When I get an image of a beautiful confident successful woman in my head I am not filled with images of Camryn Manheim or Queen Latifah, despite their obvious beauty and success. The beauty who comes to mind is thirty-five year old Tina Maracle. Tina works as a Merchandising Manager in Ottawa Ontario and is currently on maternity leave for one year (the allowable duration in Ontario). Tina took some time out of her 'new' schedule to share her pregnancy. If you're thinking of getting pregnant or are already pregnant I'm sure you'll find some comfort in her experience.
Moe: Were you trying to get pregnant or was it a surprise? If trying how long?
Moe: How much did you weigh when you found out you were pregnant?
Tina: 118 kg (260lbs)
Moe: Did your doctor comment on your weight?
Tina: Initially, no.
Moe: How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?
Tina: Lost weight actually (about 10 lbs)
Moe: Did your doctor talk to you about any concern about having a plus size pregnancy?
Tina: No, just that it's normal for a plus size woman to lose weight during pregnancy.
Moe: Were there any concerns about your age?
Tina: Funny you mention that...because I was 34 when I became pregnant. I was not in a high-risk category. They consider 35 high risk... funny considering I did turn 35 while pregnant.
Moe: What was your BP and blood sugar levels like during your pregnancy?
Tina: I had pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure) and was medicated early on in the pregnancy and throughout. Funny, they monitored my BP during delivery (C-section) and as soon as the baby was delivered my blood pressure returned to normal and has been ever since. Blood sugar levels were fine.
Moe: If they were a concern, what were your doctors recommendations?
Tina: The doctor repeatedly inquired how much exercise I was getting and how I was eating... even referred me to a dietician (I didn't go) to encourage me to lose weight (keep in mind, I was already losing instead of gaining).
Moe: Did you eat differently during your pregnancy? Any cravings?
Tina: Actually, no cravings... I found I tended to eat a lot healthier; more specifically following the Canada Food Guide, I tend not to eat enough vegetables.
Moe: How did you feel during your pregnancy? Morning sickness? Euphoria? Acne? Back pain? Leg cramps?
Tina: My only 2 negative symptoms of pregnancy where a lot of water retention in the summer months of my pregnancy (I delivered mid-Aug)... could be a lot to do with climate... really humid and hot!! The other was never ending heartburn, which appeared early in the 2nd trimester and never left... nothing would relieve this (Argghh!).
Moe: How much did Evan weigh when he was born?
Tina: 8lbs 6ounces. I had guessed he would weigh 8.5! Not sure what the prize was though.
Moe: Were there any complications during delivery? What was your delivery like?
Tina: I had decided early on that I wanted a hospital birth, simply because the risk of dealing with complications with a home birth. I would have liked a doula, but simply couldn't swing it financially. My water broke at 2am on a Tuesday morning. I was in bed and rolled over and coughed... and hello! Everyone was right that you KNOW when your water breaks. I wouldn't dilate past 7 cm, even with the aid of Pitocin and some medicated sponge they inserted to bring on contractions. Finally at 9am the next morning (after a LONG) labour and contractions being at 1 minute apart, then on top of each other for the previous 16 hours (the Jacuzzi was an amazing relief during the contractions). The baby's heart rate started to decelerate and so they decided on a C-Section.
I was so scared that I would feel it; I mean they are cutting you open! I felt nothing, no pressure, absolutely no pain. I just, however, felt this feeling that someone just handed me a baby to love, that he didn't come out of me...not sure if this makes sense at all. I cried throughout the entire C-section (it took about 30 minutes max), asked my mom if the baby was ok and fell into a deep sleep. The surgeon said he has never had someone fall asleep during a C-section. The only mention of my size was that the surgeon anticipated some healing problems because of my tummy size. It isn't flat, the incision doesn't exactly get the air it would normally get. They inserted a drain as a precaution.
Moe: What was the best part about being pregnant?
Tina: I definitely prefer that he is here now; I think I had so much going on during my pregnancy I didn't really stop to enjoy it. I love just feeling him kick and talking to him.
Moe: How do you like being a new mother?
Tina: I didn't plan any of this and had someone have asked me a year ago, I would have told them how much I love the single life. I can't imagine not being a mom. This child is amazing. He's brought out things in me I never knew I had.
Moe: Do you wish you had lost some weight before getting pregnant? Why or why not?
Tina: Not at all. Even with the pressure I felt from my physicians. Why not? Hard to answer, I guess I am just comfortable?
Moe: What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Tina: I wish I had of taken the time to enjoy the pregnancy experience.
Moe: Any advice for plus size women wanting to get pregnant or who are presently expecting?
Tina: You will get advice; tons of it... use what you feel works for you. Pacifiers are your friend, trust me. Breastfeeding is HARD, don't let anyone tell you it isn't. I never imagined how hard it would be...both time consuming and just getting the technique down. Enjoy it! And enjoy your curves, the baby will love snuggling up with you.