not alone: blogs about incompetent cervix

its not something that your doctor talks about when you are pregnant, so i thought having an incompetent cervix was rare.

before i found out i had one, i had stumbled across a youtuber who was sharing her story of not being able to stay pregnant because of an incompetent cervix. this video was supposed to be about haircare; i didn’t need to be anxious about yet another thing i knew nothing about. i was pregnant with isaac at the time and my biggest fear was a miscarriage.

little did i know that i would be relating to this woman in a matter of weeks. for months after we lost isaac, i felt isolated with my experience. and as many of you have followed my journey of being pregnant the second time with this condition, you know that i struggled with the fear that it would happen again.

i searched for others who shared my story and though i didn’t find anyone who had lost their child due to ic, i was able to find a few women who were brave enough to document their experience with ic and a cerclage.

i have been getting so many messages on my instagram from mothers who suffered the way i did and were grateful that i too braved the storm and shared my journey. i wouldn’t have had the courage if i had not seen the hope in these women, so i wanted to share with you their stories so that you don’t have to feel alone during your journey.

anna m. cohen

anna cohen
danny and mara
barnes daily circus
simply may

The Final Countdown: Preparing for Baby

Even though we spent weeks leading up to thirty-seven weeks preparing the house for our new roommate, keith and i still had some items left unchecked. They mark a significant turning point for us as some of these tasks we never got to complete while preparing for when isaac came home. I decided that the in between moments were just as significant as the major milestones, and made a little montage below.

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wooden cradle

The Saturday mornings we still get to sleep in. The nights of reading through our labor and delivery book together. The endless list of projects that will, for a time, be put on hold. Figuring out baby gear.

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Soon, all of this will feel like a distant memory or at least become second nature to us. I will enjoy what comes to replace some of these moments, but at least wanted to keep them glowing for a little while longer.

Maternity Shoot with Dreamtown Co

To say that keith and i have taken few pictures together is an understatement. While we have had the occasional couple selfies, the last time we took photos together where there was someone other than keith’s outstretched hand behind the camera was our wedding. It’s not that we hate taking photos with each other, it’s just that we (particularly keith) are anti-photography that turns our candidness into a full fledge production. Thankfully, our wedding wasn’t like that and we didn’t want our maternity photos to be that way either.

With isaac, i had been in the beginning stages of planning one with Jesse Walsh of Dreamtown Co. the week before he made his surprise entrance into this world. I was nervous to reach out to her, concerned I would get another surprise. We set a date, being mindful of when my cerclage was scheduled to come out. June third was the only Sunday she could do before my ditch the stitch day. The date worked for both of us.

Jesse showed up about an hour after house church had ended. We all agreed that the best way to get keith to feel relaxed was to give him a project. I had wanted to create some artwork in remembrance of isaac weeks ago, but we never got around to it. I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to work on it. After loosely showing him how to work with charcoal, we both began to draw while Jesse went to work capturing the moment from start to finish.

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One of the more natural things keith and I like to do on occasion is dance with each other. We either put on gregory allen isakov’s weatherman album or michael kiwanuka’s love and hate album. Keith chose michael kiwanuka. Earlier that week, it dawned on me the significance of the date of our shoot. June third was the day we buried isaac. While I had kept my emotions in check for most of the shoot, at least until “cold little heart” started playing. It was a few weeks after we buried isaac, that we were in that exact spot dancing and grieving as we listened to that album. It had all come full circle, as if God was charting new memories for us. To remember death. To remember life.

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I am so glad Jesse caught the transition. Somehow we were able to have that moment with each other without feeling like she was invading that quiet space, that “holy ground” as she so eloquently put it. We could not rejoice without acknowledging the tears we have shed this year.

To read about this shoot from her perspective, head over to Dreamtown Co.’s blog.


Photos by Jesse Walsh

letter to baby k

To the child I wish to know,

I caught a glimpse of your smile. I hope you smile that way when we finally do meet each other. I hope that is the smile i see often as you grow up here in my love.

Do you sense my love inside of your universe? Are you anticipating the warm reception waiting for you on this side of eternity? I cannot wait to show you all of my love, little one. I hope you will show me yours.

