Comments from my midwives have me nervous - help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I am pregnant with my third child. We recently moved and I am now being cared for by a hospital based MW practice that I have been happy with. My first two labors were drama, drug and intervention free. I feel like the odds of a threepeat are heavily in my favor but a couple of side comments by the MW's at the last two appts have me anxious.

#1: two of the midwives have commented that although my first two labors and deliveries were textbook (and pretty fast) be prepared for anything with the third - they called this baby "the wild card"

#2: my first child was born a few days before the EDD at 6lb14oz, my second was born 12 days postdate at 8lb3oz The MW saw their birth weights and kind of murmered that the difference in birth weight was something she was going to note on my current chart but it wasn't anything I needed to worry about. Well I wasn't worried but I am now and I'm not even sure why!

My prior provider (who attended both births) never mentioned their birth weights or the third baby "wild card" phenomenon. Can any of you out there on the internets advise?
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#2 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 08:24 PM
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I think it's kinda silly to assume your third birth will be a "wild card". I mean, I have no idea what type of physiological changes would occur between baby number 2 and 3 that would cause a different labor. I suspect that the reason the midwives are saying this is because you are a new client, and they don't want you to think it's their fault if your birth is more difficult. In any case, I feel like you are probably going to have a very normal birth, just like your other two. As far as the weight differences; if your second baby was 2 weeks late, that might account for his or her bigger size.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 08:39 PM
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I've read a lot of midwife memoir type stuff, and I have definitely heard the third baby wild card theory before. It seems like a fairly common (mid)wive's tale.


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#4 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 09:18 PM
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Yeah, I've heard the "third birth's a wild card" thing before too - as well as "worst birth, best baby" for third children. There's also something of a trend for babies to get progressively heavier - the first baby might be 7 pounds 3, the second 8 pounds 2, the third 8 pounds 11 and so on. It doesn't always happen, obviously (I was the third of six babies and the biggest), but it's a tendency. So I guess that's why they mentioned them.


I wouldn't take them too seriously. Yes, it's good to be aware that every birth is unique and be prepared for things to happen; but on the other hand, having a positive attitude and expecting an easy labour/birth has merit too. And there's really not much you can do about the weight of your baby, so don't give that a second thought! It sounds like it was a bit sloppy of the midwives to say those things without explanation - they were probably just repeating field truisms without thinking how they might affect you. (Keep an ear out for "babies are born around the full or new moon", which apparently does have some medical backing; "big strong men are always the ones that faint during labour"; and other such gems of wisdom!)


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#5 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 09:59 PM
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If it's any consolation to you, my first child was born two days before her due date and weight 7 lbs; my second was almost two weeks late and weighed over nine. He's not a big guy at all--immediately fell off the growth chart, despite plenty of nursing--so I think he just plumped up while he was waiting around to be born.

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#6 of 18 Old 03-21-2011, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Lish View Post
#2: my first child was born a few days before the EDD at 6lb14oz, my second was born 12 days postdate at 8lb3oz The MW saw their birth weights and kind of murmered that the difference in birth weight was something she was going to note on my current chart but it wasn't anything I needed to worry about. Well I wasn't worried but I am now and I'm not even sure why!


Maybe you can ask her what the significance is.  It sounds like your babies were at least 2 weeks apart in gestational age, and the later one weighed a pound and 5 ounces more, which doesn't sound like a lot.  My first daughter was born at 40w 4d and my second was born at 41w 2d, and they were 2 lbs apart in weight (on different scales, of course).  My mom had 7 kids and my sister had 6, and it seemed like in both cases, their 4th babies were the wild card.  Well, not really, I guess as the 5th child I was the wildcard, since I was an emergency c-section.  But my mom had her first 3 children one way, then her 4th as natural labor, and then her next 3 were c-sections.  I was the largest, and her 3rd and 7th were the smallest.  My sister's 4th was the latest, 19 days post EDD and her largest. 

