My husband and I had waited 5 years before starting a family. I got pregnant in November 2002. This was our first pregnancy and my husband and I were eagerly anticipating the arrival of our baby in August. I was in my second year of teaching special education, we owned a home, we had two dogs…it was all perfect and going according to plan. We told our family and close friends in December 2002 that we were expecting. It was a wonderful Christmas present!
I began experiencing extreme nausea at 7 weeks. Because this was my first pregnancy, I didn’t know what to expect. I did my best to manage but each week the nausea and fatigue got worse. I had an OB appointment at 11 weeks. I wanted one thing and one thing only at that visit: to hear my baby’s heartbeat. My doctor told me not to hold my breath because the Doppler didn’t always pick up the heartbeat that early. I went back a week later and still no heartbeat on the Doppler. My doctor told me not to worry and to come back in 3 weeks. I wasn’t worried because I was really nauseated and fatigued…all good things, I thought. At 13 weeks my nausea in the morning had all but disappeared. According to all the books I read I was doing great!
By 15 weeks I had gained weight and appeared to be “showing” a little. I went in for my OB appointment, positive that I would get to hear the baby’s heart. My husband and I met at the doctor’s office. We were both excited. Needless to say, the excitement turned to fear, and my doctor sent me across town for an ultrasound. There fear turned to sadness. An ultrasound at five o’clock that day (February 28, 2003) confirmed a fear that had crept into my mind, but that I didn’t want to believe. Our baby had passed away.
A still, lifeless form showed up on the monitor. The technician said the baby measured 8 weeks. The technician called my doctor on the phone. My husband and I sat in the ultrasound room, crying, while we waited to speak to the doctor. A lot of what happened after that is a blur. The end result being that I was referred to an OB/GYN for a D&C (My doctor was Family Practice/Obstetrics). My new doctor was a gift from heaven. She was full of empathy and she put my mind at ease. I had surgery on March 4, 2002.
After surgery, it felt like my heart hurt worse than my body. My husband and I grieved for the baby that we were to have held in our arms at the end of the summer. However, we were surrounded by an outpouring of love and prayer from our friends and family, which really helped the emotional healing. I went to the doctor on March 18, 2003 for my surgical follow-up. That’s when the rug was pulled out from under me.
My doctor diagnosed me with a partial molar pregnancy. I had heard of the condition, but I didn’t know what the implications would be to me! My mind went into “slow motion” as I listened to the words come out of her mouth. Words like “metastasize,” “cancer,” and “chemotherapy” were not supposed to be used in reference to me! To her credit, my doctor treated me with amazing understanding. I asked her to repeat a lot of what she said, because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could all of this come from a miscarriage? She wrote me a prescription for birth control pills, explained to me that I couldn’t become pregnant for a year and sent me off to the hospital for a chest x-ray and a beta quant count.
Thus began a 2-month journey of blood tests and waiting for results. I don’t know what hurt the most, being scared for my health or having to wait for at least another year to start our family. My first quant count was 176, which was relatively low for a molar pregnancy. My levels dropped slowly each week. However, they were dropping! On April 23, 2003, my beta quant levels hit zero. It was truly an answer to prayer, because I had “stalled-out” at 8. One more week and my doctor was going to give me the methotrexate shot.
My husband and I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions during this experience. From sadness to grief, then grief to fear, we have relied on our faith in God, our wonderful family and friends, and our commitment to each other to get us through. While I will continue to be monitored closely for the next year, I am certainly “out of the woods.” My husband and I trust that one day we will hold a baby in our arms. Until then, we are thankful than I am healthy and that we have our families and each other!