"IT'S NOT THE LENGTH OF THE GESTATION, IT'S THE EXTENT OF THE ATTACHMENT."


Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Birth Stories

I have had several (okay only 3) questions in the last week about whether or not I had a cerclage placed with my second son, Jack. I thought I had mentioned that in the past several months, but maybe not. I am too lazy to go back and read my previous posts so I'll just give you my birth stories now. Here we go...

Sam- I got pregnant with Sam in April 2006. It was a complete surprise! We had been trying for several months, but over Easter weekend (early April) I had gotten really sick and was in the hospital for 5 days because of a kidney infection, an antibiotic resistant bacteria that turned out to be e-coli and a mild case of pneumonia. I was just trying to recover and was NOT thinking about getting pregnant, then it happened.

We were thrilled, but scared. We didn't know if we would make good parents, or whether we were ready for what was happening. I made an appointment with an ob/gyn and went in for our first ultrasound at 9w1d. We saw our little man on the screen and I was hooked. I loved him from the moment I saw his tiny heart flutter. We only went to (I think ?) 3 appointments after that and they were pretty basic and routine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Everything looked great, the pregnancy was progressing, the baby was growing etc. There was NOTHING that showed I had an incompetent cervix.

Then at 17w1d at about 2 am I was having back pains. I thought nothing of it even though they were uncomfortable. I soaked in a hot tub for a couple minutes at a time, so I wouldn't overcook my baby. The pain would subside for a while, then come back. I have back pains on occasion when I overwork myself, so I thought nothing of it. I went to sleep. I fell asleep until exactly 4 am. I woke with an extreme pain in my abdomen and my back was still hurting. I went to the bathroom, thinking I needed to relieve myself. I sat in the dark rocking back and forth on the toilet eyeing the Mylanta on the counter. I kept thinking if I could just reach it and take a swig that the pain (which I thought was gas) would go away. After about a minute or two (still sitting on the toilet) my water broke. I remember being hysterical and very scared. I KNEW what had just happened and I prayed that my baby wouldn't die. I banged on the bathroom wall and yelled for my husband who was asleep in the adjacent room. He came. He saw. He cried with me. He helped clean me up of the bloody mess that I was. We got dressed and went to the hospital with a towel between my crotch to soak up the blood. I remember trying not to sit down in the seat, so I wouldn't crush him in case he was born on the way to the hospital.

I went to the ER and there was nothing they could do. My membranes were ruptured and there wasn't any amniotic fluid left. The baby would die without it. I was transferred to LND after a couple hours. My family (my mom, grandma, and in-laws) rushed to the hospital after Mr. H called them. They followed me to room #6 and shortly after I was in there, I went to the bathroom. When I wiped, I could feel his soft, tiny, slick feet hanging out of me. He was being born. At 8:49 am on August 15, 2006 Samuel Andrew entered this world without a single breath. My life has not been the same since- my heart has a hole in it.

The on-call ob/gyn diagnosed me with having an incompetent cervix. I didn't know what this was at the time, but they explained it to me. They did tell me after 6 weeks, we could try again only they would place a cerclage (a stitch in the cervix to keep it shut) in the next pregnancy to keep this from happening again. I was hopeful, and 2 1/2 months later, we were pregnant again.

Jack- I liked the on-call doctor and since she knew our story, I switched to her practice. I wanted her to treat me. I first saw the doctor at about 8-9 weeks and they saw nothing unusual. Everything looked great. My cervix was good, long and thick (sound kinky, huh?). I had weekly ultrasounds and abdominal exams. At about 11 weeks, my cervix had thinned very slightly and I was put on modified bed rest. "Just take it easy, get off your feet", was what I was told. I followed my orders, but my cervical length kept decreasing. I was told I would indefinitely have to have a cerclage. At 13w, I got one. Apparently, my cervix looked great and there was still plenty of cervix left to work with and "this should do it".