I have had dreams of you. Imagined what kind of person you might be. I hope your imagination stretches further than mine, far beyond narnias and neverlands, to some unknown universe where you are still my child. We can play there together, until it is time to descend from the stars, where i must concede to how much you have grown.

As i was born in the image of my creator, so will you be of his light. For now, i will raise you in the image that i understand of god, the part of him that was bestowed upon me. But one day you will better reflect the piece of him that was made for you to be a the light bearer of. Do not be afraid to shine that light toward me so that i may gaze at a deeper and fuller picture of our creator’s heart. i have much to learn from you just as i have much to teach you.

Although i wish to have you in this world, i am already saddened that the world will be unkind to you. The world will not always treat you as you deserve to be treated, and unfortunately, neither will i. I ask for your continued grace toward me for not meeting your expectations. For getting parenthood wrong on occasion. Despite the disappointment and heartache you may receive from me and this world, please allow your heart to love us through our many failings. Know that i will always love you through all of yours.

Finally, you should know about the one who came before you. I am sure your paths crossed before you came to us, and i hope you knew him better than we did here. We did not get to know him long, but in two short weeks his presence filled us with so much love, that it was more than enough to continue loving him in his absence and consuming you in your arrival.

You will find me grieving his absence. It is because i deeply love him. But know that you are not his replacement, or second best in my eyes. No, the love he left behind has been waiting for you to know it. That is the sweet gift your brother left for you. For you to be deeply cherished and loved fully and guided in the ways of love.

I hope that if you took nothing from this letter, that at least you hold onto the truth that you are loved by me and your family, here on earth and in heaven, and especially by the one who made you uniquely you.

Love always,
mum.

 

father's day

Last year I was hoping that Keith would get to hold a healthier Isaac by father’s day. I, at least, had a more positive experience with Isaac in holding him two days prior to him passing. Keith held him only to say goodbye.

This year, I am hoping that I go into labor before father’s day. I cannot wait to see our child in his arms, saying hello and not goodbye. I hope we get to spend father’s day at home with our little one, watching Keith become a father all over again, only this time saturated in joy rather than just sorrow.

keith

We’re totally going to fight over who gets to hold the baby, i joked. In all honesty, i wouldn’t be mad at having to share our baby, and would totally concede to him having extra cuddle times. I think...rather i know it will be healing for him.

I look forward to the songs he’ll sing to baby. the poems he’ll write every year we celebrate a birthday. The way he’ll care for baby in the same way he cares for me. I’ll watch him struggle and i will watch him triumph, shedding his own anxieties as he figures out fatherhood.

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I’ll watch him fall hopelessly in love with this child, more than he already has.

waiting to exhale: ditch the stitch

Well, no cerclage removal today.

Last wednesday i kept noticing a sharp pain that would shoot throughout my cervix near my stitch when i would get up to walk or sit in a certain position. The pain would subside almost as quickly as it had come, only to return again an hour later. It also didn’t help that baby was sitting very low and applying extra pressure, although the pain tended to come when baby was sleeping.

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I went on with my day. I visited a pediatric center. I even did a few chores and took a long nap. But by 7pm i was not only experiencing the sharp pains from the cerclage, but i was starting to feel the cramping feeling of mild contractions.

At this point i would have walked or slept it off, but since i had begun to dilate already the week before last and was starting to see some spotting, i wanted to be sure that the cerclage wasn’t starting to pull through.

Baby had been active since 5 and showed no signs of stopping when we arrived at triage around 8:30. We said hello to our familiar faces. I got a hug and knitted baby blanket from brenda, one of the nurses we had a few weeks ago. I didn’t even have to do the normal check-in stuff. That’s how regular we are.

Our nurse for the evening was nothing short of a mix between gary busey and bill murray. She said whatever she wanted to say, was a bit cantankerous, and had no idea that we were practically celebrities at this point.

Nurse murray walked us through the routine. We were obliging. fhr and contraction monitoring for twenty minutes. To which they will come in and tell me i am having contractions. They will want to put me on fluids to come the contractions down. I will go to the bathroom a few times.

