Preterm Labor/ IC at 20 weeks

Preterm labor/IC at 20 weeks

(TW: Baby Loss)

I had a stillbirth at 20 weeks this April. I am so scared to think about another pregnancy and I am still trying to come out of my loss. I miss my baby sooo much.. I wanted to share my experience here and I think I am finally ready to talk to people about it. I had a very uneventful and perfect pregnancy. At my 20 weeks scan everything seemed normal and my cervical length was 3.4 .. There was a confusion around baby having a mild hydronephrosis but Ob said that they ll check that on future scans and nothing to worry.. The next day was a pretty normal day but around afternoon I felt a little off .. I thought that could be because I was worried about hydronephrosis.. Around 7:30 pm I had 3 to 4 intense contractions next to one another .. I had water and thought that could be BH ..And nothing until 9:30.. From 9:30 PM I started having continuous contractions at around 8 to 7 mins interval .. Called my ob .. She said have water take Tylenol take rest .. We checked you just yesterday so nothing to worry .. Next few mins contractions became intense than b4 and at 2 mins interval .. Finally I was asked to come to come to ER around 11:30Pm when I started seeing blood .. when the doc checked me in L&D I was in full blown labor and 4 cm dilated with bulging membranes.. and eventually I delivered my baby boy Atif the next day .. I never knew that someone could go into labor in 20 weeks .. I thought once 3 months done, I was in danger free zone, but I was not. I will miss my baby boy till my last breath.. My ob said it could be IC/ preterm labor and from next time on she ll have me on progesterone. But my qn is, Is it even possible for the cervix length to drop from 3.4 to 4 cm dilated in a day?? My condition is IC or preterm labor? As I read people with IC will have no painful contractions and I experienced very Intense ones..

I am 30 now and worried that if my age could be another it ever possible that I ll have a living healthy baby in my arms .. sending my virtual hugs to all you mamas.. Will remember you in my prayers

4 Replies

  • I first want to start off by saying that I'm so sorry for your loss. I was shocked as I was reading your post because we have so many similarities! I too lost my baby boy at exactly 20 weeks in April. My OBGYN also diagnosed me with an IC, even though she didn't deliver my baby. She consulted with the doctor that did deliver and that was the conclusion. The day I had my baby was a Saturday. That previous Monday, I had an appt, and literally, everything was fine. We even found out the gender. My pregnancy was also perfect!

    What happened was I started leaking fluid that Thursday and I just thought I was experiencing some bladder incontinence. It wasn't until that Saturday when I started spotting that I called my doctor's office and they told me to go to the hospital. Meanwhile, the whole day I was having contractions and thought it was my baby kicking or moving around. When I got to the hospital, they tested the fluid, and it was in fact amniotic fluid. My nurse checked my cervix and felt a bulging bag (which you also mentioned). The sonogram tech did an ultrasound and Baby Boy had a strong heartbeat. I had dilated 2.5cm. I honestly didn't understand what was happening until my nurse kindly shared that my water had broken and I was going to deliver my baby that night. They induced my labor with Pitocin and I had my baby around 11 that night. My Mom and Sister came and my Son's father was with me the whole time. My Baby Boy, Carter, lived for about an hour before passing in my arms.

    I still have so many questions about what caused me to have my baby so early! The nurses told me I had developed a uterine infection because the fluid had been leaking so long. They never said what type of infection, but they made it seem pretty bad as in a time sensitive issue. They made it seem like if I hadn't come in to the hospital that day, something would've happened to me. I also have a history of UTIs and had an abnormal pap smear result in February and wonder if that could've caused PPROM. I don't disagree with my OBGYN, but I think that it's deeper than just having an IC. My OBGYN has pretty much ruled out anything other than an IC and so I'm requesting my medical records from the hospital to see if that can lead to some insight on my situation. I think finding answers, if any, will help with my grief journey and provide some closure.

    To answer your question about contractions, mine were pretty intense before I went to the hospital. They were also frequent on the way to the hospital, and I can't remember after they induced my labor. I was on "happy" meds. I believe your condition could be both IC and preterm labor. I don't think your age was a factor!

