…Today at the hospital, we were given the chance to observe a cervical cerclage, which is a surgical treatment for cervical incompetence. So, if you’re bored at home, you can practice saying surgical cervical cerclage five times fast.

Cervical incompetence is often diagnosed when a pregnant woman’s cervix is too weak and therefore dilates prematurely, sometimes leading to a miscarriage or preterm birth. The patient today had had two miscarriages within the last five months, leading to a diagnosis of cervical incompetence.

Although a short surgery without any cutting, the procedure is certainly not for the squeamish. I’ll spare the graphic details today, but what essentially happens is the surgeon pulls the cervix out and uses sutures to tighten and support the cervical muscle above the opening to the cervix.

The surgery is given to pregnant women with cervical incompetence between 12 and 14 weeks. At 36-38 weeks, the sutures will be removed in preparation for a normal birth. Cervical incompetence is rare and only affects 1-2% of pregnant women.

Last night, I had my Christmas dinner with seven other volunteers at a Chinese restaurant in a mall about 30 minutes toward Delhi. The food was delicious and the company even better. We have all become quite close since our arrival. My parents called just after I had finished eating to include me in the traditional Christmas morning gift opening back home.

The ride back home after dinner was as eventful as any yet. In a three-wheeled tuk-tuk built for six passengers, three of us piled in and sang Christmas carols. Then 12 strangers crammed in with us. Although the two other volunteers laughed at my new $3 N-95 mask at first, I think they were pretty jealous by the time we returned home. At night, the pollution, dirt, and diesel exhaust combine in the still air to make breathing especially repulsive, not to mention unhealthy.

A couple of photos from around town today: