I had been going through infertility treatments for 18 months and was finally proclaimed pregnant; not with one, but with two babies. Wow! We were so excited.
At 6 weeks we saw both sacs by ultrasound! At 7 weeks, we were told that one of the embryos was not viable, but that the second had a healthy heartbeat. We were sad about the loss but understood that these things sometimes happen. At around 8 weeks, I had a severe migraine, but went to my OB appointment, and she said everything was fine. One week later, we went in for a third ultrasound. We found out that we had lost the second fetus sometime around the eighth week, the same timeframe as that migraine. We were devastated.
I was scheduled for a D&C 3 days later but went in for a final ultrasound the day before the surgery. We wanted to be sure that this was a definite miscarriage. The D&C was performed on March 8, 2002. I would have been almost 10 weeks pregnant.
My doctor, being proactive, had my HCG beta checked 1 week later. It was at 99,000 and change. He was horrified and rushed me into his office and did another ultrasound to see if any tissue had been left or, because it had been a GIFT procedure, that there was not a third, ectopic pregnancy. The technician mentioned something about a mole, unbeknownst to me at the time, but according to the hospital there was nothing found on the tissue. My doctor, still very concerned, sent the labs off to his primary hospital, where the pathologists detected a partial mole: rare, as you know (1 in 1,500 pregnancies), and even rarer when a twin pregnancy is involved.
The diagnosis and prescription were to have weekly blood tests to watch and be sure the beta was going down. I was sent to an oncologist (a member of the International Society for Trophoblastic Disease) who said the same…we just needed to wait. If it went down, we followed it, if not, we took action.
Four months later (just about 17 weeks), my beta was still at 592; higher than it was with my first pregnancy test. Everyone kept telling me to wait. I couldn’t, much longer. During my research, it said that one should be back to less than 5 by 8 weeks time AT THE MOST. Each week I went in, I relived the loss of the child that my husband and I wanted so badly. Each week that it was up meant a longer wait for us to try again, and each week that it was up was still another week that we did not know what was happening or would happen in my body.
One week later, I went in for my weekly blood work and got the devastating news that my numbers had gone up to well over 700. My oncologist was called by both me and my physician. He had been in England for the past 3 weeks and would not be back until the following Monday. I did not know what to do, who to call, how to react. In essence, I had just found out that I had cancer. The oncologist on call said not to worry, that there was no emergency. She said chemotherapy was likely, but we would have to wait until Monday. What did she mean not to worry?! And not an emergency?!
Well, I did not have to wait until Monday. That Sunday morning, I woke up hemorrhaging. I called the doctor on call, again, and she said if I went through a pad an hour to call back. I went through in 40 minutes and was experiencing incredible pain like nothing I had ever known. I called back and she said to go to the emergency room. We were an hour and a half from my hospital, so my husband stopped halfway there and picked up some Advil; I couldn’t stand the pain! I took 4, because I had been told this was like a muscle relaxant.
We got to emergency and they took me within 10 minutes, although it seemed like hours. My blood pressure had skyrocketed and I was still bleeding. They brought me to a bed and took my blood pressure again. It had gone down somewhat, probably from the Advil, and my pain had been eased at least a little. I felt something and asked to go to the bathroom. There I passed something that looked like small balls or grapes. Scared, and I guess out of habit, I flushed the toilet. The doctors were disappointed, but thought that I may have passed the tumor.
They proceeded to do a lung scan and a chest x-ray and told me that I would be admitted. My doctor would be back tomorrow and we would start chemotherapy. The next day they woke me at 5 am just to say “hi.” They ran tests all day and finally began a 12-hour course of methotrexate at 8 pm. At 8 the next morning I was taken off the IV and given anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, and instructions. I was released around 1:00 pm.
One week later, I had my first blood work after the chemo. My beta was less than 5. Blood work was done every week for 5 consecutive weeks and then monthly for 1 year. I was finally cleared from the cancer in August of 2003 and allowed to continue trying to conceive. We have since had one unsuccessful embryo transfer and one unsuccessful GIFT procedure. We are now getting ready to go through an IVF with a new reproductive endocrinologist. We are hopeful that our struggle will result in a positive outcome…A BABY!
Update: May 20, 2005
Since my last report, my husband and I have gone to a second clinic. Here they evaluated our situation and we went through two IVF procedures and one timed intercourse. Five years and twelve procedures later, we have decided to stop the medical route to parenthood. When we started fertility treatments, every article/book/story I read said that when it was time we would know. It is time. We are now exploring the adoption route. Sometimes God has other plans for us. We were dealt lousy cards, but we have to play the hand through. Thank you for listening to our story.