In the last couple of months of my second pregnancy I got a lot of ultrasound scans. Mostly to monitor my cyst but also to make sure Leo was growing okay. He definitely was...in fact he was on the 91st percentile of fetus size. I'm not tiny but I'm only 5'4" and already had had one average size baby who felt quite large enough, thank you very much!
Leo kept right on that curve until the scan I had the day before he arrived. During that appointment I was on the table a while because my cyst was growing back and also because they were trying to measure just how much extra amniotic fluid I was carrying. In that time I convinced myself that if the baby got any bigger I was going to burst.
So it was a huge relief to find I was already two cm dilated when I got a membrane sweep. My consultant and I agreed that the excess fluid and risk of the cyst being ruptured by the rapidly growing baby were motivating factors to break my waters the following day in the hope that I would start labouring once they went. I'm so not ready to give you my birth story yet, but the short version is, I had a nearly 9lb baby with no pain relief and flat on my back with my feet in stirrups because the registrar apparently was not a fan of Ina May Garten's advice for suspected shoulder dystocia,
Poor Leo, we hadn't had a home birth, we weren't home after six hours and when the paediatrician told us the next morning that he had a heart murmur, I thought my heart was going to implode. There are so many reasons that may have caused it, but whatever the reason actually was, I was convinced it was the manner of his birth. So I was a tad emotional when after the all clear from the cardiologist, a paperwork error meant we had a duplicate appointment to be told the same thing at the Paediatric clinic. And the doctor assumed I was formula feeding and told me that I was overfeeding Leo and was increasing his chances of obesity,
She was warming up to a lecture on the perils of feeding extra to increase sleep when I managed to engage my brain, tell her we'd already seen the cardiologist and inform her that my boy was exclusively breastfed. That he had been on the 91st percentile in utero and that I was rather proud of the fact that my feeding him on demand was keeping him on the same growth curve. I was even more proud of the fact that I didn't swear or call anyone inept before we left.
So I guess the point of this blog is, know your baby and be confident in the way you choose to feed your baby, whether that's breastfeeding, combination feeding or formula. I wasn't with Sam and let a well intentioned person convince me that my milk was making Sam colicky. So I would try absolutely everything else to appease him when he cried instead of feeding him by which point I was crying too. Having a baby isn't ever easy but it's really not supposed to be that hard.
I look at Leo, who gets fed as soon as he makes a murmur. He's already so big but also so tiny, he fits onto me perfectly, his little form moulding to my contours. There are so many moments when I think to myself, I should lay him down and get on with things but then I remember how quickly Sam grew out of this particular need for me and so I keep Leo's silky head under my chin and revel in the fact that I am a sentimental fool, with a really big baby!
I'll keep polishing off these older drafts, written on my phone in the wee small hours, to mix in with newer stuff. Coming up, I've got a review of reusable nappy from a French company and the story of that time we thought it would be a breeze to take two small children to London and were pleasantly surprised that it was. If you want to read my less green writing, have a look at Not Out Loud where I've been confessing my many many shortcomings recently.