Thursday, February 11, 2010

Transabdominal Cerclage (TAC)


Before this last year of our lives I was naïve and oblivious to the all the problems that may arise when pregnant. I figured getting pregnant was 80% of the task, 10% was getting fat and being uncomfortable and the other 10% was just enjoying such a wonderful miracle while all eyes were on you… FALSE. After meeting with numerous amounts of doctors I’ve been told that for me, although getting pregnant is still a task, it’s the carrying part, you know, the 40 weeks part that is hard. Perhaps that has been why I have been more nervous and filled with anxiety this time around-- Because I know of all the possibilities that can arise. 
Before my traumatic delivery last year, I was unaware of the term incompetent cervix. I thought, if you’re a girl you have a cervix. But that is not the case. Some girls have nice ones, some girls have short ones, some girls have weird ones. I fall in the category of girls that DO NOT HAVE ONE. There is such a category? Isn’t it my right as a female to have a cervix? How come no one told me this until now? 
Well apparently I have a cervix but it has been so badly radiated during cancer treatments that it no longer is pliable and able to remain closed throughout a pregnancy. Most women begin dilating their last few weeks getting ready for the big day. But when you are diagnosed with an Incompetent Cervix (IC) you often begin to dilate when the baby begins to gain weight, and your weak cervix can’t hold shut anymore. (Often between 21-23 weeks) So to counteract this abnormality a doctor will often place a Transvaginal Cerclage (TVC) where a simple stitch is placed around the cervix, and released at the end of term and then one proceeds with the vaginal birth. However, for those of us less endowed in the cervix region, a TVC will not hold, but simply tear out causing danger for both mother and child and perhaps not making it to 24 weeks (a viable birth). 
So thanks to modern medicine a new and rare procedure has been perfected. A Transabdominal Cerclage (TAC). The best (and most painful) surgery I have ever gotten (and I’ve gotten some 15 surgeries). The surgery often is not performed until a failed TVC have been attempted; luckily we were able to just skip that whole requirement. A TAC entails an abdominal incision; think six inches similar to the location of a c-section, and a permanent stitch like loop being placed around the bottom of the uterus. The stitch will remain there indefinitely. And the pregnancy will result in c-section. I joined the other few women out there to have a TAC, on January 4th. I was really excited and nervous about the procedure; I can’t imagine how I will be on the actual BIG day. Our doctor is just the best. I am so grateful we found him (or were directed to him by my doctor in Georgia). He let us know that if there was too much scar tissue from radiation that he wouldn’t perform the surgery. But when I woke up in recovery with a throbbing abdomen I was pretty sure it had been done.
 All went well and I was finally reunited with Spencey Baby. I never knew that Zofran came in the IV version but it was such a blessing. Any of you that have had abdominal surgery know how painful coughing, sneezing, laughing and heaven forbid vomiting can be. We enjoyed room service and constant television while I improved. Three days later I was released and finished the recovery process at home. Six weeks later and things are going well. I travel to the University of Utah every other week to see our doctor who is confident about the future. 
 
Spencer got to even eat my crème brulee dessert one night. What a lucky little guy. 

31 comments:

Jeff and Megan Salmon said...

Wow! So much effort. Megan can't complain about being uncomfortable any more. Ha, yeah right, she can still complain. But I will be uncomfortable for that comment.

US WEEKLY said...

I hope all goes well! I to understand the pain of having your abdomen messed with, I have the same scar! good luck!

MB said...

You are one tough cookie, Sara.

Bethany Hoyt said...

you are amazing.

.kaitlyn.ray. said...

you are so brave, you are going to be a wonderful mother!!

Bonnie said...

wow wow wow!! I had never heard of any of that! I have cpd, there is no way I can spell it out, but it means I had 4 csections. There are lots and lots of benefits to go along with the pain so if you ever need a pep talk give me a call!! we love you!

Lauren Evans said...

I am so glad that you had this done so you can have more babies!!! love you.

Ryan + Jess said...

It is so amazing the things that can be done through modern medicine. What a blessing. I'm so happy for you and I'm glad the surgery went well. Love you!

byufish said...

Well, at least the incision was horizontal...and let's just say...YOUR RECOVERY is PHENOMENAL!! Seriously Sara...you're still in school, you're working in the temple, you're a new nursery teacher (let the kids cry...DON'T pick them up)...AND...YOU'RE HAVING A BABY!! Love that you have a fabulous doctor this time around. You know my thoughts on that one though. LOVE YA!!!

Courtney Bartlett Morris said...

WOW! This puts a different perspective on just getting pregnant the old fashioned way. YOu are amazing. I love you so much and can't wait to see the little guy. (I think its a boy).

Linda Salmon said...

Sara we are so happy for you and Spencer. I heard from Laurel after Grandma told her. We are glad things are going so well. I understand that you may have the baby before the Family Reunion so I guess my last comment about seeing your round tummy is out of the question. Now we will just pray you and baby will make it for all of us to see the little miracle. Be careful and take care of your self.

