Eating for Four

When I’ve got nothing else to do, I co-write an informational question and answer column in The Plains Wheeler-Dealer.  We get some pretty interesting questions from time to time, like this one: 

Erna Persnuckett, from Sunken Flat, Nebraska, writes, “Will eating more during my daughter’s pregnancy give her a bigger baby?” 

First of all, Erna, how much you eat will not in any way, shape, or form affect either your daughter or her baby.  It’s nice that you are empathetic and want to be involved in the pregnancy, but … 

Oh, wait!  I’ll bet you meant if your daughter eats more, will she have a bigger baby!  I’m glad you asked that, Erna.  No, eating more will not give her a larger bambino, but it will give her a larger fanny.  I know this from personal experience.  Seriously!  Let me tell you a true-life story. 

My first child caused me a lot of motherly grief, and it started when she was born.  I doubt if anybody ever had a harder labor than I endured, and, to top it all off, after hours of agony I ended up having a C-section.  When Child #2 began to make her presence known, I was quite confident that this time around the delivery would be a cakewalk — nice, tidy little C-section, and voila! Baby would appear on the scene with a minimum of trouble. 

Not so, I found out during my initial visit with the doctor.  Times had changed, and “once a C-section, always a C-section” was no longer the standard procedure.  “We see how beeg baby ees,” he intoned in broken English. “If baby smaw, you have no’mal deleevery.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” was my inward thought.  “I’m not putting up with this, just because some insurance company doesn’t want to pay for the full treatment.”

I came up with the bright idea of overeating until that baby became a respectable size.  I figured an eight or ten pounder ought to convince Mr. Obstetrician that going through a regular labor was out of the question.  I did not consult him or Pregnant Mom-O Magazine to find out if my scientific hypothesis would hold water.  I just proceeded to eat – not for two, but for four. 

By the fifth month, the doc was getting a little nervous.  “You put on nine pounds dees mont’.  Don’ you t’eenk dat ees a beet much?  Where you stuffin’ eet?”

By month #9, I was between thirty-five and forty pounds heavier than when we started the whole adventure, and I intimately understood how beached whales must feel.  Two weeks before delivery, I got the good news: he didn’t think we ought to attempt “no’mal deleevery.” 

The upshot of the whole story is that the baby weighed under six pounds, the C-section wasn’t the piece of cake I remembered from the first pregnancy twelve years before, and I had a powerful lot of tonnage to lose. 

So, Erna, tell your daughter that if she is eating more in hopes of breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest baby on the planet, it won’t work.  The baby might end up a dainty Thumbelina, and your daughter could end up in the book for other reasons – like taking up more territory than anybody else in Nebraska.

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