19+3 weeks – Hungry and Cervical Helmets


Here’s a 19 week update from twin pregnancy towers – London branch.

I’m growing. I’m growing BIG. Some of this is related  to the two 6 inch humans resident inside me and some is related the amount of food I am eating (or thinking about eating….all….day…..long). It’s ridiculous. I’ve never been so hungry in my life. When I’m eating I’m thinking about what to eat next. There is nothing I will not eat. Nothing! Mmm, now I’m thinking about food again. Some toast would be nice. Lovely, lovely hot buttered toast. Yay for food.

I haven’t weighed myself so I have no idea how much I’ve stacked on but I can tell you that my waist was 27 inches in December. That waist has now completely disappeared and been replaced by a 38 inch road bump.

In the words of Mike Myers, GET IN MAH BELLY!

What else is happening? Well, my cervix is a bit short. It was 35mm two weeks ago and it was 32mm on Monday. That’s not a great number, particularly for a relatively small person who is only 19 weeks pregnant. Anything under 35mm is worrisome and can point towards pre-term delivery. However the good news is that my fibronectin number is very low, only 1/500. This is a very good sign, despite the shortening cervix.

So… my doctor decided to err on the side of caution and insert an ‘arabin pessary’ to help keep my cervix closed. Sounds exotic doesn’t it? It isn’t. He described it as a ‘lot like an old fashioned diaphragm’. I nodded wisely, picturing (for some reason) a rolled up condom. Fact is, I’m a 38 year old modern-day person living in 2016 so I have no idea what a diaphragm looks like. So, I was a little shocked when he produced a bright blue rubber ring that looked like the end of a plunger –  about 10cm across and 5cm deep. Yeah…not really like a rolled up condom.

Anyway he kindly let me know that he would ‘fold it in half’ before ‘popping it up there’, which I thought was nice.

He popped it up there and it was fine. I can’t feel it. It needs to stay in until I deliver the babies. The magic number is 28 weeks (when early babies have the best chance of survival), but I am determined to bake them until 37 weeks. Come on cervix, you can do it!! Especially now you have your arabin hard hat on!!

pessary 3


….is the German word for ‘cervix’. I learned this in a Frankfurt hospital last night,  whilst waiting for a doctor to check if my ‘Gebärmutterhals’ was still ‘abgeschlossen’ (closed).

Yes, it has been another eventful 24 hours in pregnancy-land. Probably my own fault this time. TMI alert but I’ve been having rather a lot of watery discharge for the last few days. Nothing to worry about, I thought. Perhaps I’ll just email our obstetrician to let him know, I thought. So I did just that – on a train en-route from Zurich to Frankfurt

Anyway I didn’t quite get the reaction I was hoping for. Mr K (our obstetrician) requested that I come to see him immediately. Eh? I told him I was in Germany. He requested that I go to a ObGyn clinic, in Germany, immediately. WTF? He was concerned that I might be leaking amniotic fluid. No messing.

Well, obviously I started to panic. This hadn’t even occurred to me and it had actually been going on for a few days. I thought I was doing a little ‘FYI’ email when in actual fact I probably should have got this checked out much earlier….and in London, not blimming Frankfurt. I panicked even more when a quick Google search revealed:

  • Most Frankfurt ObGyn clinics are only open in the morning (WHY? WHO KNOWS).
  • Leaking amniotic fluid is very bad.
  • My rudimentary German does not include gynecological terminology

Big shout out to  Felix at the Frankfurt Hilton check in desk. By the time I arrived at the hotel I was in a massive flap. This lovely 18 year old work experience kid made a few calls and managed to get hold of a gynecologist, who advised me (via him) to go to the hospital. It was somewhat awkward explaining to Felix what was going on (using words like discharge, vagina, examination, cervix and so on) but I didn’t care at that point.

Anyway fast forward 30 minutes and there I was at the hospital using my mediocre German (and Google translate tool) to explain to a nurse what was going on. Basically I needed a doctor to check if my ‘gebärmutterhals’ is’abgeschlossen’ ASAP. It wasn’t a great experience but we got there in the end. She was lovely, she stroked my hand throughout the ridiculous translation experience.

I had to lie down on a bed with my legs in the air whilst waiting for a doctor. Luckily – he spoke pretty good English (apart from calling my tights ‘trousers’ which I thought was quite cute, like ‘please take off your trousers’ when I wasn’t wearing any). He did a swab test, an examination and a quick ultrasound. Big relief – everything is fine. Totally, utterly, fine. Both babies swimming around in plenty of amniotic fluid. Nothing to worry about. Just good old, umm, ‘regular’ discharge then. He did say that my doctor was right to tell me to come to the hospital straight away.

So, the moral of this story is – please call or email your doctor straight away if you’d like to inform them of something. Don’t leave it three days. Don’t do it from a train in Germany. And never leave home without a crib sheet of gynecological terms in various languages, just in case.