I decided to continue to do updates for the remainder of my pregnancy because I’ve been googling things like “short cervix with funneling,” “preterm labor at 29 weeks” and “surviving bed rest” all week. And if I’m looking, I know someone else will be in the future. So I hope my experience will help at least one other pregnant woman.
For those who missed my update last week, I started having symptoms of preterm labor at the end of my 28th week of pregnancy. I was feeling cramp-like contractions and lots of pressure. I panicked a little bit and went to the hospital because I have a history of preterm labor and didn’t want to take any chances. And thank God I played it safe because we learned that my cervix had shortened beyond what is normal for 28 weeks. It was measuring around 2cm and there was funneling, which means it was opening where the baby’s head is. For reference, my cervix was measuring 3.2cm at 24 weeks which was shorter than average, but not alarming. So in four weeks, it went down a centimeter and started to funnel. I was given a steroid shot (and a second dose 24 hours later) and told to follow up with my Maternal Fetal Specialist.
At the MFM’s office, I learned more about what was happening. I’ve had quite a few cervical checks during my last two pregnancies, but I have never been able to see with my untrained eye what they were looking at. This time, I knew what I was looking at before she even spoke. There was a big black area I had never seen before just below my baby’s head. Thankfully, my cervix was still closed on the other side (the side that the doctor checks when you’re in labor), but with less than 2cm of cervix left (I believe it was measuring 1.4cm that day), it was only a matter of time. She put me on bed rest and told me to prepare for another preterm birth. She obviously couldn’t tell me what week the baby would come, but she said making it to 32 weeks was my first goal. I asked her about what to expect with a 29 or 30 week baby and she said at least two months in the NICU along with feeding and breathing problems. She was positive, but truthful and I left her office feeling mentally prepared for all scenarios, slightly nervous, but also confident that God would take care of my baby whenever she was born.
I went home and got in bed. And you would think that laying in bed while someone watches your kids and brings you meals and does all of your chores would be fun. But it’s the opposite of fun. You quickly get tired of laying down all day. Eating meals in bed gives you heartburn. You get jealous when you hear your husband playing with your kids and you can’t join in. You feel guilty when you hear them crying and you can’t help. And you feel sad when they start to prefer their dad over you. You’re consumed with the urge to nest, but you can’t walk too much or lift anything heavy. So you overcompensate by going to amazon.com and ordering everything you could possibly need for the baby until your husband catches on and shuts you down. You make it through the first week and wonder how in the world you’ll make it another six or seven. But then you go to the doctor for your one week follow-up. And you find out that bed rest is working!
I went back to the MFM on Wednesday and my cervix has lengthened a bit and the funneling is gone. I read about this happening and Sam and I, along with family and friends literally all over the country, had been praying for it to happen for me, and God answered our prayers! My cervix is still short, but it’s a very good sign that the funneling is gone. And baby is measuring 3.6 pounds which I’m extremely happy with. That was the boost I needed to stay in this bed/on this couch. I know without a doubt that God will keep this baby girl in my belly until she’s ready to come out. I’m not sure if that’ll be 34 weeks, 37 weeks or 40 weeks (which would be completely new territory for me!), but I know that she’s going to be the perfect size and in perfect health when she finally makes her debut.
I go back to my MFM next week for another cervical check. If things are still looking good, I’ll be released from her care again. I’ll remain on bed rest, but I won’t have to be so closely monitored. Thankfully, Christmas and Harper’s 3rd birthday are next week so we’ll have lots of extra hands to help with the girls and I’ll have lots of entertainment to help me forget that I’m stuck on the couch. I’m going to take a break from regular blogging to enjoy the holidays, but I’ll probably post an update next Friday after my appointment.
Thank you for all of your prayers and for sending me sweet, encouraging messages over the last week. It means so much to me! And thank you for reading my blog and encouraging me to keep writing. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and the happiest New Year!