I Was Set Upside Down For A Surgery at Week 20 of My Pregnancy….

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Good Thing I Practice Yoga Often…

People say “every child is different, so every pregnancy is different.” And I concur. During my first pregnancy, I travelled alone to Brazil for work at 32 weeks, with 45 pounds additional body weight. I was tired but fit. On the due date, I swam 20 laps in the morning, then contractions started at midnight… I planned to do the same for my second pregnancy in 2015, but it not only was a completely different pregnancy, I had to go through one surgery, three anesthesia, was forbidden to travel at week 20 (I had to cancel our X’mas family vacation in Europe, the long-planned baby moon, and my global travels for work)…finally we brought our beautiful Leia home at a magical full term. And now she is 99 percentile in both weight & height, we can’t be more blessed than that.

At the week 20 regular exam, I was diagnosed with cervical insufficiency (I was 2cm dilated already). Only 1% of the pregnant women have it, and mostly following a prior pre-term pregnancy, carrying twins, or prior cervical surgery. None of those applied to me. Why me? I was told there are many things that can’t be explained medically (that’s why I still believe in Feng Shui…), especially pregnancy. I was rushed to the hospital, where 4 or 5 high risk pregnancy physicians (a.k.a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists) came in to “get to know” me, and later that night, the most senior attending physician gave me a few options to consider. One of the most optimal & common solutions is to place a cerclage (stitch me up), even though, he is NOT 100% SURE that would help, and that doesn’t guarantee I would carry the baby to term. My husband was traveling and I was alone in the hospital. I conference-called my husband in. The conclusion was to send me home and to observe for the weekend before taking action. I was alone walking on Michigan Avenue at night, went into Zara to get a pair of winter boots for my almost two years old daughter Maia, and then sobbing my way home…after one of the most stressful weekends in my life, I went back to the hospital on Monday, where I found out that I was further dilated, and immediately admitted to the surgery room. My husband was traveling for work again (damn it!), but a nurse nicely explained to me the procedures they are going to undertake, and I couldn’t help to CRY really loud for 10 minutes…later, I was given local anesthesia, one attending physician, plus two residency doctors explained they are going to “tilt” me to proceed with the surgery…it was surreal…I had no pain, hung upside down (not tilt), and had full awareness, I practiced my yoga breathing exercise, thinking, who could do this if you don’t practice headstand. 25 minutes pass, and I am done and stitched up! My husband finally showed up with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts at recovery room (which I don’t eat at all normally, but after such a surgery, I wanted to commit some crime.)

Looking back it was a true adventure, I had to carry the 2nd pregnancy with extra caution, light bed rest during the first few weeks, no heavy lifting, I stopped all the exercises (only resumed prenatal yoga at week 28 at Yoga Now and Cocoon Care). It was like carrying a bomb and being concerned any moment it would explode (pop in this case). I had great family & friends support, particular my good friends Joel and Ryan would send me a text something like “congratulations, now you pass week 28, your baby has eyes and is blinking…” so I don’t need an app to track my pregnancy development. The cerclage did the job well. At week 37, when I was officially full time, I went into the hospital to release my stitch so I could give birth naturally. Only this time, 6 physicians tried, no one could release it (damn it!), the last attending physician decided to give me a local anesthesia, as I was exhausted after 8 hours at the hospital. The moment I stood up, my husband was convinced the baby will be popping out immediately. Nope. Then, I went back to yoga and swimming until full-term at week 40, when I took another anesthesia and was induced…I was thinking by this time, my baby was completely drugged. I pushed for 3 minutes, the easiest part of the entire pregnancy – Happy Birthday, Leia!!

With this, I couldn’t help to think how much pain those families need to go through with premature babies, spending day & night at NICU (Neonatal Intense Care Unit), with tons of medical intervention at the hospital. Some babies are luckier, some go home with intense medical attention afterwards, some just never go home, with a little footprint on earth and bid goodbye…

We are very blessed with Leia, and when I hold her, I can’t resist to think about those premature baby and family.