Then the cervical and cerclage exam.

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I was still at 1 cm dilation, but the nurse noticed that my cerclage was starting to come through the cervix. No tears or bleeding, but she immediately left to find a doctor who could remove it. Meanwhile, i was put on a drip as expected, and keith and i tried to get some sleep. It was a little before midnight when the doctor walked in after being in the operating room. Nurse murray was all ready with the tools needed to cut the stitch, so thankfully there were no further delays.

It was the most uncomfortable and painful 5 minutes I have experienced in a long time.

I was so thankful it all came out in one piece instead of her having to slowly snip away at the stitch. I felt raw for a good ten minutes before the awful sensation subsided. I was then hooked back up to the monitor for two hours to make sure i didn’t go into labor. By 3 am there was no change in my dilation and keith and i were good to go home.

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i spent most of the day just resting, but by the weekend i was up and moving, wanting to at least get my body as prepared as i could for labor. keith and i celebrated with korean bbq on friday, installed a bathroom light fixture and then enjoyed a nice dinner with our friends down the street. all without a cerclage.

this morning when i went in for my follow up with my ob, she was bummed that she didn't get to remove the cerclage, but so excited at the prospect of me delivering this week after seeing that i am three centimeters dilated. she even offered to do a sweep (probably because she doesn't want triage to steal her thunder again should i go into labor this weekend).

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it feels mildly unnerving to not have a safety net anymore and to feel like a normal pregnant woman, if only for a week or so. i almost feel like i have started all over, as if this is unfamiliar territory (which it is). the next time i enter triage, it won't be to stop contractions; it will be to have a baby.

And now we wait.

ditch the stitch

hospital bag haul

Some weeks ago, while at my obgyn appointment, my doctor and i were talking about how close i was getting to the end. I mentioned how i was just now starting to back my hospital bag given the fact that my ditch the stitch day was in five weeks. She replied, “yes, girl. once the cerclage comes out, anything can happen.”

Eeek.

While it seemed so far away at the time, i knew that keith and i would blow through our weekends like it was black jack. After two trips to triage that left us uncertain if we would be coming back home the same night, I needed to get myself organized. That meant finally allowing myself to sink into the reality that I needed to start packing my hospital bag. Currently, I am part of an incompetent cervix group on facebook, and i found that most women who suffered from this condition multiple times said that they have had their bags packed since week twenty.

Clearly i was more optimistic of my chances than i originally thought.

I, or rather keith got me this cute weekender bag from target’s new line, universal thread. It is big enough for labor and deliver gear as well as going home gear. I picked up a 6 piece luggage organizer off of amazon, so that if i asked keith for something he could easily find it without destroying the order of my contents.

Keeping it pretty basic, i used the largest organizer for my going home outfit and shoes, nursing bra, nigh gown, flip flops, and a pair of socks. The disposable underwear they supply at the hospital works for me, so I didn't pack any. I topped it off with a small toiletries bag and two of the laundry bag pouches, a small one for my electronic cords, and the other for my dirty clothes. That's it.

Baby K's diaper bag I got as shower gift from Skip Hop. In it I used the smallest organizer for baby clothes, swaddle, isaac's receiving blanket, and lanolin (because the lactation specialist failed to mention how vital this could be when breastfeeding; I was hurting for days while pumping for isaac). I also stuffed by iPad, camera, and a folder with copies of insurance and birth plan in them.

Thankfully, we live less than ten minutes from our hospital, so that is why i am able to keep things pretty minimal. For those of you who have experienced a full term pregnancy, is there anything i am missing? Anything i can do without?


Universal thread weekender bag / target
M-jump luggage storage bags / amazon
Universal thread sandals / target
Embroidered kimono / cato
Universal thread dress / target
Gilligan & O’Malley nightgown / target
iloveSIA nursing bras / amazon
SkipHop leather diaper bag in Caramel / target

waiting to exhale: 36 weeks

One more week.

Already I feel like the hours are expanding like it’s the last day of high school before summer break. Yep, definitely the longest week of my life; yet at the same time, with pending to-do’s left untouched, i feel it slipping through my fingers.

