Friday, March 28, 2014

What is a Cervical Cerclage?

This post also could have been titled "more info than you ever, ever cared to know about a pretty embarrassing and private procedure."

But, if you're facing one yourself, hopefully you find this helpful!

For my surgery, I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 6:30 am for a 7:30 surgery time.
The worst part, I think, is the waiting. We waited to check in in OB Triage. Then we waited in a "room" (a bed with a curtain around it) for a nurse to come in and tell us what to do.  The waiting can really make you crazy and lets your worries get the best of you.

After I peed in a cup and got changed into my gown, we waited for the resident doctor, who looked to be younger than Kemi or I, to come in and practice on me with his list of awkward question after awkward question.

"When was your first period? Like, as a kid?"
"Do you have a history of STDs?"
"Do you feel safe at home?"
"Do you use, uh, recreational drugs?" (to this I obviously answered "no" to which he responded "cool.")

The two anesthesiologists came in and introduced themselves.  They both seemed very level headed and calm, and put me right at ease.

Then, finally, the surgeon came in, said good morning, and that as soon as everyone got things moving, we'd be in the OR.

Finally, I was wheeled back to the OR.  The nurses showed Kemi the waiting area, and I was on my own.  The nurses wheeled me to a station where we all suited up for the OR…as in, we all got hairnets.

They wheeled me in, and told me to move from the bed and sit on top of the OR table.  The anesthesiologist came in and explained how the spinal anesthetic would be administered.  I was most nervous for this part of the procedure, because I had heard it was pretty painful.  The nurse had me face her while I hugged a pillow and tried to roll my back into a curve.  The anesthesiologist was behind me and I braced myself for the big sting.

And nothing.

"Did you do it?" I asked.
"I'm already done," he said. "Your butt should be feeling warm and tingly any second now." And sure enough, as he said it, I started to feel like warm water was being poured down my butt and legs.  "I feel like I'm going to pee my pants" I said to the room.

This is where things get awkward.  Within a minute or two I couldn't feel my legs at all, or anything below my belly button.  Nurses lift your legs into stirrups that hang from the ceiling, and you are stuck there in the most awkward position of your life.  I looked around the room and counted heads. One surgeon, two anesthesiologists, four nurses, and three residents.  That's a lot of people looking at your what-nots under ginormous operating room lights.

The nurses had told me that during the procedure I'd feel a bit of pressure and be aware that they were doing something, but not feel any pain.  As the surgeon began the procedure though, I was thankful I couldn't feel anything. I had absolutely no feeling at all below my waist.

All in all, the entire procedure lasted about 15 minutes.  The nurses wheeled me down the hall and one of the nurses went to find Kemi.  We got settled into a recovery room where I was left to basically wait for feeling to return to my legs.
Staring at my feet, willing them to move again

 After a few hours I got up and tried to pee. The nurses said as soon as I was able to pee on my own, I could go home.  I tried to go, but was only able to pee a tiny amount. They brought in an ultrasound machine that scans the bladder for how many ounces remain. My bladder was super full, so they put in a straight catheter and drained 1000 cc's.  The next several hours involved me trying to pee, the ultrasound technician being called back in, telling me my bladder was still full, and to wait.

it wasn't too bad with this guy to keep me company.

We continued to wait for my bladder to "wake up" again from the anesthesia until after 6 pm.  By this time I was super annoyed.  We left the house at 5:45 am and I hadn't seen Evie all day.  I begged the nurses to let me go.  They finally called up the on-call OB who agreed, but only if I promised to come back in with any issues.  The concern was that if I developed a bladder infection it could possibly trigger labor. Not only that, but if my bladder was too full, it could rip my stitches or trigger contractions.  So it goes without saying I was pretty stressed.

The next day involved me measuring everything I drank against how many ounces I was peeing. It wasn't until today, two days post surgery, that I finally know everything is 100% back to normal.

I'm so thankful that we found things in time, and were able to have the cerclage before things progressed further and it was too late. Now we just continue to pray for this little one, and that we can make it the next five months! We know God has great things planned for this soul, and we can't wait to see what they are!


  1. Thanks for being so transparent. A good friend went through exactly what you are and I'm taking 6 month photos of their little one tomorrow. :) I've been very bad about keeping up on my blog reading, so a late congratulations to you all!!! We will be praying for you!

  2. Corinna, this is one of those blogs that just NEEDS to be written. I'm five months pregnant and have this procedure looming as a possibility in the next few weeks. Ugh. But seriously, thanks for writing about it. It's better to know the awkwardness to come, right? Also, tell your husband I said hi and he can explain how we awkwardly know each other. : )

    1. Hi Megan,

      Kemi did explain how you guys know each other…pretty funny! Good luck with your pregnancy and congratulations! I'm glad you're a little more prepared for the awkwardness now :D