Tag Archives: Transabdominal cerclage

Time to start a new journey.

2 Sep

This post will hopefully be the last one on this blog, apart from perhaps the odd confirmation that things continue to go well.

Our big news is that we were joined by our beautiful baby Elliott Lewis on 25 August 2014! Weighing 2.140kg and at 33 weeks 4 days gestation.

Luckily we had a little warning so were able to get some steroids in a week before he arrived and he was able to breathe unassisted from the start. His little tiny organs have done their job wonderfully and only a week later he is actually off all support and just sleeping in a warmed cot. He is still in hospital but after 7 nights he was moved from NICU and is now working his way down to special care. The last thing we need to do is get him to feed by himself as the instinct to suckle hasn’t quite developed yet.

But we feel so lucky! It’s a great gestation after an adventurous pregnancy and he is simply beautiful. Beyond beautiful.

 

 

First picture

 

 

IMG-20140829-WA0015

 

 

1622218_10152689383863210_3795710373421148138_n Last photo is 1 Week later.

But for me this is the end of a long road, and the start of a new one. I couldn’t have believed we would be in this place only 20 months ago when I was diagnosed, Elliott is surely a miracle baby, helped here by the hands and love of many many people. There were lots of hard days, frustrations and just the ongoing fear and stress that illness brings – but every single moment was worth it when we hold our son in our arms.

My only advice would be to keep pushing on, even when doctors might give up, or the options available seem years away and the problems look insurmountable. However, I am fully aware that luck has played the biggest part in us getting to this point, so we are simply grateful.

Hopefully I’ll still hear from people through this blog and that it gives hope to women facing scary times and tough decisions. There can be happy endings!

Kath and Elliott

Locked and loaded

31 Mar

So I’m home after the TAC and the baby is locked and loaded. Very pleased!!

The operation went well, although the surgeon said it was more complex than expected due to a fibroid being right in place where the stitch  normally goes. Plus a tilted uterus and non-standard anatomy, but afterwards he said it was fine. I have 21 metal staples in my tummy now! Recovery was… honestly… pretty painful. I did take some morphine, but moved to codeine the second day and then just paracetamol.  Just home today after 3 nights in hospital.

The surgeon told me that he had a 100% success rate with patients like me!! However he did say that was statistically unreliable as there are so few examples, but he was really positive. He did give me lots of information about how much better it was to have the TAC done pre-pregnancy… not terribly helpful at this stage!

They scanned the baby before and after and said it was looking perfect, but the consultant who saw me on Sunday managed to get me into the closed EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit) and did a scan for reassurance so I got another look. I was bloated like a whale, and all swollen up from the surgery, but she persevered and found the baby and it was there with a lovely strong heartbeat. At this stage you don’t need to see the heartbeat though, you can tell it’s happy from all the bouncing around it’s doing!

I was nervous about the hospital experience as it was the first time I was going to be in a ward, but it was actually perfectly ok. A bit noisy, but they had a really strict visitor policy so only from 3-8.30 which meant the rest of the time was pretty quiet. There was a bell like in a pub at last drinks! Staff were lovely, and food was acceptable, but I barely touched it really. It was a gynae ward, so all women, but they brought in some female admissions from the emergency room late on Friday and Saturday nights. In both cases the patients were as considerate as possible, but you do hear everything and someone non-stop throwing up is slightly distracting! But I wasn’t sleeping that much really so it wasn’t too bad.

The operation has been a bit more of an ordeal than I was expecting to be honest. I have incredible RESPECT for women who do that and then go home to care for one or more kids!

I’m hoping that I’m not just pathetic, but that it will be easier next time when I can take proper pain killers and am not dealing with early-pregnancy fatigue and symptoms on top of it all. I’m pleased today to feel more pregnant rather than just post-op’y. Bit of nausea, tired and mild bloating (like I had all through the first 12 weeks) which somehow feels different to the intense nausea, fatigue and massive bloating after the operation.

And finally, to liven things up – a few pictures of baby Martin. 🙂

Baby2 Baby1 - fibroid

 

The fibroid is 3cm so looks huge on this scan, but it shouldn’t grow during the pregnancy so will quickly become less of an issue. Poor baby was having to dodge around it at the moment though.

Transabdominal cerclage

27 Mar

Just a quick post on the next operation, hopefully the last in a while.

What is the surgery:

When I had the trachelectomy the surgeon put in a vaginal cerclage. This is a stitch to give additional strength to the cervix and it is placed somewhere roughly where the cervix used to be. During last year when I had the additional operations they decided to remove it as it was causing me some trouble.

Once I was confirmed as pregnant, the doctors advised that I needed to get it put back in asap. However this new doctor is a big advocate of the more invasive, but much stronger version that is placed via the abdomen. I was a bit surprised at this but in another way pleased as the success rates seem much better. The doctors will cut down to the uterus, and then stitch in some surgical tape around the base of the uterus/top of the cervix.

This surgery is not very common, but has been done on a lot of women who have experienced cervical incompetence for a variety of reasons. It seems more popular in the US at the moment, and certainly more of them have been done than the other surgery I had. Sadly most ladies find out after multiple late term miscarriages, but I know of the risk in advance.

Cerclages

 

The surgery is done much like a C-Section, and will actually be my first open surgery. It can be done laproscopically, but not by my surgeon and the success rates are quite a bit lower (95% vs 75%). Plus this is on the NHS so my choices are more limited! However, I’m really happy to be getting this done, and I’m glad I didn’t have to try and fight for it. With this abdominal cerclage in place I should have a normal pregnancy, and with the weaker cerclage I would probably need extended periods of bedrest and still lower changes of making it to term.

Why do I need it:

Simply put my cervix isn’t strong enough to hang onto a baby long enough for it to survive. It’s been mostly removed and what is left isn’t visible enough to put the cerclage in vaginally. Once the baby starts to get bigger and put pressure on the cervix there is a good chance it would just give way, and I would suddenly find myself giving birth.

Cerclage2This type of cerclage is permanent and will remain for future pregnancies. This obviously means that my cervix can’t open naturally during labour, and so I will be having a c-section. That was always going to be the case as  I think my dodgy cervix couldn’t be trusted with the job anyway!

Interestingly today I had a scan showing that my cervical length is actually 2.3 cm, which is better than expected. It  may be that all the scar tissue that has caused me problems has actually helped by re-creating some of the old structures of the cervix. This makes me slightly wonder if this surgery is totally necessary, but the results are good and the extra security is worth it.

Surgery and Recovery:

I’m headed into Chelsea and Westminster hospital tomorrow (28 March) and will be there for 2-4 days, then back to recovery at home.  Under the care of Nick Wales. I’ve been advised to take 4 weeks off work, I think partially to recover from the surgery, but also then to give the cerclage a few extra weeks to 100% heal and gain strength before the baby gets bigger and puts pressure on it.

I have to say I am not in the slightest bit apprehensive about this surgery, other than the risks to the baby. The baby will get some of the anesthetic, but it will be proportionate to it’s body weight, as my body will spread everything equally to all the cells, and the baby obviously has less cells. They say the baby will just fall asleep, and will be monitored all through the surgery as well as after.  I’ll try not to go crazy on the painkillers after, which is a pity as I love a good opiate!

I just want to get this done and get to week 16 with a safe and secure baby, and then have a boring and uneventful pregnancy. The baby is due on our wedding anniversary 8/10/14, although it will probably come earlier. A lovely coincidence.

p.s  Sorry for all the postings! I’ve been holding back for a while!