The day that my first cervical cerclage was placed is mostly a blur, but I will do my best to recount my experience.
I had spent the previous night in the hospital, hooked up to IV antibiotics. At that point, the doctors weren’t sure why my cervix spontaneously opened.
They mentioned two possibilities.
One: I had cervical insufficiency, which caused my cervix to shorten and begin dilating. After my cervix dilated, contractions began and labor started.
Two: I had an infection in my uterus, which caused the contractions to start. That, in turn, caused my cervix to open and labor to begin.
If it was option two, doctors wanted to make sure the infection was cleared before placing the cerclage and “sewing the infection inside my uterus.” This meant that I had to wait a full 24 hours to allow the antibiotic to run its course before doctors could perform the surgery.
Doctors were also monitoring my contractions. They started me on a drug called Indomethacin, which was meant to calm my uterus and stop the contractions.
Thankfully, both the antibiotics and the Indomethacin seemed to work.
The morning of my procedure, my contractions had slowed down enough to at least attempt the procedure.
My husband and I prayed the whole night, but I woke up that morning with little hope that this “cerclage” thing would actually work. If there was money on the line, I think everyone involved (including my family and the doctors) would have bet against us.
I remember repeatedly asking the nurses what the procedure was called. I had never heard the word “cerclage,” and I didn’t really understand what it was. All I knew was that this was the one thing that could possibly save my baby.
After doing some quick research, I learned that the cerclage was basically a band that would be placed around my cervix to keep it shut. The procedure actually seemed pretty simple and minimally invasive. I later learned that if caught early enough, it’s a fairly stress-free process and can help mothers carry their babies to full term. Unfortunately, it wasn’t caught early enough and we had a lot of things working against us.
For one, waiting for my contractions to stop also gave my cervix more time to dilate. At the time of my procedure, doctors tell me I was almost four centimeters dilated. Because of the wide opening, my membranes (bag of “water”) were exposed.
The doctor who was set to perform the procedure came in to walk us through the plan. He explain that he would would need to carefully push the bag back up without rupturing it, pull my cervix shut and then place the band around it to secure it in place.
Even then, he wasn’t sure the cerclage would hold. He explained the risks and the low probability of success and gave us the choice to accept or decline the cerclage.
We, of course, accepted. Without this, our child would not survive.
Knowing the risks associated with the procedure, I went under anesthesia thinking that the bag would surely rupture and I would wake up to an empty tummy and a lifetime of trying to forget the whole horrible experience.
Thankfully, God sent me an angel. To say this doctor is talented is an understatement. This man is my hero. For more than one reason, I will never forget him. I will never be able to thank enough him for what he did for our family that day.
I woke up from the procedure in a recovery bay, and all I could focus on was an intense urge to urinate. Apparently, a catheter was placed during the surgery and though my bladder was empty, it felt as if it were about to explode. Nurses gave me medicine through my IV that was intended to help with the discomfort, but it took way to long to take effect.
The good news: The cerclage had be successfully placed. The bad news: No-one knew how long it would hold. The doctor told us it could be hours, days or even months.
And so, again, we began praying more than we’ve ever prayed in our lives. Prayers that were answered, but not without a few more bumps in the road…