Rachelle said...

Okay, so being the 12th person to say this doesn't make it any less true--but you are amazing. I'm still so excited for you. As for how to announce it in RS...hmmm, I had to have my visiting teacher do it. Maybe you could wear a diaper on your head or something really obvious.

Riley said...

Chels and I are rooting for ya!

Erin said...

wow! isn't it amazing all of the medical procedures they can do! Hope your doing good! And I'm thinking about you guys all the time :) oh and by the way, we might be moving to UTAH if my husband gets a teaching position in the fall or possible next year! So then I can take pictures of YOU!!! and your sweet little baby :) thanks for the blog comment!

Lyssa said...

Oh my! I am amazed at the things you've gone through. You are truly a courageous woman/girl/lady. I hope the rest of the pregnancy treats you well! This little baby is very lucky to have you guys as parents!

Lu and Bran Muffin said...

medicine is a miracle! your a miracle! your baby is a miracle! how far along are you by the way?

Andrew and Keali said...

You are incredible, as always. Lucky Spence!

John and Emily said...

yay!!! I am glad you are doing so well! If you plan a trip up here I will throw you a baby shower!!!!! Love you guys!! p.s. isn't IV zofran bomb we carry it on the ambulance and pass it out like candy

Lana Dawn said...

i am grateful for you and spency being cute, and for modern medical procedures. i'm so excited!!!

Love you!

Samantha said...

Sean and I are so excited that you're pregnant again.

I had a c-section with Lexi and was surprised that the recovery was a lot better than I thought it would be. True for the first week you can sit down to pee on your own but after that it got a lot better.

I found out when I got pregnant the first time that I have a tip uterus. Who knew that all uteruses aren't made the same. The joys of womanhood.

Anyway, we will keep updated on your pregnancy and keep you and your baby in our prayers.

The Grays said...

how great is modern medicine! you guys def. deserve this! we are so happy for you both! we send good luck and best wishes your way :)

Melinda Palmer said...

You are certainly a trooper Sara! Congrats to you guys. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts. I LOVE your writing!

Em said...

Sara, if anyone is entitled to a miracle it would be you and spence. I am so happy for you. we are always praying for you. Kath told me the other day that you were prego and I couldnt be more thrilled. if there is anything I can do please let me know. even if you just want to stop by for a visit on your way too and from the university hospital. WE WOULD LOVE IT. I love the lord and his miraculous ways!!! congratulations. we are so happy for you.

Nicole and Ryan Wilder said...

Isn't technology amazing!? I'm so happy your surgery went well for you! You are one strong women for going through 15 surgeries or so by now in your life! I love how you are so positive and are willing to share your experience with others because it truly strengthens my testimony on faith. You are beautiful and I will remember to keep your little family in my prayers :)

Whittney and Ryan said...

MB said it best you are a one tough cookie for sure! you are going to be such a good mom! sooo excited for you!

kandicejill said...

You are such a rockstar Sara! You are so incredibly strong and I am so proud of you! Hope recover hasn't been too bad for you! I love you and can't wait to see you and your baby bump at my wedding :)

Andrea Branigan said...

Wow.. I would like to "Thank you" for posting your story for those of us who have and are going through this at this time. I recently wad diagnosed with a incompetent cervix I basically have no cervix. Modern medicine is wonderful and my doctor's here in Minnesota have been talking to us regarding the TAC procedure. Everything I have read has a high success rate, and your story gives me hope as well, so again thank you, and God Bless you always, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers!!

~Andrea

emma said...

i had a my baby girl maddison on the 22 july 2010 at 24 weeks and 2 days later she had no fight left and died my cervix just could not keep her in, i then fell pregnant and this time had a tvc placed at 16weeks but then on the 10 febuary 2011 i had my little boy sydney-lee who died 3 hours after. i am having a tac on the 18th may 2012 in around 4 weeks time and im so worried.i have read lots of comments on tac they have a good outcome im pray im one of them.

Nakisha J. said...

Who placed your TAC if you don't mind me asking? I'm in Utah and need I e placed and have never heard of the doctor I was referred to.

Sara said...

His name is Mike Draper at the University of Utah. he works with Dr. Branch. They are both excellent!

Anonymous said...

Sara, thank you so much for your story. I am trying to schedule a TAC ASAP, as I am already 8 w 3 d pregnant. I tried to call their office (Dr. Draper/Branch) and the receptionist unfortunately was very unhelpful (nice though).

Do you know how many TACs those docs have performed? How did they perform the procedure? (Methods) I tried to find out information, but they said they wouldnt even schedule me for the procedure unless I came IN for a consultation. (A little hard from out of state!)

Can you please email me at your earliest convenience? Shannon.schluter at yahoo dot com