My Cerclage

In September 2005, I was pregnant with twin girls. I lost my pregnancy at 19 weeks apparently due to my "incompetent cervix." I became pregnant again and wrote all about it on this blog. I now have a wonderful son. Since bed rest, anxiety and cerclage were so much fun, I've decided to do it all again.....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Parked in the Park

We had a wonderful day out on our anniversary. Dolores Park was packed with people. I love people watching, and there was plenty to keep me occupied. It was sunny and warm and lots of friends came by with dogs and babies and blankets and food. My husband's father and his girlfriend were visiting. They are really funny. They are such New Yorkers. They commented multiple times about how "sunny" San Francisco is, and they didn't ever quite look comfortable on the picnic blanket. Eventually my father-in-law's head started turning the color of a tomato, at which point they politely declined staying any longer, and decided to go for a nap at their hotel. They were great though and they said all the right things about how wonderful it and beautiful it is here. They shook their heads in disbelief several times as they pointed out the palm trees. It’s like California is some foreign land to them.

I forced us to stay until early evening, despite friends coming and going. Every time there was a hint of a suggestion to leave, I heard myself say "I'm fine to stay a bit longer." It wasn't until I felt the chill in the air that indicates evening is coming in San Francisco that I wanted to go home. It was a great day that we topped off by ordering sushi (all cooked for me, except for the piece that I spontaneously ate that theoretically belonged to someone else).

During my day at the park, there were 3 "bathroom breaks" where I actually had to walk across the park--not that far, but farther then I have moved for weeks. The next day, yesterday, I woke up sore. My LEGS were sore. It was slightly disturbing. I decided not to worry about it and was reading contentedly when I also noticed that I was having trouble holding my hardcover book above my face. With a feeling of dread I understood it is because my arms suck so bad that they are too weak to hold a book! Oh wait. Wasn't I going to write a post about how great my day was? Am I instead managing to complain about bedrest again? Oh well. It’s my blog and if a bedrest vent is coming, why stop it? I knew I would get bored and frustrated and feel anxiety on bedrest, but I clearly underestimated the bodily effect and how much that affects me. I know this is all temporary, but it is a decidedly foreign version of me than the one I knew and I don’t like it at all. So many of my friends are…not athletic. And I think I have always prided myself on being a little “jockey” where others aren’t (of course, I would pale in a world of jocks, but many of my friends are not jocks so I look good). So…there is this weird trauma of losing that part of me that is humbling and unexpectedly affecting my psyche!!

Okay, alright, no more doom and gloom. I had a good ultrasound after my day of freedom. The "microfunneling" is...pretty much not there, and the cervix is back at about 4 cm. I think the funneling is always there, and some docs/techs say it is and some people say it isn't. I am decidedly a borderline case. Good news is that it has never gotten any worse since it first appeared and tomorrow--tomorrow I am 28 weeks pregnant.

All is well for now. I hate bedrest.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Wedded Bliss

Maybe it was just that I had a tough beginning of last week. My husband is back in the bed for the last few nights, and I am sleeping fine. Since I hit 27 weeks, I am seemingly emotionally on track again. And tomorrow, I will be sprung for what will be (which I forgot about until this weekend) 2 years of wedded bliss. I can't believe the year we’ve had. Last year on our anniversary, I found out I was pregnant the first time. Everything seemed so...according to plan. The year has been a tough, but I really do feel hopeful again and am very excited for my day in the park tomorrow. I also should add that earlier in the month, my husband and I celebrated 7 years of "boyfriend girlfriend." Happy Anniversary to us:)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pillow Talk Shut Down

A few weeks ago I was hearing the (happy) labor story of friend of mine who recently had a baby. As she talked about going to bed the night she delivered, she voiced a throw away comment about how she went to her own bed, having kicked her husband out of their mutual bed months earlier in the pregnancy. Did I feel a little prickle of judgment? I do have a memory of noting how my husband and I were sleeping happily together, despite my many pillows and pregnancy complaints.

Last night was day four of kicking the husband to the guest room. I am a sensitive sleeper (read: insomniac) in the best of times and with my new pregnancy grumpiness, I can't deal with a) space issues b) snoring (husband says, "breathing") and c) the yellow lab taking up 1/3 of the bed. I have a 5 pillow system. I need to roll over and adjust waiting pillows on either side of me multiple times a night. Last night, early in one of my "rollovers," my husband meekly asked, "Can you not pull the covers?" My words were out before I could fully think them, "you need to go the other room." He jumped up clutching his one measly pillow, groggy and half asleep and, I might add, looking quite cute with his hair sticking up and his stripped boxers making their appearance outside the bed. I detected he was not annoyed; in fact, I picked up a palpable sense of relief from his sleepy self. He said, "Its okay" and before the door shut, "we all sleep better this way." I hoped for different, but let's just say he is not the only one who sighed with a sentiment of liberation when he left. I blissfully took advantage of my big empty bed and happily sprawled, pillow under every limb.

