29 April 2021, by Marian Nathan
It was an indescribable feeling, to be overjoyed and terrified at the same time. After 3 miscarriages, 2 failed IUI cycles and a failed IVF cycle, to be pregnant again was such an unbelievable blessing.
My second IVF cycle was successful and I was beyond thankful. However, I couldn’t bring myself to feel the full extent of my joy, because, in all honesty, my losses were still fresh on my mind. I wouldn’t allow myself the indulgence of daydreaming what my baby would be like, of sharing the good news with family & friends, of getting excited at the prospect of buying baby clothes and accessories. I couldn’t bear the possibility of crushing disappointment again.
Getting pregnant was one thing, my next hurdle was staying pregnant. Having previously lost a baby in the first trimester and two babies in the second trimester, keeping the baby was now of paramount importance. I had been diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, a condition that meant that my cervix was not strong enough to bear the weight of a growing fetus. The condition made me deliver my two angel babies too early for them to survive on their own outside the womb. Thankfully, the condition was diagnosed and addressed, a special stitch called a cerclage was done, where the cervix is sutured shut from the end of the first trimester till the baby is full-term.
One good thing I had going for me was, I was barely showing. That helped me avoid certain sensitive questions like “how far along are you?”, but I do occasionally get the intrusive “So when are you planning to have a baby?” question. After I managed to get through two full trimesters, I finally felt confident enough to reveal the pregnancy to the selected family & friends.
When my baby was deemed full-term at 37 weeks, I had the cerclage removed. During the procedure when the cerclage stitch was done, I had been put under anaesthesia, but the removal process was done as a standard outpatient procedure with no painkiller administered. I remember struggling to stay still during the painful procedure, they repeatedly warned me that my movements would put me at risk of the cerclage stitch tearing my cervix tissue. It was meant to be a relatively fast procedure. I tried my best, but my low pain threshold found it unbearable. I remember the hot tears streaming down my face as I summoned all my willpower to grit through the pain by reminding myself why I was doing this…so that I could hold the little innocent baby boy I had waited a lifetime to meet.
My cervix dilated immediately to 3 cm after the cerclage was removed, and I was advised that I would likely go into labour within the next few days. Sure enough, two days later, I started experiencing contractions. They felt like magnified period cramps and became more and more unbearable. My husband rushed me to the hospital, and I was wheeled quickly to the labour ward. I remember imploring the nurses for the epidural, so they quickly assessed how dilated I was. I was 7cm dilated. There wasn’t enough time to get the anesthesiologist as I was progressing too quickly, so all I had was the laughing gas to help me through the delivery.
Within the hour of reaching the hospital, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Almost 4 years into my marriage, my husband and I finally had a baby to hold, we finally had our own little one after so many losses.