I learned young, and traumatically, to listen to my body. I was twenty-six years old, twenty-two weeks pregnant, and in labor. I was either ignorant or in denial or (most likely) a combination of the two. For sure, I did not pay attention to what my body had been telling me.
I woke up that fateful December morning in 1983 with an unusually heavy cramp. I prayed to God that he would just let me get thru my morning errands, put my feet up, and rest before our guests began to arrive. I was planning a surprise 30th birthday party for my husband. I kissed him goodbye, rushed him out the door to work, and hit the road with my very long to-do list.
Throughout the morning, as I picked up the borrowed tables and chairs and did my grocery shopping, the cramps became heavier with less pain-free time in-between. Finally, after my third call to the doctor, bent over in pain and spotting, I conceded to go in to see him.
I was in labor. From his office, we went to the hospital. The doctor did all he possibly could to prevent delivery. He brought me to the delivery room, gave me a spinal, and attempted to push the membrane back inside my uterus. If successful, his plan was to stitch the cervix closed and put me on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. He wasn't successful.
He then gave me medicine to stop the labor, and positioned my bed so that my feet were higher than my head. He had hoped that the membrane would slide back into my uterus on it's own, and he could then stitch the cervix closed. Unfortunately, that didn't work either.
My water broke some time around 10:00pm, and shortly after that my little boy was delivered still born. We had a strong heartbeat right up until the moment his little lungs hit the air. They just weren't developed enough to survive.
My body had actually begun to express its weakness at 20 weeks. I often described the feeling of not being able to support the weight of a baby, feeling it was going to slide out of me. In essence, that is exactly what happened. I have an incompetent cervix. My body knew that before my doctor did.
I didn't listen then, but I do now.