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I Gave Birth to an 11-Pound Baby at Home

Photograph by Gretchen Bossio

Oh yes, you read that right: My son was 11 pounds and 4 ounces when he was born. And, since I know you’re wondering, yes, he was born vaginally.

Don’t worry if you just choked on your coffee. It happens to most everyone. In fact, I’m still in awe that I birthed an 11-pound child and lived to tell the tale. I guess that’s the beauty of not knowing your child’s birth weight until after they’re born. Had I known before I started pushing, I’m sure I would have rethought my home birth plans.

Yes, my chunky little man was also born at home under the supervision of a skilled midwife and her team. And when we weighed him, we were all shocked! We knew he looked full and quite rolly for a newborn, but over 11 pounds?! We double checked and then I put away the precious newborn outfit I had laid out. This boy was starting out life in size 0-3–month clothes!

I know you have some other burning questions, so let's get down to it.

Yes, I was late. My midwife and I sensed my baby was getting big, so when labor had not progressed on its own, I chose, with her guidance, to break my water in an attempt to kick-start labor at exactly 41 weeks. My body must have been ready because that worked like a charm! My son was born just 90 minutes after the big gush.

Based on my experience, I feel confident saying that big babies don’t necessarily mean difficult births.

No, I did not have a third trimester ultrasound that may have predicted a large baby. Third trimester ultrasounds have quite the margin of error, so I didn’t feel like one was necessary. Plus, I had mentally prepared for a big baby. tend to grow my babies big: my other kids were 8 pounds, 10 ounces; 10 pounds, 4 ounces; and 9 pounds, 4 ounces. But I definitely didn’t expect to reach 11 pounds with Baby No. 4!

No, I did not have gestational diabetes. I took that awful test and my results were normal, so my baby’s birth weight wasn’t tied to complications from that.

And the real kicker?

Birthing my 11-pound newborn wasn’t that bad. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was still GIVING BIRTH. I bellowed and told my husband more than once that I absolutely, without a doubt, hated labor and could not bear to go on. I tore and needed a few stitches, when all was said and done. But in comparison to my other births? This one wins. It was the easiest by far. Based on my experience, I feel confident saying that big babies don’t necessarily mean difficult births.

If you're staring down the barrel of having to birth a potentially large baby, I've got one tip for you: squat. I truly credit my midwife’s birthing stool with helping me push him out. With my 10-pounder, I didn’t have a birthing stool, but I did exercise a similar squat form when he was born. Such a lovely visual, I know, but cross my heart, that is how birth is meant to happen. It won’t be easy, but it will be more manageable. Make extra space and let gravity work for you when it comes time to push that not-so-little human out.

Am I scarred for life after birthing an 11-pound baby? No, not one bit. Extra fat doesn’t even come close to comparing to his sibling, who was born with his hand up by his face. Now, that was killer!

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