Below are real life stories submitted by people around the world for our recently published Article – Evidence on: Induction or C-section for a Big Baby.
Kelly’s big baby
7 oz.Just wanted to share pretty much my favorite picture ever of my little chunker. This is my son, who was born 13 days past his due date and was 9lbs 7oz and 22 in long. While he’s not like ridiculously scale-breaking big, he certainly was a chunker and held all that weight in his face and chin(s!!) for sure. Ha! He is about 5-6 hours old here. But this picture is just…my favorite.
My son, born at 10lbs 2oz. I am 5 ft 1 inch tall. I had a previous c-section for CPD, of a 7lb 13oz baby. Yet this chunker came out just fine vaginally, as did his older sister, at 9lbs even. This photo was taken just minutes after he was born, in my bed with his family surrounding him.
In March of 2015 in my last month of pregnancy, my ob’s suspected that my baby was large. One of the ob’s in the practice suggested a sceduled csection which I respectfully declined. I went on to deliver my baby naturally and medfree on April 1st, 2015. It was a quick labor and the doctor did not even get to the hospital in time. The nurse caught my baby. There were no complications and we are both healthy. However, after my 6 week checkup I was sent a letter via certified mail from Trinity Women’e Health (It was dated the same day as my checkup so they must have sent it after I left the office.) They stated they were dropping me as a patient because I did not comply with their medical advice. To be honest, I have yet to see another OB after that because I’m afraid of the way I will be treated. You have permission to share my letter as I hope it will help others.
You can read the letter here
I originally wanted a home birth but legitimate health concerns led me to attempt a natural hospital birth, my OB was supportive and calm, my specialist wasted no time in going on and on about how since I was fat (honestly, he said this word for word) I would be having a huge baby and there for need a c-section…this started around 10 weeks.
At 41 weeks at my last check up he estimated my son as being “well over 8 pounds, possibly closer to 10”
He was born via a much needed c-section (due to cord enntanglement and stress) two days later and was 5 pounds 14 ounces.
I cannot wait for my HBAC.
Erin writes, “I couldn’t remember a time I was happier than when I left for the hospital knowing I would be welcoming my son into this world soon. It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining and I will never forget feeling the warmth of its glow on my face as we drove to the hospital.
This would be the birth of my third son. I had a previous vaginal delivery with my first (he weighed 9lbs 13ozs) and c-section with my second (he weighed 9lbs 1oz). I was pleasantly surprised to be fully supported in my decision to have a trial of labor. I was told I was an excellent candidate for VBAC. I had a relatively easy pregnancy, with the exception of the last few weeks. I began measuring big at around 34 weeks, as I had before with my previous two pregnancies. We joked that this time, however, we were aiming for a “little” 8 pound baby. I made extra effort to watch everything I ate and to exercise consistently. According to my doctor, I passed my blood glucose test with an excellent number. I was thrilled, because my extra effort was paying off, or so I thought. I never had gestational diabetes with my previous pregnancies, but I did gain a lot of weight with my first (60lbs) and wasn’t as physically active with my second pregnancy, aside from chasing around a toddler. I did everything I knew to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth, everything down to taking my prenatal vitamins daily.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was twice as likely to have a child injured during birth than have a child affected by a neural tube defect. I did not know that expecting a big baby put me at an increased risk of experiencing shoulder dystocia during delivery (at my final OB appointment my son’s weight was estimated to be between 9 and 10 lbs). I had no idea that my precious baby could lose his life to shoulder dystocia. I was only aware of the risks of uterine rupture with a VBAC, which is why I was comforted to know that a shiny OR was just down the hall.
Everything was perfect on that fall day, beautiful and amazing until it was time for delivery. As my body began to push involuntarily, the nurse called the doctor and I was asked to get into the bed. (This was my first labor not augmented with pitocin and was surprisingly easy and I did not need an epidural.) I literally hugged my belly, my baby, as I climbed into the bed, I was so ready to welcome him into the world. It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives but it changed in an instant.
