18 weeks: L&D

You didn’t think that was the appropriate way of celebrating 18 weeks? I kept thinking “but that was for 38 weeks!”, too. But I’ve felt pelvic pressure for a while now, sometimes better, sometimes worse, and yesterday it was so much that even a short walk (like, to the bathroom) wasn’t fun anymore and so I decided to call the office.
(Spoiler if this is too stressful: the babies are fine, and for the moment everything else seems to be ok, too)

Not that I’d completely ignored it before: at my last appointment I asked the doctor, but she said not to worry. It’s a bit hard to say now, but I’m fairly sure I was less uncomfortable then. Well, and then I went halfway around the world, and between jet-lag and being pregnant and getting a cold I was rather tired anyway. But back in my normal life, I thought this wasn’t developing in the normal direction at all. Dr. Google found several cases of this where it was just the pressure from the babies, which obviously gets more as they keep growing. And then there were some cases where it was actually preterm labor… I grew concerned and just plain uncomfortable. The on-call doctor said that this should be evaluated, and whether now or at my next appointment was up to me, so I decided for the better-safe-than-sorry plan and went in. After a bit of confusion because I got a “visitor” sticker initially, I was given a room and the usual parameters (urine, oxygen, temperature, blood pressure) were checked. A young doctor came in to go over my symptoms and history. Then she checked the most important part, the babies — they’re fine, as usual unperturbed by the weird stuff my body does. First breath of relief. Then she proceeded to check my cervix, and as promised that wasn’t exactly comfortable. It was also a tad dilated “but long”, which nevertheless didn’t sound too reassuring. She went off to find her more senior colleague for the cervix length measurement. Senior Doctor wanted to repeat the manual cervix check (much less uncomfortable) and declared it a tad open at the top, but then closed. The ultrasound measurement (with a wand that was supposed to remain sterile, have never seen anyone handle this thing with so much care) came to 3-3.3cm. Which they told me was ok, but the threshold for worrisome, 2.5cm, is close enough to keep me somewhat concerned. I have my anatomy scan on Monday, and they shall re-measure my cervix then, and if it shortens we’ll talk about the options. If it stays at this length we’re fine. Then they put on a contraction monitor for good measure, but it wasn’t showing anything (and I haven’t felt any either). So I was discharged and told to come back if anything got worse. At home I did far too many searches on cervical length (CL) issues and possible treatments, learning that “normal” would be 3-5cm, concern starts at 2.5cm and serious concern at 1.5cm. Eventually I decided that, while knowledge may be power, sleep was important too, and went to bed. Am feeling much less pressure today, though I have no idea what causes these changes.

A few scattered thoughts:

  • In general (well, aside from having to go to L&D at 18 weeks) this was a quite positive experience. Everyone was kind and caring and tried to make me as comfortable as possible and answer all my questions. I had the feeling of being in good hands.
  • 18 weeks is scarily far from viability, let along a gestational age where one can reasonably hope for the babies to be fine.
  • I’ve begun to think that individual CL measures are like individual betas — they tell you something, but the development over time seems much more important. Although it can also be quite erratic, going back and forth…
  • I’ve had these symptoms for almost a month now. So either my cervix started out veeery long, or this is largely discomfort and not actually doing much. I’m kind of hoping for the latter. We may know more on Monday.
  • Nevertheless I decided to take it easier, in particular, less walking around (that’s when the discomfort is worst) and ideally an after-lunch break of half an hour or so where I can actually lie down.

So, here I was thinking about when and how to announce my pregnancy on facebook, and suddenly my new mantra is “long and closed”.

11 thoughts on “18 weeks: L&D

  1. I’m sorry that you had to go to L & D so early as I have been twice so far and I’m only 30 weeks. The good news is that everything checked out okay AND now you know where to go in a few months (but NOT earlier)! :-) I totally agree that the manual cervix check is not a fun experience.

    1. True, it’s reassuring to know the way. I also found out that they’re on the 15th floor, so I’ll go well in advance as I really don’t want to be stuck in an elevator in labor… But yes, please, in a couple of months, not earlier.

  2. I’ve been following you for awhile and I just wanted you to know that I felt the exact same way when I was pregnant with my twins. I started feeling it at week 12 and had many precautionary trips to L&D. Hang in there and try to relax! I tried to stay off my feet when I could and wore a maternity belt as much as possible. Sending lots of positive energy your way!

  3. Oh, that’s scary. I’m sorry you had that scare, but very glad that everything is ok. Very glad, indeed.
    I envision no more L&D trips until you are well into the mid-thirties gestational weeks.

  4. I’m so sorry! I was put on bedrest at 24 weeks with my twins when my cervical length measured 2.3. A week later I was admitted to the hospital indefinitely (until delivery) when it dropped to 1.2. It got as low as 0.8 until I actually delivered (31 weeks). You advice to yourself is very good. If you don’t mind, here are a few extra tips: 1. Take a stool softener or take in a LOT of extra fiber. The hard it is to go, the more pressure it’ll put on the whole area. 2. Drink a ton of water. You should feel slightly like you are drowning. 90-100 oz a day. Lots and lots. And do not hold your bladder, no matter what. Excuse your self immediately to go. I know it’s easier said than done but it’s important. 3. I would not recommend sex. Semen is a natural source to soften the cervix.

    The cervix is dynamic. With proper care and rest, it can regrow and strengthen again. Mine stayed just below 2 for 8 weeks. It would drop if I started getting up and doing too much then get better after a day of rest.

    Hang in there. :)

  5. Wow. That is scary, for sure. I have no input on cervix lengths as I’ve never once had mine measured. I do know that low, low pubic pain is normal. I got it a lot with Sofia and am suffering now again as well. But I’m glad they’re keeping an eye on you.

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