Weight just a minute…I am having a baby!


I have two daughters, a ten year old and a four year old. In retrospect my pregnancies were two of the most amusing times of my life. Today I was folding laundry (yes, I actually started to tackle that HUGE mound obstructing my clear path around the dining table) and flicked through the channels trying to avoid the typical daytime television (Days – have not watched it for four years in the UK and true as bob, I have not missed a thing!) and stumbled upon the Discovery Health station and watched a program about pregnant women and partners having babies.

At first I goo-ed and ah-ed because the ladies looked lovely being pregnant and the births were experiences I could half and half (will explain later) relate too. And the babies – the babies were soooooo cute and pretty. Then they get to the two weeks into the parenthood part and it is revealed that the parents are suffering from sleep deprivation and I think. Been there, done that, got the stretch marks to show and won’t be going back there again…

My first pregnancy was for a long time, a bit of blur. Being my first, I had no idea what to expect, what was really going to happen (in comparison to what I read) and how I was going to deal with it all. I had no inkling that I was actually pregnant until my boggled eyed but smiling hubby commented on the fact that my boobs had got so much bigger. I took a home test, it was positive. I went to my GP the next day and he confirmed the presence of a little person. I burst into tears. I had not really planned on having a baby at that time and we were not actively trying to be pregnant. Hubby refers to it as our ‘practise years’. In fact, the babe came to be because after a bit of a social gathering one evening I forgot to take that little pill that can change your life forever if you forget it.

So I was pregnant. I am also the youngest of four children with an older sister and two older brothers. My sister has two kids (both born before mine) but both brothers had not had children yet, although they were both married at the time. In my mom’s mind I had messed up the natural order of things. First my sister would have kids, then the older son and then the younger son and then me. But I am not one for going according to plan. I am a more ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ kind of girl. So when I phoned my parents to tell them, out the blue and by surprise, I was with child, my dad was caught off guard but true to form, genuinely happy. My mother on the other hand, was mortified! ‘I can not deal with this right now!’ followed by the receiver going down. Okay then, happy to be a grandma again! Actually I think she was a little pissed because now she had to admit that her youngest child (and a daughter to boot) had had to have sex at least once since she had got married three years before! My sister too, was a little shaken by the news but my brothers were happy. I think it was that I kind of took the pressure off them to have kids at that moment. People could now focus on me, instead of asking them that awful question: “So when are you having kids?”

And focus, they did because I gave them a lot to focus at. My GP explained that I would gain 12-16kg during the pregnancy. Let us just stop the bus right now – I gained 16 kilos in the first three weeks. In fact I almost doubled my body weight during the pregnancy and the nurse who checked me in just before having my baby, almost was driven to tears. I am not sure what got to her. Was it my 98kg body, or was it my pork sausage toes that actually did vibrate when I waddled? Could the fact that I could not see my belly button because they were obstructed by my HUGE boobs have knocked her over the edge? It remains a mystery to me to this day but I do think I might have created such a precedent that all pregnant women who followed me into that labor ward, looked like Elle McPherson!

Two weeks before my first child was born (through C-section because she was sooooo big – 10 pounds at 39 weeks) I was standing in the grocer trying to buy healthy snacks when a woman I knew happened to be ahead of me in the queue for the check out. “My God, you look like a beached whale!” she blurted out loudly when she recognized me. I smiled, but actually I wanted to body slam her to the ground and show her that Sumo wrestlers could live in South Africa too and they could be women. I walked out the store clutching my little bag with strawberries, grapes and granola silently wishing the bag contained fries, a double thick strawberrry shake and massive slab of chocolate. As I got into the car, this same complimenting woman knocked on the window. Her apologies were honest, I think I just startled her and I forgave her promptly when she handed me the peppermint crisp mega slab of Cadbury Chocolate! Just so that you know – when my daughter was 8 weeks old, someone asked me if I was expecting twins! That weight just lingered and lingered…

I had a particular craving for fries – but fries from one particular take out joint. Their salt they used was delicious and my day could not start unless I sat eating a large portion of these. I also drank copious amounts of coca cola. Now both these were items on my forbidden list provided by the GP. You are retaining water and gaining weight – stay away from the salt and the sugar, I was told. So I was eating slyly and before my husband returned home from work, I would slip out the house and take all the evidence to the dumpster at the apartment building next door and throw it away there. Just so that when I sat down to eat my salad, I did not leave any tell tale signs around about my sustenance for the day. At 5am on the day our first child was born I turned to my husband and asked him, ‘Do I look fat?’ The sheer look of panic on his face was enough to upset the Richter scale. How in heavens name is he going to answer that because if he says ‘yes’, well you can imagine. If he says ‘no’ I would accuse him of lying. Either way he was stuffed and he knew it. He pretended to fall back asleep and left me gawking in the extra wide mirror repeating the mantra ‘You are not fat, you are pregnant.’ Who the hell was I trying to kid? Myself and on that day, it worked.

My second pregnancy was closely monitored because once I had relayed my first pregnancy to the doctors in the UK, they deducted that I must have had gestational diabetes. In defense of my GP during my first, he was acting on the information I was giving him and yes, I was being stupid but I was also scared beyond belief by this pregnancy. (This GP now lives in Canada and I wish he could still be our family doctor, he is that great!) I had lost the weight since then and was back to top form. So my eyes were wide open as to how much weight I could gain in the second pregnancy. But this time I was better behaved, I watched what I ate, monitored my blood sugar and generally did what I was told – except on a Sunday when I gave myself the day off. So instead of gaining 40kg like in my first pregnancy, I only gained 28kg. Wow – still a huge amount you might think, but for me, it was the best. Baby number two was born at 38 weeks weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces. Still big but smaller than the first. My blood sugar had escalated and they decided to bring her into the world earlier than she had planned.

So my blood sugar returned to normal after the birth, my weight came down remarkably quickly and I happily consumed my fries (by the way, I still love fries and coca cola). I am not sure that I could survive another pregnancy with a forbidden list and I know that I am not the most self-disciplined person on the planet. So while pregnant women are careful about what they eat, the lesson that all others should know that hell hath no fury as a pregnant woman with a forbidden list. And all husbands should remember, that there is never a correct or safe answer when a pregnant woman asks ‘Do I look fat?’



~ by ski holidays on March 26, 2008.

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