We experienced shoulder dystocia during delivery. After I pushed through two contractions and my son’s head was delivered, his shoulders became lodged behind my pelvis. He was stuck. He was not receiving any oxygen during this time because the umbilical cord was compressed in the birth canal. I did everything I was told to do. I knew this was serious and that we were in danger. I was asked to stop pushing and to get into the McRoberts Position while the nurses tried to apply suprapubic pressure. My doctor was shouting orders to the nurses and yelling for someone to call the ER for the anesthesiologist. I remember thinking, “My God, if we have to wait for him to get here from the ER three floors away, my baby is dead!” My doctor was trying desperately to free my son, she finally put her hand inside my body to try to turn him, to free him. She began ripping and clawing at him, trying to break his bones. I will never forget that sensation or how helpless I felt to do anything for him. No one was talking to me at this point. I was helpless to do anything to save him, all I could do was scream in pain.
We nearly lost my son. I will never forget the weight of his lifeless body laid on mine nor the wait to hear his first cry. It took 4 minutes to resuscitate him, those were the longest of my life. We were told to expect broken bones-clavicles and humerus. I could deal with that, after all, broken bones heal and my son survived. I was so incredibly thankful my son survived. We were shocked to learn he weighed 12 lbs., 3oz., and that there were no broken bones, only a brachial plexus injury. I didn’t even know what that was at the time. We were told not to worry because they usually heal, too, but it didn’t. He spent five days in the hospital and then at just three weeks old he had his first appointment concerning his injury. We were told to start occupational therapy and wait until he was 18 months old to see if his nerves would heal on their own, but we knew better.
We found other families like us who had similar experiences. We knew time was limited to seek proper treatment. We narrowed down specialists and by the time my son was just 3 months old we flew over 800 miles to Philadelphia to see a brachial plexus injury specialist. One year, two surgeries, hundreds of hours of therapy, thousands of dollars, and an ocean of tears later we had a better idea of what my son’s future holds.
He will require therapy everyday until he finishes growing. We may very well see him go through more surgeries. We have been told that he will never have the strength to throw a ball over-handed but may be able to write with his affected hand. He will not be able to bring his arm behind his back, or turn his palm up. He will have difficulty with many daily activities that we all take for granted. There will be pain and many obstacles to overcome, but I am here to comfort him and to guide him. I will never let this injury hold him back in anything that he wishes to accomplish. We never asked for this, and would have done anything to prevent this injury, but we are going to make the best of every opportunity we are presented with. This is why we are sharing our story. Erb’s Palsy doesn’t have to happen.
Obstetric brachial plexus injuries are preventable.
Please share our story, and know that we are not alone. There are thousands of babies injured at birth every year in hospitals all across the U.S. It doesn’t have to happen. If you or a loved one are expecting, please talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of experiencing shoulder dystocia, about its management, and about birth injuries.”
After a traumatic birth with my first born child, in the hospital, I planned, what I had hoped would be, a healing home birth with my second child.
Pregnancy, and even labor went well until I began to push. My baby’s heart-rate was dropping. We had to act fast in order to save his life. I was in the birthing pool in a somewhat reclined position. I was pushing and I knew he was coming, but he wasn’t… My midwife asked me to get on hands and knees. I pushed as hard as I could. I felt numb and helpless. He wasn’t coming. I had to get on the birthing stool. I was scared. I had ripped with my first birth, which I don’t believe would’ve happened if my OBGYN hadn’t ripped my baby out. Since I wasn’t having much success with perineal massages during this second pregnancy, I feared ripping again. I pushed. I leaned back. I stood up. My midwife did what she could to perform wood’s corkscrew maneuver.
My baby was pulled from my body. He was quiet, blue, and expressionless. While we were preparing for resuscitation, he began to whimper and then cry. He’s alive, but not without sacrifice.
