I had a number of people tell me they thought I was lucky. I got to lie on the couch all day long, watch movie after movie, spend all day on the internet and eat all the donuts I could stomach. Sure, I tried to tell myself it was kind of cool that I didn’t have to go to work and every day was a “lazy day.” But it wasn’t really all that cool. I didn’t really consider myself “lucky” either. It was nearly Christmas and I envied everyone and their plans, trips and family gatherings. I was fortunate enough to have my mom come to town and take care of my bed ridden self. It was also fortunate that I own nearly every Christmas movie ever made and don’t mind watching them on repeat!
I was just starting to get into a bit of a day to day routine. Mom was keeping me fat with lots of grilled cheese and chocolate (not together, but then again I was pregnant). Keith would dote on me when he came home from work. We also attempted to keep a bit of normalcy, so he would help me up the stairs to go to bed in our room at night. I had made it through the first week and was feeling pretty good about our odds of making it just a few (19) more. The weekend came and I was grateful to have a little time with Keith. We woke up on Saturday just like any other Saturday… until I got up to use the bathroom.
I had hoped that when I left the hospital on Thanksgiving I would not be seeing another hospital exam room until I was at least 36 weeks. As I had all of my vitals checked and was asked a myriad of questions, I couldn’t help but think that this might actually be it. I put in a good fight, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Keith held my hand and told me that it was going to be ok, and we could get a milkshake on the way home. It was a good thing I married an optimist, because at that point I was feeling really defeated. The doctor came in and asked me what the problem was. I told him that I thought I was leaking fluid. When I stood up and went to the bathroom I felt a trickle and I was really concerned. He informed me that they would have to do another exam in order to check for fluid, and he hoped he wouldn’t be disrupting anything that could cause me to go into labor. Here we go again. I tried very hard not to let panic set in. I just kept thinking about the milkshake awaiting me after this was all over.
I held my breath through the exam. The doc was very quick to tell me that I was not leaking amniotic fluid. PHEW. What a relief. For now anyways, my water had not broken. But then he told me it looked like I was a centimeter dilated and my membranes (water bag) were bulging. My heart sank. Dilated? Membranes bulging? How long could I go on like this? I was so upset. I thought after we successfully got the cerclage in, and made it a whole week on bedrest, we were in the clear. How naive was I? Naive and very sad. My spirits were quickly sinking. The doctor dismissed himself from the room and said he would be back in a minute. I had heard this before. I started to brace myself for what was going to come next. I was just sure he was going to tell me that I was going to go into labor at any moment and there was nothing more they could do for me. As I tried very hard to hold back an uncontrollable sobfest, the door swung open again. But it was not the doctor I was expecting.
It was Dr. Lantz. I could’ve sworn angels were singing as the door opened. He walked in and came over to me with a reassuring smile on his face. I immediately felt a sense of ease. If Dr. Lantz was here it must mean everything is going to be ok.. right? He told me he had just swung by the hospital to do some paperwork and heard I was here. He wanted to know how I was feeling. I told him what had brought me in, and what the diagnosis was from the doctor who examined me. He said he spoke with the doctor, and things were looking iffy. I asked him how long he thought I could go on being dilated with bulging membranes. Dr. Lantz said there was no telling. He informed me that there were several possible outcomes, none of which seemed to be ideal — with my membranes exposed there was a higher chance of my water breaking, or labor could naturally start, or I could continue to dilate past the cerclage… etc. etc. etc. However, there was a SLIM possibility that I could make it a few more weeks on bedrest. I asked Dr. Lantz what the chances were of me making it to 40 weeks. He just looked at me and didn’t reply. How about 36? He still stood there with a blank look on his face. I took a deep breath and he put his hand on my shoulder. He said there was no telling, but he gathered there was probably a 1 in 4 chance that I would carry to term. Ok, so I’ll likely not carry to term, but what are my chances of making it to at least 24 weeks so this baby has a shot? Dr. Lantz continued just looking at me and said “it’s pretty touch and go.” He advised me to adhere to very strict bedrest and to call him if I needed anything. He also wanted me to set up a follow-up appointment with his office where we could discuss our options further, and if we wanted, we could finally know the gender of our baby. He took my hand and said, you still have a long way to go, but I’ll see you in a few weeks. With his reassuring smile, he left the room.
I must have been in serious denial after leaving the hospital the first time. I wrongly assumed that since the cerclage was in, I stood a really good chance of making it to term with this baby. This hospital visit was a MAJOR reality check. I had to be a bit more realistic with my expectations for continuing this pregnancy. I may not get to full term, but I had to do everything in my power to prolong this pregnancy however I could. I was prepared to lie flat on my couch for as long as it took. Showers were out. Going up the stairs to bed in my room… out. Sitting up to eat was also out. I would do everything while lying flat on my back. Bedrest just got a bit more interesting. 1 week down, 19 to go. Let’s do this. Now where’s my milkshake?