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#7 of 18 Old 03-22-2011, 10:57 AM
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my thrid was not what i expected at all.


my first two were easy labour one was a day early and my second was 11 days early.


this little guy was weeks of prodomal labour and ended up being a c-section for unknown causes.... our heart rates spiked and we have no idea why.


so yea i'd say my little guy was a wild card.. i expected him to be earlier quick and to be the home birth we planned

SAHM to D ( 10/06 ) A (10/08) & C (03/11)
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#8 of 18 Old 03-22-2011, 05:43 PM
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Every birth is a "wildcard."  I'd say that the odds are resoundingly in your favor to have another awesome birth.  I would guess that your midwives mentioned it solely because NO ONE can predict what will or won't happen in labor and birth.  It's what makes it so magical winky.gif

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#9 of 18 Old 03-22-2011, 05:55 PM
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Its just an expression used by midwives (my little sister among them)  "The first birth is loooong - the second birth will be faster and the third birth is the wild card"  - the expression ends there so i have no idea how the 4th, 5 th etc...will

i just had my third in August and i was paranoid the entire pregnancy...i was completely convinced that i was going to have like a 72 hour long labor  or some horrible the end, it was my fastest labor - but also my hardest to deal with. 

I recommend relaxing while thinking positive thoughts and remembering your two previous births - as well as investing in a labor doula!

in the end- its just an expression


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#10 of 18 Old 03-22-2011, 09:55 PM
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Not sure why she'd note the birth weights.


But, on point one, I've heard anecdotal accounts that your third really can be different from the first two. That has been true of friends of mine. And, for your own mental preparation, it's good anyway to not assume too much that your next birth will be like your first. Really, all of them are just as prone to be different than the previous. So, take it for what it's worth and keep an open mind as the end of your pregnancy approaches.

Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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#11 of 18 Old 03-23-2011, 11:54 AM
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Okay, I'm going to try and maintain my positive attitude about my upcoming third birth after reading this thread! whistling.gif I don't put my head in the sand and know anything can happen, but I am still going to choose to feel optimistic that it will be as easy (relatively speaking) as my first two.  But I totally get why these things they said have freaked you out!  It *is* just a saying.  Don't let it put a damper on your optimism.  As long as you have made peace in your mind with the possibility that "anything can happen" (which is true of EVERY birth), then I think it's fine to put your fingers in your ears and say "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" anytime you hear that type of remark.  :)

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#12 of 18 Old 03-28-2011, 01:42 PM
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OP, this expression has nothing to do with having an interventionist or noninterventionist birth, just that, as others have said, if you try to "assume" that you'll have a relatively quick labor for #3 because #2 was fast, well, it may not be that way.  But you're in the care of a capable midwife, and just because it could happen "differently" that it will happen with interventions. 


I wouldn't worry about it.  I think her point was that you shouldn't go into labor expecting it to be quick, because its possible it could be more drawn out (which can totally be manageable, because its less intense).  Or it could be fast.  The point is, you have no idea the pace this labor will take, and you're in the care of a MW who can help you achieve the birth environment and experience you want, at whatever pace it happens.


As for the birth, I would just shrug.  It's interesting to note, that's all.



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#13 of 18 Old 03-28-2011, 02:01 PM
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here is a positive spin for you. she probably wanted to make a note of the varying weights in your file so that if you have a gestating baby that seems on the small side or on the big side, the person looking at your chart knows that both are normal for you! Might avoid some of the induction crazy talk near the end of pregnancy women sometimes get for size issues, right?

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#14 of 18 Old 03-28-2011, 02:14 PM
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I try to be clear when I say thing like "3rd one's the wild card". What I mean similar to above, that the first is usually the longest.  The second cuts a bunch of time off the first, but the third is sometimes a little longer or shorter than the first.  Often mamas get worried and start doing labor math in pregnancy.  OK.  First baby was 18 hours (ie, the exact mean of first births).  Second was 8 hours, but it was really only 3 hours of work.  From the time I called you to baby out was 2 hours!  Is this baby gonna come in the parking lot of Safeway?  I mean, I cut 10 hours off the first labor!  Will I sneeze out the baby?  "Wild Card" is meant to suggest that I would consider anything from 4-14 hours as normal for a 3rd baby.  That's all.  As far as weights, I expect 8 ounces on the baby for each week of pregnancy at the end.  So, if you had an almost 7 pounder, having a barely 8 pounder 12 days later makes total sense. 



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#15 of 18 Old 04-01-2011, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all of you who have replied! I have never taken any of my pregnancies or labors for granted and realize that each is as unique as the new little life we are welcoming.

The reason the "wild card" comments worried/worry me is because I am in a new practice and it has been mentioned repeatedly. I actually had a check-up this morning with a midwife I hadn't met before who chuckled when I brought it up. She said that the odds were heavily in my favor to have a third uneventful birth, but then went on to tell me that they have had a hard winter as a practice and there have been a rash of unexpected complications and "emergent situations" ending in OB transfer for c-sections among their patients. Fingers crossed I won't be in that number.