During his newborn exam, we realized his left arm was paralyzed except his hand. Due to the double shoulder dystocia (or internal transverse dystocia), the dropping of his heart-rate (which we presume was a result of the knot in his umbilical cord), and my efforts to push him out, his neck/shoulder was stretched so far when my midwife performed wood’s corkscrew maneuver that he, unfortunately, received an (Erb’s Palsy) obstetric brachial plexus injury, and his collarbone had a hairline fracture.
I don’t think there’s much, if anything, we could’ve done to have had a better outcome.
I had borderline gestational diabetes. Baby was 8 pounds, 12 oz. He was approximately 20 inches long. He was due between the 18th and 25th of the month. He came on the 22nd. It was a six-hour labor beginning after my water broke.
I suffered from a condition called vaginismus (aka Pelvic Floor Dysfunction) after this birth. Thankfully, with help from a pelvic floor physical therapist, I couldn’t be happier to say, “I’ve recovered!” Unfortunately, I am also recovering from severe post-partum depression, PTSD, and more of the physical damage. I am still attending pelvic floor physical therapy on a regular basis.
My baby started receiving physical therapy. We saw a pediatric neurologist. He improved significantly, but not enough. It was determined, after a while, that he might benefit from a nerve surgery. When he was 6 months old, he got a nerve-graft and nerve transfer (surgery). The doctor told us we’d see if it helped by the time he was a year. It helped some, but not as much as we’d hoped. He will most likely never have active lateral/deltoid movement or active bicep/elbow-bending movement. The highest he can reach his arm is parallel with the floor (or about 90 degrees) when he is standing in an upright position. He has begun trying to clap by bringing his hands to midline – arms straight. He is weight-bearing, and he will carry or hold objects in his left hand. We are proud of how much he has improved, his demeanor, and how adaptive he is.
My third baby, was 10 lbs, 6 oz, 23 inches, a full 3 pounds larger than my first and nearly 2 pounds larger than my second. At the time of the all natural, drug free hypnobabies delivery at a freestanding birth center attended by a midwife, he was 39 weeks, 4 days along. Despite being so large, having a nuchal hand, and a 14 inch head, I had only micro tears that required no stitching. The midwife had no idea he would be this big, she suspected closer to the size of my last baby, 8 1/2 pounds. No gestational diabetes, and my blood sugar was even on the low end when tested.
James was my third baby, born in 2015. There were no indications that he would be a larger baby, other than my history of having larger babies (our firstborn was 8 lb 13 oz, and our second was 9 lb 6 oz). With my first, I was induced at 41w4d, and my labor and delivery were without serious complications, although I did have more than average bleeding immediately afterward. With my second, I was induced at 41w3d, and gave birth without medications to a 9 lb, 6 oz baby girl. Several hours after delivery, when I tried to stand up for the first time, I felt very dizzy and lightheaded, and my nurse noticed that my uterus had begun to expand again. My OB returned immediately and found a clot in my uterus. After administering fentonol for pain, he essentially performed a manual D and C to clear any clots from my uterus. I had a significant reaction with my blood pressure dropping to 60/45 with a brief loss of consciousness. In the end, my blood loss was estimated to be about 1.5-2 liters and I opted to not received a tranfusion. Full recovery was approximately 4 months, with restrictions to not be alone with my children for the first six weeks due to concerns with fainting and loss of consciousness.
With my third born, my OB had considered that there was a slightly increased risk for post-partum hemorrhage, though something he said he would just be mindful of with no reason to expect it to happen again. I was induced again at 40w1d, and gave birth to a 10 lb 3 oz baby boy (with no tearing or episiotomy). Immediately after delivery I hemorrhaged. Essentially anytime uterine massage wasn’t happening, my uterus was expand and bleeding would continue. Several medications were administered immediately to stop the bleeding, and eventually I was taken to a post-partum room. About 3 hours after delivery I began to feel light-headed again and wondered if I was bleeding again. My OB returned to check me, and took me to an operating room to again check for clots in my uterus. Because of my previous reaction with my last delivery, he performed this procedure without any medication (my labor and delivery had been unmedicated for pain as well, though pitocin was administered throughout and after). My total estimated blood loss was between 3-4 liters, and I was transfused with 4 units of blood. My recovery time was much shorter after this delivery because of the transfusion, and my OB is now considering it an ‘automatic’ that I would hemorrhage again if I were to have another pregnancy.
