preterm labor scare

you’re showing signs of contractions, the nurse practicioner informed keith and i late last night. we are going to run an ffn (fetal fibronectin) test.

Glad we came in i sighed to myself.

i knew what an ffn test was meant to find. in my quest to understand about having an incompetent cervix, i stumbled onto this ffn test. It was made to detect the possibility of preterm labor as early as two weeks out from labor. A test resulting in a negative reading said I had a 1% chance of giving birth within two weeks. A positive meant that probability shot up to 99%. Yeah. You know which one we were praying for.


the test took an hour. We passed the time with reflection, concern, and keith getting major brownie points with the nurses for his attentiveness to my needs and bed pan. we had come into triage expecting to be discharged within the hour. I had some continuous cramping that had rolled in from the previous day along with cervical irritation. At the very most, i thought it was an infection due to the cerlcage and at least just growing pains. Our thoughts were sober, free from the drunkenness of anxiety for the first time in this pregnancy. as we waited to be called, Keith even talked shop with a former contractor from his company.

the nurse returned, her bright blue eyes dimmed by the shadow of her long lashes. So we are going to admit you for observation for the next forty-eight hours. Your test came back positive.

my brain went numb. inebriated with flashbacks to when i was told i had an incompetent cervix. 

now there could be a possibility that a false positive could be attributed to your cerclage, but right now we are going to start prepping baby with steroids, magnesium, and antibiotics just in case.


frustration. disbelief. concession.

i was already starting to prepare myself for nicu life again. I didn’t want to be read the chances of survival. I didn’t want to hear about c-sections. I just wanted to grieve. Not the loss of my child, but the loss of a dream of having a full-term pregnancy. Of hearing baby take his first breaths. Of bringing baby home days after delivery. We should document this moment. This space. I said to keith. It went so quickly the last time we found ourselves here.

the last fifteen hours have felt so fragile and grueling. My cervix was scanned and my cerclage was examined. When the doctor came in around 8 am this morning with the mfm specialist, i was groggy from all the meds and hormones i was on. I didn’t know what to expect. Cerclage looks good. The contractions have subsided. Your cervix is closed and maintaining its length from last week.  we are going to give you your second dose of steroids and hopefully discharge you tomorrow. Any questions? 

keith was holding back tears. I was holding back the urge to fall asleep after hearing this relieving news. After the emotional rollercoaster we went through in less than twenty-four hours, I didn't want to return home being on edge again for the next eight weeks till we got the cerclage out. i still had questions, like why did this happen? how did this happen? and could this happen again?But all I could mutter through the drowsy effects of magnesium was,

may i go pee?

 to learn more about fetal fibronectin tests, visit ffn tests