    Sending you lots of love and healing and I hope I showed you that you are not alone!
  • In reply to ozwynn68 :

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to reply to you! That was for the woman who originally posted. My my. Gotta get used to this site.
  • In reply to ozwynn68 :

    My heart aches for you. You are not in this alone. I understand this pain as well as the overwhelming questions that go unanswered, or answers that do not make sense. I had a cerclage performed after finding I was dilated 1.5cm. I was sent home the next day and that same day I was back at the hospital. My cerclage failed, I was dilating again but this time with bulging membranes. I lost my first baby, Greyson, early the next morning July 25th. When he was born the cord was wrapped around his neck and I was confused because they had done an ultrasound the night prior and said he looked fine and had a good heartbeat. They told me he had no abnormalities and diagnosed me with “IC with painless dilation”. I had some pelvic pains for about a week prior that I unfortunately shook off as growing pains, and what sent me back to the hospital after I left was feeling like I was constipated to the max.. I knew something wasn’t right. From what I’ve researched since, IC at 20weeks isn’t as rare as they make it sound however cerclage’s are much more successful the earlier they are done. It’s a horrible feeling, you feel defeated, but please - take care of yourself. I pray you get better answers and can heal in time. ❤️
  • I’m so sorry for the loss of your little one. I can only imagine how much pain and confusion you’re dealing with as you grieve. I pray you will find peace in time. Late second trimester loss is, I can imagine, even harder for expectant moms and dads especially when pregnancy has been uneventful and earlier testing has shown a healthy fetus. I hope that a cause for your loss can be pinpointed so it can be addressed if necessary in future pregnancies, but all too often, loss causes are unknown. It’s possible there could have been cord entanglement around neck or knotted tightly restricting nutrients, or it could be incompetent cervix though with regular prenatal visits, this is often caught earlier (16ish weeks) and a stitch is placed before fetus gets heavier and exerts more pressure on a weak cervix. An IC leading to extreme preterm birth at 20 weeks such as in your case should not have caused fetal demise in utero necessarily. IC usually happens over a few weeks slowly and is indeed painless. The cervix opens slowly more and more as fetus gets heavier. Your painful contractions sound like you were in actual labor for whatever reason and it progressed so quickly, your labor couldn’t be stopped. Yea 20 weeks is way before viability if born but even so there can be a heartbeat and signs of life for a few minutes after birth. Your little one was stillborn with no heartbeat or anything after delivery? If so then while you may have IC, something else may have caused intrauterine demise before your cervix gave way. Or whatever caused the intrauterine demise may very well have just triggered labor and your cervix isn’t weak, but instead just opened as it always does in labor. I know it’s gruesome but did you decide to let the doctors do autopsy or testing to check for cause? My daughter lost a 16 week pregnancy last year and had the testing done which sadly found a perfectly normal fetus so we got no answers. She’s 30 as well, has two healthy kids, lost the one last year and is currently 12 weeks into her fourth pregnancy and it’s going well. You’re definitely not too old for that to be a concern. Fertility in women drops off at age 35 and up. And yes the first three months are highest time to miscarry but by no means does the risk go to zero in later pregnancy (though risk goes down). And yes there are absolutely great chances that you will go on to have healthy pregnancy and babies. Pregnancy loss in the first 22 weeks can happen in up to 20% of pregnancies but there’s nothing you’ve said here that would prevent future successful pregnancies. I have three kids..all problem pregnancies with constant fighting against preterm labor. With my third child, I never had any preterm labor but I put myself on near bed rest as much as possible and began progesterone shots at 18 weeks pregnant. Those shots really did let me carry my son to 36 weeks with no early labor fights. While I know you’re in pain and sad with grief right now, don’t give up hope that you won’t be able to carry a healthy pregnancy to term and birth. Women go on to have one or many pregnancies successfully after a loss. In future pregnancies, if for any reason at any time in your pregnancy, you feel off or that something isn’t right, go get checked right then. Nothing you did with this loss is your fault at all or the cause of the stillbirth. Often nothing would have prevented it as we don’t know why many losses happen in the first place.  But you know your body and only you can know if feeling off feels like more than normal pregnancy stuff. Your doctor should not have told you to stay home because you had been checked a day before and was fine. A crisis can start and end in minutes no matter how fine a person was at a checkup yesterday. For your own peace of mind in future pregnancy, go get checked if at any time you feel something more is going on than just pregnancy stuff like Braxton hicks etc…your ob should always err on the side of caution if a patient is experiencing issues not normal for them or just off feels something is wrong. You know when feeling a little off now and then is probably nothing or it’s so off that you know it isn’t right. If something, heaven forbid, happens in a future pregnancy, just go to the nearest ER..especially if 20 weeks or further along. Once you get to 20 weeks, if you go to ER for check they will move you to labor/delivery floor and monitor fetal heart and uterine activity with the monitors on your belly for a longer time to make sure all is well. Your chances of going on to healthy babies is high so try not to dwell on that part. Once you feel you have healed physically and mentally from this loss then you can safely try again if that’s what you want. Good luck to you. Take care of yourself and talk to someone to help you grieve. You don’t deserve to go through it alone. ❤️