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When I lost my angel Travis it was such a traumatic experience for me I had decided that I would not have any other children. The threat of the same thing happening again just terrified me too much. It took me over 6 months after I lost him to even be able to go back to work and then it was only part-time. Needless to say, when I found out I was pregnant with Noah it was a big surprise.
My husband and I were not trying to get pregnant. In fact, it seemed children were not in our future. I am really bad at keeping track of my cycles, so I am never really sure of the exact date to expect it. I knew I had not had a period at all in Feb. My yearly OB check was due soon, so I was not too worried and would just find out then. When I went to my appointment I told her that I thought I might be pregnant (but I never really thought I would be) She sent me to the lab to have a blood test done. I went home after my appointment and did not give it much thought. Later the nurse called to tell me my test came back positive. I could not believe it when she told me it was positive. She was telling me she would call in a prescription for prenatal vitamins, and I could barely concentrate on her words. I kept hearing her say the test was positive over and over in my mind. I hung up the phone and went to go tell my husband, David, the news. He did not believe me at first, he thought I was joking. You see, he had been physically abused as a child and as a result of that trauma was told he could not have children.
Life went on normally and I had chosen not to tell anyone because I was not even ready to deal with the prospect of another pregnancy.
A few weeks later I started spotting, at this time I thought I was 9 weeks based on my lmp (last menstrual period). I called my Dr’s office frantically. My OB was not available, so they fit me in with another OB. At the appointment the Dr. did a vaginal ultrasound and the baby was just fine, but I did have a very large cyst on my left ovary. He said we would wait 2 weeks and see if it would disappear on its own, if not then I might have to have surgery to have it removed and that would put my pregnancy at risk. So, he gave me these frightening pamphlets all about ovarian cysts. The other thing that was discovered through the ultrasound was that I was not 9 weeks, but closer to 5 weeks. The Dr. went over my history with me. He was very surprised that my previous Dr. had not given me any reason why I had lost Travis. He wanted me to have my hospital records from when I lost Travis released to him, which I did. Everything seemed so frightening; I was only 5 weeks and was already having complications. At my next appointment for the first time the term “incompetent cervix” was mentioned to me. He told me that there was a procedure called a cerclage that had a great success rate for women with cervical problems. He also explained to me that there were risks with the procedure. That the surgery could rupture my water or could cause an infection in my cervix where the only recourse would be to induce labor, both scenarios leading to a miscarriage. He explained to me if I decided to do it, the surgery would be done when I was 15 weeks. So, he told me to go home and discuss it with my husband. That same appointment he also did another trans-vaginal ultrasound and thankfully the cyst had disappeared on its own and the baby was growing right on schedule.
I went home and discussed the cerclage with David and we decided that the best chance the baby had was for me to have the cerclage. At my next appointment, David went with me and we told the Dr that we did want the cerclage. He informed us that he would be doing a Shirodka cerclage (a purse string stitch around the cervix underneath the skin of the cervix to help cinch it together) All the papers were signed and the surgery was scheduled.
The weeks leading up to the cerclage were so frightening. I was so scared that I would lose my baby before I could have the cerclage done. On the day of the surgery I talked to the baby and asked him to please hold on that I knew we could both make it through. It scared me to think that he might die as a result of the surgery. After, I was prepped for surgery they had given me a general and they were trying to find the heartbeat and I wanted to hear it but I must have went under because the next thing I remember the surgery was over and they were taking me to a recovery room. The pain was horrible. I felt like I was in hard labor and I was hysterical. The nurse was trying to calm me down. Then my Dr. came in and told me it was just the pressure I was feeling and everything was ok. He then took a Doppler and found the baby’s heartbeat loud and clear. I was crying tears of joy. We both had made it. My Dr. explained to me that the next 48 hours would be crucial. I should expect to see bleeding. But, not to worry it was normal. Those first 48 hours were a nightmare, I don’t know how many times I called my poor Dr. Every time, he would assure me what I was seeing was normal.
At my post op appointment another ultrasound was done and he said the cerclage was perfect and healing wonderfully. The baby looked great and was growing well. I was still scared but all went more or less smoothly until 21 weeks when I started having my first contractions. I went to the hospital and was given my first dose of brethine to stop the contractions. My Dr. told me that cerclages can cause “irritation of the uterus” and that is what was causing the contractions. I went to the hospital many times after that for contractions. Twice I went to the hospital thinking my water was leaking. The first time turned out to be nothing and the second time I did test positive for amniotic fluid. They monitored me for several hours and tested again. And that last test was negative. My Dr. told me that sometimes there can be a leak but that it seals itself. So, they were assuming that is what happened in my case.
