26 weeks, 4 days

I have had goodness only knows how many cycles in my life. I only specifically remember the start of 3 of them. Among the three was my first one – I was fairly young, in the spring of 6th grade. It was during fire education week and I remember that suddenly, while I was sitting in the pit in the library listening to my friend’s dad talk about the upcoming summer and the dangers of firecrackers, I felt wet. It was the  morning and I was quite shocked. For some reason I thought I should be ashamed, possibly because the boys had spent the year teasing all the girls about their periods and breast size and apparently schools weren’t doing gender sensitivity training 18 years ago. So I didn’t tell anyone, which of course led to an embarrassing scene. And me being berated by my sixth grade teacher for not having told my mom. Looking back on it as an adult, I can’t believe how those adults made a perfectly normal event into a trauma. Then of course it went all crazy, stopping and starting irregularly, lasting for a day, then for a week, and so on. My next memory of the start of a cycle was a Wednesday two years later, in the spring of 8th grade when one day walking down the hall it suddenly it occurred to me that my period would probably arrive in the middle of orchestra 6th hour, because that was when it had arrived every 4th Wednesday for quite a while. And so on it continued for the next, oh, fourteen years, changing slightly after years on the pill and two pregnancies. I can remember the moment my last period arrived in March – and I feel like from that moment until now I have lived more aware of what’s happening inside me, of every twitch, twinge, temperature fluctuation, ache, tingle, function, excretion, than can possibly be normal.

I have never been unaware, of course but my body has always been so predictable, so regular that I never thought about it. I never had to pay that much attention. I see now that my body did warn me that I was in and going into pre-term labor. It wasn’t familiar though, and I trusted the doctors. I don’t blame myself, but it is a regret. Despite my anxieties, I now understand what normal feels like physically.

The constant consciousness of it all is getting to me.  It makes it very hard to live in the world – trying to have a conversation or to write or have a thought unrelated to the fact that I can feel ligaments stretching and my bladder filling. But in a way it is getting easier. Seeing week after week that nothing is changing with my cervix, I find it easier to balance the physical changes with the knowledge that they really are okay. The vaginal twinges are really just that – the extra blood flowing. The aching back is just an aching back.

I believe the progesterone is working not just because I haven’t gone into labor – that could also be the cerclage – but because I’ll feel fine from today until the weekend, but on Monday I’ll start to feel a little crampy and get a slight headache.

All was well at the doctor’s today. My cervix is still long, closed, and uncompromised. I asked about risks – if my water breaks or I go into labor early, how much time would we have? She said she’s never had or heard of anyone not having time to get the cerclage out safely (although of course tearing is a known risk, it’s just a really really rare one), and that she’s confident that I would recognize a problem well enough in advance. Their first approach would be to stop or delay full labor. I didn’t ask about the steroids because all is going well. I already know she’s against doing them without an indication in this pregnancy. She said as well that of course we want to go to term, but that everyone will relax once I get in the 30s because babies born after 32 weeks in this hospital do very well. That’s five and a half weeks from now ack. My ideal would be to go into labor 10 weeks from this coming Saturday. Let’s see if we can manage that….

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14 responses to “26 weeks, 4 days

  1. ten weeks from this coming Saturday, then. we’ll all set our sights on it… 🙂

    but, really (and i say this only because i remember well how i counted days and rolled out calendars in my mind and really began to attach to numbers like they were some kind of talisman, which in hindsight did start to make me crazy) whenever it happens it will happen, and chances are it will be okay, this time…you are already on the borders of the safe zone, dates-wise, and after that it’s sheer luck, which i know hasn’t been good to you, but hell, you’re due.

  2. I can remember so well obsessing over every twinge and ache. Things that I had looked back on my twin pregnancy in hindsight, and had been sure they had been missed signs, turned out to be completely normal in my pregnancy with Baby Girl.

    10 weeks!! How exciting that you are almost into single digit numbers! I will set my sights on that 10 week mark right along with you!

  3. 10 weeks from Saturday works for me. 🙂
    Seriously, though, I am a little jealous of how regular you are. It is your good luck you are so nice, or I would have had to hate you. 🙂

  4. i too concur……10 weeks from now sounds lovely.
    i;m thinking about you….=)

  5. 10 weeks! I am counting down with you all and am doing my best to mentally urge the time to pass quickly and easily for you.

