Most of us have probably heard the old African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well in our case it takes a village to have a child. If you have followed any of my most recent posts then you know that my husband and I recently took a trip to Chicago.
As much as I would have liked this trip to have been strictly for fun and pleasure it wasn’t; this was a trip that was borne out of medical necessity. During my last pregnancy, I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix (IC), which resulted in my preterm labor and ultimately in the death of my baby boy. Once you have been diagnosed with IC, you have it for life and all of your following pregnancies will be affected by it. If you have IC you typically have a vaginal cerclage* placed after 12 weeks, vaginal cerclages can still fail and doctors will not place a vaginal cerclage for pregnancies of multiples (2 or more babies).
Due to the low success rate of vaginal cerclages, I knew I needed something more, something that will give me a greater chance of bringing a baby home. Enter the Transabdominal Cerclage (TAC). I found out about TACs via a young woman in a grief support group that I attend, her story is similar to mine and she gave me all the details about TACs and Dr. Haney, the doctor who did hers. I went home SUPER excited (and extra cautious) about this new piece of information, talked to my boo, and did hours of research about the surgery and its success rate.
In my research, I found that not many doctors place TACs and that Dr. Haney was one out of a handful of doctors who does the open method and is the nation’s leading expert. The only downfall is that he works in Chicago and I would be cut open C-section style. I didn’t care I want to have the best fighting chance.
After about a week of non-stop research I scheduled a phone consultation and the next day I was able to schedule my surgery. Soon after I booked my hotel, made arrangements to stay with family and researched local restaurants and the best routes to get there.
I knew that this trip wouldn’t be cheap, so first I had to pray for a few things:
- That the $8,000.00 procedure would be covered by insurance
- That we would find a cheap hotel to stay the night before
- That we could stay with family the day after
- That gas would be the cheapest ever or that God would provide the gas money
Let me just tell you, time flew! From the moment I found out about transabdominal cerclages to the day of my surgery, all I did was blink and suddenly I was getting prepped for surgery. In the short time that passed, God answered our prayers.
- My out of pocket expense for the surgery was $15.00!!!
- A couple we are close to completely paid for our very nice hotel!
- We were able to stay with family until I felt better to travel!
- Two couples we are close to decided to pay for our gas and other travel expenses!
The physical aspect of the surgery was huge (it’s been 4 weeks since and I’m still not 100% back yet), the incision was made right above my bikini line and was WAY MORE PAINFUL than I could have imagined. The pain was absolutely terrible, I had never felt pain like that. The incision was right above my bikini line and about 7 inches long, but that wasn’t what hurt. My abdominal muscles were severely bruised and sore, according to the doctor my muscles were so strong that the surgery took an extra 2 hours just to move them out of the way (I’m the Hulk). I was discharged the next day and we were supposed to head home the day after but due to the pain we had to stay an extra night, thankfully our Illinois family received us with open and caring arms and helped me recuperate enough to make the 12-hour ride home.
Deciding to have this surgery was a massive decision for us. Mainly because getting this surgery meant we were moving forward on our journey, the surgery signified a physical change and move, and an emotional move forward. It’s been tricky as emotions usually are. The surgery was the first step in starting trying to conceive (TTC) and everything it brings. But we knew we needed this, I needed this. However this is not to say that we are TTC right now, we simply took the first step in a 10,000 step journey.
I wrote all that to say that had it not been for my village our first step would have been so much harder. Those around me made it possible to have this surgery. I’m grateful for my family those that are local, those in Illinois, those that prayed, those that gave, those that took care of me. To each one of you: THANK YOU! My surgery was successful because of you.
So although it most certainly takes a village to raise a child, for us it takes a village to have one.
(if you haven’t done so already follow me on Instagram @jer1110)