My pregnancy continued to progress. After so many trips to L&D for contractions that never made in change in my cervix, I became used to the contractions and they just became a normal part of my pregnancy. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and felt that I would actually make it to term. At 35 weeks 5days, my all day birth class was scheduled. As, I was getting ready that morning I noticed a tiny bit of spotting and thought nothing of it really. My birth class was being held at the hospital, so I thought since I was there already, I would go up the L&D to have it checked so I would not worry through my class.
After arriving at L&D I was hooked to the fetal monitor and we found out that I was having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes. My cervix was checked and I was 80% effaced and the cerclage was pulling on my cervix. They tried to remove the cerclage and were unable to. It was explained to me that to cut the cerclage out I would need an epidural so they could cut through my cervix to get to the cerclage. We were then told that we had 15 minutes to discuss if we wanted to have the cerclage cut out or an emergency c-section could be performed. David and I discussed it and we chose the c-section.
After being prepped I was taken into the operating room where I was given a spinal. David was standing over me right beside the anthesiologist. I did not even notice they had started until I heard David make a comment about the placenta. I kept saying over and over in my mind. Baby please scream, so I can open my eyes. It seemed like an eternity I laid there with my eyes closed hoping to hear the sound of a baby crying and then I heard it. I cried and finally opened my eyes. I could not believe he was alive. Up until the last moment I thought something would go wrong. The nurse brought him up to me and said here is your baby. I could hear him making this grunting noise and he was blue around his mouth. They did not seem concerned and were holding him up with smiles on their faces. I remember thinking “oh my god” shouldn’t they be helping him. He can’t breathe. Before I could say anything they told me he was having trouble breathing and took him away to the NICU. We named him Noah Shane. He weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. The only other time I saw him that first day was when they moved me from my recovery room to my post-partum room. They wheeled me into the NICU and let me see him. I still felt pretty drugged at that point and it was hard for me to see inside the isolette, But he looked do beautiful .But; it was also frightening to see him hooked up to so many machines. They had a vent hood over his head giving him oxygen. That really looked scary. They then took me to my room. Family and friends started showing up with gifts and well wishes. I was sure that Noah was going to die and I was losing another baby. I could not handle all the well wishes but I put a smile on and tried to be as happy as everyone else was. Every time a nurse opened the door I would think she was coming to tell me that Noah had not made it. It was terrible. The next morning after they took out my catheter I went down to the NICU and was able to really see my baby for the first time. I took lots of pictures and they told me he was doing a lot better. The oxygen hood was gone and he was breathing on his own. He only needed the oxygen for 8 hours. They had not tried to feed him yet but they were going to try in a few hours. I could not hold him though. So, I stood there watching him as long as I could until my own pain from the c-section just got to be too much. Noah’s pediatrician told me if he was able to eat fine that he could probably go home in a few days. The next morning the pediatrician came by to tell me that they had tried to feed him a tiny bit from a syringe and he could not hold it down at all. That his belly was still full of amniotic fluid and they were going to put a tube in his belly to pump it out. I was so scared for my little guy. But, that day for the first time I was allowed to hold him. He was so tiny. I was really scared to hold him, he seemed so fragile. He rarely opened his eyes. I was told this was normal of preemies since if he was still in-utero that is what he would be doing.
When I was visiting Noah in the NICU I looked over at the baby nursery and there was my kindly Dr. that had delivered Travis. I walked over to him. At first he did not recognize me but once he did he put his arms around me and just held me for a long time. I was crying so hard, I could barely talk. Just seeing him brought back so many emotions. After, I calmed down, we talked about Travis and we walked over to the NICU together and I introduced him to Noah. There were tears in his eyes and he told me Noah was very beautiful. He said to me “You will never forget your baby you lost; he will always be with you.” We embraced again and he left. It was such a healing experience for me. Since I had delivered Noah I kept thinking of Travis and it was as if I was morning him all over. Seeing my old Dr, really gave me a sense of closure I did not even know I still needed.
On the next day Noah started eating and doing very well. The only thing left to conquer was the jaundice. He had to stay a few extra days until his bili count came down. The day after I was released we were able to take Noah home. He is our miracle and David and I are so very happy to have him safe and sound with us. We have been truly blessed.

 

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Last Updated March 4, 2003 2:28 AM