I found out I was pregnant with my first child in April 2002. I had normal check-ups with my OB and was feeling well through the first 4 months. No morning sickness, normal weight gain, ultrasound at 10 weeks showed no signs of any problems, as well as a very strong heartbeat.

I went for a triple-screen blood test and check-up at 16 weeks. Within a week I started to have severe swelling in my hands, feet, and ankles. The doctor called and said that and amniocentesis and level 2 ultrasound were needed because of elevated protein levels in the test results. We were told that there was most likely no need to worry, they were just to make sure everything was going well. These were scheduled for August 20th (18 weeks gestation).

My husband and I arrived at the hospital, and he was in the room with me for the ultrasound and amnio. We were excited when we heard a heartbeat and saw a lot of movement (which I had been feeling for about 2 weeks already). We were told that there were serious abnormalities (spina bifida, brain damage, kidney failure) in the fetus and the placenta. I was also diagnosed with early toxemia. The doctor finished the exam and asked us to join him in his office. We were advised that our child (a girl) would not survive to full term and that continuing the pregnancy could put my own health in serious jeopardy. My blood pressure was already 157/96 and likely to rise. We were referred to another hospital that would be able to perform the termination and deal with my health risks in a better manner. I was transferred that night.

We arrived at Lehigh Valley hospital on Tuesday, August 20th, and underwent another level 2 ultrasound. We were asked and agreed to allow perinatal interns to be present to see what the various genetic defects and a molar pregnancy looked like. (If someone can learn and help another person from my misfortune, I have no problem with letting them watch.) More tests were done, and we were told that our child had triploidy syndrome and that the pregnancy was a partial mole. We were given the option of D&C or labor induction. We chose to deliver the baby through induction because of the lower risks of complication (tearing, scarring, infection), although I would not recommend this for everyone. It was an emotionally exhausting experience. The induction was started at 9pm on the 21st, and our daughter, Casey Beth, was delivered still-born and without complication at 3pm on the 22nd. The hospital staff informed us that a blessing would be said for her, she would be baptized, and that her remains would be cremated and her ashes put in the rose garden.

Before I was induced we were asked if we would like to see Casey and hold her. At first I told them I would not be able to handle this and did not want to. My husband said absolutely not. The nurse, Kay, said we could discuss it again after the delivery. As it turned out I could not let them cremate her without seeing her first. My husband still did not want to. Kay brought Casey in to me in a small basket. They had wrapped her in a blanket and put a hat on her so that her defects could not be seen. She looked beautiful, like she was sleeping. And I am very glad that I decided to see my daughter and hold her. I told her how much she was wanted and loved and that I would never forget her. I think about her everyday and have pictures that were sent to us by the hospital. I look at them often when I want to remind her that she is our angel.

My health has recovered for the most part. It has been 12 weeks and my HCG levels are almost down to zero. My blood pressure is back to normal, and there are no remaining signs of toxemia. My husband and I are both doing very well emotionally (I am very grateful for having such a loving and supporting partner to help me through this). We are very much looking forward to trying again in about 6 months.

One thought on “Christina

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for your story. I’m 17 weeks right now with a baby that the doctor thinks is a partial mole. The placenta shows all the signs, baby has deformities, and my hcg has been way too high. We are waiting for the amnio results right now but it’s been hard to find stories likes this as most partial molar babies don’t make it this far. I think it’s the hardest thing because as I wait for the amnio results I keep feeling kicks and every day I feel more pregnant. It’s heartbreaking.

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