Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Q&A-Should I Keep This Pregnancy? Part 1

pregnancy picQuestion from Susan – I am so glad that I came upon your blog.  I’ve had 3 prior premature births. (36 wks, 33 wks, & 28 wks in that order.) All of them are healthy living boys! I am now pregnant with number four and am terrified.  I was told never to get pregnant again since they have all come earlier each time.  Mind you, no precautionaries were taken with my last two pregnancies.  They checked my cervix every two weeks, but that’s it.  My contractions would just come early.  I am left with the decision to either try to make this pregnancy go full term by some miracle…. or to terminate the pregnancy in order to avoid the risk of having a baby with severe problems.  Should I go to a high-risk OB/Gyn and do they really make a difference?  Please help.  I’m scared.  If I were guaranteed a healthy baby, I would for sure go on with this pregnancy.

Answer from Afton – Susan, I can’t even describe how my heart aches at the thought of terminating your pregnancy because of the risk of delivering prematurely, especially when you have never had more done than frequent cervical exams during your pregnancies.  I want to tell you a little story about my most recent pregnancy, with a brief introduction:

I delivered my first baby at just 21 weeks gestation and two years later I was pregnant again and only saw a regular OB who checked my cervix occasionally.  I delivered that baby at 27 weeks.  A year or more later I decided to ask my new OB (I had moved) what he thought about me getting pregnant again.  He frankly told me that I should never get pregnant again because obviously my body had a natural tendency to reject my pregnancies way early and I was incapable of carrying a baby to term.  I went home and cried, devastated that I could never have more children.  I decided to make a consultation appointment with a High-Risk Specialist.  I met with him and told him my history and he told me that I could certainly have more children!  All we had to do was stitch up my cervix and keep a close eye on me and maybe do fetal-fibronectin tests to make sure amniotic fluid wasn’t leaking and everything was holding together well.  He said that he did cerclages for most of his patients and there was a very high success rate.  Well, I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of a cerclage, because I had never had any pain or warning before active labor hit and I delivered my preemies.  I decided to wait awhile, do some research about premature labor and delivery, and maybe get a second opinion from another high-risk specialist in my future.

Well, lo-and-behold, I found out I was pregnant only two months later!  Oops!  So, I scheduled my first appointment with a high-risk specialist I had never seen before and during that appointment I told him my history and all of my fears about my pregnancy.  I then told him about everything I had come across during my research, like progesterone shots, fetal-fibronectin tests, tocolytics, cervical length exams, bedrest, home contraction monitors, etc.  He told me about the success rate of progesterone shots in prolonging delivery, and about all of the other things we could do to monitor my pregnancy and recognize the signs of oncoming labor.  We made a pregnancy plan that I was very comfortable with and then I prepared myself for a very invasive and difficult pregnancy.

Continue Reading Q&A-Should I Keep This Pregnancy? Part 2

Related Posts:  Finding a Good High Risk Specialist

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

Comments

  1. I delivered my daughter at 26 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia. We had over 14 weeks in the NICU and it was quite the roller coaster. Me and my husband decided shortly after she was born that we were going to wait several years before trying to have another baby. But lo and behold, a week after my daughter came home, I found out that I was pregnant again. On the way home from the doctor, I broke down. I didn’t think I could deal with the possiblity of having another NICU stay. Besides that, I didn’t think that we could handle another baby so soon emotionally or financially. I decided that the best thing to do would be to terminate the pregnancy.

    The day of my appointment for the big A, I broke down again. I did some serious soul searching, looked at my daughter, and decided that there was no way I could end this pregnancy. I would never be able to forgive myself and I would always wonder what if…I decided to get a doctor who dealt with high risk prenancies and do everything in my power to make sure that I have a healthy pregnancy. If something does happen, well at least I know that I gave this baby a chance to be. I am 17 weeks pregnant and everything is going great. Me and my husband have had to make some tough decisions with our life, but i think in the end it will be worth it.

  2. i had four preemies…my first was 36 weeks..second was 31 weeks and my third one was 28 weeks..like you I was earlier and earlier…my fourth baby i had the cerclage (stitch in the cervix) and I went to 34 weeks with her,. So before you decide to do anything speak to your doctor about preventative measures! My madisyne is an angel and i couldnt imagine not having her in my life.

    • Hello, Elizabeth. Thank you for your posting. It seems as though you and I have the most similar situations. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me. What makes someone a candidate for a cerclage? Also, what was the onset of your previous births (bleeding, contractions…)? I was told that I didn’t qualify for a cerclage. Please let me know, that would really help me figure things out. Thank you so much!

  3. I know you must be scared but there is a reason that you are pregnant, if it wasnt met to be you would not have that tiny gift of life right now, I belive that as the mother of a preemee you have to look inside and pull up your boot straps and just know everthing will be okay, You are not the one in control here and God has a reason for us before we are born. And that tiny little person so close to your heart may be the next great doctor or lawyer, or the one peron who could find a cure for cancer, just give them the chance and youo never know, you might just be surprised.

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