You know when you meet someone and you just feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how I felt when I “met” Jen McLellan, aka Plus Mommy, aka the plus size pregnancy guru. Jen and I connected through Tess Holliday, plus size model/author/mom, when we organized an informal Instagram live chat about postpartum anxiety (Tess and I both suffered from PPA). And how do I know Tess? Through my work, of course. Phew! That’s a lot of background info!
Anyways, Jen has a super fabulous podcast called “The Plus Mommy” which covers topics around plus size pregnancy. Her website, Plus Size Birth, provides positive resources for plus size people who are trying to conceive or pregnant – form where to find plus size maternity clothes to connecting with a size-friendly care provider and so much more!
I was beyond thrilled when Jen asked me to come on her podcast to chat about my experience – from conception, to pregnancy, to delivery and postpartum. It honestly felt like chatting with an old friend. I’ve talked about my pregnancy experience HERE, but it was interesting to examine it through the lens of a plus size woman.
Video courtesy of Plus Mommy
I could transcribe the entire podcast here because it’s too fantastic to not share, but I’ll save it for the sound byte.
You can listen to Jen & I chat HERE. Scroll down to the bottom for audio.
She arrived quickly on June 2nd, at 2:35PM. Weighing 7.1oz, 20.5cm long and completely stealing our hearts, our baby girl took only 6 hours to deliver! Read on for all the details…
Our due date was May 30 and I was positive I was going to deliver on time (haha rookie move!) At my doctor’s appointment that day, she asked if I’d like to have my membranes stripped…for those uneducated in preggo-lingo, this is a more “natural” way to induce labor. The doctor gently separates the bag of water from the side of the uterus near the cervix (I totally just googled that). It basically feels like a ton of pressure on the inside but not painful, in my case anyway.
I spent the rest of the day walking, bouncing on my exercise balls, eating spicy food and hoping that labor could come soon. At this point, I was SO uncomfortable! It felt like a bowling ball was sitting on my pelvis! When labor didn’t come the next day, or the next, I was discouraged. The last thing I wanted was to be induced at the hospital. I felt down in the dumps and kinda flu-ish, so I spent the day on June 1st hanging out at home, watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself.
At 5AM on June 2, I woke up thinking I peed myself – except I was pretty sure that I hadn’t lost ALL control yet…so I guess this is my water breaking?! When it continued to leak for the next hour, I was equally grossed out and excited! It was finally happening, baby girl was about to make her appearance.
Hubby insisted that I shower (because who knows when I would again) and have a bite to eat. I couldn’t sit still – the contractions began right after my water broke and they were already 7 mins apart! After calling the caseroom at the hospital, we called an UBER and off we went (poor Uber driver had no idea what was happening LOL).
It was important to me to have my mom with us in the delivery room – so she met us at the hospital once we got settled in around 8am. Then came the IV…I have a needle phobia so this was the part I was dreading the most (that and pooping on the delivery table – which I didn’t by the way, YAY!) My contractions were becoming more irregular at this point so the doctor suggested we start an oxytocin drip to speed things along a bit. And boy did it work! I started off at 2cm dilated at 8am, then 4cm by 10 am, and 6cm by 12pm. Needless to say, I was screaming for the epidural.
My regret was not asking for it sooner! I figured as a first time mom that my labor would be long and I thought that if I took the epidural too soon, it would wear off by the time I really needed it. NOPE, NOT TRUE! Ladies, if you want the drugs, get the bloody drugs. By the time the anesthesiologist got there, I was cursing like a sailor, ripping out my IV, and screaming “save me, help me!” Once the needle went in, it was bliss. Pain was bearable and I was ready for the next step.