I was then put on strict pelvic and bed rest after the insertion of the cerclage. I still went to my weekly appointments and had ultrasounds, only this time, they were about every 5 days. At the ultrasounds, the cervix began to funnel and the amniotic sac was resting in my cervical canal, ready to come through. In fact, at my last ultrasound at my scheduled appt. I could see his tiny foot kicking in the amniotic sac which was already funneled into my uterus. They were afraid that even if I didn't go into labor, that he would kick so hard and rupture my membranes, resulting in preterm labor once again. I knew this was happening all over again and there was nothing that I could do. I went home and cried so much that I had a constant headache for days on end. I was depressed and sad and felt hopeless. I didn't know why this was happening to me. I didn't know what I did to deserve two dead babies. I didn't understand why my children were being punished, and why they weren't given the chance at life. I didn't understand why I was able to even get pregnant , if they weren't "meant to be". (I hate that stupid saying!) I didn't understand my lesson to be learned. I went home and waited, expecting to miscarry. My main goal was to make it to 24 weeks, but I was just hoping to make it to the next day.

The day before Jack was born, after I went to the bathroom, I went outside to get some fresh air rather than laying back on the couch. I did lie on the love seat outside, but I was just so tired of being inside. I wanted to feel the breeze on my face and hear the birds. I wanted to see Autumn running around the backyard. I laid there for a few minutes, then got up to go back inside. When I got up, I felt a pull deep inside my pelvis. I began to worry immediately, but didn't want to alarm anyone, so I didn't say anything. It didn't hurt, though so I went on with my day. I remember I had mad cravings, and my grandma was staying with us to help out since there wasn't much I was allowed to do. She made baked spaghetti and garlic bread for supper. I enjoyed that. Later that evening as I was watching L.aw & O.rder I kept feeling like I had to urinate. I didn't feel wet, I just felt the urgency to pee. I think it was my subconscious telling me I needed to check things out. I kept getting up every 10-15 minutes so Mr. H and my grandma kept asking if I was okay. On the last visit to the potty, I saw a very faint amount of pink blood on the toilet tissue. I panicked and knew it was only a matter of time.

We called the on-call doc (which happened to be my doctor) and she said to just wait it out, but if I began to bleed heavily then to head to the ER. I was okay physically, but emotionally I was a freakin' train wreck. I was going to try to go to bed to sleep things off, but I was afraid of going to sleep. I didn't want a repeat of what happened before. I went to the bathroom one last time and when I wiped there wasn't any blood, but I felt the amniotic sac sitting at the base of my vagina. My cervix had dilated to 5 cm and he was ready to be born. We rushed to the ER with my grandma in tow going over 100 mph on the toll roads at about midnight.

I was sent to LND once again with absolutely no hope of saving the baby. I couldn't deliver him until I had the cerclage removed from my cervix so we headed to the operating room before I could head back to room #6. The stitch was the only thing holding him in. It was really painful as the doctor inserted her whole damn hand into my vagina (with no pain meds) to try and FIND the stitch. The amniotic sac was bulging over my cervix and the stitch could not been seen or felt. If she broke my water then he would be born and I would be at risk for infection, so she had to remove the cerclage first. Once she removed the stitch, my water broke and then came time to push him out. My blood pressure dropped so much and I became so dizzy I felt like I was going to pass out. I puked up that spaghetti all over the nurses and shot it clear across the room. (That was my revenge!) Mr. H was proud of me and my Olympic skills. I pushed and pushed, until Jackson Robert was born at 3:07 am on February 21, 2007 on the operating table at 16w4d. He was half red and half peach because he still had a pulse right up until he was delivered. The doctor said she felt his last pulse in the umbilical cord right before he came out. Oh, what I wouldn't have given to have felt that. I was once again a mother to another dead baby.

