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My High-Risk Pregnancy Success Story
Hi there! I’m Christina, a mom of two littles, a licensed mental health therapist, and a soon-to-be children’s book author! Thanks for checking out my site. Look around! I’m sure there’s something here for you! Read on to learn more about my high-risk pregnancy success story with a bicornuate uterus.
How my pregnancy was labeled high-risk: Finding out about my bicornuate uterus
If you’ve stumbled upon this post, it’s likely that you want to hear good news about a high-risk pregnancy. Well, you’re in the right place.
Back in 2012, when my now husband and I were just dating, I was shocked to find out that my body may not be able to bear children.
I was devastated.
Ever since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a mom. And now, I was learning that it might not be possible because I have what is called a bicornuate uterus.
The bad news was I didn’t know if I would be able to get pregnant, and if I was able to, how would I face the hefty list of risks a woman with a bicornuate uterus may encounter.
The silver lining was that I found out about my anatomical anomaly before ever trying to conceive, so by the time my husband and I were ready to try to grow our family, we knew to be prepared for what might be a tough road.
*Spoiler alert, I successfully carried both my children two years apart to full-term, with one having been in my left horn and one having been in my right. Read my birth stories here!
What is a Bicornuate or Heart-Shaped Uterus?
Put simply, it means a woman’s uterus, which should look like the classic upside pear shape is shaped differently.
The range of what is known as a Mullerian Duct Abnormality is quite broad.
This could mean that there is a wall, or a septum, going down the center of the uterus, creating two cavities.
Or it could mean that the two sides of the uterus did not fuse correctly when the woman herself was an embryo, leaving the entire uterus pinched in the middle, thus forming two “horns”, or a “heart-shape”. (This is the kind I have. I have two half uteri but they both attach to the same cervix. See image above.)
In some women, they may only have one half uterus. Others have two half uteri, and two cervixes.
In other women, they may even have two vaginas.
A quick Google search will show the various types of malformations. You will also learn about the supposed rareness of this abnormality and the scary risks associated with it.
Before you go down the Google rabbit hole, stop. I already did that for myself, and for you, when I found out my diagnosis. What you will read from website to website is not pretty, and quite deflating.
Here I will share with you the high level risks without going into all the potentialities you might find elsewhere. This is pretty much all you need to know until you speak with your doctor about your specific risks and pregnancy path.
Information about and risks of a high-risk pregnancy with bicornuate uterus:
- A bicornuate uterus is considered very rare, which makes you feel the opposite of lucky. It can feel like you’re the only one with this, but you’re not! Once I started talking to others, I found that at least three other women in my friends, family, and work circles have been diagnosed with the same condition.
- Depending on the severity of the malformation, many women who do have a bicornuate uterus may never even know. If these women have a typical pregnancy and vaginal birth, they may never find out. Many women, if they do find out, do so during a c-section when the doctor is able to see the shape of the uterus.
- Depending on the type of bicorunate uterus you have, the risks are more or less. In general the risks are:
- The egg may not have viable uterine lining and tissue in which to implant, leading to trouble getting pregnant.
- If pregnancy is achieved, the uterine tissue may not behave how it is supposed to in order to provide a good environment for the growing embryo or fetus, meaning a higher risk of miscarriage.
- Then if the pregnancy is sustained, a premature birth or a baby that is not growing as they should be is more likely because the uterus may not stretch to the necessary capacity.
- Finally, if the pregnancy makes it to term, a c-section is likely because there is often not enough room for the baby to flip head-down.
- You will likely be encouraged to be cared for by a perinatal specialist with expertise in your type of uterine condition during your pregnancy. (We actually really enjoyed the extra care and the extra scans to get to see our little peanut at every appointment!)
A High-Risk Pregnancy with Bicornuate Uterus Success Story
Pregnancy is anxiety-provoking as it is, but to go through it with a known condition that may contribute to problems and complications takes it to a whole other level.
So, my hope is that by reading my success story, you can feel some sense of relief that it is possible to have a successful pregnancy and birthing experience, even though you are high-risk.
I had found a lot of negatives online when I aimed to learn more about my condition. I did not come across one high-risk pregnancy with bicornuate uterus success story which inspired me to write this positive outcome post for you here!
