“Oh My God! Your belly is so big!”
Lately, I've heard that comment from several friends. I typically respond with silence and an eye roll. Do people think that they have to say something about my belly and my weight because I’m pregnant? (It’s the cancer equivalent of telling a patient, “You look great!” when that’s far from the case.)
Unsolicited thoughts about a woman’s weight — whether or not she's pregnant — are unnecessary at a minimum and cruel at a maximum. Health, not size or build, is what we should hold in high regard!
When I found out I was able to try to carry to term, I assumed that I gain a lot of weight while pregnant. (My metabolism is still messed up from the steroids that I was given during chemotherapy.) Nonetheless, I reasoned that if I made it through the pregnancy and my baby was healthy, then some extra pounds weren't anything to worry about.
My health and the fetus' health continue to be my priorities, but I surprisingly find myself on the low end of the pregnancy weight gain spectrum. I’m 7 ½ months pregnant, and I’ve only gained 14 pounds. (The average woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during nine months.)
In four weeks between February and March, I only gained two pounds. Thankfully, Baby Girl weighed in slightly bigger than average at 2.5 pounds. My OBs weren't very concerned about my weight since her fetal weight was healthy, although I was advised to try to eat more.
Over the past ten days, the doctors' concerns have unfortunately increased. The reason? Several of my chronic health issues (migraines, nausea and vomiting) have resurfaced. The migraines and vomiting were so bad for almost four days that I became dehydrated. Last Monday, my doctor recommended that I go to the ER for IVs. Being in the hospital for these symptoms wasn’t new for me, but I kept worrying about Baby Girl. Would she have enough nutrients to gain enough weight for her healthy development?
Surprisingly, no one in the ER checked on the fetus. The doctor didn’t listen for a heartbeat or order an ultrasound. But, I did receive the fluids and medications that I needed for proper hydration and for the migraine to break. I still found myself stressed about Baby Girl's health, though. I took comfort in the fact that I happened to have a sonogram already on the books.
Two days later, I headed off to my ultrasound. After the radiology technician had taken all of her measurements, he asked me how much I thought she weighed.
“I don’t want to guess. I’m just praying that she’s at least three pounds,” I said I as I exhaled. (Three pounds would be on the low end of the range, but not low enough to warrant concern.)
He paused before exclaiming, “She is!”
“Really?!?” I asked, as I smiled and exhaled.
“She’s four pounds, one ounce,” he informs me.
“You’re kidding me!!!” I yelp as tears begin to fill my eyes. "FOUR pounds?!?"
Despite how little I have been keeping down, Baby Girl is in the 73rd percentile for fetal weight.
Keep growing as you have been, Baby Girl, and keep defying the odds!