September 21, 2015

My High-Risk Pregnancy

I use this blog mostly as an emotional outlet for myself, however I would also like to think that at least some of my words and experiences could help some one else out for those reasons I wanted to share my most previous pregnancy experience with the bloggersphere. Be warned this is very long, like I said it is an emotional outlet for me! So read on if you dare...

Most of you may know that back in 2013 we lost our sweet baby boy twins at 21 weeks. After attempting to recover from that (but really how can anyone ever recover from losing a child?) we got pregnant again 6 months later and sadly had an early miscarriage. It took me quite a while to even think about getting pregnant again after that. I was terrified of the possibility of having to go through the same horrifying experience of losing my babies. I tried to take time to more fully heal myself and get my emotional state back to a stable place. Looking back I realize how dark of a place I was really in during most of this. I have had to take medication for my anxiety and depression since high school and with out that help I really don't know if I would have made it through..It is scary admitting that to the public but it is true.

So about a year after we lost our second pregnancy Rob and I decided that we wanted to start trying to get pregnant again. It took a few months which was scary because I got pregnant immediately with both of my other pregnancies but I know that I am in the minority and that in reality it usually takes most women longer than one month to get pregnant..this was just the precursor to how I would feel the entire pregnancy. My mind was forever changed. I wasn't one of those women who could get pregnant and bask in the glow and glory of having a little human growing inside of her. Don't get me wrong, of course I was happy but the moments I would let that happiness in I would almost immediately block it out in fear of "jinxing" the pregnancy. I knew that any happy moments of this pregnancy would be brief and few and far between.

I found a wonderful doctor who I completely trusted this time around. Before I got pregnant I had met with him and told him my story and we had talked about our "game plan". I knew I loved him from that first meeting. He listened to me, took my concerns seriously, and like me did not want to take any risks or chances. From my experience losing the twins at 21 weeks he thought the problem was either an incompetent cervix, pre-term labor, or both. We decided I would take progesterone shots and get a cerclage to minimize the chance of either of those issues terminating this pregnancy early. My first appointments all went wonderfully, everything was on track...Rob came to the first ultrasound but compared to our first time around this time was very somber. We were not excited as the tech let us listen to our babies tiny heartbeat. Instead we bombarded her with questions. "Does everything look good?" "How can you tell?" "Do you think we will lose this baby?" We were scared, paranoid, and just all around anxious. In January once I entered my second trimester it was time for my surgery to get my cerclage placed. For those who have no idea what a cerclage is, they literally go in and stitch my cervix close. I was so nervous! Besides getting my wisdom teeth out I have never had any kind of surgery. They rolled me in the room while I was still awake so that the amount of time I was under anesthesia was as little as possible so as to have as little effect on the baby as possible. It was an extremely odd feeling being lifted onto a cold metal table in a sterile brightly lit room with a ton of medical professional in masks around you while you are still awake. All my fears aside everything with the surgery went perfectly and my doctor was very happy with how everything turned out.

At my next ultrasound everything still looked great. However, I was still constantly stressed and freaked out that this was just too good to be true and something of course was going to go wrong. Then of course at my next ultrasound when I was 14 weeks along it happened. The tech said that my cervix was funneling and essentially the only thing keeping my baby in was the cerclage. My doctor sent my to the hospital immediately. Rob and I were just kind of numb. We both just kept thinking I cannot believe this is happening again. My cervix had gone from a 3.5 cm to 1.5cm in a week. At the hospital they monitored my contractions which were coming every 3 minutes, of course I hadn't been feeling these which is fairly common because I was not that far along. They checked me in and my doctor had basically prepared me to expect to stay on bed rest in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. Luckily the next day after another ultrasound we learned that my cervix had lengthened (which is extremely uncommon) back to 3.5cm. After meeting with the high-risk doctors we decided that it was safe for me to go home and remain on bed rest there and take high dose ibuprofen every 12 hours for my contractions for the next few days. That meant laying nearly flat and doing nothing besides short bathroom breaks. It sounds like torture for most people but I think it was easy for me to do this because I had experienced losing a child and was willing to do anything to prevent it from happening again. I remained closely monitored, getting cervical length ultrasounds every two weeks at the high-risk office and getting my progesterone shots every week and my normal doctor. At 24 weeks I also started getting fetal fibronectin tests every two weeks (a test that basically lets you know the likelihood of going into labor). Thankfully I had my mom 10 minutes away to basically help me with everything. She would take me to all my doctor appointments (because I wasn't supposed to drive), bring me lunch, and even come clean my house!

Later on in the pregnancy my contractions began to be a problem again so I was prescribed some pills that were supposed to settle them down but all in all everything remained pretty stable. I was still extremely paranoid and constantly in fear. Near 32 weeks I got the call that one of my fetal fibronectin tests came back positive. My doc decided I should head to the hospital and get some steroid shots for baby boy's lungs just in case he decided to come early but luckily nothing came from that. I was not quite ready to meet my baby boy. More than anything I just wanted him to be full term and healthy because I didn't think I could handle the stress of him needing to be in the NICU. I finally let my family throw me a baby shower when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I was still feeling weird about it because I just kept thinking something was going to go wrong. The thing about faith can have it but it does not take the fear away. It does not guarantee things will turn out the way you want. Luckily, this time things turned out the way I wanted. I made it full-term to 39 weeks! I like to joke that baby boy was being stubborn and wanted to prove everyone wrong!

It was terrifying and I was basically living in terror for nearly 10 months but in the end it was all worth it.

....Stay tuned for Kingston's birth story!

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