I am actually more worried about them noting my childrens difference in birth weights on my chart. Banana & Jane, thank you for your positive perspectives on that issue. The MW was running behind (due to the aforementioned unexpected events) so I didn't have a chance to ask her about *their* particular reason for noting it on my chart. Hopefully it is as you suggest and not going to evolve into a justification of an induction for a "large baby" or other such intervention.

All of this paranoia on my part is not reflected by the statistics of their practice and the first hand referrals I have gotten from local doulas and other mama's. I think I am just nervous about being in a hospital based practice and having the natural course of pregnancy and birth interfered with. I have my antennae up every time I darken their door and (over?)analyze everything they say.
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#16 of 18 Old 04-01-2011, 11:54 AM
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I would actually mention to them that you are just hoping for a happy healthy birth and would like to hear that focus from them, too. It's insensitive to repeatedly mention what they are and unintentionally worries you needlessly.


Just for some reference- let me tell you MY stats:


Abigail 99'- Induced a week+ with Pit before her due date due to hypertension ( had surgery to remove my gall bladder at 7 1/2 mos pf pregnancy and had steroid injections to develop her lungs in case I went into labor) was born 7lbs, 7oz

Grace 00'- Had premature Rupture of membranes because the midwife was sure I would go into labor due to lots of false labor. I did not progress so ended up getting induced with Pit. She was 7lbs, 10oz
Miscarried at 13 weeks in 01'

Danny 02'-  Went into labor morning after due date, labored for 45 minutes before transition, 15 min pushing he was out. 7lbs, 4 oz

Jacob 03'- Went a WEEK overdue (because we moved into a new house day after my due date in a new state) midwife induced me with Pit without my consent. Hard long labor. He was 7 lbs, 11 oz.

Eva Bella 06'- Went into labor 4 days before due date, she was 8lbs, 1 oz

Miscarried 13 weeks in 07'

Emmalia 09'- Went into labor a week before her due date, was born in a few hours- five minutes of pushing. 6lbs, 15 oz


Each pregnancy & birth is different. Your body doesnt say "Oops, you had a couple babies of this weight so time to mix things up!" It just does what nature tells everything to do. Outcomes are for MANY different reasons- and a LOT can be environmental.

Ive had 6 babies, but that doesnt mean this one will be FASTER, per say, or even easier. Depending on the position of the baby, how my body is, where I AM both physically and mentally- that all changes things. The fact I have a separated pubic bone CAN TELL US that pushing will be pretty quick, simply because there is more space for the baby to exit. But otherwise, it's really hard to say. Ive talked to moms with 10 kids who said that their 10th was one of their hardest and/or longest.


I would just mention to your midwives that you would appreciate if they wouldnt continue to go on and on about guesses and that you would like to concnetrate on a healthy baby outcome. :)

-Jyn, Blessed mom of Abbie ('99), Gracie ('00), AngelBaby ('01), Danny ('02), Jacob ('03), Eva Bella ('06), Angel-Baby2 ('07), Emmalia ('09), Justus John Mark ('11), Jude Ellias Due 7-16-13

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#17 of 18 Old 04-01-2011, 11:55 AM
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It really annoys me when midwives say things like that. First of all, anecdotal evidence isn't evidence. Secondly, what could it possibly serve the mama psychologically to say things like that? Really? I believe a midwife's approach to any and every (low risk) pregnancy is, "we have every indication to believe everything is going to go wonderfully and if anything arises, we will cross that bridge when we come to it!" ... then act like that. This "wildcard" business is nonsense. I'm sure some people have experienced it, but I'm sure just as many people haven't so what's the point of placing fear/doubt/worry/concern etc into a mama's mind for no reason? Maybe that's not the intention of the midwife but it certainly seems to have that effect for many mamas so what does it serve?


If I wanted vague anecdotal warnings or out-of-thin-air "predictions" based on how the "winter went" I'd go to an OB... lol

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#18 of 18 Old 04-01-2011, 01:50 PM
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It seems to me that a good part of the difference in your babies' weights can be explained by gestational age.


My first son was 7 lbs 2 oz and born at 39w 3d. My second son was 8 lbs 10 oz and born at 39w 4d. Not sure what happened there!

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