Monday, March 3, 2014

Pregnant with a Unicornuate Uterus

After the initial shock of an actual positive pregnancy test wore off slightly.  I was somehow able to get some sleep before waking up the next morning as a totally different person – a crazed pregnant lady.  I remember having no idea what I could or couldn’t do or should or shouldn’t do.  Can I make a turkey sandwich for lunch?  Oh shit, I’ve already slammed a cup of coffee – is that allowed? 

I called the doctor’s office as soon as they opened at 9 am.  I knew that they would want to do early blood tests as our IVF doctor had warned us of the higher chances of an ectopic pregnancy with a unicornuate uterus (I’ve linked both of those terms so you get way better definitions than I can give!).  What I didn’t know is that they would test my blood every few days until I was 6 weeks pregnant at which time they would do an ultrasound to ultimately rule out our first of so many worries.

We were so lucky to make it through those first few weeks with no issues.  My HCG levels were rising normally and our 6-week ultrasound showed a perfectly healthy lil peanut - although, I only felt “half-pregnant” as I continually waited for the other shoe to drop!  Once we were able to meet with our doctor – the same doctor that we worked with for infertility – we learned that starting around 16-18 weeks we would have ultrasounds every two weeks to monitor my cervix.  This would allow them to intervene quickly should signs of pre-term labor begin to show.

The fun part of all of this was that we were able to check-in on our lil lady quite regularly.  At 18 weeks, we found out that she was in fact a lil lady and we began to get comfortable with all of these doctor appointments.  We even discussed whether Andy needed to go to all of them.  Luckily, we decided that it was best that he attend alongside me so he was present at our 20 week ultrasound.  At this ultrasound our doctor noted what appeared to be the start of “funneling” in my cervix. 

Essentially this meant that my cervix was opening at the top.  And, while my cervix appeared to still be “long,” it was apparent that this was going to need to be monitored closely.  If my cervix shortened to under 2.5 cm before I was 24 weeks pregnant, we would discuss additional medical interventions – a cerclage, etc.  Our doctor did not put me on bed rest after the 20 week appointment but she did limit my activity – mainly no working out and no intercourse!

The next two weeks were hell – and Christmas!  I promise that I’ll always remember the holiday season of 2013 primarily thanks to my extreme lack of any sort of excitement toward it.  All I wanted to do was make it to December 26 so that I could better understand what was going on with my body and our lil peanut.  So, on December 26 we drove from Hudson to Cedar Rapids for our doctor appointment not quite knowing if we’d be back afterward.  I truly assumed that I would be on bed rest after this appointment and we’d be scheduling the cerclage procedure.  And, while my concerns could be viewed as extreme pessimism by some (ahem, my husband), I truly felt like I was being realistic with the minimal information that we had.

I should note that I had Googled funneling once since our 20 week appointment.  I quickly read definitions and causes before closing down my browser.  Beyond that, I refused to look into any worst-case scenarios.  I just didn’t think they’d help anyone.

At our 22 week doctor appointment, we were shocked to learn that the funneling was GONE!  I honestly had no idea that this was even a possible outcome.  I assumed that either my cervix would either slowly shorten (best case) or quickly shorten (worst case) but I had no idea that the issue going away completely would be an option.  Our doctor also seemed a bit surprised, but as happy as we were!  We left with instructions to keep doing what we were doing – no intercourse, no working out and limited amounts of activity!  And, we’d return in another two weeks to see how things were proceeding.

Luckily, we made it through the next month without the funneling returning.  It was about this time that I allowed myself to read more into what the whole “funneling” situation was all about.  It was scary to read about all the things that could have gone wrong but so reassuring to know that this was no longer a worry of ours.  Of course, because I am a worrier, I do tend to get anxious thinking about future pregnancies but I’m so thankful that our daughter is so strong and resilient.  I still can’t believe all the odds that she overcame at only 26 weeks gestation.

Our 26 week ultrasound was also quite humorous.  Our lil peanut was extremely squished to say the least.  She was literally folded in half with her head up toward my ribs and her arms and legs covering her face.  She was in breech position and my doctor and I were certain that she would not find the room to turn around before time ran out.  Honestly, I was fine with this.  Although I had hoped to have a natural birth, I always knew there was a high likelihood of c-section and I figured it was the least of our concerns while carrying a child in half a uterus!

At 26 weeks, we had the longest break in doctor appointments that we had the entire pregnancy.  I was almost 29 weeks pregnant before I returned to the doctor for my glucose test.  At that time, we began going to the doctor every 2 weeks until we hit the 35 week mark when we would start to go weekly (like a regular pregnant lady!).  These appointments were thankfully uneventful except when at 33 weeks we learned that – again, against many odds – our lil lady was in fact head-down!

So, that’s where we currently stand.  34+ weeks pregnant with a healthy little girl.  We are so lucky and look forward to updating this page once she decides to join us in 6 weeks – or less?

** Update, our little lady was born healthy and happy at 38 weeks.  You can read more about her birth story here.

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