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Keith wants me to rest. I want to rest. This should be the perfect time for me to rest. Our house church came over a week ago to help us nest and while they tackled all the major areas that i could not, now even the smaller, more manageable tasks leave me winded. To add to the suspense, my appointment last week revealed that I was slowly starting to dilate and I that I was 70% effaced (and that was while I was still on Makena). That explains why I have been feeling the cerclage more and more, but my OB still wanted to keep it in till 37 weeks. Because of this diagnosis, i have taken extreme care not to overdo it, and so, I have yet to accomplish anything on my own.

We topped off the week with a maternity shoot on sunday, shot by the talented Jesse Walsh of Dreamtown Co. Last year, Jesse and I had begun the process to set up a shoot while I was pregnant with  Isaac, but two weeks after we put it on the calendar, I went into labor. It was hard to work up enough nerve to contact her again even after we made it past 24 weeks because of the trauma I experienced, but I am glad that despite my procrastination, she had some time available to photograph keith and i before the cerclage comes out next tuesday.

As my body gets bigger, i feel as though i am practically dragging myself around the house not only due to the weight of this baby, but also every emotion i have felt up until now. My eyes are on fire from allergies, crying, and lack of sleep, my hips are starting to soften at an impending labor, and my ankles look and feel like tree trunks. how will i have enough energy to give to this baby when he/she arrives?

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One day at a time, keith says. Easier said than done when every day of this week has bled into one long, arduous day with no end in sight. Now that I am in the home stretch, i realize how focused i have been on the bite sizes of this pregnancy without giving much thought to thinking about a baby, our baby, living here. It’s been a distant dream, one that i rarely visit out of disbelief, but one that is solidifying as reality the closer i reach the end of this pregnancy.

 

baby k growth scan update

two weeks ago after getting my last cervical length check, the technician began to do a routine growth scan. baby k was finally head down, and the technician was finally able to record the baby's gender, which i told her not to tell me.

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after the scan she read off the baby's weight. twenty-nine weeks old and two pounds three ounces. umm...she nervously got up and walked back over to her equipment and applied more jelly to my already saturated bare belly. is that a normal weight? i asked. its a little on the small side, she muttered skittishly. what is the normal weight supposed to be? i asked needing a bit more clarification. well there is a range and baby is just on the lower end of the range.

way to be vague. thanks.

i am just going to get a scan of the cord to make sure there is enough blood flow going to the baby. the technician quietly ran her tests and then left the room to go show the doctor. when she returned she simply said that the doctor wanted to get another scan in two weeks to see if the baby's weight gain would improve.

that was it.

i could see i was not getting anything out of her or the doctor about what was so concerning, so the following week i talked to my ob about it. she was a bit more cheery. oh, i saw the notes. baby looks great, its just their abdomen is smaller than normal so they want to monitor the flow of the blood in the cord. if it doesn't improve, they will probably want to see you more frequently to determine if we need to deliver early.

was that so hard?

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two weeks finally passed and i went back to see mfm for my growth scan check up. baby was thankfully still head down. i watched as the technician measured the cord, looked at the heart, measured the head and abdomen. she seemed more confident than the last technician as she clicked away on her keyboard. baby is weighing in at three point six pounds.

i thought all that pain i was experiencing must be a growth spurt.

over a pound and a half in two weeks? i was ecstatic, especially since i did not have gestational diabetes or any signs of preeclampsia. the doctor was impressed with the progress and told me that i would not have to come back for another four weeks for my last scan to make sure baby was continuing with this progression. i was elated the whole day, and when i told keith, so was he. we had been through two weeks of worry over the contractions that i had been exhibiting, so this was a huge praise report to receive. i cannot believe this baby is almost four pounds! 

i am definitely feeling it.

90s themed baby shower part two

even as my friends and i laughed around a table friday night while making paper fortune tellers, it still did not hit me that i would be hitting yet another milestone i was unsure i would get to experience. saturday was an extremely busy morning. after my four o'clock bathroom session that morning, the baby was up and kicking and there was no way i was going to be able to go back to sleep at least for another hour. so i headed into the living room, and started making a to do list for the day.

by 6:30am, keith and my dad were up making themselves breakfast before they headed out to lay down more sod for the shower, and by 7:30am, my mum and sister were headed out the door to pick up a few things from the store.

everything else was a blur.

