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The (Cervi)X Files

I sometimes have a very accurate set of gut instincts. There will be times when, on the minutest of evidence, I come to a correct conclusion. There was the time in my 20s when I just knew that the jerkoff I was dating was cheating on me. Then there was the time when I took my infant son to the doctor after his sleep patterns fell apart and it turned out to be his first ear infection, not just a phase. And last summer, I just knew that the surprise pregnancy that preceded this one was going to end in miscarriage.

Being right is often not a victory.

But that history of trusting my gut is why I put in a call to my OB yesterday after a morning of Braxton-Hicks contractions accompanied by some pelvic pressure.

As I’ve written before, I’ve had a previous LEEP due to pre-cancerous abnormalities so my OB practice is already keeping a close eye on me because of the increased risk of incompetent cervix. My cervix is a cause of great neurosis for me because of this and also because I’m the child of a doctor an a nurse and the grandchild of a psychiatrist and an actress. In other words, I am a perfect genetic storm for hypochondria.

My inner skeptic, the voice that has silenced my hypochondria before, battled with my gut instinct for a bit before I made the call but my gut got to gloat when my OB’s office vindicated my worries and suggested I come in right then for a sonogram and consult with a doctor to see what was going on down below. Thankfully, the usual anxiety that would result from being told to get right in to the office was tempered by the fact that my baby spent the whole ride over thumping me from the inside.

After an FFS, a sono, and a quick manual exam, it was determined that I was not showing signs of imminent pre-term labor and my baby is looking great but my cervix has shortened slightly since it was last measured less than two weeks ago. It’s still not in the danger zone of needing intervention and, in fact, it could just be the result of gravity and the increased weight of my uterus, but it’s not something my doctors are willing to ignore. I’m on pelvic rest and I’ll be getting weekly sonos and exams to keep an eye on it from here on out.

Weekly doctor appointments to keep an eye on the source of all my neurosis? My inner hypochondriac says “Yes please!”. My gut instinct is more pragmatic and thinks that this will likely be ok but I’m still going to do everything in my power to make those pesky Braxton-Hicks stop and keep the rest of my body from bothering my cervix. I’m upping my fluid intake, decreasing my activity level, and admitting that I need more sleep than I’ve been getting.

I might also hire a cleaning lady. What? Vacuuming is hard work!

Interestingly, my anxiety about my cervix has been replaced by a mama-lioness instinct that is determined to keep my baby safe and secure in my uterus for 18 more weeks. My first job as a mother is to gestate this baby and gestate I shall, whether that means bedrest, a cerclage, or other interventions to keep the process going. I’m glad my OB practice is responsive to me when I call with a concern and is willing to step up surveillance, even if it might seem a little overly-cautious to some.

My next appointment is on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I’ll be on the couch, sucking down water or Gatorade and letting my son delight in overdosing on Dora the Explorer. Wish me luck!

Read more from Rebekah at Mom-in-a-Million, The DC MomsThe Broad Side
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