“God has no grandchildren”

02d4f15d70c188bb18998ef359da158a

Having so many complications early in pregnancy, and the uncertainty of if/how long my cerclage would hold….I’ve struggled not to get too excited about this tiny miracle inside of me. This week, when we finally hit 28 weeks and our third trimester, I started to allow myself to feel a little more joy, a little more anticipation, and a little bit more ease. It’s been a tough couple months, and there is so much relief in knowing that she is growing and progressing just as she was designed to. She has had near perfect ultrasounds and checkups, and her growth is right on track. I’ve struggled a bit with my blood pressure and some cervical swelling around my stitch…but overall, the last few months have been very calm in comparison to the fear and anxiety that we experienced in the beginning. It is crazy to me how attached and how in love I am with a person that I have never met. Her needs already come before my own and my life revolves around being the best vessel for her growth that I can be. For me….a selfish and self-centered recovering alcoholic….these feelings are so incredibly foreign. Yet, they came and continue to come as naturally as breathing. Every sacrifice is worth it, a million times over, if I know it’s what is best for her.

I am surrounded by such strong, courageous and beautiful moms on a regular basis, and from them I have gotten such amazing nuggets of truth and hope. One of those that keeps me from sinking into fear and worry came from my sweet friend Heather. Before I knew I was going into pre-term labor or knew what was happening with my body… I was having a lot of bleeding. I just knew that I was going to lose the baby….Fear swallowed me, and I couldn’t think outside of that fear. Having had a miscarriage a year ago, I was paralyzed with anxiety. Heather told me while I was sitting on my back porch crying, “God does not have any Grandchildren”….This one simple phrase has sustained me and given me incredible inspiration and hope for my child. It tells me that although she is growing inside of me, she is FIRST a child of God. He will protect her and sustain her, He will knit her together in my womb as he has designed. I am not in control, I am powerless, and I have faith that His love is sufficient. Now, don’t get me wrong….I still worry, I still trip out about the future, and I still want to be in control of EVERYTHING….But, when I get tired of feeling scared and overwhelmed I remember this simple thought and for a few moments, I find peace.

I’m learning the meaning of the phrase “It takes a village”. I need my village, I need my “Heathers”, I need the experience strength and hope of my girl tribe. I’m so blessed that I never have to go through anything alone….I’m surrounded by moms, and aunts, and grandmothers who love me through the hard times and celebrate with me through the good times. Fear steals so much joy….I’m grateful to be reminded to enjoy and live in that JOY, one day at a time.

187fae8026afa8ed62f08c4c990231ee

 

 

The adventures of Baby Felz, Cerclage edition

So…whoever came up with the MEDICAL term “Incompetent Cervix” has absolutely no idea how sensitive and hormotional pregnancy makes you. When the doc first told me that my cervix was apparently “incompetent”, I had mixed emotions. Half of me was terrified and the other half wanted to punch him in the face for insulting my innocent cervix. I quickly got over my anger as he began to explain that my baby was in trouble. I had been bleeding heavily and passing tennis ball size clots for almost 4 days at this point, so I knew something was terribly wrong.

So, what is an incompetent cervix? Well, the Mayo clinic says it like this...”An incompetent cervix, also called a cervical insufficiency, is a condition that occurs when weak cervical tissue causes or contributes to premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy.” Basically the weakened cervix begins to open, which triggers pre-term labor and the baby is at a huge risk for miscarriage since it is still not developed enough to survive outside of my body. Here is my story through my cerclage procedure and maybe it will help someone.

Within 10 minutes of the doctor doing a pelvic exam, I was being admitted to the hospital. They started me immediately on 2 antibiotics and a medication that helped stop the pre-term labor called Toradol. The high-risk pregnancy specialists and surgeons came by my room and explained my options. Surgery to stitch together my cervix (called a cerclage) or daily progesterone with weekly ultrasounds.  I cried a lot that first night, I didn’t know what the right decision was, but I knew what my gut said. It was more difficult because this decision was not just for me, it was for my baby girl. The doctors told me that if I did not do the surgery in a timely fashion, there was a chance that they could not perform it as a later date as my cervix was continuing to shorten with each ultrasound. The surgery had some definite risks, but it had the most concrete results and the best chance of prolonging my pregnancy until my sweet baby girl was able to survive on her own. I decided on the cerclage surgery after consulting with my OB (not the surgeon) and my family.

What is a CERCLAGE? Again, according to the internets…“Cervical cerclage, also known as a cervical stitch, is a treatment for cervical incompetence or insufficiency, when the cervix starts to shorten and open too early during a pregnancy causing either a late miscarriage or preterm birth.”

The next day, the surgery was scheduled. During my hospital stay, they checked on my baby’s heartbeat every 2 hours. It made me so happy each time I got to hear her little heart beating. I knew she was still ok. The surgery was difficult to say the least. The doctors did everything they could to assure me and make me as comfortable as possible. I couldn’t help think of how close to my sweet baby they were operating, and it was absolutely terrifying. My surgeon explained the procedure to me and made sure that I understood everything before they got started. She was wonderful. The anesthesiologist was also great, explaining everything that would happen over the course of the surgery. Since I am pregnant, they gave me spinal anesthesia, which is a nasty, terrible, horrible procedure. I wasn’t numb the first time they tried to administer the anesthesia and I can’t put that amount of pain into words. I was blinded and have never in my life felt anything like it. Finally, they got me numb and I was unable to move or feel anything below my waist. The procedure itself was uncomfortable (since I was tilted backwards, spread wide open, and couldn’t move my body), but not terrible. I was not a big fan of being completely awake and aware during the surgery, but I was happy that the anesthesia was safe for me and the little one. I did not experience any pain during the procedure but felt pressure as they worked. It was over relatively quickly. Again, the surgeons told me everything they were doing as they did it, and I felt like I was in good hands…..literally. They finished up, sent me to recovery, and after regaining feeling in my legs I was returned to my room for another night of observation and checks every 2 (FREAKING 2) hours.

