My cerclage

It took a couple of days, but I’m finally out of my drug-induced haze!  (No drugs were used that could harm the baby.  They just made me REALLY drowsy.) All of last week happened so fast, the whole thing just feels surreal… like I’m going to wake up and this will all have been a dream.  Despite that, the procedure to put in my cerclage could not have gone any better.

The decision was made last Tuesday.  My cervix had been shortening, much slower than last time, but enough to worry my doctors that I may, in fact, deliver a preemie.  So, after an anxious night of no sleep, we dropped our daughter off at daycare and arrived at the hospital just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning.  It was snowing. Hard. Sorry (kind of) news friends who had to work through that without me!  But we arrived safely, and then the waiting game began. imageDr. Donnelly prepping me for surgery.

imageI hate taking medicine!



When you make quick decisions, you don’t really give yourself time to realize the full scope of what’s going on.  So my nerves were doing pretty good that morning.

FAIR WARNING: If you do not believe in women and flatulence, (my husband) do not read any further. STOP READING NOW.

In fact, much like last time, I was much more worried about flatulence than I was about my doctor’s ability to put in the stitch.

You see, when you first enter into operating room, everything looks “normal”. Then, after the doors close, they hoist these things that make it look like you are about to participate in an olympic event… The rings! One of my best events in elementary school.  I so got this!

Sadly, that is not what they would be used for that morning.  Long story short, they give you a spinal to numb you from the waist down, then strap your legs in, and everyone gets up close and personal.  It is my worst nightmare to be THAT gassy pregnant lady who breaks wind in all of my doctors’ faces.  I mean, I was going to be awake for this!!  MORTIFYING!!  

At least last time they assured me they’d blame it on the only male in the room… the surgeon. hahaha.  This time, it was all ladies who would be down there, so I felt it would be best to just give them fair warning.  

Fortunately for me, I was a lady even while numb from the waist down.

This time, I actually slept through my surgery.  Thank goodness… because by the time we made it all the way to that room I was one anxious pregnant lady! I had gotten so little sleep the night before that the “happy” drug they gave me knocked me out. Cold. When I woke up, they were finishing up.

Dr. Donnelly ended up sewing both cervixes together since the other one was so small comparatively.  She felt that tying the two together would cause the least amount of bleeding, and least amount of risk.

You do spot red blood afterwards.  But it’s not much, and totally normal.  In fact, it is 2 days after surgery and I’m not spotting anymore.  I feel a lot more tired than I did, and my back is sore.  But otherwise I feel pretty good! And now I wait.

The reality is, I still could go into labor at 24 weeks.  If your body wants to have the baby, you’re going to have the baby, cerclage or not.  Milestones are BIG for me from now on.  24 weeks, 32 weeks… And my goal is to make it to 36 weeks when the stitch will come out.  Wish me luck!!   

Yesterday was National Doctor’s Appreciation Day… and I couldn’t get to this post, so here it is today!  The doctors you pick can make a big difference in your care… and I don’t think I could have done any better with mine!

A HUGE thank you to these doctors for helping bring our beautiful little girl into this world! Dr. Tricia Huguelet with University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Deb Smith with Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, Dr. Jaime Arruda with UCH, Dr. Nick Behrendt with UCH, and Dr. Joel Schwartz.  Many more thanks to come when our son arrives! We really couldn’t have done this… and stayed sane… without you! – oh, and I apologize for no makeup.  Been a little busy taking care of Hannah’s pink eye!

Disappointed watching “Discovery Fit and Health”

It’s taken me some time to sit down and write this after I watched a program on Discovery Fit and Health over the weekend.  Mostly because I was so angry while watching it, I wanted to throw my tv out the window. Plus, I’ve been trying to figure out who or what I’m most upset at.

It’s not a channel I usually watch.  My guess is my daughter got a hold of the channel changer and randomly put it on there.  Regardless, I happened to catch the program “Strange Pregnancies”.  This time, they featured a woman with Uterus Didelphys.  Obviously I was intrigued.


Like many women out there, this woman, sadly, experienced a miscarriage.  She rushed to the hospital, only to find there was nothing they could do.  But, she did find out she had two uteri! Her doctors then explained to her that this was the reason for her miscarriage.

What?!?! This was the first point I started yelling at the television.  Here was a young woman, devastated after losing her child, finding out something that is quite shocking, and she now believes she can never have children. All of this happened after one visit to the ER??

Every uterine anomaly is different.  Two people with Uterus Didelphys will have slightly different variations.  So, it’s plausible that someone’s uterine lining is too thin, and that there could be problems, they could micarry.  But finding something like that takes time.  My problem is with the blanket statement of “women with Uterus Didelphys can’t ever have children”.  

Many women out there desperately want to have a child.  The thought of never being able to carry a baby tears into your soul.  I remember after my first two miscarriages how awful I felt.  I felt like less of a woman.  My body couldn’t do what women are genetically made to do… carry a child.  Having severe endometriosis, I know what it’s like to be told “you may not be able to get pregnant on your own.” So, I get angry when women are told information that just isn’t true.  

I wish someone could have told this woman, who was in tears explaining her condition, that there are many, many women out there with Uterus Didelphys who have been able to carry and have healthy children.  Sure, we have a riskier pregnancy, and we have to be watched because no one can be sure how your uterus will react… but it’s not impossible!! Far from it! 

