By: Heather Somaini
As Tere and I walked out of the doctor’s office, my point of view had changed…in a moment. And it would change again and again and again over the next number of months. We were on a new path, a completely unknown trail with no clear destination.
You see, they weren’t really sure what was going on with Tere. The one thing they knew was that her cervix was not what it should be. I know this is going to seem rather technical but I guess that’s the fun part about me using both sides of my brain (or at least it seems); I love all the details but still appreciate how important and life-altering all of this was.
Tere’s condition was called an incompetent cervix , which happens in approximately 1% of pregnancies. There’s really no true understanding of why it happens but it can occur when there has been damage to the cervix from a previous pregnancy or D&C. Generally, the cervix needs to be about 3cm long and closed for a woman to be up and running around the planet. Tere’s was 1.24cm and had significant funneling –like a tornado where the top part is much wider than the bottom. What that means is that as the baby (or in our case, babies) grows, the additional pressure that is put on the cervix can cause pre-term labor and ultimately a premature delivery.
The other problem was that Tere was continuing to have the same uterine irritability that she had after the car accident. So the bigger problem and more immediate issue was whether or not she was actually in pre-term labor right now. If she was, all bets were off because at 22 weeks…well let’s just say things would not go well.
I had spent a good bit of time while we were at the doctor’s office convincing Tere that we needed to do what the doctor told us to do. She had only been at her new job for a couple months and was not happy about this intrusion into her day. She had meetings and people expecting her back that afternoon. I worked hard to convince her that this was a “blip” and that they would check her out at the hospital and we’d be on our way in no time. Missing a few meetings would be ok.
It would be almost seven months before she set foot back in that office. It’s amazing how life changes in an instant.
I walked Tere to the front of the medical building, ran around to the back and drove our new “family mobile” around to the front to pick her up. As we drove over to Cedars, we called my Mom to explain what was happening or at least as much as we understood. I reassured her that everything was fine and Tere would be out of the hospital in no time at all. We also realized that we had dinner plans with our friends Julie and Amy that night at a new trendy restaurant we were excited to try out. We explained that our night was going to be spent at “Chez Cedars” and they immediately offered to pick up Thai food and come over. I love friends who get it.
I did exactly as I was told and dropped Tere off at the Emergency Room and made sure they were taking her upstairs to the Maternal Fetal Care Unit (MFCU) in a wheelchair. I then promptly went and got completely lost trying to find a place to park the car. Why is it that every hospital has the most complicated parking system known to man? Cedars Sinai has multiple lots and structures all over the place – P1, P2, P3 – who knows where it ends. I got stuck in one structure with exhaust fumes almost knocking me out, only to find that there were no available spaces anyway. I argued with the parking attendant who really couldn’t care less that Tere was in the hospital all by herself. I finally got out of that structure and found an outside lot where the parking attendant told me I should be happy to find a spot anywhere at that hour.
I wasn’t happy. I was fuming by the time I finally got inside the hospital.
And then I got lost again. Oye!