In the last 1000 years in Norway, it was common for Norsemen to have hordes of kids. This was largely due to the survival rate but also the more kids, the more farmhands you had working. These days it is most common for Norwegian families to only have two kids. Because of this, Norwegian women tend to have smaller babies and carry less weight.
Because Lilu was my third, I was a little bigger than the average pregnant Norwegian. This is because women are like chickens. The younger you are, the less eggs you have baked and so the smaller the eggs – the older you are, the more you have baked, the bigger the eggs. I must say, Lilu was a big baby. Partly due to genetics (even though Pappa is Norwegian, who tend to be short and stocky, he is also half Finnish which has made him 6’7″) and partly because of the chicken and the egg analogy above. Even though Lilu is only 18 months she fits into three year old clothes.
Now I’m in my seventh month with my fourth baby – and it looks like I swallowed a watermelon seed. To most Norwegians I would look like I’m about to pop but I still have two months to go. I am starting to get a little self conscience when I go out, even to the shops, as I have to waddle more to get around and use the trolley for support. Just my sheer size draws attention – there are not many large people walking around Norway. Because of the Norwegian character, there is no talk, just looks. I’m actually quiet glad that Norwegians don’t like to strike up conversation with strangers. In Australia I got so sick of every stranger looking at my fat belly and then telling me about their birthing story. At least here in Norway I can be big without the repeated birthing conversations with every stranger who walks by.
This ‘big for dates’ size has brought my dates forward in my first ultrasound as the baby was showing signs of biggness then. I haven’t been game to weigh myself but I’ve noticed lately that I am way bigger than normal. So off to the doctor I went for an extra check up. He measured me and yep – the baby is even bigger from the last ‘big for dates’ progression line on my chart. Doh! Without delay he booked me into another ultrasound appointment – the appointment paper from the Maternity clinic at the hospital arrived by post the same week. And another ‘doh!’ – my appointment is right when Moose is in Ireland for the big U2 concert. It’s not wise to try and change such appointments as, from past experience, it can be delayed for another month. So, with runaway toddler in tow, I will have to manage the appointment myself.
Size really does matter when it comes to ‘big for dates’. It might mean that my dates were wrong and need to be brought forward again. It might mean that the baby will need to be induced early so it doesn’t ‘get stuck’. It might mean twins – (but highly unlikely). But being ‘big for dates’ certainly does mean physical complications. At the moment my water retention is outrageous and I can’t touch below my knees unless I sit like Buda. I can’t fit into my normal pregnancy clothes – I’m down to one skirt and one pair of pants. I said to Moose that I needed a Mu Mu. (He didn’t know what that was – something to do with cows, maybe? The best I could describe was the Mu Mu Homer wore on the Simpsons when he got too fat – but Moose must have missed that episode.)
The weight is also putting more pressure on my lower back and pelvis. This makes it hard to walk and now I need to use crutches to get around – even from the bed to the toilet. At night, when my body relaxes it uses this time to soften my pelvis so the baby can grow and my pelvis/tummy can expand. Unfortunately this makes it extremely difficult to roll over in bed and I often need Moose’s help to get up in the morning.
However, I will be going to physio, which is free in Norway for women who are pregnant, to get some good tips on how to manage my size. And, we will see how everything is in a couple of weeks time when I get the ‘big for dates’ ultrasound.