Initially when I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, I really had no idea how close I came to losing my twins. I knew the situation was serious enough for me to be admitted into the hospital, but I felt like I was well taken care of and the issue was at least under control. It was not until I began to research my condition that I realized just how lucky I was to have a doctor who was able to stop a disaster from happening. In doing my research, I found out that a normal cervix during pregnancy should measure 3cm or greater but mine had shortened to just 0.8cm! If left untreated, I would have gone into full preterm labor probably in the next week and given birth to babies that were not viable to live outside of the womb. My first instinct when I started my bed rest journey was to seek out support from others in the same boat as me. Right away, I created the private Facebook group to speak with the other Moms on bed rest in the hospital, and then I branched out to all sorts of online support groups which were specific to my exact condition. I soon began to discover that within these groups, I was a minority since this was my very first pregnancy and I had no history of miscarriage or stillbirth. More often than not, an incompetent cervix is usually diagnosed only after a woman has gone through one or more losses because it is not caught soon enough and some doctors don't include this test during exams. I was extremely fortunate to be under the care of a high risk doctor (due to being pregnant with twins) who routinely checks for this condition between weeks 18-20. I was actually looking forward to my 19 week ultrasound mainly because the sexes would be determined, plus the doctor would be doing an anatomy scan where all of the body parts and internal organs would be measured and examined. The excitement would soon turn to fear once he informed my husband and I that there was bad news.
With such a shocking diagnosis and treatment plan, I selfishly kept thinking about how miserable the next 4-5 months would be at the hospital stuck in bed all day and night. But as my research started, I began to shift my thinking outward and fully empathize with all of the stories I came across where women had been through the unthinkable nightmare of losing their babies. How could I possibly complain or feel bad for myself?!? So many women would give anything to be where I was if it meant their babies were still safe and inside their womb. Everyday that I am here is truly a gift and as the days, weeks, and months roll by, I can't help but feel incredibly fortunate that I have gotten this far.
One particular story I recently found online really hit home for me because just two days after I was admitted into The BirthPlace, this other woman Cori, was admitted as well for the same exact condition. In her own blog, she writes about how it was discovered that she had an incompetent cervix and a cerclage procedure was scheduled on the same day that I was going to have mine...Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for Cori, her water ended up breaking before the procedure could even take place and nothing could be done at that point to save the baby. Reading this tragic story, I started thinking that as I was being wheeled into the operating room, this poor woman was already at the end of her journey knowing that soon she would be delivering her baby that would not even get the chance to live. Later that evening, I was recovering from surgery with the new possibility of delivering full term babies while just a few doors down from me, Cori was holding her angel in her arms and saying goodbye. As I near the 100 day mark, it seems like a very long time to be stuck in the hospital but I bet Cori or any other woman who has suffered a loss would gladly stay in the hospital over 200 days if it meant saving their baby's life. Bed rest can be a very stressful and unpleasant experience for most women, but focusing on these kind of stories can really help put things into perspective and completely change your attitude...I know it definitely changed mine.
*The song "Someone Else's Story" is from the 1988 Broadway musical Chesswhich has music written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song is actually about a marriage coming to an end but the message in the song is that the woman experiencing this loss wishes her story was not her own. I am sure that women who have experienced losing their baby certainly wish that this incident did not happen to them. Originally, when I found out I would be on bed rest for several months, I really hoped that this could have been someone else's story. But now, I am beyond grateful that this is in fact my story after reading about countless women who were not as lucky as I. This lesson really makes me count my blessings and be utterly thankful that I have made it 95 days in the hospital with hopefully more days to come.