One Family’s Experience with Incompetent Cervix and PPROM

March 5, 2014

Dallas' first time being held by mommyHere’s my story and I hope it brings you encouragement. You are not alone. We are fighting for you!

In the fall of 2011, I got some very exciting and unexpected news, I was four weeks pregnant! Dave and I were so excited and nervous to become parents. By the 18th week we went in for a gender scan and learned we were having a baby boy, Dallas Christian, but our excitement was short-lived. That night I was rushed to the ER for bleeding. I started to feel cramps on the way there and I  knew something wasn’t right. Doctors quickly detected a heartbeat and Dave and I  both let out a sigh of relief. The staff suspected placenta previa but wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure.

After a meeting with the ultrasound technician, a resident doctor appeared, and shared, “I am sorry to tell you this but your cervix is dilated to about 3cm.” He went on to explain that I had an incompetent cervix and the weight of Dallas was pressing down and causing my cervix to dilate. He told us that the chances of me keeping the pregnancy were slim and that I would likely go into labor and lose Dallas.

I begged them to do something. The doctor told us nothing could be done because it was already “too late” and that our son was not “viable” because he was not past the 24th week. I kept hearing, “You’re not a candidate for a cerclage, I’m sorry.” All I remember is crying, hugging Dave, and crying some more. I stayed overnight at the hospital and had to really look deep within myself and find the courage to keep going despite everything we were just told.

By the grace of God, I didn’t go into labor that night. I was sent home with orders to be on strict bed rest and to visit with my obstetrician twice a week. Despite the news we were given, we knew we were going to fight as long as Dallas was alive and fighting. We searched everywhere, read everything we could find and talked to other families. After being in and out of the hospital and a lot of sleepless nights, we finally had a doctor who took the time to listen to us. She told us that she didn’t agree with what the other doctors had told her. She went ahead and got us an appointment with a maternal fetal medicine doctor (MFM) after I was released.

At the MFM appointment, they performed an aminosis to check for infection. Luckily, there was no infection so I was scheduled for surgery for the following day (when I would be at 20 weeks). By that time, I was still at 3cm but had fetal limb exposure and a building bag of water. Because of this, it was a very risky procedure because they would need to push the bag of water back up so there was a chance of it breaking and I could go into labor. Thankfully, the procedure went well and after five days we finally went home with strict orders of bed rest. I was visiting both doctors twice a week with cervical checks. As I was nearing my last MFM appointment at 27 weeks, I started noticing increased pressure, but after an ultrasound I was reassured all was going well.

That night my water broke.

Again, Dave and I ventured to the nearest hospital. It was there that they confirmed my water broke and I was transferred by EMS to the hospital with a level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I started contracting on the way there and by the time I got to the hospital, my contractions started to increase. I was given another steroid shot, a magnesium drip, and antibiotics. My labor was stopped within a half hour and we were told I would be there for the remainder of my pregnancy. They didn’t expect me to make more than a few days. I went through daily blood draws, only being able to lie of my left side, use the restroom and take 2-minute showers. While in the hospital, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and hypertension, both side effects of extended bed rest.

At 30 weeks, I woke up to stomach cramps that radiated to my back. The doctors came in and checked; I was 4.5 cm dilated. My amazing nurse (whom I will never forget) saw the sheer panic on my face and in that moment she looked at me and said, “Being a mom to a preemie means you get to meet him sooner and you get to love him longer; You made it this far when no one else thought you would. You can do this. He’s ready to see you.”

I was wheeled downstairs to a birthing room where my mom, Dave, myself and ten other doctors and nurses welcomed our little miracle into the world. Dallas Christian was born March 22, at 3lbs. 11oz. and 16 inches. He spent 45 days in the NICU. Despite everything he’s been through, every obstacle, he’s a happy and healthy 18-month-old. He has minor delays but nothing he can’t overcome.

To read more about prevention of premature birth and early detection of gestational complications (like incompetent cervix and Pprom), visit the NICU Mom Support blog or on YouTube.