What I really mind is waking up without him in the morning. That yucky feeling of no warm body (specifically his warm body) next to me is the reason I start each night with the pretense that we will make it through. Oh well, at least we made it through two trimesters before I kicked him to the guestroom curb.

As for the cervix, it is shorter, but the funneling looks resolved again. As predicted, peri observed that the funneling appears when she loosens my bed rest privileges, and then goes away when she keeps me down. I think I am pretty stuck until 36 weeks. She, however, did give me a bit of hope for this weekend. I have my regular ultrasound on Tuesday, so she suggested I increase my activity a little on Monday. If there is funneling after that, we'll know to keep bed rest strict. If not, I have hope again. We are planning an outing involving a picnic blanket and a park! Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Funnel Trouble

Damn that funnel. It decided to come back. It is a fairly minor funnel, and the ultrasound peri didn't seem overly concerned about it because I still have so much cervix left (cervix is still over 3.5 despite the funnel). But, it is a funnel and I am not too thrilled about it. So I decided to email my regular perinatologist after the sonogram, the one who holds to key to my bed rest allowances and overseas my medical care. She is a little nervous about this funnel. She had me come in and do some contraction monitoring today, and she wants me to have another sono before my appointment with her on Friday. I know this woman well enough to know that if it is worse, she’ll hospitalize. She is determined to get me to 34 weeks. I like that about her. But I am a mess lately--bed rest and high risk pregnancy are taking their toll. When the nurse monitoring my non-contractions (no contractions showed at monitoring) asked about the twins, I started crying. Weird. I usually can talk about that to strangers without bawling.

While I know I should be worried, and I am worried, I think the mind does protect you from massive breakdown by helping you focus on these other, less worrisome things. Like how much bed rest sucks. You can stop reading now if you are sick of seeing the same post over and over. Yessiree, I am simply writing another form of the famous “bed rest vent.”

See, I almost didn’t want to tell the peri about the funnel because I know it decreases my chances of any loosening of bed rest chains at 28 weeks, about a week and a half from now. Of course she was about the get the report herself, and would I really do anything like go off bed rest with a funnel? No! But why am I focused on the bed rest rather than the fact that my cervix is starting to open??

I was put down at 13 weeks. Had it been later in the pregnancy, maybe I’d be better about managing it now, I don't know. After almost 14 weeks on bed rest, my body is protesting!! I have these deep bruises in my hips from lying on them 24 hours a day. You can’t see them from the outside, but they are deep inside, and they burn. My shoulders are so stiff, my back hurts and I am sleeping poorly. There is no way to escape this discomfort. In fact, what I will do to my body for the next 6-7 weeks will just make these symptoms worse. Oddly, this is the hardest I have ever been on my body in my whole life. It is worse than the marathon. Resting. It does the body bad.

Yes, as I enter my third trimester, with new medical concerns and preterm labor risks, I have become someone who has decidedly hit the wall. And while now I sniffle at least once daily, (don’t you look at me wrong! Don’t you-- Great. Now I’m crying. See what you did?) I also do know that my life as a blob has a purpose. Each day is harder and harder, but I wish for it to last as long as it needs to so this little guy cooks until he is well done. It’s sort of hard to wish for it to end and to wish it lasts a lot longer at the same time. Ah well. A day in the life on the sidelines.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Guru Says Relax!

Guru came over Wednesday to do some safe stretching. I told her my new fear of giving birth and becoming parent, and then quickly added that thinking or saying it out loud is as far as I can go, but maybe in a few weeks I might be able to do some birth education. She's all "sure sure" but then, in our session, she starts sneakily giving me bits of information as if she is just spouting her usual guru noise. She utters a few tips here and there about calming myself with music, and how her clients find that the music they use to calm themselves while pregnant works after the baby is born on the baby. Hmm. She also manages to add a bit about the natural process of breathing into a contraction the same way we were practicing breathing into the pain of my aching hips. Uh. Okay.

