I had a complete molar pregnancy way back in 1970, although at the time I was just told that I had a “mole.” My daughter has just found out that she is pregnant, and she was asking me about my “tumor” because her midwife had asked her about it. I told her what I could, but information at that time was very sketchy, and I didn’t know enough to ask many questions!! Because of her questions, I began to do research on the Web and found this site. That’s when I learned that I had had a molar pregnancy!!!
I lived in Houston at the time, was 28 years old, and had been married for 6 years. We were expecting our first child. I became quite large very quickly but really didn’t know enough to be worried. Information was not given out as freely then as it is now (and that’s a great improvement). At about 8 or 9 weeks, my OB/GYN told me that I was much too large and that I was either going to have a multiple birth (I had been taking fertility drugs!) or I had a mole, which meant that I was pregnant but that something was going wrong and abnormal cells were growing. It was early December, and he told me not to plan on going out of town for Christmas. When I questioned him, all he said was that he did not want me traveling in case something should go wrong! I was very tired, pale, and growing larger, but was not nauseated or anything else.
On December 22, my parents came to town for the holidays. That evening I began bleeding. I went to the bathroom and passed several clots, one of which was about the size of a large lemon. My mother retrieved it and we all headed to the hospital only a few blocks away. I don’t remember much of what went on that evening except that I was asleep and nurses came in to check me. I could hear them talking about calling the doctor, “cleaning me up,” and “getting me ready for surgery.” Apparently I had a D&C and lost a lot of blood. I remember waking up in my room the next morning and being shocked to see my husband asleep in the chair. Knowing that he had always hated being in and around hospitals, I asked him what he was doing there. He looked awful, just looked at me, and shook his head in disbelief. It seems that I had almost died and I was on my third pint of blood at that moment!! However, I felt well!!!
I begged my doctor to let me go home to be with all my family for Christmas. Finally, at about 11:00 AM on Christmas Day, I got to go home with the promise that I would only stay in bed or lie in a recliner with my feet up.
I think it was about the 10th of January that I went back to my OB/GYN for a checkup. He told me that I had had a mole and had miscarried. I asked what it looked like and was told that the tissue looked like a large cluster of grapes with hair growing on it! Then he said he was referring me to MD Anderson for treatment. He called the hospital to set up an appointment for me and he told them I looked to be 24 to 26 weeks pregnant!
About a week later, I went to MD Anderson Hospital and was examined by three doctors. I was told that the mole was benign but that I would have to have chemotherapy to “kill” any abnormal cells that might still be there. If I didn’t have chemo, any abnormal cells remaining would begin to grow again and would become malignant, for which the treatment was the same! I was also told that this condition was extremely rare. One of my doctors was studying at MD Anderson for a year; he had been there 9 months, only in the OB/GYN clinic, and I was only the second patient there who had had a molar pregnancy. The other had come there from Arizona 2 days before!
I had seven series of 5 consecutive days of treatments. In the beginning I had 2 days off between series, but as the mouth sores got worse and my blood levels changed, I sometimes had to wait a week or 10 days between series. I had intravenous methotrexate and dactinomycin in alternating series. One of the drugs was so potent that only doctors could give it; nurses were not allowed to do it. I was fortunate that I never was nauseated, but I did lose my hair and had mouth sores so severe that I could only tolerate cold things through a straw and could not stand anything warm or hot.
I finally finished all seven series of chemo and then returned weekly for blood tests. I think I did that for a couple of months, then went monthly for blood tests for 1 year. I was told not to get pregnant for at least 1 year to be sure that the chemo was totally out of my system. I was also told that my chances of having another mole was about a million to one.
After the end of the year, we tried again to have a family, but we had just about given up. We moved to a small town in north central Texas, and I continued my teaching career. In the fall of 1973, I conceived!! When I went to an OB/GYN in the nearby large town, he nearly passed out when he saw my medical history!! He kept reassuring me that all was going well. I told him that I was not worried, that everything felt differently, and that I was sure that everything was fine! He continued to be worried, made sure that any calls I made were to be given to him immediately and that even if he were not on call when I came to the hospital that he was to be called.
On July 21, 1974, our beautiful daughter was born, as healthy as could be!! On May 4, 1979, our second beautiful baby daughter was born, also healthy and perfect in every way!!!
Now, I’m going to be a grandmother!!!