**WARNING** This post contains a pretty gross picture of the stitch as well as a graphic explanation of the removal procedure. I'll put the pic at the bottom so you don't have to see it if you don't want to.
Here is a picture from today...35 weeks baby! I MADE IT! Also, I only have about 3 shirts that fit...
So last week, I did an update about all the upcoming dates for removing the cerclage, doing an amniocentesis and then getting induced if I hadn't gone into labor on my own yet.
Well, I was SUPPOSED to get the stitches from the cerclage removed NEXT monday on the 28th. BUT I went in for my appointment today will full intentions of begging to get them out today. I am SO uncomfortable now. My skin hurts, I'm swelling pretty bad...all over, my hips and my pubic bone are killing me. So, I was ready to beg. And plead.
But, as it turns out, my doctor is doing a stay-cation next week. Meaning, he's taking the week off, not doing office visits, but he'll be in town and available for deliveries. He gave me the choice of removing the stitch today or having a doctor I'd never met and had no idea about my case remove it next week. No thank you. So I opted for stitch removal today. I'm wild and crazy!
I had done some reading online about "what to expect" with the stitch removal and I expected a little discomfort, but in general, I have a pretty decent pain tolerance. I was feeling confident. The procedure is normally done in the office and takes about the same amount of time as a pap-smear. Which every girl knows, is more awkward and uncomfortable than anything. The biggest complaint from forums online was that sometimes the cervix can start to grow around the stitch and so removing it can be super uncomfortable. As a result, some people opt to leave it in until delivery and once they have the epidural, the stitch is removed with no pain at all.
So, I get in the room all naked from the waist down and put my feet up in the stirrups. He uses the speculum (or the duck thing, as Ross Gellar would say) to see in there. No local anesthetic or anything. The stitch is in my cervix in the same way that the string is in a coin purse. It weaves in and out of my cervix and is pulled shut and knotted on one side. To remove it, my doc has to grab the knot, pull it tighter (away from my cervix) and clip one of the strings to pull it out in one solid piece.
Well he settles down there on the stool and says, "Oh man Natalie. You are super swollen. It's totally normal to swell with multiples, but wow."
I knew I was swollen because I'm having a hard time breathing through my nose. When pregnant, all mucus membranes are MUCH more filled with blood and things can get swollen and huge. Thus my lady parts looking similar to an elephant. Awesome.
So he puts in the speculum and cranks it open (OUCH) and keeps apologizing because I started cursing. Which makes me apologize, which makes him apologize more, which makes the nurse laugh.
He had to root around in there with some clamps for about 2 minutes because everything was so swollen that he was having a hard time finding the knot. He finally locates it and starts tugging on it to pull the knot away from my cervix, which makes me curse more and the nurse came up to hold my hand so I would quit slapping the side of the exam table. He told me to count to 10 and said that by the time I was done counting, he would be done.
LIAR!! I got to 11 and cursed. Eeek. Sorry.
He gave me a minute break and said that because I was bleeding and so swollen, he was having a difficult time seeing everything and was being careful not to clip my cervix. Oh, good.
This went on 4 times until be came around up to my head and said, "so, I can tell this is causing a lot of discomfort and I hate that. You can come back in tomorrow afternoon and we can give you a local anesthetic to remove it so you're not so uncomfortable. Or I can try one more time."
Well, I really wanted it out, so I told him to try again. He ducked back down there and tugged some more while I cursed and tried not to break the nurses hand. He asked her to come down and hold the clamp so he could use 2 hands to cut. HE GOT IT! The second he finished, there was NO more pain. And to my shock and surprise, my water didn't break in his lap.
Here is a picture of the stitch:
The part where it is arched was attached to the knot on the right side and the two short ends are the parts that were loose in my vagina that he pulled on to make the stitch tighter so that he could cut the loop. It's gross right? Much smaller than I thought it would be. When the loop was closed, it was only about the size of a nickel.
So, here I am. I can go into labor anytime. I got my last shot of progesterone today (which prevents labor) and I'm not allowed to take oral medications anymore to prevent contractions. The countdown is on.