After we are through, she bestows on me this "goal" of relaxation. She tells me to commit to a relaxation ritual 15 minutes a day, saying that she can really tell the difference between her clients who practice relaxation and those that don't, “It helps with everything, not just pregnancy.” She suggests meditating, breathing, or even lying in one of the gentle poses we do--whatever floats my boat.

As she is speaking this advice, I'm thinking, "I can't believe this bitch." She is trying to sneak in preparation for all this stuff, and she is giving me a task that will really help me if I do it, but I know I won't and then I will have to tell her I didn't and then I won't feel good about that. Furthermore, I begin to understand, with alarm, she is using all my own tricks on me that I use on other people when I am doing counseling or social work. She is helping me set goals, and giving me tools for said goals and I am, let's just say, feeling a wee bit resistant to being on the other side of the yoga mat, if you get my drift. I start thinking about all the people I meet at the hospital who have misconceptions or defenses against social workers, and suddenly, they all seem totally reasonable. Good ego strength is what they have. That’s what I say!

So the next day, yesterday, I have another full-on breakdown. Because there is this other shameful feeling about high risk pregnancy involving extreme lifestyle curtailment I encounter. For me it is the sentiment, visceral and bold, that I just want my life back! The one where I felt normal: not damaged, tragic...incompetent! The one where I go out to eat, enjoy a glass of wine, and am more than a bum cervix. Once that feeling of missing the old me comes up, I start to think. Oh shit. Most people go through pregnancy thinking that they are preparing for the big challenge. I’m thinking that the big challenge is over at birth. I keep on saying things like, "when this is over" as if that means that I don't have some other major life changing event that this whole thing is about! What stinks about these thoughts are that I then feel guilty, because I have spent the last year pregnant (save for the 2-3 short months in-between) to get to this goal of having a baby. How can I even remotely have ambivalence about it?

At this point I have gotten myself into such a tizzy. I am a failure at bedrest, how will I be a mom when I am having thoughts of bubble baths, long runs and sushi as events I would possibly sell my soul to the devil to have back in my life. I am about to start with the waterworks, and then I realize: Guru says relax. I approach the yoga mat, sit down and start my deep breathing. I do a pose or two, and well, yeah, that seems to have calmed me a bit. 11 minutes is all I have in me. It is...maybe 30% successful. As I am sitting there, my husband magically appears and I immediatly cry and blubber the whole thought process and receive some reassurance from him (i.e. I am doing such a great job, I will do such a great job, we will be happy, we will be active etc etc). I feel better from the relaxation or the husband--it's a toss up, but I do end up feeling better.

Still, maybe Guru has a small point, and I will try again today to practice relaxtion. Given how honestly I have just spewed my crazy bedrest mind, I can safely admit that maybe I do need a little, uh, intervention in the relaxation sphere. Isn't that ironic considering that's supposedly all I do?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Brother Fun

I have no time for blogging since I am so social and busy! Ha! Well, sort of. I have been entertaining family. My brother stayed through the weekend and we had our sad good-bye before sending him and my sister-in-law off to Europe on Monday. The actual good-bye wasn't sad, but knowing that he is not here when the big things happen is making me feel a bit alone here in California. He was there when we lost the girls, he was there was the cerclage was placed. It's not the day to day stuff; it's the knowing you have close family around for the big things.

But I hardly had time to be sad because another big brother arrived the following day. He is in town for business, and he kindly spent all afternoon with me yesterday, noting only once or twice that he is not sure how I manage lying about all day. We started the day animatedly chatting, had some lunch, and eventually fell into comfortable silences as we watched John Stuart on TIVO and surfed the internet. Even after this long day, the nice man stayed for dinner. I appreciate this especially because I know he could have begged off for a work event, and the truth is, staring at each other for 7 hours is not exactly stimulating.

As for the cervix, it is evidently heading my advice to act competently. Our ultrasound shows us still around 4cm long and closed. We hit 26 weeks tomorrow. I am starting to feel more secure, and noticed that at 24 weeks I felt a little shift in optimism that has, thankfully, remained. It seems my challenge is staying down (I do the best I can, but I shamefully admit getting up more than I should for the extra glass of water or snack) and making it through the next big milestones.

I am also starting to contemplate the idea that we might actually have a baby when this is all through. My goals have traditionally manifested themselves around getting through pregnancy. I am totally and utterly unprepared for parenthood--especially given that it could be a mere 10 weeks away that I am holding a baby. I suppose I should be glad I am able to even ponder it, maybe in a few more weeks I’ll actually act on this pondering.

