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18 week preg - will I get to keep my baby?

(22 Posts)
StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 10:34:40

I have namechanged just because I fancied a new name, but you might have seen my previous posts on some of the boards as TwinklePants.

There is a bit of a long back story to this, but the facts are:

* In 2009 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 26 y/o and had a deep cone biopsy (basically a lot of my cervix removed)
* Am now in remission but had terrible problems with my period as my cervix scarred up (stopping periods and causing terrible pain - DH and I also couldn't get pregnant)
* Had to have cervix manually dilated three times under GA to sort out period problems and so I could have a cycle of IVF. Afterwards it closed up again each time within a matter of a couple of months.
* Was told by fertility consultant that if IVF worked I would need a transabdominal cerclage (a stitch placed high in the neck of the cervix, put in using an incision like a c-sec)
* IVF worked first time (yippeeeee!) and I was referred at 9 weeks to high risk obstetrician. She is very experienced (20 years I think she said) and I instinctively trust her.
* High risk obs very keen not to give stitch due to the scarring which she feels will be adequate to keep the baby in place. Her words 'in your case, a stitch could cause more problems than it might solve' - she basically feels that I am more likely to lose the baby from an infection from the stitch or the procedure than if I didn't have it (the procedure) in the first place.
* Have had bleeds up to 12 weeks including 2 'huge' bleeds with clots, baby fine so far, a low cervix was diagnosed. No bleeds between 12 - 18 weeks, so far.

The problem is that now I am at 18 weeks, feeling the baby moving quite regularly and, to not put too finer point on it, feel like I am having a breakdown. I trusted my Obs' opinion when she made the decision about the stitch some time ago, but now he is getting bigger and heavier (I know it is a he!)I am wondering if I have put my baby at a terrible risk - that I am going to lose him or he will be born dangerously early and have terrible health problems as a result.

I just can't see how I am going to get through the next 10/12 weeks (to at least 30 weeks where it is likely he could survive with care and have minimal problems). Every day I am convinced I am going to miscarry my baby or deliver it early. I spend a lot of my time crying but have tried to hide this from my DH as I know he is also worried about me as well as the baby. I am actually scared for my mental health in case anything happens, as I don't know if after the cancer and the IVF I could take losing a baby as well.

I know no one can give it to me, but I would pay a kings ransom just to have the reassurance that things are going to be ok and I will get to hold my baby at the end of this. I also feel resentful of other pregnant women as most are getting to this stage and feeling like they can relax as the chances of m/c are declining all the time.

Can anyone help or suggest something I can do/ someone I can talk to to keep me sane through the next few weeks and months?

I feel like no matter how things turn out, I will be lucky to get out of this in one piece. Sorry for the pitiful outpouring, I just feel very alone and scared at the moment. sad

Folicacid Mon 10-Jan-11 10:38:55

Don't be sorry, you have a lot of your plate!

What i would do, would be to contact the Obs and tell her everyhting about your worries and fears and how you are feelign now. Ask her to explain more about why she has made the decision she has, and get some reassurance from her.

Don't panic. x

Julezboo Mon 10-Jan-11 10:40:39

I am so sorry you have been through so much turmoil.

Congrats on getting to 18 weeks though!

I have no experience but in your position I would be taking to my bed and staying there.

30 weeks isnt that far off. My friend had a baby at 27+4 a few weeks ago and she is now a few weeks from bringing her home. Similar situation (although no cancer) she bleed alot early on too.

But then on the other hand with DS2 I bled ALOT from week 5 to week 20 and he stayed inside me until 38 weeks.

Can you meet with obs again and reassess the situation wrt to the stitch?

jetgirl Mon 10-Jan-11 10:41:31

Gosh, you must be going through such a range of emotions, no wonder you re crying. the only advice I can think of is whether you have been offered counselling to help you deal with all this. Someone far more helpful tham me will be along soon, I just didn't want your post to go unanswered and am sending you very unmumsnetty hugs xx

Louii Mon 10-Jan-11 10:43:50

I don't know what to say, you have been through so much and are obviously a very very strong person.

Of course you are absolutely terrified, buy my feeling would be as your cervix has closed a few times previously, causing problems, then there would be a much higher chance that it will stay closed rather than dilate prematurely.

Can you go and speak to your Dr for some reassurance, maybe they could have a look at your cervix?

Thinking of you.

LunaticFringe Mon 10-Jan-11 10:45:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 10:56:29

Thanks for quick responses. The truth is that my obs is very good so I am wondering if it is all literally a case of me having an unwarrented meltdown?

