11/18 Life Update- My View From the Couch

Trigger warning- This post contains details about our pregnancy complications.

How I’m Feeling

First and foremost, we’re incredibly relieved that Baby Boy is still in there and looking very strong. I am reminded everyday that I have the best partner and friend in Ben as he continues to show me what unconditional love looks like. As I write this post, we are 26w5d. The last 12 days have been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Some moments I feel like Rocky training for my moment against Apollo Creed. I’m determined to keep going, and I feel strong. Some moments I feel like Jesse Spano in the midst of her caffeine-pill breakdown. I am restless, emotional, and terrified.

What Is Going On

Skip this part if you don’t want to hear the TMI details. This is my personal story as I remember it- not medical advice or information. Pregnancy is a blessing, but it can be scary and a million things can go wrong. Most times things go just right. I’m sharing this part of my story to provide an update. I hope that this post does not invoke fear in anyone reading it, especially other women who are pregnant.

12 days ago, I was diagnosed with a cervical insufficiency. It started as a strange spotting episode, and I found myself in shock that anything was less than ideal. When it was diagnosed, we were told that we needed to start progesterone in an attempt to keep my cervix closed. Upon cervical observation at the high-risk doctor, my measurement length went from 2.4cm to 1.6cm and fluctuated between there. The official name for the condition is “dynamic cervix”- sounds so fancy, right? We were told anything less than 2.5cm was concerning with 4-5cm being the “norm” for how far along I am. He also noticed greater than 50% funneling and asked if I had noticed any contractions. I hadn’t. The high risk doctor told us we would follow-up in a week and that I should stay off of my feet until then. We were concerned, but we were confident the progesterone could work. At this appointment, we saw baby, and he measured 1lbs 13oz in our 25th week.

The next day, our regular OBGYN saw us for a non-stress test and to administer our first round of steroids. It was “just in case” baby arrived before 28 weeks, we would have the most protection possible for our little boy. We were glad our doctor was so cautious, but didn’t feel extremely scared at that point. Hearing Baby Boy’s booming heartbeat as we were monitored instantly set my mind at ease. I was even cleared to attend my baby shower the following day with orders to sit as much as I could. (More on that soon <3)

Six days after our initial diagnosis, we were back at the high-risk doctor for another cervical monitoring session. We saw baby first, and he looked strong as usual. Seeing him instantly calms my nerves. As soon as they started measuring and monitoring my cervix, the technician didn’t say a word as she recorded the measurements. We watched her type ‘millimeters’ instead of ‘centimeters’. I squeezed Ben’s hand, and we both knew it wasn’t ideal news. The high-risk doctor came in and explained to us that the length had shortened significantly and the funneling worsened. The good news is that I wasn’t dilated yet, but he was concerned labor could be starting. He walked us down to labor and delivery where we were monitored for a few hours. As we listened to baby boy’s heart beating and saw there wasn’t much happening on the monitor in terms of contractions, we still felt calm. We went home and were told to minimize time on my feet. I was told to get up only to make food and shower. The rest of my time should be spent sitting or laying.

The next night things took a scary turn as I got myself ready for bed. I’ll spare the details, but we ended up calling the doctor as one of our “warning signs” had happened. The doctor told us she would meet us at the hospital. She instructed me to eat something as I wouldn’t be permitted to eat until they knew what was going on. I couldn’t eat a thing and honestly felt like I was going to throw up. For the first time, I felt terrified. Ben reminded me of my promise. I promised not to “freak out” until the doctor told us we were actually delivering the baby.

Within a few hours, I was examined and given a few tests. The doctor determined that my cervix was still closed on the inside, but the outside was starting to open. Upon being examined, I started to actively contract. The first few contractions after the exam were painful, but still not excruciating. I was given fluid to try and stop them. I was comfortable, so I assumed they had stopped, but they hadn’t. We watched the screen, and the doctor showed me how I could feel my stomach tightening up regularly. I was given one dose of terbutaline that worked within a few minutes to calm everything down. We were released from the hospital. Our doctor told us she would call us with a plan later in the day. I spent that day imagining a million scenarios and preparing myself for full hospital bedrest as we knew that was a possibility.

Our Plan

Our regular OB and the high risk doctor have been nothing short of incredible. Our OB gave us her cell phone number to use as a point of contact- any time of day or night. This has given us a tremendous feeling of support and security. Our plan is to remain home for as long as possible. Our doctors feel that resting in a quiet home is what is best for Baby Boy right now. I will have my cervical measurements monitored every Monday, and we continue to pray that things come to a standstill rather than continue to progress. If I need to be admitted to the hospital again before we reach 28 weeks, we will be going to a hospital with a Level IV NICU to give Baby Boy top medical care. Our doctors have helped us pick where we will go, and we feel confident should we need to make that decision in the coming days. We have been lucky to lean into a few family friends who work in neonatal medicine for their advice, too. My sister conquered hospital bedrest and the NICU with her youngest daughter three years ago. She has been an incredible support to me.

Our goal right now is to keep Baby Boy growing for as long as possible. Our doctors have told us that a full-term delivery is highly unlikely given all that has unfolded. Anything is possible, but we are coming to terms with what is likely. We remain hopeful that we can get many more weeks under our belt. We will celebrate everyday, and do something big as we reach our weekly goals each Sunday. I told Ben to prepare to eat donuts or cupcakes in celebration.

What I’m Learning

I’m learning that tons of feelings can exist all at once. While worry and fear seem to conquer our hearts these days, there is also room for more. I feel even more grateful to be this far with our Baby Boy still safely growing inside. He is our miracle. My perspective continues to shift as I’m reminded that the only thing that matters is the health of this Baby Boy. The best thing I can do is nourish my body and take care of my heart. I’ve started therapy again, and it is helping tremendously. I find myself able to laugh at the details that might have otherwise stressed me out- the empty nursery, my changing body, the physical discomfort I feel. I say my prayers every night and beg God to let me stay pregnant for a few more months. I’ve deleted the pregnancy apps as seeing ’92 days to go!” has only made me feel worse. I want to be big and miserable. I want stretched skin and all the physical badges of honor associated with motherhood. I cried to my mother-in-law the other day about how unfair it is that this is happening to us. Why can’t some part of becoming parents just be “normal” and “easy”? She hugged me and helped me remember what waits for us at the end of this scary time- our baby. There is no greater victory than that. Everyone told me to take the bump pictures despite how scared we were during the first trimester. I took a picture every single week. I am so glad I did. I hope to be taking them for many more weeks.

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