  6. This is such a hopeful and optimistic post. It makes me really happy for you that all is going so well. I always feel a twinge of worry before I click on the blog of someone who’s pregnant and, all in all, this sounds like just about the best possible news.

    Ten weeks sounds perfect.

  7. Thanks all. Niobe, I hadn’t thought of it as hopeful and optimistic but I suppose reading it again that you’re right. Geez I hope it’s not too much of that for the universe to accept from me.

    Julia, Glad I come across as nice and that you don’t hate me. I could _almost_ deserve it.

    Other people can start the countdown….I’m going to go back and try to be oblivious again to the passing of time….

  8. Oh my gosh, I wanted to ask you about those vaginal twinges–are they normal? I just started to get them and I wondered if my cervix was having some kind of “break down” in there.

    Good news on the cervix front. Glad to hear that it’s behaving itself. And I don’t want to bring up something completely horrible, but even when I was in the hospital with the twins…after 3 days of labor and one sack leaking fluid, I still didn’t tear. This is extra horrible…but after a foot went through my cervix, they took the stitch out in a hurry and I had no choice but to deliver them. Still no tearing. You will know, I promise you, if there is a problem. I had an emergency stitch and I had twins and one sack ruptured after the stitch surgery (right after), so it was dire from the get go. I’m telling you this only so that you know that you will have time. I also have had super quick labors.

    You are doing so well and I hope the above info didn’t freak you out because THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN TO YOU. You’re in such a good place, because 5 1/2 weeks is really not that far away. I know it might be hard to think of like that, but from where I am (6 weeks behind you) it sure looks good. That being said, I’m all over the 10 week plan and I really believe you have a very good shot of making it there. And you know, I wouldn’t say that lightly.

  9. Yeah Meg, there’s nothing like a nice electric shock through the vagina to make a girl feel secure. You didn’t freak me out, don’t worry. I’ve been telling myself to remember that we held off delivery for more than a week even after the sack began to bulge. No stitch though, then. Funny to use horrible memories and stories as part of a way to find the “bright side” of all this.

    I’m never satisfied apparently – when I was 20 weeks, 26 weeks sounded heavenly. Now I’m 26 and I want 32, and so on.

  10. I had a thought. What happens if G-d continues to play with you and your cervix lasts to, say, 42 weeks? I hope that you are in a humorous mood, otherwise please delete this comment.

  11. I’ve had that thought Thrice, and a friend who had a cerclage passed her due date on Saturday, still pregnant. Ha ha.

    But, Dr. K feels that once we stop the progesterone shots AND remove the cerclage, labor will happen quickly. So it’d be quite the unexpected but in any case she will want to induce no later than 10 days after my due date.

  12. Congrats on the cervix looking good. And ten weeks? I know it hasn’t felt like this to you, but to me it seems like it is going by fast. But then my pregnancy seems to be going by slowly? Weird. I’m regular too, but in the past 23 months I’ve only had two periods. I may have to read the instructions about how to use a tampon again! But yeah, I know what you mean about first making it to 22, then 26, then 30 and so on. I know we won’t truly relax until we hold our sons, but it helps to know they are maturing and their chances for survival are improving every day they bake longer. So excited for you!!!

  13. You will make it to ten weeks and possibly further. Although, I have to say I think that the cerclage is irrelevant to stopping labour. It’s a mechanical prevention device, sort of like an emergency brake on a car, as compared to say…the progesterone which is like making sure the care engine doesn’t get turned on.

    Yes, goofy comparison.

    I don’t actually believe you’ll go into labour after the shots stop though. It takes a while to leave your body and then for your body to produce the hormones to start labour. Plus if your placenta has formed better this time due to the shots…it just might work better.

  14. Hey Aurelia & Monica, I never got notified of your comments. I completely relate to the feeling that time is going fast and slow at the same time. For everything related to my pregnancy – slow. For everyone else’s and everything else in life – fast.

    Aurelia, You’re right. I hope. And my language in the post isn’t very clear. Dr. K didn’t specifically link labor and the cerclage/progesterone. She’s just said a few times she has the “feeling” I won’t go much beyond 36 weeks. I assumed it was for those reasons, but maybe I’ll ask next time why she thinks that. It could be useful to know if there’s something about my particular case that makes her feel that way.

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