Friday, May 12, 2006

She's No Zombie Clone

At yesterday's doctors appointment I almost had a heart attack when the favorite peri casually asked me and my husband if we had chosen a pediatrician. Then came two more rapid fire questions: Have we thought about how we feel regarding circumcision? And have we thought about birth control for after the delivery? We both looked so shocked she actually smiled and said something along the lines of "I believe you are going to be bringing home a baby."

She finally became her old self in typical doom and gloom fashion by spewing preterm labor risks and reminding us 28 weeks is the "first" goal and bedrest is still very important. But STILL. Unless she was replaced by some zombie clone, I believe my doctor is showing signs of new optimism never expressed in the past.

As for me, I think we will be okay too. But I am afraid to say so--even though I just did. It’s just that every time I start to breathe and think it’s really a matter of time rather than risk, a stitch loosens or a funnel appears. So for now I will say that I am happy to have had a positive OB appointment where all the regular pregnancy stuff was addressed and the cervix was barely mentioned at all. It was almost like I am…you know…just pregnant!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I want to cheat! I want to cheat so badly. Forget it if I said anything positive about managing my house arrest. It's a familiar post now. I should just repost any of my several earlier posts about bedrest. Why bother writing anything new. It all boils down to the same damn thing: I hate bedrest.

Cervix check went really well. I feel like I shouldn't complain. We are still long, and the "microfunneling" appears to have disappeared for now. Baby is growing well, making his presence known all the time. I was so thrilled after our appointment that I rushed home to contact the peri to establish my previous level of activity: sitting up and an extra outing when already out for appointments. But I was foiled again!!! She is letting me out of the evil trendelenberg, but she still wants me to lie down as much as possible, and I just...I hate it! If she had something about having a baby between 24 and 26 weeks being the worst time, I would have reached through the phone and throttled her. She didn't. But I could hear her thinking it.

I feel some guilt around this. Am I not looking out for the best interest of my baby? I feel like I should be so grateful that all appears to be going well. I really am making my way through the risk period and, you know, it’s not about me. Shouldn’t I have baby’s best interest in mind like peri does? But all I want to do is cheat! No, like, thank god my husband is more of a fretter than me does not support cheating. If he gives me a glimpse of weakness and starts to act like he thinks going for ice cream is a good idea, then we are gone. He is nothing to my bedrest rage! I will squash him if he shows an inkling of waver. We would be in the car now--now, in the riskiest time ever. And I don't care, because, clearly, I am going insane.

I am almost 25 weeks, about 3 weeks to go till 28. But mark my words. That peri is still going to find a way to keep me down. I just know it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bedrest Side Effects

Let's talk about grooming.

My hair, usually a blondish color, has made its way into the realm of brown. My hair was blond as a kid, and in high school (okay, junior high) it started to go dark. It has had various kinds of "help" ever since to remain blond. These days, my dark blond hair or ash blond hair, maybe dirty blond hair…ok MOUSY BROWN hair has taken over the top of my head. This different hair color would not be so bad if it weren’t fighting with the bottom half of my untrimmed, split ended, rats nested straw. It's pretty ugly. Only the waviness of it helps offset the contrast.

My eyebrows in all their glory are a site to behold. I remember a friend practically shrieking with relief when I finally got wind that not everyone's eyebrows rested so prominently on their face and took myself to the salon for my first waxing. I need professional help for this. I am not great with the tweezers, and I find an eyebrow wax every month really does the trick. I am in dire need of such wax, and if I am being honest, my upper lip needs some attention too. I won't even mention the other area on my body where hair is growing with abandon. Let's just say that since I can't see it anymore, I am having an out of sight out of mind approach to its presence.

Pedicures are events of the distant past. Closed toe shoes are my friends for the few times I am out (to the doctor) and socks and slippers are firmly in place for any other possible viewers at home. Fingernails are okay since I have access to a nail file.

These small things are just little side effects of 6 months on bedrest, but think about it. How many times in a 6 month period, do you take care of all of these grooming rituals? Let me tell you, it is more than you think! And when I'm done with bedrest? I am theoretically going to have a baby. I am sure I will be doing countless pedicures then. Is this how people start to look like moms? You know, not the “yummy mommy” but the one who ends up in “mom jeans?” Do you just stop caring once you’ve let the dorkiness seep in? I really think this is a dangerous road because I care about the loss of this stuff, but I sort of also feel like, oh well. Those things are sort of a pain anyway, right?

I am deciding here and now to nip this in the bud. I promise myself when the loved but hated Peri gives me an inch with the bedrest chains that I will take more than a mile and get waxed, plucked, highlighted and polished!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guess Where I Am Not?

