Lucie & Pete

My name is Lucie, and I am 26 years old. I married my wonderful husband, Pete, in August 2002 and came off my birth control, Depo-Provera, soon after the wedding. I thought it would be so easy to fall pregnant. We would decide that that was what we wanted, and bingo it would happen. How wrong I was! On November 4, 2003, we finally discovered we had conceived. I was thrilled but had a niggling worry in the back of my mind. I guess I had a feeling that something would go wrong. I was going away the next day for my best friend’s birthday bash in Perth. I never really relaxed while I was over there; I wanted desperately to be convinced by someone that everything was OK. I figure everyone feels like this. I was only 4 weeks pregnant at this point.

At 8 weeks, while I was at work, I had a sharp cramp that lasted only a moment, and half an hour later when I went to the bathroom there was a brown discharge in my underwear. I immediately rang my doctor, who told me to go home and put my feet up and come in the following morning. I dutifully did this, continuously praying and hoping that everything was OK. The next day the doctor arranged for me to have an ultrasound to check on the baby and ordered bloods to check the levels. After a nerve-wracking wait I had the ultrasound and was thrilled to see my little baby on the screen, her tiny heart beating furiously away. The doctor confirmed a viable pregnancy and my fears were allayed. My pregnancy symptoms continued to develop, I had continuing nausea and felt like a proud pregnant woman.

After Christmas we had planned a trip down the east coast of Australia with my mum, who was visiting from England. We were due to have a routine check up at 13 weeks and to have a nuchal fold scan to make sure everything was OK. Pete had not been able to make the first scan and was keen to see his child on the screen as much as I was keen to make sure that everything was OK. We planned to have the scan in Sydney instead of our home in Brisbane so we didn’t have to cancel the holiday. I was really nervous on the day of the scan. Mum and my husband as well as the family we were staying with were keen to organize what we would do after the appointment. I was preoccupied and told them we should just wait and see that everything is OK first. Little did I know the terrible irony of these comments.

We discussed the pregnancy with the sonographer before the scan got under way, and we were laughing about the fact the I was still nauseous and had vomited that morning. “Well, it’s all for a good cause!” she said. As soon as she got the image of my uterus on the screen she told us that there was a problem. Pete and I both assumed that meant my bladder was not full enough or something equally innocuous. We could see the baby on the screen, and for Pete this was the moment that the pregnancy became real to him, there really was going to be a baby. It was also the moment our world collapsed as we learned the baby had died. I began to cry hysterically; “no” was the only word I could form over and over. The baby had died at 8 weeks, 4 days, but my uterus showed the size of 10 weeks, 5 days. I felt like a coffin. We were referred to the emergency department over the road.

I could not stop crying. A D&C was ordered for the next day. In the emergency department they kept asking how the cramps and bleeding were. There was none of either, I still felt pregnant. Through the next 24 hours I couldn’t understand how my body had not told me this had happened, why didn’t I know. I woke up from the anesthetic with tears pouring down my face and uttered the words, “It’s all over isn’t it?” Pete joined me in the ward and cried with me. He had been so strong but it was a realization for him as well as me that the dreams and hopes we had had were over.

We slowly made our way back to Brisbane. Three days after the procedure we were told the pathology had discovered this was a partial molar pregnancy and to go to my doctor immediately. I didn’t have a clue what this meant. We went to the doctor who referred us for blood tests and a chest x-ray. He told me no more than that; in 25 years of practice he hadn’t come across this condition(!). I felt so alone. I researched on the Internet like a hungry animal.

I have now been having blood tests for 3.5 weeks. My hcg levels have dropped from 41,000 before the D&C on January 7, 2004, to 36 yesterday, January 30th. I’m hoping and praying that I’ll see zero soon, that the levels won’t rise, that this 6-month waiting period goes quickly, and that we can have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. I am trying to find meaning and direction in my life but it is really hard. Work seems pointless, and I spent a lot of time sitting in the bathroom crying. I started a new job in the middle of all this and discovered one of my new colleagues was pregnant. It just hurt even more. Today I should be 16 1/2 weeks along but I am not, I am empty. Today is the end of January, tomorrow is the start of a new month and a new beginning.

Since this has happened I have taken great solace in the stories of other women who have been through similar experiences and come through it. While it has been the hardest time of my life, it has strengthened the wonderful bond I have with Pete, my soul mate. I will get through this, and I hope sharing my story will help other women struggling through this tragic and challenging time.

UPDATE: September 2005

On January 29, 2005, we welcomed our precious and beautiful son into the world! He is perfect in every way! To help us get over the loss of our first little one and to pass the time while we were not allowed to conceive, Pete and I went on holiday to the UK to stay with my family. When we came home our darling little miracle was already quietly growing in my tummy. We were thrilled and delighted but scolded by the doctors for not waiting the 6 months we were told to. It was honestly an accident—but the most joyous one ever!

My HCG levels finally reached a negative value at the end of February 2004, and our little boy was conceived at the end of April 2004 (so we hadn’t even got through 2 months!). But he is perfect in every way. We were initially terrified that my HCG had risen because the molar had returned, but our fears were allayed by ultrasounds at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 11 weeks that showed our gorgeous baby developing as he should!