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thank god i made that to do list because it freed me up from having to delegate tasks to people as they arrived to help out. i think i maybe took three photos the whole day. thankfully, keith snapped a few photos before, during, and after guests arrived. i wish the photo booth had been more used but my sister did manage to take some great cheesy 90s catalogue photos of the stragglers.

here's what the day looked like!

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guests were asked to choose a scrunchie based on their gender predictions: black for boy or gold for girl.

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paper fortune teller
table decor
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pig in a blanket with andouille sausage. bagel bites: apple and brie, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, and goat cheese, cream cheese with arugula, olives, and anchovy dressing

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my dad channeling fresh prince to be our game show host.

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we sent our guests home with little debbie snacks and ligature coffee.

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the few of us that remained decided to blow off the steam and take some goofy shots together. i think we are all over-thinkers when it comes to taking really nice photos, so we just embraced our awkwardness.

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none of the items listed below were sponsored.

table runner / ikea
cups / party city
vases / dollar tree
plates and napkins / bash party goods
my jumper / ross
coffee / ligature coffee
 

baby wardrobe capsule

i have been pretty timid about creating a new registry, hugely because i had created it three months out from isaac's baby shower, but was rendered irrelevant a month before the shower because of his early arrival. this time i waited till i was a month away from this shower to even send out the link.

last year, as stated in my project layout: nursery post, we received the staple furnishings that went into isaac's room. you would think that i would know what is essential by now, but i am still overwhelmed by what i should be getting for this baby. i scoured the internet. everyone has an opinion. in the end, the lists are either excessive or not applicable to my region.

i decided to follow my heart.

i found a pretty rudimentary list and started with that. bed. check. carseat. check. clothes. kinda checked. i had no bottles, diapers, no nursing pillows. i was pretty bare bones. i had no idea of quantity--what would get me through the first month at least. after a quick assessment of everything i had, i jotted down a few helpful reference points.

setting parameters

location. most essential items are not seasonally based (bottles, carseat, stroller, etc.). clothes, however, are. i live in humid florida near swamps and endangered birds, and know that most suggested items would prove obsolete within a few weeks. plus baby is set to arrive at the start of summer so i am being extra mindful of what i need for the july through october summer vibes.

lifestyle. i am a sucker for cute baby clothes and easily clicked away when i was pregnant with isaac. however, after a registry overload, i had to ask myself was baby ever going to wear this stuff? further more, did i want to be responsible for so much laundry? i hate excess so this was a firm no. i do laundry once a week and barely have time to be folding my own.

i thought about the amount of spit ups, blow outs, and other leaky accidents baby might have in a day. minor spit ups (in my opinion) don't constitute an immediate change (unless its straight puke), but leaks and blow outs do, so i calculated about two changes a day. this means roughly about three outfits. multiplied that by seven. twenty-one outfits for each size group: 0-3m, 4-6m, 6-9m, and 9-12m. yes, lawd! i was sticking to just 21 outfits a month.

timeline. for this pregnancy, i wrote down all the months in the first year starting with my due date and then wrote next to them the temperature descriptions (hot, warm, cool, cold), as well as how old baby would be. with my parameters in check, i could now press go.

weapon of choice

babylist registry

top priority for me as a graphic designer is simplicity and organization, so to see white space and not a ton of flashing images on a registry site makes me so full inside. i decided to stick with babylist again this year because of its flexibility to incorporate multiple storefronts into one registry.

i can set up a babylist button much like i would the pinterest button adding items i want in my registry from any site. assuming that my baby shower guests only buy stuff from the registry, babylist will supply a list of all of the guests' gifts along with their addresses so that i can mail them their thank you's without fretting that i forgot to write down who got me the bouncy chair.

simple. and right about now, i need so much simplicity.

baby wardrobe capsule for the first year

0-3 months
1 sun hat
7 white sleeveless onesies
7 white short sleeve onesies
3 long sleeve onesies
3 socks

 

