My Cerclage Experience, Gender Disappointment, Future Babies?

January 5, 2020

By Sanda Rathamone



“In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of.” - Howard Schultz

At 21 weeks, I went into surgery and got a cerclage, or a cervical stitch. My primary doctor had been pushing for the cerclage since we were at 17 weeks, mentioning this procedure since our first appointment at 5. It took weekly cervical length checks (starting at 16 weeks), talks with two other doctors, return visits to the hospital, and a 2.5 cm measurement to get two stitches placed around my cervix by yet another new doctor.

Now, at 24 weeks, I wonder if we have made it this far because of the cerclage, or if we would have been fine without it. I will never know, and that scares me. It scares me because:

1.) my experience in getting the cerclage was horribly painful

2.) it is still not determined whether or not I have an incompetent (or weakened) cervix

and 3.) it is most likely that future pregnancies require cerclages.

Honestly, I never want to get another cerclage ever again, even though others have had much better and painless experiences than I had. (I know this because another woman in recovery had a polar opposite experience than I did!) All of the doctors made the procedure sound like a harmless, quick and easy, in-and-out visit to the hospital and claimed that I wouldn't feel a thing. That I would be up and walking within two hours after surgery.

Well, one of the worst had happened to me. The anesthesia had only fully numbed my legs along with my feet and bum. I felt EVERYTHING down below. From the tools the doctor used to all of the sensations from getting stitched, I felt it all. After surgery, I had these excruciatingly painful abdominal cramps for two hours and was begging for pain meds. I went home after 10 hours in the hospital with barely enough control over my legs and didn't fully regain them until the next day.

For something most called a "non-major surgery" was a major pain in the vag. I had sharp vaginal pains once the anesthesia had fully worn off and was an emotional mess the first night. Being highly vulnerable and needing assistance made me feel weak, as if I couldn't handle something that should have  been a walk through the park. Sadly, the entire process was horrible! I wasn't informed beforehand that the lower half of my body would be suspended in the air (which caused all sorts of discomforts during and after surgery) and wished that I was asleep throughout the whole thing.

Thankfully, I am happy to say that the pain had lasted for that brief moment.

The worst part is over; within a few days, I was fine. Unfortunately, it's still hard to not worry. When I sneeze, push a poo, hold a pee, move too fast, forget to use my arms and not my abdominal muscles, go up stairs, walk/sit/stand for more than 15 minutes, or start feeling pressure/pinching down below, I become consumed with fears of my water or the cerclage breaking.

I am now not only scared that what had happened to Elijah could happen to this baby, but also that the cerclage could fail... even though the doctors reassured me that we got the cerclage at the perfect time with "enough cervix to hold" and that the healing process afterwards had no complications.

Yes, the cerclage could save my baby, but it does not mean that we are completely safe, not until the baby is born. I think that is partially why I still haven't fully "accepted" this pregnancy. As much as I want to be excited while strolling down a baby aisle, I am scared to ignore my fears or throw my worries to the wind. I look at all of the little boy onesies and read them with this sadness. I am still not free to dream in the baby aisle...

And here is yet another thing that I can't seem to understand: this baby is a boy, too.

It is strange how time changes things, especially perspective. Soon after losing Elijah, all I wanted was to have another baby. Another boy. I couldn't imagine myself having anyone, but another boy to do all of the "boy things" we had dreamed and lost with Elijah. Our firstborn was a son and he was all I could think about. Then, as time passed, I would have dreams that Elijah had a sister, and that was when the possibility of having a daughter had dawned on me.

I have to admit that I am a tad disappointed, both in myself and finding out that Elijah's sibling is not a little sister. I am disappointed that after once talking about how I wouldn't care what the baby is (and just wanting A BABY/live birth), that I now somewhat do. I am disappointed that the dreams I had weren't true, or at the least had made me feel like there was some sort of promise for this little girl I once "knew" and "welcomed."

But, that doesn't mean I won't love this baby or love him less. I love him so much to point where I am scared. I am scared that I might confuse him with Elijah, that I would forget that this little boy is not his big brother. I am scared to love him so much that I could lose him because of losing Elijah. And I am scared of loving him more than his brother, and vice versa. Perhaps, I just thought having a girl would lessen these fears?

I had a dream long ago; it came to me just before Elijah died. I dreamt that Elijah was a twin and his brother was the perfect newborn baby. On the other hand, Elijah was in a fragile condition and had a much smaller frame. I was busy grieving over the son who I knew wouldn't survive and couldn't leave his side, while there laid another who was beyond ready.


Sometimes, I wonder if this baby is exactly that: the baby who had waited for me. And who I had waited for, for a very long time.

My husband jokingly says he wants 10 babies, which I am not sure how in the world his mother had done it, as well as my grandmother. But, after doing some deep thinking about having more kids, I cried. I don't know if I want to go through another high risk pregnancy or risk another loss or worry anymore. Pregnancy after loss is such a hard journey and now I could understand why some wouldn't want to do it again.

However, "one and done" is unsettling and  makes me feel sad. I have always wanted at least three or five children, and I never thought that I would end up having such a hard time becoming or being pregnant. What seemed natural and easy for my mother, seems to be long and difficult for me. I would wish so much that my mother would see how lucky she is compared to my experience.

Yet, nothin' good ever came easy.


Our Little Rainbow
Due April 2020

With love,
Must Read:

Read Elijah's Story, "From Gender Reveal to a Spontaneous Delivery"

Photo: thepebblesbeanie

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