I remember, when I first moved to Denver I went to a specialist at University of Colorado Hospital… just to get my foot in the door there.  He told me that of all the uterine anomalies, having Uterus Didelphys was the most extreme… but the best anomaly to have if you wanted to have kids.  I was never told that I could never have children.  I was, however, told that because of my anomaly when it was time to start trying to have children, that I had a different time frame before seeking help.  Most women have to wait through a full year of trying before a fertility specialist will see them.  I only had to wait 6 months.

I ended up seeing a fertility specialist.  It was taking us a while to get pregnant, and in the process I had 2 miscarriages.  But those miscarriages had nothing to do with my two uteri. I had a lot of other things going on.     

The woman in the show went on to have twins! One baby in each uterus… which is VERY rare!! And she carried “miraculously” to 33 weeks. Her doctors were shocked and thrilled.  

In the end, I wish this woman had been better informed.  And I REALLY hope “Discovery Fitness and Health” stops playing this story.  I’ve already posted a message on their facebook page.  As it is, it continues to misinform women who may be newly diagnosed with Uterus Didelphys.  Women who don’t need to sit there, feeling scared and hopeless. 

18 weeks

18 weeks

Well, I didn’t get the greatest news yesterday. And of course it comes as I’m headed to Steamboat with my parents. My cervix has shortened quite a bit.

First, let me say the baby looks great! He is such a little active guy! I’ve been feeling him kick a ton, and you can definitely see it on ultrasound. My favorite is when he kicks the ultrasound wand, for lack of a better term. I’m not sure if it’s because he likes it, or because he doesn’t, but his sister did the exact same thing.

He’s breech… And that’s different from Hannah. She was head down most of the time. Head down is ideal for women like me, with uterus didelphys. So long as the baby is head down, you can deliver normally… No c-section. Unless, of course, you have other complications.  But a breech baby can’t typically be turned in someone who’s uterus is a fraction of the size of a normal one. There’s just not enough space.

Labor and delivery was the BEST part of my last pregnancy, because it was the easiest. I was in labor for about 6 hours after my water broke, and only had to push for 26 minutes. The epidural worked beautifully.  I’ll admit that I was scared to death going into it.  I mean, I know women have been doing it forever, but it’s still hard to get your mind around the whole thing.  I believe my exact thoughts were… “That 6-9 lbs baby is going to come out of where??? You’re joking, right?"  But it was WAY better than I ever thought.  And my fear was really the fear of the unknown.  So, I don’t want a c-section this time round. If this baby could please turn by the time he’s ready to meet the world, that would be awesome. Thanks.

But for now, that’s a secondary worry. My cervix is measuring 2.6 cm in length. We’ve set the threshold for this pregnancy at 2.5 cm. Anything lower than that and I have to have the surgery to put the cerclage in.

It’s news I’ve been prepared for. It’s news we expected. But it still hit me like a ton of bricks, like I had been punched in the stomach. I wanted to cry the whole way home. My body is still not working right.

At least we’re watching. At least we’re prepared. The cerclage worked great with Hannah. Hopefully it does the same this time around.

My high risk pregnancy


14 weeks

Being pregnant is such an exciting time.  But for some of us, it’s also scary.  When I was pregnant with my daughter Hannah, it was hard to believe we were actually going to be parents until the moment she was out, laying on my chest. (That was an awesome moment by the way)

We had 2 miscarriages before we were pregnant with her.  I believe the combination of a fertility specialist and acupuncture helped us start the family we always wanted.  I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis, Factor 5 Leiden, MTHFR, a blocked fallopian tube, and polyps (fortunately non-cancerous) covering my uteri – I’ll get to that one in a minute.  My doctor said it was a miracle I was getting pregnant in the first place.  The polyps were likely causing the miscarriages… as there were maybe 2 places for an egg to successfully implant.  Surgery corrected the problems and I was put on medication.

Within 2 months of getting the green light, we were pregnant.  I was lucky.  It’s for these reasons why I choose to remain quiet about my pregnancies through the first trimester, even if I start to show.  Miscarrying is HORRIBLE, and the only people we feel comfortable talking about it with are our friends and family.

That being said I’m at risk for also miscarrying during my second and third trimesters.  Yes, you read correctly earlier… I wrote “uteri”.  I have Uterus Didelphys.  It’s a rare uterine anomaly that you typically will hear about in the news when a woman gives birth to twins… one from each uterus.  I have the most extreme case of Uterus Didelphys that exists… two uteri, two cervixes, two vaginas. 

I was diagnosed when I was 15, felt like a freak and was scared.

Every uterine anomaly is different, so until you go through one pregnancy, it’s really unclear how your body will handle it.  There are problems to watch out for, including giving birth early.  In my case, my right uterus is slightly bigger than my left.  Both are about half the size of a normal one. With Hannah, I had to get a cerclage at 19 weeks, water broke at 38 weeks and she came in weighing 5 lbs. 10.5 oz… So I’m monitored closely. 

It has been a long process learning about this condition over the years.  And finding doctors who are well-versed in it is not easy.  In 2007 I was once again on my own, in a new city (Denver, CO) and needed to find new physicians.  My cousin (now an OBGYN resident in Chicago), asked around to her professors if they knew anyone or place that could knowledgeably treat me.  Their response was unanimous… go to the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.  They specialize in uterine anomalies and high risk pregnancies. 

Not only were these doctors able to help me diagnose my early problems, but they really made me feel like they were going to get me and my baby safely through my pregnancy. 

This time is no different.  And this time I’ve decided to share my journey.  It may be scary at times, but that’s reality.  And I think it’s important for people to know that being pregnant isn’t always easy.   It’s scary to share something so personal, but if it helps just one other person… perhaps another 15 year old who is just finding out she has the same thing… then it’s worth it.