I went in for my weekly cervical check and was eager to meet the other MFM who does cerclage placement at Kaiser. I missed meeting her at my NT scan and she had come very highly recommended by a lot of folks (Dr. C., who I was seeing, not so much (not that the reviews were negative, just that he was not as readily referred)). I am so glad I met her because, not only was she smart and down to earth, but she was much more engaging and invested in a positive outcome even though she’d just met me. It was clear she’d reviewed my medical records, including my pregnancy with my son, because she was also informed.
My cervical length was good (over 3.6 to 4.0 depending on the angle). The placenta is still low lying, but she reiterated that she’d expect it to be at this gestation. We discussed, at length, her opinion about cerclage placement. She is actually not pro-cerclage. However, she was clear that she also doesn’t dick around and that if my cervix got to be under 3cm and I was less than 22 weeks, she’d place the cerclage without hesitation (something I could never get the other doc to agree to. He favored making a decision at less than 2.5cm but that decision still might not be to place one).
We also talked about progesterone support from 16 – 34w. If one has had pre-term labor in their most recent prior pregnancy or has had a loss post 16w, the FDA has approved the use of progesterone as a way to ward off pre-term labor in a subsequent pregnancy. However, when someone is in the grey area like I am (no prior pre-term labor, but cervical shortening), the jury is out as to whether there is a benefit to the addition of progesterone. It is likely that there is no harm, but the degree to which it does any good in either strengthening the cervix or warding off pre-term labor is debatable. She thinks it is something we should consider.
She was very happy with how my cervix responded (not only did she measure it abdominally and trans-vaginally, but she also did a bit of a stress test by palpating my abdomen thereby putting some pressure on the cervix to see how it behaved and it remained long and closed. Yay, cervix!
Overall, I felt she was more thorough, less ego involved, less likely to be looking at me as a feather in her “see? there was no need for a cerclage” cap. So impressed with her was I that upon leaving I requested to have all my future appointments switched to her. That was met with a raised eyebrow and an “are you sure?” from the nurse, but I was surely sure. It was humorous that the nurse then said, “she books up pretty far in advance because her patients never switch”. I took that as endorsement enough.
I will admit to a nanosecond of disappointment, not for myself, but for my husband and every other person who believed we were having a girl. If you have followed this blog since its inception, you know that when we decided to adopt, we had a girl only specification. I wrote back then that I had a nagging feeling that I was meant to mother boys and eventually we lifted the specification. In fact, going back even before that, when we did PGD on the embryos from my son’s cycle, of our 10 embryos, we had 4 normals and all of them were boys. I was disappointed then because I thought I always wanted to have a girl. But, something about all of the normal embryos being boys was a tipping point for me and I believed then and since that I was meant to mother boys.
It hit me, like an unstoppable wave, as soon as I began walking to my car after my appointment. I could not stop the tears of relief that it is a boy. It took me some time to tease out why I was so relieved but I am clear. The groundwork for the estrangement from my parents, especially my life-long difficult relationship with my mother, goes back to when I was a child. She literally stopped parenting me after my brother died. Our relationship was further complicated by her inability to appropriately parent an adopted child. I was always made to feel that something was wrong with me and that it was my job to figure out how to fit in with her, how to have a relationship with her, how to communicate with her, etc. It was extremely difficult for me, especially as a child, because we in no way viewed the world or our place in it similarly. I might as well have been speaking pig Latin as she could in no way relate to me.
Not to generalize or get into a debate about gender differences between boys and girls, but I have long felt and believed that the difficulties between my mother and me were further compounded because I was a girl. I was a deep thinking, deep feeling, emotionally complex female. My mother happened to be anything but, and I needed a lot in terms of communication, reassurance, perspective, insight, way more than she was ever able to give me.
In the fuckedupness that was my difficult upbringing and into early adulthood and beyond, what fueled my tears of relief today was the single thought that a boy was less likely to grow up to hate me. Pure and simple. Of course, I cannot predict the future and I am not even looking that far ahead, but my sub-conscious sure is. I still carry around the pain of bearing the full responsibility for figuring out how to have a relationship with my mother. I equate that, if even only partially, with my being female. All of it, taken in concert, has programmed me to believe I am meant to mother boys, and therein the relief that this precious gift is one.
Yes, I know cognitively that I am not my mother and that I would have parented a girl beautifully and I would have likely been acutely aware of how NOT to parent her. However, that does not change the damage done to my psyche by my mother in making me feel more capable (and desirous) of mothering boys.
I just want to complete our family and carry this baby boy to term. I can’t wait to tell our son that he is going to have a little brother. I am trying to enjoy every day of this pregnancy while simultaneously willing it beyond the scary phase. I am fueled by the long held desire for this little one to be and look forward to connecting, bonding, and loving him through to his delivery and beyond.
“Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it.”
~Not Your Average Dictionary