I am pregnant with my second child, and also with my second cerclage. A cerclage is a stitch that holds an incompetent or shortened cervix. My first cerclage was emergent, meaning it was put in after my cervix started to shorten. We were extremely fortunate that this was caught. If not, I could have had a late miscarriage or went into preterm labor. My second cerclage, which I have now, was preventative and put in when I was 14 weeks way before any shortening starts. I wanted to share my cerclage stories, as it will be interesting to compare the experience from both pregnancies, and I hope it inspires others and myself, as I am going through this process again. My cerclage story will be in two parts, as I am currently going through “Part 2”.
With my first born, I found out I was pregnant at three weeks, and had a normal pregnancy up until 20 weeks. My birthday and the holidays happened over those 17 weeks, so I continued my life as it was with a baby on the way. My husband and I went out of town for my birthday, I went to work everyday, attended any holiday events I was invited to. As for the pregnancy during the first trimester, I had mild morning sickness and was extremely tired. Other than that, I was feeling pretty good.
On January 14th, I went in for my 20 weeks checkup, which was also our gender reveal appointment. The nurse told us we were having a girl, and that excitement lasted about 10 minutes. Once we saw the doctor, she told me that my cervix was funneling and I needed to go to the hospital immediately. Although she explained what was happening, I still could not process what I was being told. My husband drove me to the hospital, I checked in, was put on an IV, given medicine to help hold off preterm labor, and had no idea how long I would be there. I was an emotional wreck that first day, and didn’t understand why this was happening to me. I didn’t have any contractions or other signs of labor, but it was discovered that I had Group B Strep, and needed to be put on antibiotics. I would not be able to get my emergent cerclage, which was a major surgery, until this bacterial infection cleared. So, I was stuck in the hospital for five days.
My husband did not leave my side, and my parents, coworkers and some friends came to visit me, which helped lifted my spirits a lot. I also had time to research an incompetent cervix and cerclages, asked the doctors a lot of questions, and realized that all was not lost. There was a chance I could carry my baby until full term.
My surgery day finally arrived. I was extremely anxious and opted to have anesthesia, which was not my ideal choice, but once I woke up, everything was done. I went back to my room, and was monitored for four more days. I had two follow up appointments during those four days, and on the last appointment, the doctor confirmed that my cerclage was holding and my cervix was steady. During this entire time, my daughter was a rock star. She was active, healthy, and continued to develop on schedule. At 21 weeks, I was finally allowed to go home, and was put on strict bedrest.
From 21 weeks to 36 weeks, life was interesting to say the least. I was confined to the bed or sofa, and could not cook, clean, drive, or do anything that required me to be on my feet. Fortunately, I was able to still work, which helped the days go by. I watched a lot of Netflix and made a Honeymoon Photo Album. Every week that passed was a milestone, but my emotions varied day to day. Some days were good. I was positive, faithful, and knew that what I was doing was best for the baby and myself. But then some days I had cabin fever, felt lonely, and was frustrated that I didn’t have control over simple things like cooking or going to the store when I needed to.
Although my cervix was still shorter than normal, it remained steady. My doctor gave us approval to have our baby shower at 33 weeks and attend a birthing class the following day. Overall, we were blessed with a good experience and support during this time.
My cerclage was removed at 37 weeks, and I was allowed to go on about my life as a normal pregnant woman – not confined to the house anymore. We were on our toes waiting for our little girl to arrive – my hospital bag was packed at 30 weeks and we were ready! Well, Mother’s Day passed, my husband’s birthday passed….and my daughter’s due date, June 4th, had come and gone. As of June 4th, my stomach had not yet dropped and I found myself taking walks every day and eating spicy foods like hot Buffalo wings to help get this baby coming. And my doctor and I were talking about possibly being induced if I made it to 41 weeks!
On June 8th, my husband and I decided to have dinner at Scalini’s, an Italian restaurant known for their Eggplant Parmigiana, which has helped induce over 300 women. I was skeptical, as no other natural inducement had worked for me. We had a wonderful dinner and that night at 2AM, I started having contractions. After 33 hours of labor, my daughter Alivia was born on June 10th at 8.65 lbs.
I will never forget this pregnancy experience, I am now using my own story to inspire me during this pregnancy. At this time, I’m 23 weeks pregnant, and am on bedrest again. I was going on about my life just a few days ago, until the doctor saw that my cervix was funneling. I was sent to the hospital again, for two days this time. My cerclage is still holding, but now I have to take it easy again.
I’ve reflected on lessons learned during my last pregnancy with the cerclage and have a better understanding as to what’s going on and how to get through this. I am much calmer this time, and plan to utilize my time better while I’m “resting”. The main challenge I have this time is managing my 18 month old, and will write more about how this is going in Part 2. Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to provide an update.