4-6 months
7 long sleeve onesies
7 white short sleeve onesies
2 light sweaters
2 pairs of shorts
3 socks

6-9 months
1 beanie
5 long sleeve onesies
5 white short sleeve tops
1 sweater
1 jacket
3 pairs of pants
2 sleepers
3 pairs of socks

 

9-12 months
3 pairs of shorts
2 pairs of pants
1 sun hat
1 bathing suit
2 pairs of shoes
7 short sleeves tops
5 short sleeves onesies

this just made my life far less complicated. because the gender will be a surprise, i steered clear of gender specific clothing without sacrificing color (seriously why does everyone seem to think that black and white are the only alternatives to pink and blue?)

i cannot wait to apply this to the other categories on my list. i am sure all the experienced mums are laughing at my idealized goals. i may too once this baby comes, but for now, i think this is good enough. hopefully this is helpful to other expectant mamas out there. let me know how you created your baby registry!

 

 

babylist was not a sponsor of this post (but hopefully some day they will be!). my opinions about the use of their site is based on my actual experience with using them when i was pregnant with isaac. also, if you are looking for pretty gender neutral clothing, h&m is a gold mine.

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.

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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.

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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

Pregnancy with a Cerclage

Pregnancy without any complications already has its own woes. Morning sickness. Constipation. Sore and sometimes bleeding gums. Your body becomes a leaky faucet of information that our middle school health classes did not prepare us for. thankfully there are resources just about everywhere that can help you decipher its code.

black mother

When you are essentially “tied up with string” with a cerclage, there is almost no manual that can help explain what you are supposed to be feeling or experiencing throughout your pregnancy. If your incompetent cervix was caught before it was too late and you were given an emergency cerclage, your life becomes all about how long your cervix is and making it another week with baby safely inside.

with a preventative cerclage, i had more cervix to work with and thought i would be able to breathe for the rest of my pregnancy. but every time i have had my cervical examination and have been told everything looks amazing (well thank you, i reply with a coy nod. I do my best),  the but what if lingers in the back of my mind.

Having a cerclage has not taken away the trauma i experienced, and unfortunately, i think that anxiety has heightened my level of concern over the normal pregnancy symptoms. I try not to stay there for very long. That thought can easily ensnare me. But it is there.

I was afraid to move because i was certain i would break the stitch. My uterus suddenly became more irritable, and i found that i could not sit, let alone stand, in the same position for longer than twenty minutes without it tightening up.

Every time baby decided to dance on my cervix, i instantly felt the stitch.

progesterone shot

There is a greater risk of infection because the stitch is a foreign object that my lady bits are trying to annihilate continuously. So, I am constantly drinking water, taking probiotics and everything else under the sun to avoid having to deal with an infection.

I have to be aware of any cramping I feel because the last thing anyone wants to happen is for me to go into labor while i am still stitched up.

Then there is the question of doing the doo.

Yeah. it just. got. real.

You can go on any forum that has cerclage as a topic and i can almost guarantee you that most of the mothers with a cerclage were afraid to poo for fear of breaking their stitch. the word on the street is: let it come when it comes. in the meantime, there is always good belly or colace.

Baby is still here. I am still here, taking it one day at a time. Surprising myself by stepping out of my traumatized state to enjoy the days when i can load the dishwasher, or make it fifteen minutes in publix, or yes even take a poo. Yes, the anxiety will still arise at any given moment, and i have to walk through it and not pretend it isn’t there, but my biggest fear is that i will let my loss of isaac consume me to the point that i cannot even enjoy the tiny strength of this new life growing inside of me.

Waiting to Exhale: 28 Weeks Pregnant

Yesterday was a dream deferred, but today hope is restored.

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Baby is moving around a lot. At night when I am in between potty breaks and sleep, I will lie awake just to enjoy every kick and hiccup baby offers up to me. It feels like I am in twilight. That space between dreaming and reality. The thought that this human being is actually getting bigger inside of me, just blows my mind every time I stop and think about it. Opening eyes, learning how to breathe, getting smarter, all happening right now inside where I cannot see.

