And I waited . . .
When I found out I was pregnant, I made an appointment with the gyn/ob my sister has used for both of her pregnancies. I liked my gynecologist, but she doesn’t have a reliable OB reputation and my sister loved her doctor, so I switched over. My sister assured me that this doctor was very nice, very helpful, and always open to questions.
I couldn’t ask my sister some of my most pressing concerns, though, because I felt ashamed admitting what they were. I was worried that he might talk to me about weight control and post-birth weight loss all throughout my pregnancy. I was worried he might push a c-section because my weight made me “high risk.” I thought he might have a hard time understanding how I could be open to an epidural but against an elective c-section.
But I made my appointment … and I waited.
Finally, the day came. The nurse checked my blood pressure and joked with me about my sister. She then asked me to get on the scale – and I waited for a question like, “Have you always been this weight?” But no comment came. The doctor came in for the exam and went over my medical history with me. “Okay, so a gastric bypass, breast lift and reduction, abdominoplasty, and hernia repair.” I waited. “Any complications with the gastric bypass?” I assumed this was the nice way of asking how much weight I had regained. “Well, uh,” I stammered, “No, not really – I mean, I’ve regained a good portion of the weight I lost, if that’s what you mean.” And I waited…
“Oh, no, no. I mean have you had any digestive or nutritional issues since the surgery?”
Oh. So I explained that, no, I had no complications other than the hernia. Very little dumping syndrome, no nutritional deficiencies. And then I waited…
But that was it. He moved on to the physical exam. Afterwards, we talked about how the next 7-8 months would progress and what my eventual birth plan would be. “Due to the abdominoplasty you’ve had, you know, we try to go in where the scar already is…” “Oh,” I said, “I don’t care about that – it’s not like I’m walking around in a bikini.” “No,” he said, “What I mean is that there might be complications from the scar tissue, possibly. There probably wouldn’t be, but just in case, we should work to do everything we can to avoid a c-section. I always try to avoid them when possible, but we’ll work extra hard to ensure that the option isn’t pushed on you unless it’s truly the last resort.”
At this point, I waited for myself to nearly fall over from surprise. I’m 34, obese, have hypothyroidism, and both my mother and sister had multiple c-sections – and my obstetrician just told me we should do everything possible to avoid one; I didn’t even need to ask. I was so relieved that I could have hugged him.
I was so nervous, so certain that I’d be chastised and made to feel guilty about the home my body is giving my growing baby. I waited, but I didn’t need to. The only place this guilt was coming from was me – and that’s certainly not how I feel… but it was hard to shake.
I didn’t gain any pregnancy weight until my 18 week appointment – when I gained two pounds. The nurse said, “Good, good, that’s good” as I hopped off the scale but I found my brain racing to make an excuse. “Uh oh,” I said as the nurse looked at me. “No, that’s good – you know, you have to gain weight sometime.”
Right, yes, of course. I wasn’t doing anything to NOT gain weight – I was actually eating more intuitively than I ever had before in my life. I ate what I wanted (within reason) when I was hungry. But I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that “weight gain = bad = here comes the lecture from the doctor.”
But I can keep on waiting because now, at 24 weeks and a total of three pounds gained, I still haven’t heard anything about my weight and was actually told to get ready to put on more as the baby now begins to gain weight himself. That was two weeks ago and now, over the past week, my pants have started to become snug and I find myself fighting old feelings of, “I’m growing out of my pants; I fail.” I clearly know better – much better – but it’s hard to shake all those years of being made to feel bad about gaining weight.
Pregnancy is really so much about waiting: waiting for that positive test, waiting to see how your body reacts to pregnancy, waiting to find out the sex, waiting to feel kicks, waiting to meet the little person you’ve created . . . but for me, it’s also meant waiting for my lifetime of nerves and gut reactions (no pun intended!) to catch up with my mind.