Don’t Take an Easy Pregnancy for Granted

I found out I was pregnant a few days before a trip to St.Lucia. I hadn’t been back to my home country in over ten years and I was excited to once again stand on the land that I once called home. It took three positive tests for me to believe that it was real. What an amazing send off!

My then husband and I had been trying for almost a year. I saw my gynecologist before we decided to start trying to conceive and he confirmed that everything looked great. When we found out we were pregnant, we were about to hit that one year mark that would require another visit to his office to answer the question of what may be wrong. Apparently, nothing was wrong. It was just timing I guess.

When I landed in St.Lucia, everything was fine. I was ready to take part in all the holiday activities and have a blast, but that came to a screeching halt about half way into my eight day vacation. I began spotting and I was terrified. I kept an eye on the bleeding as I counted down the days until I returned home. I knew that spotting could occur in the first trimester of a pregnancy, but that didn’t take away the worry at all. I was ready to go home.

As soon as I landed at the airport, it was a mad dash to the hospital. I arrived at night and it was pouring rain. Thankfully, I live near one and I was able to go in and be seen quickly. It was discovered that that I had a subchorionic hematoma. Most women who do experience a subchorionic hematoma do go on to have normal pregnancies. I was scared, but all I could do was wait for it to heal and pray that I would not lose my little one.

At that time, I was working a temp position that was supposed to lead to something permanent. I was making a career change from child care to working for a huge corporation. At almost three months into my pregnancy, I was due for a performance assessment, and was informed that the company was looking to put me in a role that would be beneficial to my long term goals. I was excited that they were pleased with my contribution and I was really looking forward to being there long-term.

Shortly after my first trimester passed, anyone who knew me could see I was pregnant. I also experienced significant fatigue and it may have been visible to some, in spite of my attempt to create a facade. I figured since I was showing, I would inform my superior—a woman at that— of the news. That may have been a ridiculous mistake on my part, because by the end of that week, I was told I was no longer needed.

Yes. I was informed I was no longer needed since it was the end of the contract. It went from, we would love to keep you, to we no longer need you, right after I broke the news. I think in an attempt to correct her mistake and possibly out of fear that I may take legal action—which I had no plans on doing—she arranged an interview with another hospital branch. It was a great opportunity and I thrived there. Unfortunately, the position was short-lived.

While at the new position, I developed pregnancy induced hypothyroidism. I was taking medication for it and kept thinking, nothing else could possibly go wrong. Well, boy was I wrong.

I went to one of my regularly scheduled appointments, and after the sonogram, while I sat alone in the doctor’s office, she said, “Today is your last day of work.” She pretty much stated if I wanted to get to full term, I would have to stop working, because as it turns out I had an incompetent cervix. She explained to me what it was, and the course of treatments that we could undertake. I was given a prescription for progesterone suppositories and I was obligated to be on bed rest till the end of my pregnancy. That would be the last day I worked at that position.

There were signs of cervical insufficiency that included an immense amount of pressure on my cervix and pelvis. Every time I walked, it felt like I was going to give birth. Having someone say you are confined to a bed for the next four months, even for life saving reasons is nothing short of devastating. I am used to working, and to be home all this time made me depressed in the beginning. I spent only a few minutes at a time on my feet, which included getting food in the kitchen and personal care. I eventually got used to the monotony of my life.

Another major pitfall was the loss of income, because I planned on working till eight months into the pregnancy. Unless you’re worth a couple hundred thousand dollars or more, living in a city like NYC, a setback like that becomes costly very quickly. We managed, but it was difficult to lose my stream of income with a baby on the way. In addition, any kind of intimacy went out the window for the fear of me going into preterm labor.

Right at my twenty first week, things got worse. At that point I was attending appointments once a week. After a sonogram, I was told that I was going into preterm labor. I had no idea it was even happening. The suppositories apparently did not work, nor did the bed rest. I had to check in immediately to the hospital nearby where I was monitored overnight and scheduled for a cerclage in the morning.

On an early March morning, at 2 cm dilated, I had my cervix stitched closed to help me make it to the end of the pregnancy. I was honestly at that point of being emotionally and physically drained. I felt trapped and I wanted out, even though I knew there was nothing more I wanted than my daughter in my arms. When I left the hospital, things felt better, since I knew there was almost no chance of me going into labor. I was still obligated to be on bed rest. I decided to enjoy the time that I got to rest and prepare for her arrival.

At, 36 week, my cerclage was removed and a few days later, I went into labor. My daughter’s heart rate was decreasing and my blood pressure spiked, so an emergency c-section was needed. She was born a healthy baby in spite of all the hurdles I faced. I was so grateful for the outcome due to a great team of doctors and nurses.

Experiencing such a difficult first pregnancy made me so grateful for my second, because it felt like a breeze. I was still always waiting for the ball to drop, but nothing catastrophic happened. As much as my doctor was concerned, because of my pregnancy history, nothing went wrong. I had not one single issue with my second child and I was so ecstatic. I had a successful VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean), and here I am a mother of two happy and healthy children. I feel grateful.

If you’ve had a similar experience of a difficult pregnancy, we would love to hear!

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