I am still pinching myself that I have made it this far, yet realizing just how close I was to this point with Isaac. Twenty-eight weeks seemed so far off. The third trimester seemed unattainable. Yet here I stand, less than ninety days away from achieving a dream I thought would remain a dream.

started the third trimester with physical pitfalls.

After taking a surprisingly painless and lump free injection last Tuesday, the following day I was hit with a wave of nausea. I know it is because of the injection, because usually about one or two days before my weekly shot, I start to feel better. The correlation between my nausea and the progesterone shots have been nothing new for me, but Wednesday was probably the worst I have felt since starting the treatment.

Normal symptoms

  • Stuffy nose (made even worse by it being allergy season)
  • Occasionally sore gums
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Round ligament pain that is out of this dimension
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Peeing all the livelong day
  • Braxton Hicks
  • Swelling in my right leg (mostly ankle)

Makena symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tightness and swelling at the injection site (my bum)

I swear, on paper, I am a one hundred year old hospice patient.

Out of all of the symptoms, round ligament pain continues to be the contender! I laid in bed for almost an hour after waking up one morning, and by the time I was able to get up and function, I was visibly bigger than I was an hour before. Has anyone else ever felt their baby/uterus getting bigger while they were in the middle of something? I have heard it usually happens at night while we’re asleep, but I feel the burn throughout the day. My stomach feels like Mary Poppin’s carpet bag--always full, yet never satisfied.

The feels

I was hyper-emotional this week. My insecurity over my changing body has really surfaced this week. Sunday, while looking through photos Keith had sniped of me, I criticized his inability to ever get a decent shot of me. His response was one of frustration. Because you won't even give me a chance to take a picture of you. I end up rushing or taking pictures of anything just to get a shot of you. He was right. I can't entirely blame it on my pregnancy, but I think it has gotten worse since becoming pregnant.

Nesting has also left me feeling defeated. Lethargy and physical restrictions plagued me on the daily and very few items have been checked off on my list. I pushed myself to be as productive as I possibly could without overdoing it. I even forced myself to hire someone to professionally braid my hair so that I have one less thing to fuss over for the next two months. Technically I have twelve weeks left of this tour of duty, but when I consider that most of the to-dos involve heavy lifting or loads of energy to complete, I really only have twenty four days because I have to wait for the weekends to get anything done with Keith or my sister.

Overall, I am relieved to finally be in the third trimester. There are plenty of things that still need to get done before this baby comes and I am hoping that the major to-do lists will keep my mind off of this last leg of the race creeping by.

For those who have been pregnant, what in the world did you do to keep yourself from counting every second till baby came?

Waiting to Exale: 23 Weeks 6 Days

Today I am 23 weeks and 6 days. The exact gestational age of when I delivered Isaac.

I’ve spent most of my morning watching skillshare classes and researching on how to start this blog to take my mind off of this monumental moment. I have had first breakfast and second breakfast. I ate a slice of leftover pizza (with crispy kale, capers, soppressata, and pickled jalapenos). I’m thinking a second slice is in order.

I have been anticipating this day, with extreme anxiety, since the moment I found out that I was pregnant again. Although I knew in the back of mind that having a cerclage increased my chances of surpassing this milestone, it still did not ease my distress and the emotional ties I had to that moment in my life.

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What’s even more unnerving is that I delivered Isaac on Monday, the day after Mother’s Day last year, and I am sitting here on my couch at 23 weeks and 6 days, on a rainy Monday afternoon in March. No spotting. No contractions. No dilation. Just the sound of a clock vigorously ticking away at my day, and a very active baby rolling around underneath my skin.

It’s so surreal.

It feels like an ordinary day, but at the same time it’s not. The best way to describe the feeling of “crossing over” is like being in a state with two time zones and the anti climatic change that occurs when you move forward in time. I know that it is a meaningful moment, but the world outside has not acknowledged this moment in any grand or mystical way.

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I should be relieved. I should be exhaling. Yet, here I sit, holding my breath. If you have experienced child loss in some form, you know what I am talking about. You know why all the air is still trapped in your lungs. Yes, I have been able to kill off a little bit of the tension, but there is still more, holding my gladness hostage.