Forewarning: this post may get a bit graphic. I am still processing everything, and would probably have avoided posting, but I want this to chronicle the reality of how scary being pregnant with an incompetent cervix can be for those of you facing the same battle.
Tuesday night we had a nice family dinner but around 8pm I felt terrible. Similar to kidney stone pain, I was cramping up all over with concentrated pain in my lower right side, finding it difficult to breathe or speak. As I have history of kidney stones, and they are extremely common in pregnant women on bedrest, I dismissed the pain as yet another stone, hoping it would pass itself - regardless would deal with in the morning. I chugged some water, took a hot shower, and tried to sleep it off. I was uncomfortable all night but managed to get some sleep. At around 5am I just couldn't take the pain anymore so hopped in the shower again after throwing up and took a long heated steam shower (bonus points, my parent's shower rivals that of a five star resort with a gorgeous view over the vineyard- sorry California drought! I'm taking full advantage of our stay at Camp Kennedy)
I try to avoid unnecessary medication at all costs, but I took a single Tylenol pill Wednesday morning to hopefully take the edge off of things. An hour later, I went to the restroom (chugging bottles of water for the kidney stone means frequent trips!) and discovered I was bleeding. I've never bled before in pregnancy. I screamed for my mom, Grant came. I went right back into bed, left a message with my MFM's receptionist, and tried my best to not read the internet front-to-back (there is a ton of bad/scary information out there about bleeding at 28 weeks). Two hours passed and I still hadn't heard from my MFM and the bleeding and pain (about a 4, but my 4 is probably a normal gals 6 or so after delivering a 9.5lb baby and multiple kidney stones) continued, I called Grant to pick me up and take me to the hospital but my doctor called in response to my email (annoyed her receptionist hadn't passed along the earlier message) and had me go in to see her colleague instead.
We did a AUS, TVUS and speculum exam which showed my cervix is dilated through and through about 1.5 cms but that the pessary was in place and I am still only 30% effaced with baby head down. As I wasn't having regular contractions and my water was still intact, Dr. S kind of wrote it off as just being inconclusive, likely just pregnancy progressing. Maybe I have kidney stones (but then why the bleeding and tissue/big blood clots) Maybe I am in early labor and this was the grossly described "bloody show" (but why has it now lasted 3 days?) The ultrasounds revealed that it likely is not an issue with the placenta or umbilical cord (two reasons pregnant women in their third trimester sometimes have bright red clotted blood- emergency situations where we would want to induce). At this time, we don't really know what is wrong, why I am bleeding and why I am in so much pain... so we are not doing anything...and that gives me the greatest anxiety. I need numbers and percentages and data and plans of action! Fortunately baby checked out okay so it doesn't seem to be affecting her.
The pain was so bad Wednesday night, there was a time I definitely thought I was going into labor. Fortunately we are still hanging on today on day 31- just with a lot of question marks. Sunday will mark 29 weeks pregnant and with each day we are gliding into a zone of greater comfort and safety should we deliver. I am an emotional wreck, I haven't wanted to see or really talk to any of my friends because I just don't want to really process all of the uncertainty looming right now. 80% of the day I feel okay, just dull lower back pain, but the other 20% has been pretty bad, with hour long episodes of contractions/pain/bleeding.
In other news, we are now doing the p17 progesterone shots at home and although my mother is pretty familiar with intramuscular injections from her MS medicine and mother-in-law a former nurse, I decided to let Grant give me a stab... and I think he looks just a bit too happy here after practicing on produce :)
He did great. The actual shot is about a four inch needle and the progesterone oil based so it has to be injected very slowly, but G had obviously been paying attention to all of the previous injections the nurses did as he executed flawlessly- just adding to his many talents :)