Hello, my name is Vu-An Foster. I am 31 years old and I am from New Jersey. I was diagnosed with having an incompetent cervix after I lost my first daughter in 2017. Here is how my story began.
In 2017, I found out I was pregnant on the 4th of July. I always wanted to be a mom but I was met with mixed emotions when I saw the positive pregnancy test. I was shocked, scared, and anxious. I wondered if I would be a good mom and if I was ready. Many of my worries subsided the first time I saw her on the monitor. She was so small she reminded me of a jelly bean and from that point on, she became our “Jelly Bean”. My OBGYN said our due date was March 15, 2018. My pregnancy was normal after that. I went to the OBGYN appointments as scheduled. I also went to Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) for my scans.
One day, after I got out the shower and dried off, I noticed water had started to trickle down, and then a whole gush of water came out. I called my OBGYN and he met us at Labor and Delivery. I was given two options, to terminate (as without the amniotic fluid her lungs would not develop) or continue with the pregnancy. We decided to continue and we were counseled on the risk.
A week later, my temperature began to rise and I started having contractions. I was told I would need to be induced as the pregnancy had become septic and life threatening. Jelly Bean came to us at 19.1 weeks on October 18, 2018. And my gut instinct was right, she was a girl. It was one of the hardest, most traumatic experiences in my life thus far. At my post-opt appointment, my OBGYN wanted me to have preconception counseling at Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) to make a plan for my next pregnancy.
In 2018, exactly nine months after we lost Jelly Bean. I had a dream I was with her and I was trying to put her in something to keep her safe. She said, “No, do not worry, I will be back,” and then she disappeared in the dream. I took a pregnancy test that morning and lo and behold, I was pregnant again. Panic set in almost immediately. I called my doctor and I demanded to be seen sooner than later due to my history. I went in and had my scan. As my scan did not match my last menstrual cycle, one of the OBGYN’s in the practice was not quite convinced I was pregnant. Then the head OBGYN came in and rescanned me and it was determined that I was about 5 weeks with a new due date of March 22, 2019. My OBGYN and MFM specialist had already decided, prior to me getting pregnant, that I would be monitored closely next time. I went in weekly for scans and I saw my OBGYN on a monthly basis for checkups and vaginal swab cultures. We started cervical lengths at 15 weeks to check for cervical changes.
At my 16 weeks scan, I asked technician if it was too soon to find out if she was a girl and, lo and behold, she was. At my 18 weeks scan, we noticed my cervix began to shorten. I was scheduled for emergency transvaginal cerclage (TVC). I thought we were in the clear, but at 22 weeks, my water broke again. This time, I was able to maintain my pregnancy in the antepartum unit. At 23 weeks, I went into labor and “Valentina Marie” was born on November 15, 2018 and lived for over an hour.
I thought our plan we made with the doctors was bulletproof. I did not know it was only an 85% chance that the transvaginal cerclage would get me to 24 weeks. If I had known that, I would have researched other options. Before I left the hospital, the Director of MFM and my OBGYN met me at my bedside and told me there was still a chance I could carry my own children in the future. They also told me prior, they were not 100% sure I had an incompetent cervix, but after having two second trimester losses, they have now confirmed I do and would be willing to place a transabdominal cerclage (TAC) prior to me getting pregnant again.
In 2019, three months after I lost my second daughter Valentina Marie, I had my TAC placed. Now, I have entered a new stage in my life…life after two losses and patiently waiting for what God has in store for us. And in the mean time we (Jelly Bean, Valentina Marie, and I) will continue to make our mark on the world.