My husband and I lost our baby, Jackson, to a partial molar pregnancy in October of 2001. We had been trying to conceive for about 4 months when I began to suspect I was pregnant. A home pregnancy test confirmed the pregnancy on the first day of my missed period. We were elated. Our son had just turned 1 a couple weeks before, and we had just moved into a new house. It seemed as if everything was going our way. We told everyone we knew that our son was going to be a big brother.
I was tired and much sicker during this pregnancy, but I was also a working mother of a toddler. I barely eat anything and was losing weight. I remember telling my husband that I could barely function. I felt like I was being a big baby. As the weeks progressed, I knew I was getting too big too fast. I joked about having twins. The farther along I got, the more convinced we were that we were having twins.
We went in for our first doctor’s appointment on October 5th. We were 11+ weeks, but the doctor could not find a heartbeat with the Doppler. It was a Friday afternoon after 5. The doctor said not to worry. He said it didn’t warrant bringing in a radiologist in for the weekend. The lab wanted to wait 2 weeks to schedule my ultrasound, but the nurse on duty said, “No way. Call me on Monday and we’ll get it scheduled next week.” We went in for the ultrasound on Tuesday. I knew something wasn’t right when the ultrasound tech wouldn’t let my husband come in and wouldn’t let me see the screen. We were sent back up to the doctor’s office. As soon as I saw the nurse’s face, I began to cry. The doctor said it was a missed miscarriage. We discussed options of letting my body handle it naturally (which he didn’t recommend) or scheduling a D&C. I told him I had to be certain before I would agree to a D&C. He ran a quantitative hcg test. The next morning at 7:15 am he called. He said the results were not good. He said my hcg level came back at 650,000. He said that he had already consulted with an OB/GYN and it could be a molar pregnancy or I could have been carrying twins. When I went in to consult with the OB/GYN about the D&C, I told him I had to be sure that this pregnancy wasn’t viable. He took us in the next room and performed an internal ultrasound. He warned us that our baby may move, but it was just him floating in the amniotic fluid. He showed us where his heartbeat should have been. Our baby Jackson looked like a normal baby, without a heartbeat. We scheduled the D&C for the next day. Before we left, the nurse gave us a book about miscarriages.
At this point, I remember being pretty numb. I was still crying a lot and wasn’t sleeping hardly at all. I read the book the nurse gave me and started thinking about what was going to happen to our baby’s body. The next day before we went to the hospital I called my family doctor and the local funeral home trying to make arrangements for his remains. Everyone kept telling me that there wouldn’t be anything to bury, and that he was too small. But I was persistent. The nurse that was prepping me for the D&C was very compassionate. She was talking, going through the motions, reading my chart…when she stopped and looked up. She reached out to me and said, “Did you lose your baby?” I said I did. She said how sorry she was. This really touched me. After all, baby Jackson WAS a real baby to me.
My husband and I purchased our burial plots and buried baby Jackson in between us. The other children will be able to sleep in our bed, but he will rest with us for eternity. We purchased a small headstone and had a graveside memorial service for family and friends when pathology released the remains to us after all of the chromosomal testing.
It took 14 weeks for my hcg levels to reach <5. It was a long 14 weeks. The testing and waiting was torturous. I have only have one good vein, so it was physically exhausting as well. There were numerous weeks where it would take them three and four sticks to get my blood. I had one slight rise in hcg levels and one plateau, but never required chemotherapy. I had an oncologist lined up as a plan B, I needed that for my own sanity.
As I write this, we are just a few weeks away from our estimated due date. This is a very emotional time for me. I should be ready to deliver, but I’m not. My heart is broken, but it will get easier. We are 3 months away from being released to try to conceive again. I have decided that we will try one more time, before going to a plan B for expanding our family.
Here is some of the best advice I have received about making my sentence more bearable: Make a list of all of the things you want to get done before you get pregnant. On that list include things like painting, furniture refinishing, hot tubbing, etc. Before long, you will begin focusing on 6 months as too short to get all of your list done instead of too long to wait to try for a new baby.