Naturally I was in complete shock after being admitted into hospital. I was wheeled into my room, helped on to the bed and told not to get off it. Fortunately I was allowed to lie elevated in bed, there are some in my situation that are forced to lie flat for the duration of their pregnancy. The attending midwife told me that they had two other patients currently on bed rest who were also suffering from a shortened cervix, I know it’s awful but it was incredibly comforting to hear, at least I wasn’t alone.
Once we had completed my admission papers, my husband left to go home and pack my things and for the first time I as left alone in my room. At this point I had no emotion, I was just numb, everything was really a blur for the next hour. The next real thing I remember is Samantha, my OBGYN coming to see me, it was at this point that the reality of my situation hit home. She told me that she was concerned with my ability to get my baby to a safe gestation, so we would have to take it one week at a time. Our first target was to get past the 28 week mark, at which point I would be rescanned to check my measurements and to assess if treatment was helping. Treatment involved strict bed rest with daily shower and toilet privileges, a course of Celestone injections (steroids for the baby’s lung development), daily progesterone suppositories and daily Clexane injections (blood thinner, because I was at risk of developing a blood clot as I wasn’t moving). Looked like I was going to have to get over my fear of needles pretty quickly.
This was the first of many daily visits from Sam, to whom I will be eternally grateful for the care and support she gave me over the duration of my pregnancy.
After she left I got the first of my injections, a quick Clexane shot into my belly (I never got used to it, I was still cringing after 6 weeks of daily shots) and a Celestone shot into my thigh. I would have to say this was one of the worst shots I’ve had in my life. It felt like it took forever to be administered, then my entire leg would tingle and the entry point would sting for about half an hour afterwards. I had six Celestone shots over a six week period, and I absolutely hated every one of them.
My husband came back with my things sooner afterwards, and I don’t remember either of us saying much that night, but I do remember how awful it felt when he left me. For the first time, I was terrified and just wanted to burst into tears, but I didn’t, somehow I held it together. That entire night my head was swimming, lucky if I slept for an hour. I was scared for the health of my baby, I was thinking about all the things I was yet to organise for the baby like clothes, a car seat and a cot, and I was stressing out about work. I know, at that point in time work should have been the last thing on my mind, but I left so unexpectedly and had so many loose end to tie off, I couldn’t just leave a disaster behind.
I was still awake at about 2am and I could hear the baby in the room next to me crying. I was in the maternity ward, in and amongst lots of new parents, so this should have come as no surprise to me, but it was at this moment that it hit me. I wasn’t ready to have this baby yet. I longed to hear that cry from my own child, but not this soon, so I promised myself and my baby that I would do everything could to get it as close to term as possible.
By 7.30am the next morning I had thrown myself into work and put in a massive day to get things in the office organised. I would continue to do this for the duration of my hospital stay, because I couldn’t just walk away and leave everything in a complete mess, I had to make sure I tied off any loose ends before I went on maternity leave. At times work stressed me out, and I questions why the hell I cared about it when I was lying in a hospital bed, but for the most part it kept my mind off everything else and stopped me from feeling sorry for myself.
Two days went by like this, but then on the third day my emotions started to get the better of me. I sat in my room working as the cleaners did their thing around me, with the door wide open. For the first two days, the door to my room had been closed, so I had effectively closed myself off from the outside world, but in that moment with the door wide open, I saw a new mum wheel her baby in its basinet past my room and I was completely overcome with emotion. What if I never got to do that? What if I delivered at 26 weeks and my baby didn’t make it? What if it survived but there was something really wrong with it? What if, what if, what if? I sat there for a couple of minutes trying to hold it together, then a midwife walked in to check on me, closing the door behind her and I fell apart. I cried like a baby for a good hour, I’m talking hard ugly cry. I was hysterical, nothing she did or said would calm me down. Two days of trying to be strong and stressing about work had gotten the better of me. I was terrified and there was nothing I could do to help my situation except stay in bed and hope that it was enough to keep my cervix together.
I was up and down for the next week. I had good and bad days. All it took was for someone close to come and visit me and I’d struggle to hold back my tears, but it got easier as the days went by. Every new day was a blessing, it meant bubs was still safe and my time in hospital was paying off.
I was nervous for my 28 week scan and also really hopeful. In the end I had nothing to be nervous about, my measurements had improved from 1.6cms to 2cms, which was incredibly reassuring. It meant that everything I was doing was working and gave me the pick up I needed.
Sam was happy with my results, but confirmed that I’d be in hospital for at least another four weeks. We had to get past that crucial 32 weeks mark and then she’d reassess depending on the results of a scan at this point.
So after this I pretty much counted down the days to my 32 weeks scan. I started to relax and actually enjoy my hospital stay. Maybe this was the universes way of telling me to slow down and maybe, it was time for me to start listening. So I slowed down with work, started reading books and watching TV, things that I never get a chance to do.
A couple of days before I hit the all important 32 week mark I got the go ahead to slowly start moving. I was now allowed to walk two laps of the maternity ward each day. I was so excited the first time I went for my walk, literally you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This was the first time I had been out of my room in 6 weeks. A couple of days after that I was allowed to go outside for the first time, so naturally I lapped it up. It was a beautiful day so we just sat in the park for an hour. I’ll never forget how good I felt that day.
Two days later I had my 32 weeks scan and to my excitement, my measurements were still 2cms. I couldn’t contain my joy, I was bouncing around all afternoon waiting for Sam to come and see me in hope that I’d be allowed to go home. She came up at 4pm and delivered the good news, I was going to be discharged the next day, but I had to continue to take it easy at home until the baby came.
I spent the next 6 weeks, yep, 6 WEEKS, at home waiting for this baby to come. Each week I would go and see Sam and she couldn’t believe that I hadn’t gone into labour yet. By the 37 weeks mark I was so over it. I had been preparing to have a baby for the last 11 weeks, so to my joy, just after the 38 week mark I went into labour. After an intense 12 hour labour I had a bouncing baby boy and the rest is history.
I’d love to hear from anyone else that has suffered from any unexpected pregnancy complications.