She was seeing me every 2 weeks but I asked if we could change to weekly as I am feeling increasingly anxious. She is fine with this, and I do have 3 telephone numbers for her (work, mobie and home) so I can ring her for any worries I have - It has been a comfort to have her there on the phone when I have had a bleed. At every check up she scans my cervix (abdominally) at every appointment and she also visually examines my cervix every 3-4 weeks, so can see from the outside (rather than just on the scan) if it still looks closed and firm.

I haven't been given any guidance on how to minimise risk - no advice re no sex, or cutting down activity or bedrest. The impression I get from her is that if it is going to happen, it will happen - which I know is logical but not very comforting.

I have my anatomy scan on Thursday and am seeing her afterwards along with DH. I think I will have to go with a bit of a plan and see if I can get across to her just how devastating I am finding this situation and she may hopefully be able to reassure me or give me some apt advice. I am tempted to ask whether she will at least sign me off so that I can just sit with my feet up, although that would mean not working until June! shock

StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 11:03:40

LunaticFringe, I am sending my best wishes to you and your baby. I am hoping it stays put until it is 'fully cooked' and that you have a perfectly straightforward delivery.

Unfortunatley I don't really have anyone I can confide in in RL about my situation and that is partly my own fault I suspect. I tend to put a 'brave face' on for my family, which is what I did with the cancer and never wanted to talk about it. I am not sure my family know the entirity of the situation this time around either, as I am not very good at expressing the emotional stuff in RL.

Although I have some good close friends, none have children yet (I am the first) so I don't think they would 'get' how all consuming the fear of losing your unborn child is. Equally, not many people know about the IVF so I suspect (wrongly or rightly) that many would feel that if I lost this baby, I could 'just' go and get pregnant again. No one knows just how precious this baby is to me, except for my DH who I feel it would be unfair to be totally upfront with. He has been such a rock through the cancer and is a wonderful husband, and I don't want to lay all of this on him as I know he has his own worries to contend with.

LunaticFringe Mon 10-Jan-11 11:19:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 11:30:48

It was helpful thanks - just having some kind responses and suggestions is really helpful so I can't thank you enough!

I think I will ask whether there is any counselling available. I have been reluctant to let my obs see what a nutcase I am becoming so far as she is there to deal with the physical/ medical side of things but I think that the time has come for me to let her know that I am not coping well and see what she suggests.

With regards to work, I am glad you have managed to get the support you need. I will be having a section too at 39 weeks (if I can get that far) as, ironically, there is a chance that if I go to term I would not be able to dilate adequately to give birth naturally.

LunaticFringe Mon 10-Jan-11 11:34:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greenbeanie Mon 10-Jan-11 11:38:45

Storm, just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear how you are feeling. Pregnancy comes with all sort of anxieties and worries normally without additional things on top. Like others have suggested finding some support and someone to talk to might be really helpful.

I haven't been in a situation like yours but with dc3 (now 8 weeks old) I was admitted to hospital at 20 weeks with severe pain, I was told that it might be appendicitus and I would need surgery and there was a good chance that I would lose the baby. I remember how frightening that was and how scared I was that now I could feel my baby move it might all be over soon. The surgery went well but the pain continued and it was decided that I hadn't had appendicitus after all and that it was possibly kidney stones, in the end I was in hospital for 2 weeks, scared and in pain.

No pregnancy comes with guarantees and I think that is even harder to accept when it has been so hard to achieve, but the vast, vast majority have a positive outcome. Look after yourself, rest when you can and try to find some support.

StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 11:59:45

'v.v. anxious' and 'traumatised' sums me up perfectly too so I can see I am in good company LunaticFringe.

I think one of my problems is that my obs is so blase and so nice that I can't decide whether its because she's a) genuinely got very little worry about me and the baby at all, OR b) that she has been doing the job so long and is therefore thinking I could quite easily lose the baby but is just being pragmatic about it.

This was highlighted at my last appointment - I asked her when I would be getting my date for my c-sec and she said that 'provisionally' it would be the 3rd of June, although she 'doesn't like to book them in early, as, sods law, the woman will go into labour the day afterwards' - this was met by a confused from me as you can imagine. I don't think she had any idea that one little comment (probably made in jest) would have such an effect, but it sent me immediatly into a downward spiral and I spent most of the day aftwards crying as I was worried that a m/c was imminent.

greenbeanie, thanks for your message. Can I ask whether your DC was ok in the end and if you had them early? It must have been such a worry to be in such terrible pain and not know why. I have a panic these days even if I have the smallest twinge, so can imagine that actual pain would send me into hysteria. I hope things turned out ok.

greenbeanie Mon 10-Jan-11 12:11:03

Storm, my dd was born 12 days late weighing a whopping 11lb11!!! I think after all that worrying and hoping that she would stay put she had decided not to come out at all. She is a very healthy, happy, 8 week old now. Wishing you all well Storm, hopefully you will be looking back in a few months and wondering what all the worry and anxiety was for smile

I think the problem with Dr's is that they can only go on statistics and if there is not much research on particular conditions or circumstances it is difficult for them to give an accurate picture of what might happen. I know when I was in hospital I asked what percentage chance there was that I might lose my baby and all they could tell me was that there was a "good" chance that I would. Neither helpful or reassuring but basically they would do all they could but had no idea what the outcome would be.

