This blog post is the second part of a three-part series. The first post was about being diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. The final post will be about how to continue working with a cervical cerclage.
Once you’ve found out that you have an incompetent cervix, chances are you will either need progesterone shots, or you will have to get a cervical cerclage placed.
This article will tell you what to expect before during, and after the procedure, and also include my personal experience.
What to Expect Before the Procedure
- Fasting 24 hours before no food or drink.
- Several doctors will discuss your medical history with you.
- Several doctors discuss risk factors that are associated with the procedure.
- You will have to confirm that you want to have the procedure done again prior to having it done.
What to Expect During the Procedure
- Spinal tap: The cerclage procedure is an out patient surgery in which the patient first receives a spinal tap which is very similar to the epidural procedure in which you are numbed from the waist down. One main issue for me is that I have scoliosis, so whenever I need an epidural it takes a very skilled person to get it right. I informed the doctor of my condition, and they assured me that they would be able to do the spinal tap with no issues, that was a lie. Because my spine is so curved, it took 4 people to position me just right so the doctor could place the needle,. Just the spinal tap alone was enough to get me pretty worked up. I had never had any kind of surgery before and this was stressing me out.
- Nausea: This may vary for each woman, but for me whenever I get a spinal tap or an epidural, the medication makes me very nauseous. I vomited during the surgery twice because the medicine upset my stomach.
- Positioning: You will be lying flat on your back with your legs in the air. My doctor tilted the bed backward at an angle so although I was flat, the bed was approximately at a 25-degree angle. This was not comfortable and I believe it added to my nausea.
- The stitching process: Because you are awake during the procedure, you will feel the doctor sewing your cervix. It basically feels like a pulling sensation with slight pressure. It was not painful, however it can be mentally nerve wracking. Just try and stay calm. After a few stitches your body will begin to relax. The procedure did not take more than an hour to finish.
After the procedure: What to expect
- Food: You will need to wait to go back to your room until you get feeling back in your legs. This may take a few hours, however the best part is that now after you’re done you can actually eat something. During my fasting period I hadn’t eaten from 10 PM the night before to 8 pm when my procedure was finished, so to say I was hungry is an understatement. I ordered some food in the process of getting my feeling back in my legs. I’d never been so happy to eat hospital food in my life.
- Monitoring: They will monitor you for a few hours after your surgery, and after that they will clear you to go home.
- Light bleeding: You will experience light bleeding for about two days after the procedure, but if the bleeding increases immediately call your doctor.
- Bedrest: Most doctors recommend bed rest for women for the remainder of the pregnancy especially if the cerclage was an emergency cerclage. My doctor told me I couldn’t go back to work. I am a teacher and I am constantly on my feet. However, not going back was not an option for me as my husband was out of work at the time, and we definitely could not support ourselves with no income. If you want to know how I was able to return to work and convince my doctor to clear me, read my blog post: Working with a Cervical Cerclague. (This will be released Monday April 4th, 2022 (Also my birthday ))
- No intimacy: Your doctor has probably told you that you are to refrain from sex after your diagnosis of an incompetent cervix. This will remain in effect for the duration of the pregnancy until your cerclage is removed at 37 weeks.
- Follow up with your OBGYN & High Risk Doctor: Both doctors will follow up with you after the procedure. Your regular OB will take care of your normal appointments, and your high risk doctor will continue to monitor your cervix and ensure the stitch is holding.
- Mental Anxiety: Having a cerclage is a mental battle. Everything feels scary and nerve-wracking. For me, I was freaked whenever I felt pressure, although this is a normal feeling for women during pregnancy. Lucky for me, I had a friend that also has incompetent cervix, so I called her a lot! Try and find a support group. There are several groups on facebook that you can join.
At 37 weeks your doctor will remove your cerclage in office.
I think I was more nervous for the removal than the actual procedure. The removal is done by your regular OB in office and you are not medicated.
I do recommend that you take a pain reliever prior to your appointment. The doctor will open your cervix the same way that they would examine you for a regular pap smear but slightly wider.
They take some surgical scissors and simply snip the stitch and pull the string. The most uncomfortable part for me was how deep the doctor had to go to get to the stitch, but the actual cutting of the stitch was not painful at all.
When you see the stitch you will be surprised at how small it actually is.
There are some cases where after the stitch is removed, the cervix can open and a woman can go into labor. This is no cause for alarm because by 37 weeks the baby’s lungs have developed at this point.
There will be some light bleeding afterward, but again if the bleeding increases call your doctor immediately.
If you have any concerns or worries remember that your first point of contact is your doctor.
If you have a cervical cerclage and would like to share your experiences comment below. If you are getting a cerclage and have any questions, please comment below and I will answer them.
Check out my other blog post below on Incompetent Cervix.
~Peace & Love,
I write not only because it’s my passion, but also because I am really tired of only seeing picture perfect versions of people. YouReallyReddit is a place where you are going to get the real take on life, marriage, parenting and anything else that I want to write about!
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