We arrived at St Thomas hospital at around 1:30pm, not really knowing what to expect. After a short wait Professor Shennan called us through for our first meeting. His knowledge and professionalism was clear from the start. Straight away I was asked a series of questions to try to determine the cause of my cervical insufficiency. We discussed previous labours and losses and discussed ways in which this dreaded condition, that plagues so many women can be caused.
It became apparent that not only did Proffesor Shennan want to treat me, he wanted to understand why! Why was I struggling to maintain a pregnancy? Why did our babies arrive so alarmingly early? His tactic is to be proactive instead of reactive, to understand the cause and therefore treat accordingly. This was unlike any other consultant lead appointment I had ever experienced.
After this discussion, I had a cervical scan and of course a sneaky peek at our tiny bean. It was discovered that the issue was not with the length of my cervix (like I had always being led to believe) but that it was highly likely that the issue with my cervix was caused during my first pregnancy almost 14 years ago. Our first boy was born through an emergency cesarean section when I was already fully dilated. This had caused some damage and therefore weakness.
For the first time I had answers. I already felt better knowing that my cervix looked relatively normal in length and healthy too. The Prof (as he is known around the hospital) explained that he would be able to carry out a high vaginal stitch. I could do this without the TAC and with minimal risk to our jelly bean! The plan was to book me in for the procedure in a matter of days so that we could ensure my cervix holds up.
The few hours we spent with Professor Shennan and his team at the Premature Surveillance Clinic changed the way we viewed this pregnancy. We left with hope, armed with the information we had so desperately sought and ready for what the future holds.
A huge thank you to all that saw us that day. Your work in successfully reducing the number of premature births in not only London, but the UK is truly remarkable. You are helping people obtain one of life’s most precious gifts. You deserve all the recognition you already receive and more.
All those that feel they need extra support and a unique package of care for a ‘High Risk’ pregnancy I urge you to join the incompetent cervix UK Facebook group. Details and information on how to self refer are available there.