Homebirth of small baby, concerns - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 09-21-2010, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since the beginning of this pregnancy I have had the idea in my head that this baby is a little guy. Actually, there is no evidence to this fact, though my fundus has lagged behind where it was my other two pregnancies (just a little bit, though). And, on top of no evidence suggesting a small baby, my intuition is not super keen anyway (DH's is usually spot on, though), but for peace of mind...

What would be concerns at a homebirth for birthing a smaller baby? I would suppose making sure the house was quite warm would be important... But beyond that, I can't think of what else I need in my mental check-list.

Thanks all. For me, feeling prepared for what-ifs give me great peace of mind. I think that is what I really need. Actually, it has occurred to me that after having two babies before their due dates, this intuition may simply be preparing me to go past my due date if this guy needs to gestate a little longer to be ready.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#2 of 23 Old 09-21-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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My son was about 5 lbs when we took him home from the hospital. My daughter, who was born at home, was 6 lbs 1 oz. I don't know what it's like to have a bigger baby, but those two did just fine!! (Since DS was 5.5 they kept us in the hospital for a few days per the birthing center's standards - he was healthy but since he was LBW he was considered at risk. But they let us go home after a few days and he certainly wasn't any bigger.)
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#3 of 23 Old 09-21-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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How little would be "little" for you?

My smallest was 6 lbs 3 oz. We didn't do anything differently. I would have thought if it was an issue, the midwife would have said something...

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#4 of 23 Old 09-21-2010, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good question. I guess in the 5's seems small to me. My smallest was 7lbs 4 oz, and had trouble keeping up his temp at birth. My 8lb 8oz boy was very hearty. My dad was a very small baby, although he is adopted so there may be reasons for that that we don't know, but he was 4 pounds at birth. I don't think we are looking at a babe that small, even if he does come out on the smallish side. I'm glad to hear other's baby's have had no issues at all.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#5 of 23 Old 09-21-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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DS was 6lbs even at birth (and 5 lbs 13oz the next day after he pooped ) We never had any difficulties.

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#6 of 23 Old 09-22-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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DS was 6 lb. 2 oz. at birth and 5 lb. 10 oz. on day three. As a first time mom it totally stressed me out. I was constantly worried if he was warm enough, eating enough, etc. My HB MW was great though. She had me nursing him every 1.5-2 hours and by day 6 he was over birth weight. He was fine and still is a skinny kid (he's 3.5 yrs. now)--just his build I guess. I went on to have DD who was 8 1/2# at birth and I'll admit, I was relieved. I never worried for a second about her.

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#7 of 23 Old 09-22-2010, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by dogmom327 View Post
DS was 6 lb. 2 oz. at birth and 5 lb. 10 oz. on day three. As a first time mom it totally stressed me out. I was constantly worried if he was warm enough, eating enough, etc. My HB MW was great though. She had me nursing him every 1.5-2 hours and by day 6 he was over birth weight. He was fine and still is a skinny kid (he's 3.5 yrs. now)--just his build I guess. I went on to have DD who was 8 1/2# at birth and I'll admit, I was relieved. I never worried for a second about her.
That is just the thing. With an 8 pounder it's like you have some leeway. There is wiggle room with how warmly baby is or is not dressed, doesn't matter if you milk is on the slower side to come in, you don't have to worry about making sure baby wakes up (or stays awake) to eat.

Anyway, like I said, I have no actual reasons to believe this guy is small. Just the weird gut feeling. I think I will simply keep "warm house/lots of skin contact" and "frequent feeding" on my small baby what-if list.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#8 of 23 Old 09-22-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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You know, when I have those feelings you're describing, I try to listen to them and usually, it proves beneficial. That said, have you had an ultrasound? You might just want to keep an eye on growth, placenta, etc. There could be many reasons, especially since you have two older kids (who has time to eat?) but you might regret later if you ignored a nagging feeling...just my 2 cents.

