*stranger approaches me at grocery store*
“Awe how precious is he, is he a week old?”
“No actually, he is six weeks old today”
*surprised looking stranger*
“awe but he is so tiny, poor little guy”
“Yes, but he is completely healthy and thriving”
And there goes the explanation of why he is a bite sized newborn 😂
As a first time mom, I’ll never forget the day Benjamin got his diagnosis with IUGR. I went in for a routine ultrasound after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes (yes, usually you worry about BIG babies!) and as I was driving in to work after my appointment, I got a call from my midwife: “Emily, there is a problem with your ultrasounds. Call your husband, go home and pack your bag, and meet me back at the hospital”
I was frantic. I called my husband Darren and told him to meet me there asap. When I saw him, I ran to him in tears. “They are saying he is in 1 percentile.”
Being hooked up to the machines in labour and delivery at 32 weeks was the most terrifying moment in my life at that point. Was he ok? Was I going to have my baby today? How will we cope?
Luckily for us, and not so luckily for other moms in similar situations, he was perfectly healthy and indeed thriving, given his size. I was given steroid shots to help develop his lungs and was sent home. I was to report back at the hospital twice a week for ultrasounds to make sure his doppler and growth scans were good.
So we trekked on and I was able to give birth vaginally at 37.5 weeks. Benjamin Ronald Payne was born on October 18/18 at 11:23 PM at a whopping 4 lbs 13 oz.
The first moment I held him was so surreal. He was so small, yet so so perfect. It was hard to believe he was half the size of other newborns. We got whisked away to the NICU where we spent 4 days there. Again, we are one of the lucky ones.
So, what is IUGR?
Intrauterine Growth Restriction is far more common than you would think, having never heard of it myself. Essentially, it is where the placenta stops giving your baby what he needs to grow at the proper pace. There are several risk factors for this to happen:
1. Gestational diabetes
2. Heart problems or high blood pressure
4. Kidney disease or lung disease
5. Malnutrition or anemia
5. Smoking, doing drugs or drinking
6. There really can be no cause at all.
The last one is an important one. I spent alot of time beating myself up and still do from time to time. But as always we need to remind ourselves that there are just some things that are out of our control (I know, so easy being a mom!)
Now I look at Ben and think I just have this little munchkin of a human and how lucky I am. And yes, my tiny baby will always come with questions- just shows how unique he truly is!
Thanks as always for reading ❤ take care !