TAMPA — Chunky newborn Avery Denton curled up in his mother Maxxandra Ford's arms Friday morning wearing a shirt that read "World Record Breaker."
He didn't actually break that record, but the 13 pound, 4 ounce baby boy did hit a hospital one: He was born at 14.1 pounds, the biggest baby in St. Joseph's Women's Hospital's more than 30 year history.
Though he has lost nearly a pound since his Jan. 29 birth from natural fluid loss, his thick little thighs and puffy cheeks need about 4 ounces of food every three hours — twice that of a normal newborn.
Ford, 26, didn't know she was pregnant with Avery until about 35 weeks in, when her jeans and scrubs got tighter. She works at St. Joseph's main hospital as a patient support technician.
After an 18 hour labor, she took about 20 minutes to deliver the baby vaginally, but only after an ultrasound had incorrectly clocked him at just more than 10 pounds. It wasn't until she began giving birth that she realized he weighed more.
"I was cussing up a storm," Ford said, laughing. "We just pressed on."
If the delivery team had known Avery weighed 14 pounds, would they have recommended vaginal birth?
"No," said Debbie Moore, a registered nurse at the women's hospital. "Definitely not."
"I don't know how he tricked them with that much of a difference," she said.
Though Avery weighed more than average, his height was normal: about 22 inches.
The newborn is staying in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit for observation, since problems can occur with babies that large. Avery had difficulty breathing at first, but Moore expects him to go home in the next few days.
Ford said she is a twin, so when she started rapidly gaining weight, she assumed she was pregnant with two babies —- not nearly 90 percent along with just one.
"I was like, 'Oh, wow,' " she said. "Quite surprised."
After delivery, Ford said she didn't mind her baby boy's weight.
"I loved it," she said. "He was so squishy."
Avery joins Ford's other children, Aleckxander, 1, and Jackxine, who turns 6 on Saturday. Both were born at normal weights, around 10 pounds.
His father, Allen Denton, said he was "shocked" when Ford realized she was pregnant, let alone when Avery came out at more than 14 pounds.
"I got a linebacker now instead of a fullback," Dad said.
Contact Rachel Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-226-3400. Follow @rachelacrosby.