Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Story - Why I Have Preemies

Why so many preemies, you ask?

I have a condition called incompetent cervix. It occurs in about 1% of pregnancies. Pretty rare. The only known cause is trauma to the cervix, either with something like a D&C procedure, or a traumatic vaginal birth. I didn't have any of these. Mine just occurred. Maybe a birth defect. No one really knows.

Normally this can be fairly successfully treated with a procedure called a cerclage. Basically your perinatologist sews your cervix up while you're pregnant, and takes the stitch out at 36 weeks or so, so you can go ahead and get that kid out.

Unfortunately, I also have a very irritable uterus, and preterm labor.

The general thought is that because when I contract, my cervix is dynamic - opening and closing - a cerclage may not work on me at all. I may rip through it, causing more damage to my cervix and potentially being very dangerous.

We're not really sure. Since I just found out about the IC with my pregnancy with E, I haven't had the opportunity to seriously consider it. I would like to try ONE more time, for one more baby, and see if the cerclage can buy me a few more weeks. But I also don't want to keep popping out preemies. I feel it kind of crosses an ethical line, if I *know* I can't carry to term.

Anyway, none of that matters since I'm not married at the moment. I'll worry about it later.

I just thought you might be curious!

My Story - E

E. My rainbow baby. My pride, my joy, my baby boy.

Again, copying from


As a result of my history, we were much better prepared this time around. We took precautions against preterm labor with weekly progesterone shots, and biweekly cervical ultrasounds. I started having what I knew to be Braxton Hicks quite early in the pregnancy, which made me very nervous. I went in to be checked, in tears, more times than I can remember. I always thought I was in labor, or I was leaking fluid or something. All the times that I went in, I was wrong, and everything was fine.

Until I got to 23 weeks. I had just eaten dinner and was having more Braxton Hicks than usual. I decided to go lay down on my left side and drink a bunch of water before calling, because I knew that's what they'd tell me to do anyway. After an hour and a liter of water, I was still having them frequently, so I called my doctor. The doctor on call at L&D said she wasn't worried, but due to my history she wanted me to come get checked so I would be able to sleep that night.

My heart stopped when I was told I was dilated a centimeter and a half. I was admitted to the hospital and put on complete bed rest, continuous monitoring and a cocktail of drugs to prevent labor. The next day an ultrasound of my cervix showed funneling that hadn't been there 2 weeks prior. I only had half a centimeter of cervical length left.I was given steroid shots for the baby's lungs, and it was just a waiting game until my cervix would give out.

I held onto that half centimeter for 6 weeks in the hospital, only allowed in a wheelchair for my weekly appointments with my perinatologist. At 29 weeks I went into labor that was unstoppable with drugs. I delivered a screaming baby boy! He was whisked off to NICU right away, and spent 45 days there. He sailed through, needing little respiratory help. He was basically a feeder/grower the whole time.

Elias Adam
3 lbs, 6oz

My Story - B

B. My beautiful angel.

I'm going to copy from a guest blog I did for my BFF Katie at


The day my daughter was born was the best day of my life, like a firstborns birthday is for all parents. It was also the most terrifying and devastating day of my life. Why? Because I was only 26 weeks pregnant.

We were literally in the middle of a cross-country move. Halfway between our old home and our new home. I had felt "off" all day, and started having what I thought were gas pains around noon. Eventually I noticed that the pains were consistent - every 5 minutes. We were traveling, so we stopped at the first emergency room we came across. I wasn't in a lot of pain, just a little uncomfortable, so I felt really, really silly going in to an emergency room. I was told I probably wasn't having contractions, because they didn't feel my WHOLE tummy getting hard. The baby was listened to with a doppler - she sounded beautiful. The doctor came in, repeated everything the nurses had done and told me I was having Braxton Hicks contractions due to the long car trip. "Drink more water, get up and walk around every 2-3 hours, and follow up with your OB when you get home" were the orders I was sent away with. I was not checked for cervical dilation. Because this was my first pregnancy, I had no idea that I should have been.

About eight hours later I was trying to sleep in a hotel room. The "Braxton Hicks" were getting worse. I thought "Wow, I must really be a baby if these are Braxton Hicks. I wonder what real labor is like?!" I thought maybe my appendix had burst or something weird like that, so I dragged my husband out of bed and we went to a different hospital. I was taken to triage where I was checked for dilation. I was 8 cm dilated and the baby was at +2 station.

There was no going back. I delivered her, and she let out the most beautiful cry. I was allowed to kiss her on the cheek before she was whisked away to the NICU. Forty-six hours later, we were told that she was suffering from pulmonary hemorrhage due to the immaturity of her lungs. They had done everything they could do, and it wasn't working. We chose to remove her life support and end her suffering. We held her for the first and last time, and she passed away peacefully in her parents arms.

Gabriella Nicole
1 lb, 15 oz