Both babies were delivered naturally via vaginal birth, but the placenta was so adherent that I had to have a D&C after both deliveries to extract the remaining placental tissue that was attached to my uterine wall. I bled so much with both babies, that the doctor said she may have to do an emergency hysterectomy if they couldn't control the bleeding. Luckily that didn't happen and my uterus is still intact. I have the opportunity to try again and I'm ready to take that leap, but Mr. H is not. In fact, he's not sure he wants to try again at all. I think the deaths and burials of both babies has made him so skeptical, fearful and all innocence he once had is gone. I don't blame him for that. I just feel like I need to try again. I have this opportunity, and a whole new set of accomplished, fully capable doctors that have given us the okay to TTC. They are standing by waiting for us to get pregnant so they can jump right in and save our baby. They want to make that happen and I want so much to see that dream come true.

I hope this clears up any confusion you may have had about my cerclage and bed rest etc. If there are any more questions, then e-mail them to me or just leave them in the comment section.

**Rachel and jgirl2005, I am so sorry for both of your losses. I hope that by reading here, you find what you are looking for. I can't promise you a happy ending or entertaining posts, but what I write is real and it's my story. Neither of you left contact information, so I hope you come back to visit. I'd love to get to "know" you better and provide you with the support you may need. You're both in my thoughts today.

14 comments:

Monica said...

Oh Monica, I'm so sorry. I'm sitting here in tears, sad for you and your babies. I'm also so impressed by your strength..inspired is more the word. I hope Sam comes around and you can be mamma to a baby in this world.

meg said...

Monica,

So much of what you have written here is so familiar to me (horribly familiar).

After reading this, it really seems like this is some sort of mechanical problem with your cervix (not that I am any kind of expert). My cervix never budged, leaving me still questioning what was wrong. I'm so sorry that this happened to you, but I'm glad (well glad isn't quite right) that you know what it is for sure.

I would find out all you can about the abdominal cerclage (as I know you are already doing), and please send me any info you find as I am interested in finding out more about this. If I find out anything, I will send it your way too.

Erica said...

I am crying with you.I can't imagine how you must have felt.It takes a very strong person to be willing to try again.Sending lots of prayers your way and it sounds like you have a good team of Doctors willing to help you.

Kristi said...

Monica,

I know we've shared our stories over the past year, but every time, I learn details that break my heart over & over for you & Sam, Baby Sam & Baby Jack.

You are so strong, you're in my thoughts.

Christyna said...

well you did it. you told the stories. You're so very Brave & Strong. I am happy that there are doctors who are willing and can help you and your next baby and I believe that you will have what you want. your husband will come around, he just needs some time and maybe some more reinforcement from the Dr.'s. I am so sorry you had to endure both of these losses. One hell of a blog to read Monday morning. I'm sending you a hug lady.

ms. G said...

Monica, your stories have me in tears. What horrible experiences for you to have gone through. I have struggled greatly with my dh on trying again. Even now, he says he won't do it again. Sometimes, they just need some time.

Thanks for sharing your angels birth stories with us.

Beth said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I can not imagine going through what you have but am incouraged by your faith and strength. It takes an incrediable amount of faith to try again. I will be praying that your body is ready and your heart prepared. I pray that the doctors know EXACTLY what to do to save your sweet little one and keep you healthy. I pray that Mr.H understands your need to try and is willing to open his heart to the trying. We serve a God of grace and peace. Though not always when and how we think it should come...trust me I know! But I am praying fervently for you and yours! May 2008 bring you joy beyond your own expectations!

Becky said...

Monica,

Your stories of Sam and Jack are nearly identical to mine of Dylan and Riley. Like Jack, Riley took his last breath as he was being delivered. I would give my last breath to have heard it. But there was to much commotion. I remember telling him that we loved him, that is why we had to let him go...and not to worry because his brother was waiting for him.

Perhaps the worst feeling in the world is your water breaking and knowing that it's going to happen again. The helplessness, the fear, the anger, and the grief...and the fact that your body is what let them down.

Maybe soon I'll feel able to write Dylan and Riley's birth stories. Someday, when I'm feeling stronger.

I know that we deserve so much in our lives. More than just lessons learned...women, like us, deserve the world and so much more. And I have no doubt that it will come to us...maybe that's why we were chosen for this path.

The Walsh's said...

