Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crash course for my pregnancy monitoring

In the past nine months I have been missing my girls I have learned so much about what happened. I've probably learned enough that I could be my own doctor, if only I was able to work the ultrasound machine myself! I thought I'd give everyone a little "lesson" to refer back to whenever I say something that just makes you tilt your head and furrow your brow in confusion when I'm talking about my appointments.

I was given two possible diagnoses for what happened. The first was preterm labor (PTL) and that is what we are leaning towards what happened. The other is incompetent cervix (IC). This is basically where your cervix does not do its job properly. Basically that means it doesn't hold strong, and eventually dilates on its own sometimes with no contractions at all. Since I showed up at the hospital already 4-5 cm dilated they can't be for sure what happened with me. They don't know if the contractions started the dilation, or the dilation caused the contractions. So they're monitoring or treating me for both. Though we are more leaning towards PTL, since a week and a half before I had the girls my cervix was plenty long. Following are the treatments for each and a few key words relating to each.

Incompetent Cervix:

Cervical length checks: Basically they go in and do an ultrasound to measure your cervical length, pretty basic. They worry a lot when the cervix gets down to 2cm, though they will also worry if they see a steady downward trend in length at each appointment. For me, I will be monitored with bi-weekly ultrasounds to make sure there are no changes. My length at my 15 week 4 day ultrasound was 4.89, and at 16 weeks 5 days was 4.68, nice and long, so yay! I had those a week apart because I was originally going to be doing them weekly, plus we wanted to double check the plane ride caused no drastic changes. These will continue until I am 24 weeks, and at that point if there have been no problems I will switch to only being followed by my regular OB. If there are signs of problems, I'll still be followed by the high risk doctor.

Cerclage: Basically this is a stitch to keep the cervix closed. We are not going this route at this point in time, we are going to be monitoring and if we see things starting to change then it may possibly be an option.

Preterm Labor:

17P: This is a progesterone shot that they give weekly. It helps to prevent preterm labor before it starts. It helps to calm the uterus and hopefully keep it from contracting. I just recently heard that it maybe makes the uterus more flexible. I just got my supply of this last week and give the shots at home, I'm sore at the injection site for a few days afterward, but it's all worth it to give this baby a chance!

Preterm Contractions: My doctor in Guam told me to go in at any sign of contractions based on my history. So I am sure I will be getting to know the L&D staff very well in the coming weeks whether they be "real" contractions or just Braxton Hicks. Better to be safe than sorry.

I think that about covers it, if anything "new" comes up I'll explain that later. Not all of my information may be correct, but either way it's my understanding of everything they're monitoring and doing to give Button the best chance at coming full term!


Williams family said...

I don't know how I found your blog...but I lost a baby at 24 weeks due to an imcomplete cervix. I had the cerclage with my next pregnancy which happened to be twins. I had a successful pregnancy with little problems. But I was on bedrest for 12 weeks. Good luck. I pray you have a great outcome this time!