Friday (August 12th) started like a normal Friday, except I was super excited because we were going to have our next ultrasound check-up on the baby and go to Iowa for the weekend for my cousin Clare’s wedding!
The ultrasound on the baby went great! The little one was in there moving around and the ultrasound tech was able to show us not only the main body parts (legs, arms, hands, fingers toes, etc…), but also specific organs (4 chambered heart, kidneys, bladder, brain and parts of the brain, etc…). It was great to see the little one in so much detail and to find out everything was absolutely perfect. We were on cloud 9 and ready to start the rest of our fun weekend.
Little Baby Jones at 21 Weeks!
But then the tech said she had additional orders from my midwife (via the doctor) to check my cervix. She checked my cervix and asked a few interesting questions, but then didn’t say anything else. I assumed she was wondering why she was checking a perfectly fine cervix and didn’t think anything of it. Yet, when we made it upstairs (still floating from the good news about the baby), our midwife brought us crashing down fast and hard.
My cervix length was extremely short (around 1.3-1.5cm; should have been closer to 3.5 cm) and starting to funnel (open; which is really really bad when the baby is still this small).
The reason the doctor originally wanted my cervix checked was because of the miscarriage and then surgery in March. She said that from her experience, women who’ve been through this occasionally have problems with their cervix. In our case, she was exactly right and it was a lucky catch for us and the baby.
The midwife wanted to talk with the doctor about what to do next, but we could tell this was really bad. While we waited on the doctor, they hooked me up to see if I was having contractions. Thankfully I wasn’t, but even with that news, when the doctor heard my cervical length and number of weeks pregnant she ordered that we go immediately to the hospital for bedrest and additional consultation.
So, our planned trip to Iowa for the weekend was out and thus started out crazy adventure of strict bedrest for me.
Having a short cervix (which was later deemed to be “incompetent”) means that I’m at a huge risk for preterm labor, which is very bad, especially at 21 weeks. To even be viable they really need to baby to be 24 weeks, but even then the baby would likely have severe health issues.
There are a few different causes for an incompetent cervix, including damage done during previous procedures or just being born that way. Most women with incompetent cervix don’t find out they have the problem until they have a second trimester miscarriage or early birth.
With my previous miscarriage, but lack of previous births, the doctors don’t know for sure why my cervix is like this. What they do know is that it is incompetent and if we have more children I’ll have the same issues. Luckily we caught it before I actually went into labor and for any additional pregnancies there are things they can do to minimize the risks in advance.
After calling to give my parents the news and let them know we would not be able to join them in Iowa for the wedding, my Mom later called back to let me know she and Dad had talked and she was coming to stay with me at the hospital for the weekend. This ended up working out really well because not only was my Mom there to help me through all of this, she and James were able to go get something to eat together and even do a little bedclothes shopping for me for my hospital stay.
We got a follow up ultrasound on my cervix Saturday to confirm that yes, it was way to short and funneling, and then the specialist made his recommendations. He said there were three things he would recommend: (1) a cerclage – stitch in my cervix to help it stay shut and keep the baby safe inside me!, (2) progesterone shots once a week to help prolong the pregnancy, and (3) bedrest for an indefinite amount of time, but minimum of 3-4 weeks. None of these things were guarantees, but he did feel they’d give me the best chance of carrying the baby as long as possible.
James and I briefly conferred, but felt the same way, we wanted to be as proactive as possible and thus chose to do all three things the specialist suggested.
Rainbow looking out my hospital window
I got the cerclage Sunday morning and while the overall experience of a late term cerclage (they would normally do it around 12-14 weeks) is not one I’d like to repeat, I kept reminding myself that it would give our little one a fighting chance by helping to prolong the pregnancy. The rest of the day I was uncomfortable from the procedure, but wasn’t feeling that bad and all things considered was doing pretty good.
James crashed after the stressful weekend
Monday morning, the doctor stopped by and said that I was doing well and that if the ultrasound of my cervix looked good today then she would probably let me go home on Tuesday! This was very exciting because we thought I might be the hospital on bedrest for the next 3-4 weeks!
A little later in the morning, just as my grandparents got there to visit with me, they came to get me for my ultrasound. The nurse was nice enough to suggest that my grandparents go with, so Grandpa & Grandma Jones got to experience my ultrasound with me!
The ultrasound tech was happy with the results of the cerclage and said it was in the perfect position to help keep my cervix closed! With that good news to start the morning, the rest of my Monday was actually pretty good and I was even able to get a lot of work done from the hospital!
Tuesday morning James got there early in hopeful anticipation of my release and we weren’t disappointed! Around mid-morning the doctor on call stopped by to let us know I was released to go home, but on very strict bedrest. I can get out of bed to go to the bathroom, I can sit up in bed a little to eat, I can get out of bed for a five minute shower a couple of times a week, and that’s it! Otherwise I’m to stay in bed! I do get to leave the house once a week, but it’s only to go to the doctors for an ultrasound, checkup, and progesterone shot.
Yet, there are a few good things from all of this:
- They caught the problem before I actually went into preterm labor, which means I have a decent chance of a successful pregnancy.
- The baby is absolutely perfect and right on schedule; I just need to keep the little one cooking long enough to be born healthy.
- James only teaches 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, & Friday) and can be home with me otherwise.
- My mom has offered to come and clean the house while I’m on bedrest! 🙂
- Mom and James both got to feel the baby move for the first time on Saturday!!
- Grandpa & Grandma Jones not only got to see my stitched up cervix on the ultrasound Monday morning, they also got to see their seventh great-grandbaby kicking and flipping around! The little one was putting on quite a show for the elders!
- I should be able to do a lot of work from home, which should help keep me sane and not eat up all of my sick, vacation, and personal time.
- We’ve got amazing friends and family who have offered to come and sit with me and bring us meals! In fact, our first evening home and we got an amazing dinner from my Online Learning coworkers delivered right to our door! 🙂
We are trying to stay as positive as possible and all positive thoughts, energy etc. are greatly appreciated! Our first hurdle is 24 weeks and after that each extra day just gets us closer to a healthy baby!