Friday, February 26, 2021

And I waited . . .

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Pregnancy

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-sectionI 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.


17 Responses to “And I waited . . .”
  1. atchka says:

    Wow, a rational, compassionate doctor and office. I think you found a keeper.


    • CandiceBP says:

      I agree. I really didn’t expect much, which definitely says more about me. It sucks to be trained not to expect that kind of consideration from a medical professional.

      • I don’t think it says anything about you. I think it speaks volumes about the current atmosphere in this country toward fat people that even health professionals let fat prejudice affect their treatment of patients. The physician you found is an exception to the rule.

        Weight bias in the medical profession is well documented. So, you really lucked out.


      • Atchka! says:


        Um, ignore who that last comment was from. 🙂


  2. Forestroad says:

    Congrats Candice 🙂

  3. Shelly says:

    First, congrats on the pregnancy!

    Second, What an awesome doc and way cool nurses. Wish there were more of docs like that around!

  4. cggirl says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I am so happy for you, for the pregnancy of course but also that u r having such a good experience with the doc!! You deserve it 🙂

  5. Wonderful story, Candice. I remember one of my pregnancies during which I had a very supportive doctor who never mentioned weight to me. I had to see his partner, however, a few weeks before i was due, when I was seeing the dr weekly. I saw the partner the week after Thanksgiving and when *she* saw that I had gained something like 7 pounds, she made a comment about how I must have pigged out over Thanksgiving. My regular doctor, a *he,* would have never said that. I was amazed also that she didn’t even think that perhaps there was something else going on, suggested by the rapid weight gain. I ended up gaining 50 pounds with both my pregnancies, but in both lost 30# within the first week. Definitely sounds like a fluid issue to me.

    • CandiceBP says:

      Omg, that other doctor sounds horrible. What a remarkably insensitive and unprofessional comment to make. We really need to trust women and their bodies and their instincts.

  6. love2eatinpa says:

    thanks for sharing, candice. i’m happy you found such a fabulous dr. way to go following your instincts with changing!
    i am totally guilty of this too, but we often build stuff up in our minds so much and stress about them, but when the event actually happens , it turns out not at all as we imagined. all the energy put towards worrying for nothing.
    anyway, sounds like you and your pregnancy are doing great!

    • CandiceBP says:

      Yes, I have always been one to overthink things, which can often lead to worry or unfounded concerns (although we’ve all heard enough stories about women not receiving considerate OB care). I feel very lucky that things are going well.

  7. McLauren84 says:

    Great story! I’m so glad doctors like that still exist. It sounds like he was treating you like a person and looking out for possibly dangerous complications that had nothing to do with your weight. It sounds like his bottom line was keeping you and your baby healthy, not lecturing you about your weight and blaming it for complications that haven’t even happened yet. How refreshing!

    • CandiceBP says:

      He is an older doctor – he delivered one of my sister’s friends (and my sister and her friends are now 30) so I do wonder what role his age plays in how he treats his patients. Regardless, it has indeed been refreshing (if unsettling simply because I’m not used to it).

  8. mamaV says:

    Hi Candice: I felt as if I was your older sister reading this story, with butterflies in my stomach reading what was said to you, and waiting to hear some horrible, irrelevant comment that thankfully it never came.

    The body changing process of pregnancy is hard for every woman, let alone someone like yourself who has struggled and gone through WLS. My hope for you is that this phase of your life brings you some closure about the body issues you have carried with you for so long. There is something about the miracle of birth, and the indescribable love a mother has for her baby that shifts focus off of ourselves and on to those we love. Some moms say “you just don’t have time to think about yourself as much,” but I think it is more than that. At least for me, the focus shifted to being healthy for my kids so I can be here as long as possible — rather than wanting to look good for others.

    Suddenly, you may find that you don’t analyze yourself quite as much. Your daily glances at yourself in the mirror may become shorter, the focus on your imaginary flaws may fade…. and attention to the parts you like may grow stronger. I never thought there would be a day I could look in the mirror at my thighs and say “hmmm, not bad!” or walk around the house in my undies without feeling like I had to cover up.

    Anyway, I hope you will keep posting updates as you progress through your pregnancy, its really exciting to live vicariously through you!!

    • CandiceBP says:

      Thanks, mamaV. I do already feel that change you speak of. I find myself taking far better care of myself – like to the extent that I even look more carefully as I cross the street. I’ve always had a bit of a devil-may-care attitude about myself, scratching and bruising along the way, but now I treat myself more carefully and possibly more respectfully because it’s not just me I’m taking care of right now. It has most certainly been a thought-deepening process (and I was already an overthinker).

      I always think about the No Doubt song, “Simple Kind of Life” where she sings, “How’d I get so faithful to my freedom, a selfish kind of life.” It’s been freeing, ironically, to hand myself over to this process. I can only imagine how this grows and changes after the birth.

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