There have been a few claims in recent years suggesting that babies conceived through IVF have slightly lower birth weights. A few people I know with IVF or FET babies had an extra ultrasound in their third trimesters specifically to check on growth and development. Snow Pea, however, apparently never got the smaller size memo because according to her size check last week, she is huge!
Last Tuesday, I was 35 weeks pregnant and right on target in every way possible. My fundal measurements were dead on, my weight was exactly where it should be and Snow Pea was positioned just where she should be (firmly on top of my bladder). I was relaxed and prepared for a simple end to our routine check in. Then Dr. Casual dropped the bomb. He measured Snow Pea's head, stomach and femur on ultrasound which estimated that my baby was weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces! That's very nearly 7 pounds! With 5 weeks to go and an estimated half pound of growth each week, that is one big baby! To say I was surprised and a bit freaked out is putting it lightly.
Dr. Casual of course didn't seem overly concerned, but I could tell he was bit surprised too and he kept mentioning that if she were to be born early, she wouldn't be larger than average at birth. He also reviewed our birth plan and specifically let us know that although I am 37 weeks pregnant, if I were to go into labor at this point, he wouldn't intervene to stop it. He didn't say it outright but both Chad and I could tell he was hoping for labor to start sooner rather than later. He also repeated more than once that he would keep a close eye on her growth in the coming weeks. I just cannot believe this baby could be so big! At 35 weeks the typical fetal weight is about 5 pounds 4 ounces, which means Snow Pea is a full pound and a half bigger than average! The doctor did let me know that these measurements can be off by about 10%, but even subtracting 10% from her estimate would still have her larger than normal.
As we scheduled our next appointment, the nurse at the counter commented that she'd see us next week, if I make it that long anyway. After some nervous laughter, Chad and I rushed home and made sure the hospital bag was packed and ready. Not that we thought things would start immediately, but our doctor's visit made us realize just how close that trip to hospital really is, especially if Snow Pea keeps growing at this rate.
Being the research obsessed person that I am, I have since spent all week trying to learn all I can about the accuracy of ultrasound for predicting fetal weight with very mixed results. I consulted friends, family, message boards, and research studies and they have all ranged in answers from very accurate to not even close. I also spent some time looking into what causes some babies to be bigger than others. Genetics is one of the biggest factors, but genetically I am relatively average, borderline small and my birth weight was only one ounce more than Snow Pea's current estimate, and I was born nearly two weeks late! The other factors are gestational diabetes, which I do not have, and excessive weight gain which I also do not have. I have also heard from just about everyone I have seen that I am carrying small for 8 months pregnant. So why the big baby? If any of you have had ultrasounds to estimate your baby's size before birth, please feel free to share your experiences with their accuracy or anything else I should know.
Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy or disappointed in any way about this news, sure there are a few cute newborn outfits that may be too snug for her, but overall the great news is that my baby is thriving and healthy. I am just surprised, and honestly a teeny bit nervous about whether this will make labor and/or delivery more difficult. I also want to do everything I can to avoid a c-section and I know many doctors and hospitals are more prone to performing them if they suspect that the baby is large. I'm 36 weeks pregnant now, and I go back to see Dr. Casual tomorrow. Hopefully we will get a better idea of what is happening in terms of development. I am also planning to ask about a cervical check to see whether anything has started happening. The exciting side of this is that it does increase the chances that I will be holding Snow Pea in my arms before the month is over! Both Chad and I are crossing our fingers for that to be the case. Our bags are packed, the nursery is just about finished and we are as ready as anyone possibly can be before their whole lives are completely changed forever. Now we just have to wait patiently until Snow Pea is ready to come along and make that change happen.
You may have noticed that I mentioned the nursery is just about finished, so yes, that does mean pictures will be coming soon. Also, I have baby shower pics on the way. Stay tuned...