed almost 11 pounds!!ReplyDelete
She says that I pretty much birthed myself - with a lot of help from good ol' gravity!
Thank you so much for writing this... It was very touching to see.. And thank you everyone else for all the congrats and other wonderful comments..ReplyDelete
I'm the momma in this story, and to let everyone know, little Jonathan is doing beyond great. He is perfectly healthy and the doctor estimated that he may reach a height of 6'4".
He sleeps wonderfully through the night and rarely cries during the day.
And I find him to be so adorable, even with those chubby cheeks of his..
Congratulations, Amanda! Always nice to meet another who has (and will continue to be..) bombarded by the questions of, "how did you do it?" I, too, had a 13.2 pounder, albeit he was born at home (by choice), unassisted with no complications. It was the most empowering day of my life, bar none! He's almost 3 now, though, extremely healthy, lively, smart, and a very secure young man. So from one mom to another (or anyone else who has done the same) the questions don't stop, nor do the WOWs, the OH MYs, the REALLYs, and WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? :) Virtual high-five to you! Job well done! (His "dad" is 6-7 and I'm 5-10, so I'm guessing my little man will be a bit of a giant as well. :) )ReplyDelete
That is awesome!! My first baby (and only right now) was 10 pounds 11 ounces. She was born at 39 weeks (I wasn't induced or anything though.)ReplyDelete
We have the same ob/gyn, she's famous in the office!ReplyDelete
All these storys are great! Let us all just remember that some bodies dontalways know what they should do. I started dilating and labor started and stopped 5 days before my fella was born. My uterus would not contract. I could be induced but my pelvis was too small for him to fit throug..i had a c section at 40.1 weeks and had an 8lb 15oz big boy but so badly wanted him to come on his own. Turns out even after he was delivered and i was recovering my uterus did nothing i had to take meds to make it shrink back to normal size. So big healthy babies and natural births are best but not always possible.ReplyDelete
My babies were born teeny tiny. My first was born at 36 weeks because my blood pressure was high. He was born at 5lbs 2.6 ozs And is healthy. then my second son broke my water at 33 wks and he was born prematurely but naturally (due to no time) he broke my water at 149am and I had him at 317am!! Dr was using a sonogram on me and was like oh he is low! my reply was yes I;m pushing! lol eeks, he was born right onto the bed the dr didn't even catch him, and it seemed like for ever till she picked him up . He weighed 4lbs. 7oz, got down to 3 lbs. His bilruben was high, so he stayed in the nicu for 2 weeks. Came home on his brothers 2 bday! They are both healthy boys now and I'm truly blessed with healthy tiny fighters. We also choose to not have any more children, due to we were worried that i would have had the next baby even earlier..ReplyDelete
I can't believe that in the author's case, a 10lb baby is one of the biggest the hospital has seen! I'd say most of the girls I know have had 9-10lb babies, not induced, not warned about size, not a shocker at any hospital (I'm in Ontario, Canada). In fact, my inuit midwife said to me once, "White women and doctors are so concerned about babies being big. My people are short and round, and we birth 10-12 lb babies regularly, what's all the fuss about?"ReplyDelete
awesome! My last guy was 12 pounds 1 oz and the labor was long but not incredibly painful and no c section....I gave birth in water to my 9 lb girl and my 9 lb 10 oz girl was my first labor. Big babies are da bomb! haha.ReplyDelete
I had a 12 pound 1 ounce boy 2 years ago and the labor was long but my girls were both 9 and 10 lbs each and they came out like a slippery soap :)ReplyDelete