Because I was older when I finally married (36 years), we decided to get pregnant immediately. In June 2001, I was pregnant and due in March 2002. We saw a heart flashing at the first ultrasound but found an overly enlarged yolk sac. I miscarried at 11 weeks, and genetic testing found a chromosomal error (on marker 14,15) of a female. Bad luck for me.
I have a short luteal phase, so the doctor tried us on Clomid and Crinone (progesterone), and within 3 months I was pregnant again. It all looked good, but there was never a heart beat on the fetal pole, so we had to have another D&C at 9 weeks because my body didn’t recognize the demise. Genetic testing revealed a girl with normal chromosomes but questioned whether it was my genetic material or embryo. I became pregnant for the third time in June 2002 and was due the exact same week as my first pregnancy. This is where the story really begins.
I was feeling morning sickness all the time (unlike the other pregnancies). It was strange from the beginning, because I had some slight spotting at the time of what could have been implantation, and more spotting about the time my period would have started. I had never had anything like that with the other two pregnancies, and I just thought my body was having trouble recovering from the miscarriages and fertility medication. I went to see the OB/GYN the following week, and she was going to put me on a high dose of progesterone, then have me stop in order to bring on my period. She first asked if I had taken a pregnancy test. Of course I had, but they were negative. She had me take one right then, and it came back a FAINT positive. She then ran a blood hcg test and called the next day to tell me that I was, in fact, pregnant. Because of my history, she wanted to see me weekly to monitor the progress.
At 6 weeks we saw a little deformed gestational sac (on vaginal ultrasound). At 7 weeks a fetus with a heart flashing was seen, but the measurements were slightly smaller than should be expected for my time of ovulation (I tracked it with a BBT). At 8 weeks my husband came to the appointment and we saw a heartbeat flash again. I was finally bonding a little; maybe this one would work! At 9 weeks, no heartbeat was seen, but my hcg level was high. I was devastated, but I had been through this with the other miscarriages so I accepted it and had a D&C the next day, followed by a genetic work-up. This time it was a XXY 69, which I learned later meant a partial molar pregnancy. My doctor placed me on birth control for the cycle following the D&C to help regulate my period more quickly. She also referred us to a genetic counselor. She did not mention a partial molar pregnancy, nor did she take the hcg level at the time. I don’t think she was aware from the pathology that it WAS a partial molar pregnancy.
I was scared and did my usual thing to cope with the unknown, I researched it. I found that the XXY 69 was a partial molar pregnancy that occurs when an egg is fertilized by two sperm. I read numerous Web sites, some of which told me what I wanted to hear: that a partial molar pregnancy is RARELY cancerous. One medical site said they told their patients it was okay to work on another pregnancy as soon as they were comfortable with it, so that is what I did. When I found I was pregnant again from the 2nd cycle after the D&C, however, I was shocked and worried that maybe this wasn’t so smart. I had an hcg level (quantitative) run, which showed my level as 259, or 4.5 weeks pregnant and just about right for me. I made an appointment to see my doctor. The first available appointment was when I was 8 weeks along. It showed an empty sac (“blighted ovum”) and another D&C was scheduled.
I decided to take a break after that. My body had been through so much and now it is resting. We don’t know if we will, or can, have biological children, but we plan to find a way to parent children either in the community or perhaps through foster care. We may consider adoption at some point. I hope that my experience has been helpful to others to know that you are not alone. I have had many of the pregnancy “anomalies” known. I don’t understand why that is, but I know that I have grown. I hope that this can comfort others through my experience.
UPDATE: AUGUST 2004
At this point we went to the university genetic clinic, and they studied all the genetic results (and considered us as carriers), but there was no pattern to any of the miscarriages and the testing showed my husband and I had normal chromosomes. I became pregnant again sometime later, but although we found a fetal pole at 9 weeks, there was no heart beat. After yet another D&C the genetic testing revealed another random error in chromosomes.
This time, we were sent to infertility specialists. They said that none of the treatments available (IVF, IUI, etc) could improve our odds. We could look into experimental PDG-IVF or look at embryo adoption. We didn’t want to pursue either option.
After more than a year after the last miscarriage we had decided to be childless and that my body had chosen not to be fertile any longer. Thus it was a shock when I found I was pregnant again in April 2004. There was implantation bleeding, strong morning sickness, and bleeding at 9 weeks (pink), but the ultrasounds match the conception dates and all sizes and growth have looked healthy. A true miracle. I did take a low dosage of baby aspirin at the beginning of this pregnancy, but stopped when I was bleeding. The Dr. also placed me on Crinone. Otherwise I just take my prenatal vitamins and that is all (I quit exercising after the bleeding). Last week (at 20 weeks) I had a level 2 ultrasound and 3D imaging and there didn’t seem to be any indications of abnormalities. We found we are having a boy around Christmas!
Another miracle happened in our lives too. During the first trimester (when I was sure I would miscarry again) we received a call that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her newborn infant (we got her at 10 days) after being on a waiting list for 2 years. We finalized the adoption within 6 weeks! I’m not saying it hasn’t been stressful being pregnant and having a newborn, but it is a miracle that we will have these two children (7 months apart). We feel very blessed and know this completes our family, because I am now 40 years old and don’t feel the need to push my luck further.