StormInaCCup Mon 10-Jan-11 12:16:31

Oh wow - pleased you had such a great outcome greenbeanie. Yes, you're right - it would be wonderful if I was coming back on here in a few months moaning because I am a week off the c-sec and feeling huge and knackered! grin - i'd give anything for that to be the case.

I might actually see if she will give me a 'probability' type response as to how likely things are to go wrong at this stage - I am a researcher and deal well with stats and probability so would probably find this better than trying to endlessly interpret some of her comments and demenour etc.

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 10-Jan-11 12:41:29

How awful for you. It sounds like you have had an incredibly traumatic time for the last few years. I don't know if it'll help any having other stories of things working out, but (in the hope that it does) my niece (having lost 1st pregnancy at 18 weeks) was taken into hospital at 22 weeks with cervix partially open. Bed rest for about 5 weeks, then asked to stay in same town as hospital (she lives over the other side of Scotland from the nearest fully-equipped maternity hospital) till 32 weeks. She made it to term and has a lovely baby daughter now.

I have a little insight into how terrifying it must be in that I had IVF at 41 and was very aware all through the pregnancy that this was probably my only chance - I think it must colour your view of the pregnancy, certainly I think I was more anxious than other friends were during their pregnancies. And that was without all your extra worries, so I'm not suprised that you feel so overwhelmed. If I'm reading your thread right, you are getting some support at work, which is good. I hope all goes ok for you, best of luck. Keep talking to all of us if you think the company/distractions work.

AllBellyandBoobs Mon 10-Jan-11 14:04:08

I think we met on a different thread... Sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time emotionally. I was also convinced for a time that my cervix would not support my growing baby, but so far it has and now I'm passed the 28 week mark I'm finally beginning to believe it (most of the time!).

I was also told that there wasn't much I could do myself to stop my cervix dilating early, although they did say that, anecdotally at least, it would be best not to be on my feet and active all day. Personally, I stopped all forms of exercise except gentle walks of no more than 30 mins, swimming and pilates. My DP and I also decided that we felt uncomfortable having intercourse so haven't since about 15 weeks (bless him!).

In terms of signs to look out for I was told an increase in watery discharge, any loss of mucous plug, or a feeling of heaviness/pressure in my vagina and that I should contact the emergency maternity unit immediately.

The most important thing is for you to stop being anxious as it's no good for you or your little one. It sounds to me as though they are doing everything they can, and your baby is doing his bit by growing nicely, now you just have to try and relax a little bit. Much easier said than done I know

lucy101 Mon 10-Jan-11 14:27:28

You poor thing - this is all so much to cope with and I think your feelings are totally understandable.

Firstly, I think you need to try to stop thinking of your anxiety as 'unwarrented'. The reality is you have had some very tough experiences (which you have come through amazingly) and there is some proper anxiety and a real medical risk.

A different story but it might help: I lost a baby in very sad circumstances in late in pregnancy last January and am pregnant again and 35 weeks now... and my anxiety has been incredibly high in this pregnancy. I literally counted the days until 28 weeks (after looking at baby survival rates). I also have had lots of feelings about my body 'failing' myself and the baby and earlier in my pregnancy was convinced I should have a CS before 40 weeks as I didn't think I could cope if it all went wrong again. I have had numerous 'meltdowns' in front of docs etc. but I also know that they are warrented and part of my coming to terms with what happened and also my fears for the rest of the pregnancy.

I am writing all that so that you can see how it is normal to feel like this when one has had such a difficult experience... and for me there has been a gradual shift to feeling less anxious (even without reassurance that the docs can't always give) and I hoping that is going to happen for you.

It actually sounds like your OB is making good decisions and I am so glad that you can see them etc. as much as you need and keep reassessing the situation as you go along.

Thinking of things you can do to help you cope: what has helped me is to keep communicating your fears to people (if it helps) and to your DH too (mine - as yours must be - was scared too but it helped for me to tell him that I was scared/upset/anxious and could he hold me etc. if he wasn't sure what to do) , don't bottle them up or tell yourself you shouldn't feel like this- you mustn't beat yourself up about this or worry that the stress is harming the baby either. I also have counseling which has helped enormously and am now doing natal hypnotherapy CDs which are very good at making you relax and giving you positive messages (I really would highly recommend them - there are cheap second hand copies on ebay). I also have counselling which has helped enormously.

