Calvin’s Birth Story: The Prequel

To be honest, I don’t know what to write.

I sat down to write all about cervical incompetency and my cerclage surgery and how it was all awful and scary, but I can’t seem to get the words out. It might be too close…a little too soon to thinking that the pregnancy wasn’t going to work out. Or perhaps I’m too far on the other side now. Maybe that chapter closed when Calvin was born and now it doesn’t seem to matter that we thought we were going to lose him and that I spent weeks holding my breath each time I had to sit up a little in bed. It’s not a painful memory or anything. It just seems silly. Of course he was going to be here. Of course I was going to hold still and we were going to have a million doctor’s appointments and everyone was going to have to drop everything to rearrange my world so I could just focus on him. Naturally. So what is there to say?

In the interest of being helpful, I’ll just answer some quick questions that other women might have if they were in my situation. Facts always seem to help me break through the writer’s block, so maybe this will help me sort out “before Calvin” so that “after Calvin” makes more sense.


Why did you have to have surgery during the pregnancy?

  • I have a condition called cervical incompetency, which is a blanket term that covers any problems that may lead to the cervix being unreliable during pregnancy. For most women, this is diagnosed after a mid-pregnancy loss (usually between 15-25 weeks). Mine was diagnosed when it was caught during a routine ultrasound. 


Will you have to have surgery again if you get pregnant again?

  • Yes, once this condition is diagnosed surgery is the most common way to ensure that a woman will be able to carry a baby to term. The surgery (called a cerclage) reinforces the cervix.


Will you have to be on bed rest again if you get pregnant in the future?

  • Probably not for very long unless there are other complications. Most women are only on bed rest for about a week after the surgery. I was on bed rest longer because my surgery was an emergency procedure and I was already partly in labor when they caught the problem at 24 weeks. The surgery gave me added support, but bed rest was necessary to continue the pregnancy. In most cases, bed rest hasn’t been proven to do much unless you’re close to delivering like I was.


Did the cerclage surgery hurt?

  • I had never been under general anesthesia before so I was nervous about that, but I didn’t have problems with the surgery. Although it was an uncomfortable recovery, I was able to manage through pain medication and felt better within a day or two. 


Did the cerclage removal hurt?

  • Again, it was uncomfortable but it’s a very fast process. The actual procedure took less than fifteen minutes, including prep time, and I didn’t have to take any medication. I stayed in the hospital under observation for about six hours and went home that evening.


How long after the cerclage removal did you have your baby?

  • The cerclage was removed on July 16th and I had the baby on July 25th. He was 36 weeks and 3 days along, so only half a week short of being full term.


I was nervous about having the cerclage surgery because there were a lot of risks, but I honestly don’t believe the pregnancy would have continued without it. I also feel like the bed rest was necessary, even though studies have said that it might not be effective in pregnancy. Personally, being on bed rest kept contractions at bay and generally put less stress on my body, so I feel like it was a good recommendation from my doctor. I am very blessed that people were able to step up and handle things for me so I could be down so long, especially my mom (who missed weeks and weeks of work) and Kyle (who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since…I don’t know…maybe before we got married).


If you find yourself in the same situation:

  • accept that there’s only so much you can do and try to to just do what you can. My biggest struggle was feeling like I needed to be active when the baby really needed me to literally do nothing but relax, especially in the beginning. 
  • find a doctor who is comfortable doing a cerclage surgery and has done them before. Our doctor is a rock star and she made it so much easier to stay calm because we knew she had things under control.
  • get yourself some snacks, some comfortable pajamas, some pillows, and an iPad. That’s it. You’re set.


I’d tell you that it was tough, but it wasn’t even sort of a sacrifice when I think about what we got out of it. I am fifteen shades of lucky:

Baby Calvin


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  • Reply Hope

    I’m so glad Calvin is here! I know the getting here part was tough, but the rewards are immense. Congrats Carly! 🙂

    August 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm
  • Reply J Darling

    I thought it might have been a cerclage. Mr. Calvin wanted to hang out longer, which is awesome. 🙂
    Glad you’re up and moving around and enjoying your new family! Loving all the photos! 🙂

    August 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply Eve

    Thank you so much for sharing such a hard, personal journey. So often when people don’t share the tough, “out of the ordinary” stories, the information doesn’t get out. What a miracle he is-congratulations!

    August 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm
  • Reply Stephanie

    Thanks for sharing Carly. My docotor has already told me I’m at the age that I have to have a baby, if my husband and I are going to have one. We already know I have a short cervix and I will probably have to travel the same road you did with your pregnancy. You’ve answered some of my questions so thank you 🙂

    He’s a handsome boy, Congrats!!!

    August 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm
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