Thank you for writing this - I am sure it was difficult to type it all out. I can only think that this could have been me and that there is no difference in you and I other than the outcome of our precious little ones and that makes me grateful for mine but I hurt for you. Why did I make it to 24 weeks? Why did my best friend go 2 weeks too long? Why do those who don't want children get pregnant time and time again and give birth to fullterm babies? Why do you have to have a blog dedicated to this? I don't think we'll ever know the real answer, but I've learned over the past year (I can't believe Lincoln is almost one!) why I am the Mom to a micropreemie. I learn every day why I am leading the life that I am. I see Lincoln's life touching so many others and I am proud to be his Mommy. You and and your angels are doing the same. And when you give birth to a beautiful fullterm baby, your story will touch someone else. You've touched my life...I know that.

Rachel said...

Monica,
This is Rachel again. I just wanted you to know I've been thinking about you and wondering if you had any new news yet. You are welcome to check out our page at myspace.com/theottingers. In spite of your tragedies, I do hope you have a Merry Christmas (look for the blessings...they are everywhere).

Lorie said...

Gosh...I've been reading your wonderful blog for a few months now. I finally felt like it was time to stop sitting in the background. Monica, I'm so sorry for your losses. I can tell you from personal experience that the pain does get easier and the daily reminders of your babies will always be there, but they will become something like sweet little thoughts in a hectic day and not so much painful echoes of your losses.

I also have an incompetent cervix and I have had 3 losses due to this CRAP! One was at 16wks, the next at 22wks (w/TVC) and the third at 20wks (w/TVC).
I am pregnant again and I feel so much better this time. I had a abdominal cerclage put in when I was 11wks and I am currently 21wks. My cervix has remained long and strong throughout (i go again today for an cervical scan).

I hope you have visited the Abbyloopers message board on yahoo. If not, you will find so MANY women who have been through what we have. It sucks and I have never been able to get over the loss of my babies (and my innocence and naivety), the shared experiences of others has helped tremendously. If you ever want to chat, please contact me at loriemojab@hotmail.com. I'll be thinking about your story often.

Lorie

Raggedy Ann said...

Thank you for the comment you left on my blog. When I make a new bolg buddy I like to read the background first, that's why I'm commenting here. Apart from a 12-year infertility battle, I also suffered 4 losses which left me completely empty inside. After the birth of my miracle boy, I've dedicated my life to helping other couples along this painful journey to motherhood/fatherhood, through the support groups I run here in Portugal. I also do volunteer work at the local hospital helping couples who suffer childloss. To be honest, even after hearing so many stories similar to yours, I never know what to say. It is impossible to even put to words the massive destruction that our heart and soul suffer when we lose our child. The pain never goes away, we just learn to live with it. And hope is our companion, even though sometimes we feel betrayed by it. I'm so pleased to have found your blog and I would like to be by your side on this journey. Sam & Jack know how much you love them. They too are very special boys.

RAxx

Jules said...

Monica,

I stumbled across your blog and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. When we go through a loss, we feel so 'alone' but it's unfortunate how big this 'club' is. I lost our first baby at 16w1d - my water broke - who knows why - and I had to go through labour & delivery only to go home empty handed. It will be 4 years in January since we lost our baby boy but since then we have been blessed with 2 little girls.

Your strength is amazing and there are so many people out there who need you and will thank you.

Mrs. Seng said...

Hi Monica,
I've been searching endlessly for any blogs from women who share the devastating grief from a 2nd trimester loss due to an incompetent cervix. When I stumbled across yours, I saw it as a divine blessing. Your blog is beautiful, poetic, heartbreaking and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your precious sons and your journey.
My grief is still fresh since I gave birth to my daughter Shia on 04/02/09, she was 22 weeks and passed away an hour after she was born. That is when I was told that I have an incompetent cervix. I felt, still feel, like I failed, that there was something I could have done, that I should have known to go in earlier, then I would have been able to save my babygirl. I feel like my heart is broken beyond repair, but your blog brings me hope. God Bless you, you are in my prayers, I know you will have a beautiful healthy sibling for your baby boys.