Above all be very kind to yourself.

shinygiraffe Mon 10-Jan-11 14:43:58

Hello, I have a very small insight to how you might be feeling as I am 20 weeks pregnant with a baby concieved though our 2nd attempt at ivf. I have wanted a baby for years and not just a baby but a big family, and now I am pregnant I am finding that friends and family although well meaning, think everything is suddenly now fine and I am the same as any other pg woman.

In reality I am finding it a not very enjoyable experience as I worry (probably unnessessarily) that the pregnancy could end at any time. I live in fear that when Im out someone is going to attack me, or I'll get run over, have a car crash and I make myself cry thinking I might never get to meet this baby.

After IVF as well as the cancer and everything else you have been through it is completely understandable that you are feeling this way. The thing I keep telling myself is that I am pregnant and worrying and stressing will not be good for the baby. I think you have to try your very best to take each day as it comes and try to enjoy your pregnancy for what it is, as if the worst happened at least you have the memories of enjoying feeling your baby move inside you. Im sure you are being well monitired and cared for and it sounds like you are under the care of experts, so please try and trust that all will be ok.

Does your IVF clinic offer a councelling service? If they do you should make an appointment to talk though your fears and anxiety.

I am sure everything will turn out just fine for you, and I really hope it dies. I also hope you can start to find some enjoyment in your pregnancy as this is such a special time that you may never have again. Thats what I keep telling myself too and I am starting to believe it and enjoy more. If I could skip us both forward to May/June tho I would!!

Good luck with everything.

shinygiraffe Mon 10-Jan-11 14:47:24

'I am sure everything will turn out just fine for you, and I really hope it dies.'

I am so sorry for this typo, what an awful and innappropriate mistake to make. Obviously its supposed to read, I really hope it does!

Bryher Mon 10-Jan-11 18:55:05

Storm - really sorry to hear you are struggling, I'm not surprised and as others have said it isn't unwarranted at all, it's totally reasonable given what you've been through and I'm sure your dr will understand. I haven't much helpful advice to give as only early days in my first pg, but would really recommend that you write down what you want to say to your Obs', or even print out that first post you wrote and show it to her. I know from experience how you can go in to see a consultant at hospital determined to say something and then have it all go out of your head when you get there, or you don't really manage to say what you meant and it gets really frustrating. If you write out what you want her to know you can make sure you don't brush it off and say it's all fine when you actually get in there.

Good luck to you both xx

Sparklies Mon 10-Jan-11 20:39:50

I'm not a medical expert by any means but from my own research into scarring on the cervix due to my own experiences (a rescue TVC that tore through) it can go either way - make a cervix weaker, or, make it stronger. The fact you have to have forced dilations means to my unmedical mind that perhaps that scar tissue is stronger than a stitch.

The peak time for IC is between 18 to 24 weeks, so you're entering the critical time now. After 24 weeks, it is a lot more unlikely to be true IC - can't remember exactly the details now, something to do with the size and position of the baby, and the fact if it was going to happen it would by that point - but it's what I have heard. So keep 24 weeks in mind!

You can have a rescue cerclage fitted up to about 24 weeks, so I really, really hope she is scanning you, transvaginally (most accurate way) preferably weekly given your history, so they can catch changes in time. If she won't, go private - you can get cervical length checks for £100 a time. If everything looks fine it is worth every penny in terms of peace of mind. And I know the NHS doesn't believe in bedrest but honestly it cannot hurt to really take it easy for a while. You really should be on pelvic rest though - with an insufficient cervix infection can easily get in as the mucus plug is more likely to be loose.

I almost lost DC2 at 18 weeks due to unexpected IC, 3mm left - I had a rescue cerclage and I know only too well how horrendous it is on a day by day basis counting the days down from 18 weeks. She was born healthy at 35 weeks in the end, so a happy ending. You have my full sympathy on the long wait ahead and hopefully it will be a long wait!

I have a TAC with this pregnancy which is doing an amazing job, feel free to ask me about it if you wish. It was the right decision for me in my circumstances.

I wish I could offer you reassurance and tell you that it will all be okay but there is just no way to know as you know only too well. I debated whether to post anything at all as I hope I haven't made things worse, but I couldn't not tell you the things I know if there's a chance they will help you. Hopefully your scar tissue is super strong as you've already experienced, the chances are pretty good that's the case after all, and it will all be fine. You can do your best to improve your chances by advocating for yourself as regards scans and taking it easy. Keep us updated and the very best of luck to you

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