I should pause here for a moment and mention that my husband was a complete champ. He was supportive, loving, calm and funny. We joked he was in charge of snacks, timekeeping and entertainment, but obviously his role was much more important. There’s something transformative about seeing someone you love so vulnerable and helpless. If possible, you love them even more for this sacrifice they are making for your family. He was so proud of me, and I wanted to show him how much I love him by bringing our baby into this world. I get all teary just thinking about it…
By 1:30pm, I was getting an intense desire to push. At first the feeling is a bit abstract – “how will I know I’m ready?” Trust me, YOU WILL KNOW! After 45 minutes of pushing, I could feel the excitement in the room. The nurses cheers were a little louder and Pat’s grip was a little tighter. Suddenly, the doctor yelled “Stop pushing!” Um, how do you stop a train going 100mph? The umbilical cord was so long that it had wrapped twice around the baby’s neck, so the doctor needed some slack to loosen it – which he did in one graceful move.
The rest is a blur. I remember looking down and there she was. My eyes were as wide as saucers! I couldn’t believe this perfect little creature had been inside of me the last 9 months. I didn’t cry, I was too shocked and trembling like a leaf (childbirth is traumatic!)
“Hi Charlotte, welcome to the world. I’m your mommy and this is your daddy, and we’re going to love you forever.”
Want to share your own story? Need someone to commiserate with? I’d love to hear from you! Send your comments below!
My mom recently told me a story about myself that I think is really telling.
From birth, my parents were determined to keep my upbringing very gender-neutral. They didn’t know I was a girl until I was delivered (I could have been Alexander), my room was cream and yellow and toys were mostly blocks or cartoon-like creatures. One day, I was playing in my mom’s closet and I came across the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen, a brown-hair, blue-eyed Cabbage Patch kid doll, named Dolly. It had been purchased by a friend of my mom’s and she had kept it hidden because she truly believed that gender-neutral was best. But, for Dolly and I, it was love at first sight. I let out a blood-curdling scream “DOLLLLYYYYYY” and my mom promptly burst into tears. How could she have kept me from my one true happiness?!
It was clear from an early age that my maternal instincts were highly-developed. There was never a question in my mind of whether or not to have kids – it was only when will it happen?
After Pat and I got married in 2013, I was keen to start a family ASAP. Even though my husband wanted children, he wasn’t ready. He had just started his career as an electrician and work wasn’t steady. I was working hard at my own career and moving quickly ahead but hours were long. In our first year of marriage, Pat’s father was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer and he left us after a brave year long battle. It was devastating! For Pat and I, too much uncertainty and such sadness meant putting kids on hold.
In retrospect, I’m so glad we did. It allowed both of us to grow up and grow together. Going through such a profound loss bonded us closer than ever and our relationship flourished. Yes, there were some really shitty times that were extremely difficult, but those moments were always learning experiences that taught us how to communicate and how to appreciate each other’s flaws.
Then, one day, in January 2016, as we were driving home from our yearly Florida vacation, Pat turned to me and said “I have a vision for us. By next year, we will have a baby.” I was shocked and elated. We quickly made plans to start trying after our 3 year wedding anniversary – May 18, 2016.
I was nervous though. I was overweight and had been on birth control for 11 years. Could I even get pregnant? I’d heard so many stories from so many women about how difficult it was to get pregnant (and stay pregnant). My heart went out to them…when you want something so bad, don’t you sometimes feel like you’ll never get it? I was almost afraid to say that I wanted kids outloud because I felt like the universe would curse me for being vocal.
Then, one day, about 3 months after stopping the pill and trying to get pregnant, I felt off. It felt like I was about to get my period (cramps, exhaustion, tender breasts) but it was nowhere in sight. I wrote it off to stress and being busy traveling (I was just coming back from my second New York Fashion Week, followed by a business trip to Chicago). On a whim, I bought a 2-pack of pregnancy-tests and while Pat and I awaited the results, we held our breaths…low and behold, it was positive. Pat ran over to the test first and I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he turned to me to tell me it was positive – he looked so proud and happy. I was pregnant!
Our pregnancy story is a relatively simple one. I have no words of wisdom for women that are struggling with infertility, except that my heart is with you and I’m rooting for you. I am always here to talk to if you ever need a listening ear. There’s not one thing I did that improved my chances over anyone else’s. Call it fate, say it’s the universe, or that the timing was right…whatever it was, things worked out for us. I feel very lucky and a little guilty.
Thoughts? Comments? Want to swap stories? Send me a note below!