I am not in the hospital! This whole thing is very confusing, and I am going back to my original theory (not necessarily ever mentioned in blog before) that with any pregnancy monitored so closely, even the lowest risk, there would be several possible maybe “issues” which women normally never know about because they get, like one ultrasound their whole pregnancy. Is that me? I don't know. Past history says no, but every doctor likes to point out, "it might have just been a twin thing". If this one goes all the way to term, they'll still never know if it is because of the cerclage, the twin thing, the bedrest or what. But my newest attitude is that, once again, everything is FINE.

For whatever reason, the radiologist today thought that the cervix did not have a "dimple" of funneling, and that it measured 3.6 wonderful centimeters long. She even went so far as to say that the funneling from Monday might just have been "muscular." I don't know anymore, I’m not even sure what that means. I just know that I am happily back home.

I truly do have the perinatologist I love, and who I love to hate. She has this way of bursting my bubbles all the time under the guise of good medical care. Here is today’s bubble burst: She is telling me that this is all wonderful and what great news etc. when she says, "Maybe the trendelenburg worked." The "trendelenburg,” for those of you who don’t know, is the name of the horrible daytime position (mentioned in last weeks episode of ER, by the way) the doctor has kept me in for the last few days. I call it the "tingly feet headache" position, because it entails my feet in the air and my head towards the ground in an effort to have gravity help my incompetent self. The minute she suggests that this is why I am doing well, I know that this lovely position will continue. And Gold bless her, she said, at least 4 times during this conversation, how having a baby between 24 and 26 weeks is the worst time and I know that in her mind that if I need to hang by my toes for two weeks to avoid that, I very well should do it. Once again, she has my best interest in mind. Hence, she is a bubble burster who still won’t let me sit up.

I wonder if her feelings would change were she there to witness my 1am elbows and knees fit last night. This fit (last night was its grand entry) is when the hips and shoulders feel so tender from lying on them 24 hours a day, the patient (me) starts blubbering to the husband that it "hurts too much" and decides to adopt some weird version of childs pose as an acceptable bedrest position. I figure that gravity is still working in the direction she wants since my butt is squarely in the air, and my head is surely below my hips. It is really quite attractive, actually.

Doctor says she wants me to keep tredelenburging at least until our usual Monday ultrasound. This will not get me down, though. I have renewed energy for this shit. When I got the funneling news, the idea of going into the hospital didn't seem that bad. It really didn't. Suddenly, the safety of this pregnancy/baby automatically became the most important thing and I knew I would feel safer there. This is a large difference to previous feelings about hospital bedrest, which included phrases like, “that would suck SO BAD.” Plus, even if I have to stay this way till 36 weeks, that is only 12 more weeks. And even I know that isn’t forever.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mayday! Mayday!

I woke up yesterday morning feeling good, calling to my husband "Honey! It is May 1st! One more month till 28 weeks, June 1st and we'll be all good!" I felt great that we were through April, a new month is starting, but a tough month is over and all is well. I wasn't even terribly worried about cervix check yesterday. Hmmmm....

The cervix, while still long, had a "dimple". Doesn't that sound sort of cute? It is not cute at all. I am funneling a little bit at the top of my cervix. Normally, at this stage, I wouldn't be horribly worried because of the nice stitch we have to make sure everything stays in place. Oh, right! There is a distinct possibility that the stitch won't hold since it is so low in the much loved cervix. Remember those earlier posts about the bad stitches?

In speaking to my doctor yesterday, she informed me she would like me to come in for another ultrasound this week, Thursday, when I hit 24 weeks. In the meantime, she would like the couch tilted up (feet raised, hips raised, head down), and oh yeah, no more sitting up till then, "pillows are fine and you can sleep flat for now." Don't you hate it when someone gives you what they think is a privilege and that you assumed in the worst bedrest situation would never be taken away? I am allowed to put a pillow under my head? Gee, thanks.

The doctor, who only has my best interest in mind, has also suggested that if things don't look good on Thursday and the funneling is significant, there is a chance I will be hospitalized. She told me to “be prepared in case”. I have no idea what “prepared” means, but I am taking it to mean “bring your softest t-shirt and comfy yoga pants”. At the end this disturbing conversation, she chirpily managed to throw in a "I am still very optimistic." As if that is what I heard in all she said. Actually, I guess it must have meant something since it is showing up in my post.

So, here I am feet up, really, really trying to keep up the positive thoughts when what I am feeling, with all my negative energy, is that May SUCKS!