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Author Topic: Preterm labor symptoms at 23 weeks, baby born 6 weeks later  (Read 12923 times)

mvp_57

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Preterm labor symptoms at 23 weeks, baby born 6 weeks later
« on: December 27, 2008 at 11:18 AM »
My daughter was born at 29 weeks and 2 days (almost 3 months premature). Although I didn’t make it to full term, I consider it a blessing because I kept her cookin’ for 6 weeks on bed rest. Here’s my story:

In my 12th week of pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a “heart-shaped” or bicornuate uterus. I learned that this malformation of the uterus is a birth defect that can only be detected by an ultrasound. I also learned that there was a 15-25% chance that my baby would be born premature. This being my first pregnancy, it was not the news I wanted to hear. However, the good news was that my doctor had known patients who carried their babies full term and had gone on to have subsequent pregnancies. The course of action was to monitor me very closely, with monthly ultrasounds and bi-weekly cervix checkups.

In my 23rd week, the transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) showed that my cervix had shortened, indicating a higher risk of preterm labor. I was told to work from home until my checkup the following week. At that appointment, they discovered that I had an incompetent cervix – the inner part of the cervix had begun to dilate and that my cervix had gotten even shorter (2 cm). I was admitted to the high-risk unit and kept overnight. With the baby weighing only 1 lb, that’s when I really got scared. The following day they did an fFN test to assess the likelihood of my delivering within 2 weeks. Thankfully, the test came back negative and I was transferred to a regular room in the maternity ward.

During the next 6 weeks, I made two more trips to the high-risk unit due to frequent contractions and on one occasion, deeper dips in the baby’s heartbeat. As I got bigger, the baby dropped lower. The challenge was staying hydrated enough to avoid contractions, but not getting up to pee too often. My weekly cervix checks showed that my cervix continued to shorten despite not being on my feet for more than a few minutes for bathroom trips or a quick shower. Eventually, I did have to alternate between the commode by my bed and a bedpan to avoid getting up to pee 3-4 times within an hour.

In my 26th week, the fFN test was positive. I was given two shots of steroids to boost the baby’s lung development. By my 28th week, my cervix was now down to 6 mm. At the beginning of my 29th week, it was down to 1 mm and I had begun to dilate. I was put on magnesium to control the contractions. I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes and required a daily insulin shot. It was extremely difficult to find a comfortable position because my baby’s head was right under my pubic bone. Talk about preparing for an exit! I minimized my activity even further and prayed that she would at least complete her 29th week. Sure enough, 2 days past the 29th week, she could wait no longer.

After an uneventful assessment on the fetal monitor that morning, I got up to pee and climbed into bed. That’s when I felt this huge gush of warm liquid as though a water balloon had burst inside me. My heart sank and I wished I could take back the moment that I climbed into bed (I still wish that I had eased myself back onto the bed. Maybe that would have made a difference). Those thoughts were immediately taken over by the intense rhythmic throbbing in my lower back. Ah, so this is what back labor is all about! I had to fight the urge to push until they could get me to Labor & Delivery. It was a mad rush down the hospital maze to L&D where a team of neonatologists and L&D staff awaited my arrival. We made it just in time – 20 minutes after my water broke, my little miracle entered the world at 2 lbs 11 oz and 15.5 inches.

My daughter is now 15 months old, a happy and healthy little toddler who is as feisty as she was in my belly and the 7 weeks that she was in NICU. She is an absolute joy and I’m eternally grateful to my friends and family for being there for my husband and me during that time. I learned early on that every day in my belly was equivalent to 2 days in NICU, so I was thankful for every day that she stayed put.

So if you’re on bed rest and frustrated that you can’t be your usual super human self, that’s what you have to keep in mind...You’re doing the best thing for your child – and taking control of the situation (ironically enough) – by staying put. Every day counts.

Now that I’m considering having another baby, I feel that I can benefit from my experience. On the other hand, I have some fears because of what I know now. I still feel a slight twinge of envy when I encounter women who’ve carried their babies full term without any issues. I was 31 when I had my daughter. Because I have an incompetent cervix (a term I still find amusing), I will have to get a cervical cerclage done on my 12th week, and very likely kept on bed rest thereafter. This poses many questions about when I can have another baby...I face more risks as I get older, but I’m worried about missing out on my daughter’s most precious moments if I get pregnant too soon. And what about work??

If you have the same considerations, I hope you contribute to this forum. I hope to share another success story in the future, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from others who’ve been in the same situation.



« Last Edit: December 27, 2008 at 03:07 PM by mvp_57 »

rheam1984

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Re: Preterm labor symptoms at 23 weeks, baby born 6 weeks later
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008 at 07:02 PM »
I understand how you are feeling. Congratulations on your baby girl. I am 24 years old and I also have an incompetent cervix. On November 18,08 I gave birth to my daughter Maya. She was only 21wks. Unfortunately she did not make it. This is my second lost. I really want to get pregnant again but I am very worried about my pregnancy. Next time I get pregnant I have to have a cerclage and be on complete bed-rest. I am worried about work and school. I know this may sound harsh. but sometimes it just bothers me that there are sooo many people out there who can easily have kids without complications but just decides not to have them. I want kids soooo badly and can't have them normally.

You have a 15 month old. It is a hard decision on when to get pregnant when you have young kids. If you have someone who can help you with your child while you are on bed-rest then I suggest go ahead and get pregnant. But  just keep in mind after your cerclage, you should go on complete bed rest. l plan on going on complete bed rest after I get my cerclage. Even if my doctor say I don't have to be on complete bed rest, I am not risking my child's life. It is hard losing 2 kids. I don't want to take a chance.

mvp_57

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Re: Preterm labor symptoms at 23 weeks, baby born 6 weeks later
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008 at 11:17 PM »
hi there. I’m very sorry to hear about your losses, and admire your strength and courage. The fact that you’re seeking resources such as keepemcookin.com indicates that you are doing your best to stay informed and are keeping a positive attitude. In addition to online resources, you may want to check if there's a March of Dimes chapter in your area. They are huge advocates of preventing premature births. Given your history, the good thing is that you’ll be under close watch from the very beginning. Stay strong and have faith that when the time is right, everything will fall into place. A couple of my friends have suffered losses and kept trying. One in particular had 3 miscarriages, but now has three boys and one girl. When you do get pregnant, let us know so that we can provide whatever support we can along the way!  I wish you all the best.