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#9 of 23 Old 09-22-2010, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, when I have those feelings you're describing, I try to listen to them and usually, it proves beneficial. That said, have you had an ultrasound? You might just want to keep an eye on growth, placenta, etc. There could be many reasons, especially since you have two older kids (who has time to eat?) but you might regret later if you ignored a nagging feeling...just my 2 cents.
Thank you. I agree and do need that validation. I think I am a little afraid of voicing this to my midwives for fear I will look foolish when he is born a strapping 8 pounds. On the other hand, I just can't shake the thought. I have had u/s's, and both measured the babe a couple days ahead of schedule. My fundus has been behind what it was in my previous pregnancies, and my weight gain has been a little less. I will bring it up to my midwives, I don't know if they can tell by palpating baby if he 'feels' smallish. He certainly is active, and that is good.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#10 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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I told my mw at every appointment that I thought this baby (my youngest, born at home in June) was going to be tiny and that it was making me so nervous. My first two were 8 and a half and nine pounds each, and for some reason I was fixated on baby number 3 being really small and not knowing how to deal with a small baby. I measured slightly behind my entire third trimester, but lo-and-behold Charlie was 9lbs8oz. So certainly bring it up if it's bothering you, but also know that you may just be carrying in a different way which leads to a slightly smaller fundal height. Good luck mama!
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#11 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is funny! Last night DH (whose intuition happens to be much better than mine... he has a gift) dreamt that we had a large baby. Today at my appointment I brought up the small baby worries to my mw who said he felt very normal sized to her. Also, I have received prayer over this anxiety and now feel very at peace. AND, I keep thinking (now) that we will have a regular sized baby, no problem. I love the name, Charlie, btw. It is my eldest son's name.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#12 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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My DS was born 5lbs11oz at a birth center. We were home 4 hours later. No issues with keeping him warm, in fact he tends to run hot like daddy.

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#13 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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I had two smaller babies (both well under 6 lbs) born at home. Both were full term, healthy and didn't require anything special.
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#14 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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My daughter was just born at a day short of 42w at 7lb6oz... so I can imagine if she were born at 36-38 weeks like we had expected she would have been much tinier!

As long as her lungs were mature, I would not care about her size too much. I would actually be more happy with a small but healthy baby at home than in the hospital where they make a big deal out of it.

If she were having trouble regulating temp I would just Kangaroo Care her... even without trouble regulating temp, we are doing that and she looooooves it!

Artist, photographer, stay-at-home-mom and Marine wife. Mom to 4; a boy and three little girls.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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My oldest DD had IUGR. We were planning a natural birth in a hospital with midwives, but when the tech measured with US and estimated 5lbs 0oz, I was sent for an emergency induction right then. I was 38wks, had no previous indication, except my fundal height had dropped to 34cm and had been feeling less fetal movement.

I labored for 24 hrs, she was born and was 4lbs 13oz, but also totally healthy, no obvious reason for the growth restriction. She had tests, but I refused all interventions, so she would have been fine if we were home.
She did have low blood sugar. They pushed formula, I told them that I would nurse her and they could re-test. This happened every time we nursed for 36 hours, a pre-feed heel stick test. Even as a first time mom, I made enough colostrum to bring her sugars up. However, she was extra sleepy, and I had to be contientious and wake her to nurse, then she would fall asleep nursing, and I would wake her again and nurse more.
Also, I had to do a "carseat challenge" because apparently the tiny ones can have trouble in a carseat. The had her sit in a bucket seat with O2 monitors on her to make sure she kept breathing for 1.5 hours. So, if you do have a tiny one, I wouldn't ride in the car more than about 20 min at a time and I would sit next to babe to keep and eye on her for the first few weeks.

Okay, now some better news. With DD2, at 38 wks, I had gained 13 lbs LESS than with DD1, and my fundal height lagged to 34cm, exactly the measurement that triggered the extra checking that had found DD1's IUGR. I went for an US (terrified I was headed down the same road as DD1's awful induction), and everything looked normal, so went ahead with my plans (like a homebirth, but it is illegal here, so I went across state lines to my MW's house). DD2 was born 7lbs 2oz, and wicked healthy and strong. 2 hours after birth, my Dad was holding her, and she lifted her head to look at him! (only a tiny bit, but still, we were all shocked. )
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#16 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting about the small babe's who were just, well, small with no problems. I guess I've been comparing to my DS1 (who was born 2 weeks early, and also has Down Syndrome, so maybe he just wasn't as ready as he thought he was going to be to be born then). He was 7lbs 4 oz and just had a few issues with learning to suck, staying awake to nurse (or really ever feeling hungry at first), and we did have to kangaroo him (love our local hospital that feels this is totally acceptable care, and were the ones who set us up skin to skin with warm blankets over us both) to keep his temp up. I just keep thinking if he was 7lbs and a very cool and sleepy baby, what would a smaller one be like? Maybe he just wasn't ready. For a baby/child with Down Syndrome, he is remarkably healthy, so I know it was not medical. We did not know he had Down Syndrome for a couple months, or maybe we would have blamed it on that. Anyway... the good thing is my midwife says our baby feel very average sized, and from two weeks ago my fundus grew 3cm so that was reasurring as well. Plus DH's dream of a pink, healthy, largish baby being born to us.

Thank you for the stories and input.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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#17 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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I have a highschool friend who went into labor at a little past 36w and had a baby around 4 pounds 12 ounces. No NICU stay. They were home a day or two later just like normal.

