I’ve written a lot about what happened to our family, what happened to Jacob and Logan. One topic I have not yet addressed is why.
Through a lot of research and asking lots of questions we have uncovered that the bottom line is my cervix failed.
There is a sphincter at the top of the cervix whose job is to keep the cervix closed and hold the baby safe inside. Only after a lot of work by the baby, and a lot of pain, will it open to allow delivery.
However, in my case, it opened effortlessly. There was no warning. There was no previous circumstance that would have rendered my cervix incompetent. It was simply a congenital flaw in my anatomy that could only be diagnosed once it was too late.
It has taken me a long time to stop blaming myself. After all, it was my body that failed my boys. But, I do really know, that it is not my fault. God put me here, in this exact place, for His purpose.
So, what now? Is there any solution? The answer is YES! However, surprisingly, it is not standard protocol for women like me.
Typically, in cases like mine, a pregnancy following loss or extreme premature birth would be monitored closely with a back up plan of a vaginal cerclage. This type of cerclage is a stitch placed through the cervix and is tied like a purse string to keep the cervix closed. It is usually placed as high as possible, but the surgeon can only reach about half way from that access point. The problem is that it is only about 80% effective…and that only at taking a pregnancy to viability, or 24 weeks, not the full 40.
We know all too well what happens when a baby is born that early. That plan was simply not an option for us.
Luckily, I was introduced to a group called Abbyloopers. This group serves to discuss transabdominal cerclage, a specialized procedure for the treatment of premature delivery due to the condition of Cervical Insufficiency, or otherwise referred to as Incompetent Cervix.
A transabdominal cerclage differs from a vaginal cerclage in very important ways. First, it is placed at the very top of the cervix. This prevents any funneling from occurring. Second, it is around the cervix, not through it, so there is not a risk of tearing the cervix. It does requires an abdominal surgery, which does carry risk, but this is what gives the surgeon access to place the band in the proper position. Finally, because the cerclage is permanent and prevents dilation, delivery must be performed Cesarean.
The most important difference is that the transabdominal cerclage is nearly 100% effective at carrying a pregnancy to TERM! It can be placed before becoming pregnant and it can be used for several pregnancies, including multiples.
As I previously mentioned, this is not standard protocol. I couldn’t imagine why. Luckily, there are amazing surgeons out there who are very skilled at this procedure and advocate for women and their families who are not willing to risk the lives of any other children.
If you know anyone who has a similar story to ours, I highly recommend they visit Abbyloopers.org. It is a great place to get information, advice and support.
I am very proud to say that in June 2013, I became an Abbysister! Boy, was that an adventure, and extravaganza really! But that is a story for another time.