Cori’s son was born weighing 11 lbs., 5 oz. To read her story
Cori wrote, “My 3rd son, Indiana, was 11 lb., 5 oz., born at a local hospital at 42w and 3d. Despite pushing in a squat, he did not come out easily, though without a vacuum or episiotomy. His first APGAR was 2, he had to be resuscitated and did not breathe until I began speaking to him. Although I was proud of his birth, I chose to use labor encouragement at 40w 3d to have my 4th son, a 10 lb. homebirth baby after an hour of labor with no complications postpartum. This is not to say 11 lb. babies aren’t born without complication, but in making decisions about my care I use the evidence, as well as my intuition and experience.”
Here’s a picture of my newborn, born at exactly 41 weeks gestation. He was born at home after 12 hours of active labor (including almost 4 hours of pushing). I was 35 years old when I had him and he was my first baby. He was 10 lbs. 0 oz. and 21.5 inches long. I didn’t have a single ultrasound. Had I considered a hospital birth, I would’ve been sectioned for sure!
I was pressured multiple times to have a csection or induce from 38 wks on because my baby was supposedly going to be Sooo big.. finally gave in to induction at 41+5 against my better judgement after Drs urging me to do a C section because my baby was supposedly “10 or 11lbs”…. (looking back at pics of myself i looked absolutely huge, like there were twins in there!) After 30hrs of cytotec, pitocin induction and hard labor I had my beautiful 7lb 1oz baby girl who probably couldve stayed right where she was for a few more days…she was absolutely normal! Although when they broke my water because I wasn’t progressing after 24 hours of induction they found that she had meconium (surprise surprise she was in distress after the induction meds no wonder!) ….so I couldn’t hold my baby skin to skin or nurse her right away or even get a good look at her until they did what they needed to do to prevent aspiration and that is what fueled my need to get educated about birth, I look back and cannot believe how much I didn’t know …Now I’m a doula in training and about to have baby #2 naturally with a midwife and in my own time ”
These are pictures of my first son. I was told through my entire pregnancy that he was a big baby. I was induced after an ultrasound at 40 weeks 3 days because he was “big” and ended up with a c-section after a cascade of interventions and more threats about my baby being “too big.” He was 7lbs 10oz and 19.5 inches long, definitely not a big baby. He spent the first three days of his life in an incubator because he really wasn’t ready to be born.
I am here to share my experiences. In Short
Baby 1 was 8lb 13oz – vaginal birth at birthing center attached to hospital, began her exit sunny side up and got stuck, midwife flipped her and she popped out. (epidural came in handy there)
Baby 2 anticipated at 10lb but was 8lb 11oz – c-section because my doctors were afraid of another shoulder dystocia.
Baby 3 (pictured) anticipated at 11 lb but was !!!!! 7lb 12oz !!!!! OH YEA!!!! – Induced one week early – a great except considering I had a previous c-section – normally they wont induce on a previous cs. 3 pushes and BAM, small baby (well at least to me). And the football team of doctors in the room all left relieved when they didn’t experience a dystocia.
Baby 4 – expected at 10 lb at her 36 week ultrasound, born at 39 weeks 8lb 2oz. Completely natural, she got stuck, docs hand went in, not the bad part – the woman jumping on my stomach was the bad part, but out she came and NO tearing! BEST BIRTH EVER…. why because it was natural and she was perfect.
Heidi ’s Story
Heidi had a VBAC with her daughter, who weighed 10 lbs., 8 oz
My first baby was 8 days late, and was 11lbs & 23.5″. My second baby was also 8 days late, and was 9lbs3oz and 21.5″. Both were natural, unmedicated hospital births.
To learn more about big babies, read our article on the “Evidence on: Induction or C-section for a Big Baby”.