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#18 of 23 Old 10-04-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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Thank you. I agree and do need that validation. I think I am a little afraid of voicing this to my midwives for fear I will look foolish when he is born a strapping 8 pounds. On the other hand, I just can't shake the thought. I have had u/s's, and both measured the babe a couple days ahead of schedule. My fundus has been behind what it was in my previous pregnancies, and my weight gain has been a little less. I will bring it up to my midwives, I don't know if they can tell by palpating baby if he 'feels' smallish. He certainly is active, and that is good.
Don't be afraid to voice your thoughts with your midwife, you are not foolish. My baby was born at 6lbs 7oz, he was long and lean like his mama. Not to worry! I barely looked pregnant! After I had him, went to our co op and had a checker say.... "I didn't even know you were pregnant!"

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#19 of 23 Old 10-04-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Not that t his answers your question, but I "knew" my baby would be small too. I was born 3 weeks late and only weighed 7lbs 2 oz. My hubby was full tern and only in the 7 lb range.

At 38 weeks when my DS flipped breech and then back a day later I "knew" it was because he was so tiny and had tons of room.

Well, he was 8lbs and 3 oz! I know that's not "big" but still, not the little 6 pounder I was expecting
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#20 of 23 Old 10-04-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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If your midwife says your fundus is growing properly, I think that's a great sign!

My DS had IUGR and was diagnosed at 34 weeks when my fundus hadn't grown at all in between appts (confirmed with US then to measure baby). My CNM took a very conservative approach and didn't ask me to induce until I was 38 wk 6 days at which point my fundus was actually getting smaller (I was going in for bi-weekly NSTs and did constant kick counts). Baby was born at 4 lb 15 oz with a definite "old man" appearance (baggy skin and just so, so thin). He was healthy aside from that, but babies with IUGR ARE at increased risk during labor and for stillbirth because they can be weaker due to being basically starved in the womb (that's why they tend to induce mom as soon as lungs are developed enough for delivery to be pretty safe). Good luck--hopefully your new LO will just be a bit smaller than your others!
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#21 of 23 Old 10-04-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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How little would be "little" for you?
Yeah, that's a very good question. Size can be so relevant from one mother to another. When I tell people DS was 8lb10oz I often get, "Wow, that's big! My baby was only 6/7lbs!" and when they say that I reply with, "Wow! That's tiny!" To me, anything under 8lbs is "small" (6lbs being tiny and anything under 6 is miniscule to me) and I don't consider a baby "big" until 10lbs. That's just how it works in my brain at least.

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#22 of 23 Old 10-05-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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Hi OP I'd like to share my story, because I could have written your post when I was pregnant with my first (except for the fact that he was my first.) I felt all along that I was not big enough, but was not concerned with it enough to get an ultrasound, as he was continuously growing.

My mother and sisters all had 7 pound babies or more and gave birth around their due date, with about 12 hour labors, so I was expecting about the same.

What really happened is that I went 10 days past due, was in active labor for 2.5 hours, and gave birth to a 5lb6oz baby (and my conception date was exact). I feel so blessed that I didn't have an ultrasound or hospital based care, because I'm sure if I had they would have induced me when really my small baby just needed more time to cook.

I have been to more than 30 homebirths before and was a little shocked at how skinny he was. He had great apgars 8 and 10. My midwife warned me that sometimes small babies have a harder time nursing, but we had the easiest nursing relationship, and he was a strong nurser right from the start. Even though he was skinny, his length and head circumference were average. He remained in the 5-10 percentile until he was about a year old.

Later I learned that my mother's mother gave birth to 5 pound babies and had the same kind of labor I did, she never knew it was happening until she was pushing. So I assume I just got all of her genes when it comes to making babies.

Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#23 of 23 Old 10-06-2010, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the story. I had had the thought that perhaps I should expect to grow this baby past my due date (which I am also certain of) after having had my other boys before our due date. Maybe this one is just needing more cooking time. Good to know that a smaller guy may have a harder time learning to nurse. I can be prepared for that. Actually, DS1 was a VERY sleepy, but average size baby, and was hard to establish nursing. Of course then he went on to nurse for 3 years.

And smeep, I know it is all relative, and that some folks just make them smaller. My boys were 7lbs 4oz, and 8lbs 8oz. The first born about a week earlier than the second, so really they were similar in rate of growth. So, for me, a baby who is smaller than my boys would seem small. I am not really concerned with what actual size our baby will be. But if he were to in some way be smaller than *he* needs to be to be a healthy, alert, temperature regulated, ready to learn to nurse kind of guy.

Really though, after voicing these concerns to my midwives recently, and having them pay more special attention to his size while palpating the babe, I feel much more at ease. He's not looking like a large baby, but he does not feel small to their hands, either. I do feel reassured. And, I figure I will either be thankful for my intuition when my baby is born and I am prepared to keep a little guy extra warm and take special care to nurse him well, or I will have a good laugh when he slides out a strapping 8lbs of chub.

Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys!  "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.
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