The surgeons explained to me the next day that during the procedure they had found a polyp. They suspect that the polyp was causing the insane amount of bleeding that I had been having for the better part of 4 days. HERE IS THE MIRACLE…Had I not had that polyp, there is a very high probability that I would have miscarried. Incompetent cervix has very few symptoms and most of them are so mild that women believe they are normal pregnancy symptoms. Light cramping, light spotting, back pain….none of which are alarming. Had I not had the bleeding polyp, I would likely have never gone in to have it checked out, and my cervix could have opened more. Had I progressed into full labor, they could not have stopped it and I could have lost her. I believe that God has a special reason for us to have this baby….that has been evident through the conception and the pregnancy. He is definitely in charge and knows the plan for us.

Post-op I will follow up with the surgeon every other week and with my OB every other week alternating. They will check on my stitches and make sure this little wiggle worm stays put. There is also the option to add progesterone therapy at a later date if they believe it is necessary. The prognosis is good, and they hope that with they help of this procedure I can carry this sweet thing to full term or until she is able to survive on her own. If everything goes well, they will remove the stitches a month before my estimated delivery date so that she can be born. If I do go into labor early, the cerclage will give her an extra 2-3 weeks to bake before they have to remove the stitches and let her out.

I am not thrilled that i had to go through this procedure, I have been a basket case and an emotional wreck for the better part of a week….BUT, I am incredibly grateful and would do it a million times over. I am blessed, my daughter is blessed, and I am in love with the life that God has given me today. Promises coming true over and over again. I have faith that He is protecting her and giving me peace. This journey has strengthened my faith and my assurance that I am truly never alone. It has also taught me that I am NEVER in control of my life. She is my baby, but she is also HIS baby. I am learning to let go of control and let go of anxiety.

I’m grateful to my husband, my family and our baby’s Godfather. Thanks to them I was never alone throughout my hospitalization. I always had someone to talk to, someone to cry with me, and someone there just to be there. I’m very blessed. I get to do life with some pretty amazing people.

Ask me again in a week or so how grateful I am…..even “modified” bedrest is not going to be a good look on me.

0e5e4bf15645f48a03f0b6f3b9eb442b

ED recovery and pregnancy

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that one of the first things that crossed my mind when I found out I was pregnant wasn’t JOY or GRATITUDE….it was pure self centered fear about how this is going to affect my body. That is the reality of recovery from a life-threatening eating disorder. The disease doesn’t just go away while I’m out living a beautiful life of recovery….Even 5 years later, it is always there, waiting. The difference today is that it does not have the power that it once had, in fact….it has very little power at all. Although these thoughts still frequently cross my mind…I’m not controlled by them. My actions are the actions of someone who loves her body, who respects her body, and someone who honors her body. That is the gift of recovery. I do not have to act on every feeling of inadequacy or insecurity. My actions are healthy, my actions are strong, and my actions keep me from falling back through the mirror into a world of fear and dispair.

Now, am I a little nervous about how my recovery will be affected by gaining normal pregnancy weight….yeah, I am. But that is where all these years of working a program kicks in. I’m in an amazing place right now where I can be honest about being afraid, that I can discuss my fears with the women in my life that know my struggle, and I can take suggestions and hear amazing feedback from the people that love me the most. I’m not in this alone. I have a small army of recovery soldiers that are constantly surrounding me to remind me of my strength, my beauty, and the miracle that is happening inside of my body.

Speaking of MIRACLE!!!! I would have never believed in a million years that my body would be the home of a small miracle. The diseases of anorexia and bulimia abused and wrecked this body past the point of recognition, to the point of organ failure…I hated the vessel that I was forced to live in and treated it like garbage….what in the world did I do to deserve this GIFT of a tiny life growing inside my body? It blows my mind and reminds me of GRACE. It’s not something I can earn or work hard enough to receive…it is not something I can fully wrap my head around, but this baby is just one example of the power of Grace in my life today.

As much as I’ve talked about fear, I’m actually really excited about this journey that I’m on. I’m blessed to have the ability to care for my body today in a way that has never been possible for me. I’m excited to care for myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and this tiny life as we grow together. I’m so grateful to my program of recovery, my higher power, and my small army of women…without these things in my life I would not be the woman of worth that I am today. I’m also excited to share this journey with others as I know I am not the first woman in recovery to journey through pregnancy with fears and doubts.

I plan on continuing to workout until my baby tells me that I need to rest, I plan on continuing to eat the way that I have learned is best for my body….no matter what crazy cravings I have. I’ve found a way of life that works for me, and it has set me up to have a wonderful, fit and healthy pregnancy. My God works in mysterious ways and sent this little surprise to us at the perfect time, and I’m so thankful.

a592329bdee1f535234d4ea2f9401867