Pregnancy

Incompetent cervix

In May of 2014 after a failed IVF cycle, we were super lucky on an IUI. It was a new protocol for me, low dose meds. My response was bad, like always, but fine for IUI. I had 3 mature follicles at trigger, two others not too far behind. We got the big BFP, big fat positive, and a beta of 92 on day 12 post IUI.

It was the first time I had ever had such a great number and was so reassuring. Even better, I knew it was a positive before seeing the pink lines just due to the overwhelming brain fog that swept through me. I remember the moment it first happened. We were in the grocery, I couldn’t recall what I wanted to buy and was way too tired to walk three aisles over to the dairy section.

Over the next couple of weeks we watched my beta skyrocket and finally got to a scan. We saw one sac and nothing much else. It was early though. We were leaving on a cruise and I wanted to be sure it wasn’t tubal. Sac in uterus, check. Once back we got another scan and saw 2 sacs in the uterus along with two beautiful heartbeats.

I remember thinking that surely I would get one baby out of this. I feel guilty about that thought sometimes, but after multiple miscarriages, somehow I felt like 2 meant my chances for actually having one was higher.

Things progressed and we finally announced around 16 weeks. I was showing already as I am very short waisted so nowhere to go but out. I was feeling pretty relaxed and like we were not only pregnant, but done with the whole fertility world. This was perfect, two in one. Life really had worked out so perfectly.

At my 13 week scan she was pretty sure they were both girls. We picked names over the next few weeks. I planned a nursery and started building a registry. I expected them to be born early, being twins, so picked a date for a shower.

At my anatomy scan, 18 weeks along, we looked over baby A and then baby B and then after all was so perfect, the technician turned white. She had seen my cervix was short. The doctor came in and explained everything to us but it didn’t matter, it was all a haze, like an airplane motor was outside my ears. I didn’t accept that I would or could lose my girls. I was put on bedrest and told to come in weekly.

That was a Wednesday. The following Wednesday I was leaving the hospital, so empty, no longer pregnant.

On Sunday night I woke up to sharp pains in my back, electric shock type of pains. I realized I was laboring. My cervix was open, baby A’s sac was bulging out. I called my OB whom I hadn’t spoken to since the MFM appointment and she told me to go to the hospital. I asked “is it over.” She said yes.

I went by ambulance to the hospital with the highest level NICU. It was the paramedics idea. I knew it didn’t matter, I was too far away from viability. Still I stayed there in bed, head down, for two more days. Eventually my water broke for the first baby and I was bleeding. My bloodwork showed infection. I was told I needed to induce or I risked losing my uterus or my life.

I fought it as long as I could but finally gave in. I took the meds and labored and delivered them. It was painful, my IV had infiltrated and they didn’t get organized enough to give me anything. My girls had heartbeats when they were born, but passed in our arms.

This is what my incompetent cervix story is. This is so similar to so many others. It happens fast, shocks you, and with no warning it takes your babies. If you are lucky, maybe you can make it long enough to make it to NICU. Maybe a cerclage can be placed. But often, the first pregnancy for us fails.

While still in the hospital I was researching all I could. I read about different types of vaginal cerclages, TVC- shidrocker, McDonald, TVCIC, and the TAC. I read about being on bestest after and success rates, some defined as getting you to 24 weeks on tons of restrictions. That all sealed the deal for me. I knew leaving there I would get a TAC, transabdominal cerclage.

So this isn’t a totally sad post I will end it with a quick update. I got my TAC in 11/14 (more on that in another post) and it has brought me two beautiful, full size, healthy little boys with absolutely zero restrictions. Actually really easy pregnancies. My doctor for this is a pure angel, Arthur Haney. I will forever know that he saved my life. He gave me hope when I was at my lowest. He showed me light when all was dark. He gave me my life back when he fixed me so I could have my boys. I hope everyone who goes through these losses finds someone like him.

Here is a link to my angel, Dr. Haney. https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/find-a-physician/physician/arthur-f-haney

And here is an FAQ on the TAC https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/conditions-services/pregnancy-childbirth/high-risk-pregnancy-maternal-fetal-medicine/conditions/incompetent-cervix-cervical-insufficiency/transabdominal-cervical-cerclage

In a follow up post I will be bringing more info about different cerclages and options for incompetent cervix, as well as the wonderful AbbyLoopers group, found here https://abbyloopers.boards.net/. And https://m.facebook.com/AbbyloopersforTAC/

Abbyloopers is the perfect place to start for support through IC, no matter where you are in your journey.