Emma D.

Hi, I’m Emma. I’m currently 19 years old. My partner and I have been together since May 2012. His name is Tim. We have dealt with a great deal of judgement because we have lived together since I was 14. He is 18 months older than I am. When I had my molar pregnancy, we weren’t even trying to conceive, but we copped a lot of criticism about our ages.

I’ve never had regular periods. Ever. There had been times when I’d gone 10 months without having my period. I’d taken pregnancy tests, and they’d all been negative. We were careful and used protection, so we never expected it. However, once, in February 2015, we didn’t use protection. It was only once, so it never crossed our young minds that anything would come of it. Five months passed with no period, so I bought a pregnancy test, just to be sure.

It came up positive.

I rang Tim while he was at work (we had our own place by that stage), and I told him the news. I booked in to see the doctor, and I went to the appointment with a friend because Tim couldn’t afford the day off. The doctor sent me in for blood tests, and the very next day she called me. I remember her telling me my beta HCG was incredibly high. She told me it could possibly be twins or even triplets. It had been 5 months since we’d had unprotected sex, but even that far along in a pregnancy, the hormone shouldn’t be as high as mine was.

I couldn’t believe it, because although my tummy looked constantly bloated, I’d had no symptoms of pregnancy. I had had no morning sickness, and I was no more tired than normal. I didn’t feel like I imagined pregnancy would feel. The doctor sent me for an ultrasound that day. I rang Tim and told him we could be having twins or triplets, and he was over the moon. We were scared, but we knew we could raise babies. Adult choices have adult consequences. We’d been together for almost 3 years by then.

As we walked into the hospital before the ultrasound, I will never forget how proud and happy he looked. We were kids, but we were having a baby. I laid on the bed and the goo went on my belly. The radiographer had been informed about the possible twins or triplets. She told me she had never had to do an ultrasound on a multiple baby pregnancy, and she was excited for us. But as we all looked at the screen, the excitement went away. I had no idea what my body looked like inside, but I knew that what I saw wasn’t right. Tim looked scared, as did the lady. I felt numb and confused.

We went home and 2 hours later the doctor called me. She said we needed to go to a large hospital, as we lived rurally. We traveled 5 hours to the closest one, and I went into the emergency department. I was finally told it was a molar pregnancy. I had never heard of it in my life. We were told it’s very rare, especially in someone so young. We weren’t told anything else. It wasn’t explained to us; nobody told us any risks, causes, symptoms, or anything. All I was told was that I’d need an emergency D&C, because it had more than likely been growing since February. So the next morning I had the surgery. I left the same day with heavy bleeding.

In the car home, Tim didn’t talk to me about it. He was so quiet. I asked if he was okay, and he yelled at me. So I cried. I cried because it felt like I’d lost a baby I hadn’t even known about. I cried because I hadn’t wanted a baby, but I felt like I needed it. I cried because Tim couldn’t see that I was hurting too. After that nobody really talked about it. I Googled “molar pregnancy” constantly, trying to find some information. All I could find was that it is when the female’s egg has no DNA and becomes fertilized by sperm, therefore causing the “grape-like” cysts. I couldn’t find anything else. I was heartbroken for a baby that had never really existed. But then I was angry. I felt like crap.

Four months on, I was still bleeding. Not a little; it was as heavy as ever and only seemed to get heavier as time went on. I went to the doctor, who said to wait it out. So I contacted a specialist gynecologist. He told me to get there as soon as I could. So Tim and I travelled the whole 6 hours to see him. I had an ultrasound there, where he told me my body wasn’t releasing eggs. I wasn’t ovulating at all, which wasn’t surprising, considering my periods had always been irregular. He booked us in to have some monitoring done in January, as we would have to stay for 10 days. I continued to bleed until that November, when it finally died down and eventually stopped. I’d received a phone call from the doctor by then telling me it had been a complete molar pregnancy, though I still knew next to nothing about it. Around that time, I’d become fascinated with poppies. I planted them everywhere around our house.

Christmas came, and on Boxing Day I took a pregnancy test because I felt a little weird. Sure enough, it came up positive. So we went into the hospital and had an ultrasound. I was expecting to see more cysts. But there was a tiny dot. The nurse smiled and told me it was the early stages of a normal, healthy pregnancy. I was about 3 or 4 weeks along and due in August. I was so happy. Then the happiness went away. I felt dread. Fear. All the things you shouldn’t feel when you find out your pregnancy is healthy. I felt like something would go wrong. It was too good to be true. Twelve weeks went by and I couldn’t help but worry all the time. So we told close family and friends only. We didn’t announce it on Facebook. I didn’t want to tell the whole world in case something happened.

This pregnancy flew by, and again I had no symptoms. I had a dream pregnancy. I was 7 months pregnant and looked 3 months. My due date changed a lot; it went from August 3 to August 30 and almost everywhere in between. My baby looked small on the last ultrasound. So on August 25 I went in for a check up. They measured my belly and did another ultrasound. They estimated my baby’s weight at 3 pounds, too small for how far along I was. They told me they were going to break my waters that night and, if needed, induce me the next morning. Tim came in when they broke my waters, and I had three contraction pains during the night. The next morning, with Tim by my side, they put the drip in my hand and induced me. That was around 9 am. I didn’t get the lead up, I didn’t get a break between contractions, it was one continual pain. It was worse than I’d imagined it would be. It was unbearable. My mum, my sister, Tim’s mum, and his two sisters were in the waiting room and would all take turns coming in. Everybody saw all of the parts I had hoped they wouldn’t see. But I didn’t care, I just hurt.

I hated my midwife. I threw up all over her. When I asked for gas, she gave it to me as low as it would go. I asked for panadole and she laughed (looking back, I don’t know why I thought panadole would help me). At 11:30 am, I screamed at Tim’s older sister to go and get him. He had gone into the waiting room and thought I was exaggerating. He came into the room, and I told my midwife I needed to push now. She told me I wasn’t ready to push (even though the last time they’d checked how far I’d dilated was at 8 cm). So I swore at her and I told her I was going to push. And I did. It took 2.5 hours and three pushes, and my baby girl was bought into the world.

Not only had I had a perfect pregnancy but also a perfect birth. Despite the pain, it had been a dream. Two and a half hours. That’s all it took to bring a perfect baby into the world. She attached straight away, and I fed her for 2 hours. Tim was as proud as could be. She was perfectly healthy at 6 pounds, 3 ounces. I still have dream baby, our little “Chicken,” our darling Ivy-lee Maxx. She is the most incredible thing in the world.

At 7 months, she took her first steps.

At 9 months, she started running.

At 10 months she told her daddy “love you.”

And now at 12 months and 12 days old, she is sharing her lunch with her great grandma’s cat. She has eight teeth. She is so independent it drives me nuts. I have never felt such appreciation, love, or admiration for anything. I can’t believe Tim and I could ever create such an amazing little human. In my opinion, molar pregnancy is the loss of a child. It is constant worry, anxiety, pain. It is also what will make you appreciate your baby, future baby, other people’s babies more. Because even though it feels like it could shatter your heart, it was a blessing for me. It made me realize just how incredible the gift of being a woman is. We can carry a baby, we grow a little human, we feel the most intense, incredible pain in the world. But we also feel the strongest possible love in the world too.