My name is Katie, and I am 25 years old. My husband and I were married in February 2002, and I went off of birth control in October 2002. We were able to get pregnant the first month we tried, in January 2003. I had a normal pregnancy; I was nauseated but only vomited once during the first trimester. I had typical symptoms, and the blood work they took at 9 weeks came back normal. We went in and heard the heartbeat at 13 and 16 weeks, it was a strong heartbeat. When I was 17 weeks, I became violently ill and went to the emergency room. The pain I had was in my stomach, my upper abdomen, and after consulting with the ER doctors and my obstetrician it was decided that I either had food poisoning or a stomach virus. I was in such great pain, but it only lasted one night. We now believe this might have been when our baby died, but that is pure conjecture. I never had spotting of any kind throughout my pregnancy.
My husband and I arrived at the obstetrician’s office the day before my 21st week of pregnancy for our first ultrasound. Things were immediately wrong. The baby was too small, and no heartbeat could be detected. My placenta was huge and had spots. We were in shock. We were referred across the street to the hospital for a second ultrasound. This confirmed that there was no heartbeat. I still have an image in my head of what our precious baby looked like, so adorable with its hands clutched together. I am grateful for this memory despite the sadness of the image. We know our baby survived at least through 16 weeks, but was about the size of a 13 week old.
I was given a choice of being induced immediately or the next day. I was terrified. I chose the next day. My husband and I went home and cried together all night and read all we could about partial molar pregnancies on the Internet. I woke the next morning and we got to the hospital by 6am. By that time the doctor had consulted with her colleagues and determined that I was at risk of hemorrhage if I was induced, so we decided on a D&E instead. I was relieved that I would not be awake for the procedure. My blood pressure was 154/90 and my hcg was over 200,000, but I had arrived at the doctor the previous day as normal as could be. I had never had spotting or cramps or discomfort, other than the one night in the ER. I was sent for a chest x-ray, which came out okay.
I was given anesthesia and sent in for the D&E. It took longer than expected, about 75 minutes. My obstetrician said even she was shocked by the volume of blood I lost; I almost had to have a transfusion. As it turns out, I was already dilated when they began, and I would have miscarried soon. I stayed overnight in the hospital. The next day I was discharged, and I have been lucky in that I have only needed ibuprofen, not narcotics, for the pain. I am very anemic but taking iron. I am only 10 days past the surgery. My husband and I have grieved with family and friends, and we planted a tree in our backyard to remember our baby. I also purchased a silver ring to wear to remember it by. I hope to find out the sex of our baby when the reports come in, in a few weeks.
My hcg levels were over 200,000 before surgery and down to 50,000 afterwards. One week later they were at 3,200. I can only hope and pray that they go down quickly. We will have to wait for 6 months after my levels hit zero to try to conceive again. I am grateful that we found out when we did. If I had had an ultrasound earlier, or if I had elected the AFP screen, we would have found out when the baby was still alive and would have had to wait for the baby to pass away, which might have been more difficult. If I had not gone into the doctor when I did, I would have miscarried naturally and lost a lot of blood and my health would have been at risk.
We are still working through our grief; there are still no words to describe what has happened. I am happy to have my health for now, and I just want everyone to know how much my husband and I loved our baby. We know our baby is watching and loving us from heaven.
UPDATE: FEBRUARY 2004
My hcg levels returned to normal in 7 weeks, and I was monitored monthly for the next 6 months. My hcg stayed at zero. I chose not to go on the pill during this period, instead relying on other methods of birth control. I remain wary about the link between my partial molar pregnancy and the fact that I had been on birth control pills for so long, and so close to getting pregnant. I don’t know if there are any studies establishing such a link, but I did what made me most comfortable. We got the OK to try to conceive again in December, and I got pregnant again in January. I am now 8 weeks pregnant; so far things look okay but nothing is guaranteed. It’s not a complete molar pregnancy, but beyond that it is too early to know anything for sure. We are thankful that we have been able to conceive so easily, and although this experience was heartbreaking, I do believe it strengthened my faith and resolve and strengthened the relationship between me and my husband.