We were able to conceive our daughter after just four months of trying, which is within the range of typical! We did not experience a delay in conception due to my uterus shape.
We found out at our first scan at 8 weeks that our daughter was in my LEFT horn. She claimed that space and made it her own.
We were very lucky to not have any miscarriages in our family-growing journey.
Aesthetically, I worried that my stomach would be lopsided, or firm on one side and jiggly on the other as the baby grew. Fortunately, baby and belly centered themselves in my torso as our daughter got bigger! My belly looked pretty normal!
We were assigned to a Perinatal Specialist through our hospital system (if you’re in San Diego, you will likely be sent here) which ended up meaning several things:
- Our doctor knew loads about bicornuate uteri. She was fabulous, and because she knew the risks inside and out, and was comfortable with them, she emitted a sense of calm and confidence in my body doing what it needed to do.
- We did have to drive further to our appointments, which was a little tough to manage because my husband came with me to each one (meaning he and I had to take off work more often).
- We got to see our baby a whole lot! The perinatal specialists have some fancy machines and they use them to make sure everything is going well. My belly was not measured by paper tape once because they’d use their tech to measure my baby in utero instead!
- They are sensitive to signs of distress, which could be reassuring that they are on it, or disconcerting that they may find more things to worry about.
- Our medical bills were more expensive than the typical pregnancy’s expenses would be. All those beautiful scans (and the amazing doctor’s skill, experience, and expertise) meant a good bit more money.
During our first pregnancy with my daughter, there was concern that I had Placenta Previa. Spoiler alert: It resolved itself within a couple months!
Besides the special care and concern we received at our appointments, my pregnancy was very normal.
I had morning sickness from week 6 through week 14, I felt better in the second trimester, and I still felt pretty good in the third!
I felt the baby kicking starting at around 18 weeks, which is a pretty normal time to feel movement — even with an anterior placenta.
When I was five months pregnant, my husband and I traveled (with our doctor’s approval) 9,000 miles to attend the wedding of two of our friends in Malaysia! (PS Japan Airlines treats pregnant passengers like royalty.)
I was fearful of premature labor from 24 weeks onward simply because I knew the risk, but I had zero signs of any prematurity. I didn’t even feel any Braxton Hicks contractions!
At 40 weeks on the dot (note: not premature AT ALL!), my water broke, I naturally started contracting, and we went to the hospital, where I labored for 12.5 hours (short for first-time births!) before vaginally delivering our beautiful baby girl!
My experience of pregnancy and birth was very similar with our second child as well!
This pregnancy, our son was in my RIGHT horn, so we weren’t sure if it would comply as well as my left one had with our daughter, but by this time I simply trusted that it would.
I trusted it so much in fact that we chose to not see a high-risk specialist this time, even though the pregnancy was still technically high-risk.
We saw the OB at our local hospital, we only had two scans (to confirm pregnancy, and at the 20 week anomaly scan), and we were monitored as if the pregnancy was normal, which I loved.
Our son came a day before 40 weeks, though this time my water did not break to kick things off.
My labor with him was fast and furious — by the time we made it to the hospital I was already at 10cm, and he was born vaginally just a couple hours later. 4.5 hours in total!
High-Risk Does not Mean Guaranteed Problems
My story is one of a high-risk pregnancy with bicornuate uterus where none of the risks came to light!
Not every high-risk pregnancy will have such smooth sailing, but I hope this post gives you all hope that a high-risk pregnancy with bicornuate uterus is not predestined to be riddled with complications.
Choose a doctor you trust, do your part to live a healthy pregnancy, and do your best to remain positive. You may just have the most typical atypical pregnancy ever!
I am so excited to share with you that I was recently a guest on the podcast “Days with L” where host Lana and I talked about the ins and outs of high-risk pregnancies.
Lana found me through this exact post after she too found out about her bicornuate uterus.
And be sure to head over to Lana’s blog as well! There Lana writes about active women and their wellbeing, and encourages others to pursue happy, healthy lives! Check it out!
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Christina is the writer behind the blog Real Life Mama. She is a mom two littles, a 4-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. Christina and her family live in San Diego, where she is a full-time mama, part-time mental health therapist (LPCC), and round-the-clock blogger, writer, and author. If she ever gets a moment to herself, she can be found singing at the top of her lungs, cooking, and crafting. Thanks for reading!