Ruth (tetraploid)

I found out I was pregnant while I was home with my husband in August. We were not trying to become pregnant but were uncomfortable with very aggressive or hormonal methods of birth control. We were both concerned, and I had incredibly mixed feelings about it ( I took about five home tests to make sure). I had just enrolled in a post-bachelor’s program to become a lactation consultant, and I had never had any real long-term dreams about raising children. We had to accept what was happening and get on board with it quickly. I had normal early pregnancy symptoms and hardly any nausea up until my first clinic appointment at 9 weeks (a month after we found out). We went together to have that first in-office ultrasound, but our care provider wasn’t open with us about what she was seeing. She just said her machine didn’t have good resolution and we should go downstairs to the lab to have the more professional ultrasound done.

We went down but quickly realized how much extra this was going to cost us and returned to the office to complain and turn down the ultrasound. I thought I’d just wait until I was further along. At that point, she was honest and told us that she suspected a miscarriage and insisted we return the next day to have an ultrasound. We did return the following day, very upset, and had the scan and waited to get a call from an after-hours radiologist with the results. Because I’d had no bleeding and my hCG count was high, they said they suspected a miscarriage, but I would need to have my blood tested every other day for 2 weeks (or until  my symptoms changed). I’d then have a second ultrasound to document any change because there was a slim possibility that it could be a viable pregnancy.

That was probably the worst 2 weeks of my life, as we had waited to tell our parents and most of our friends, as coworkers innocently asked how I was each day, as I was trying to read about breastfeeding and keep up with my classwork, and as nausea symptoms came on full force. My hCG count continued to increase, though it wasn’t crazy high, and I had a consultation with another OB/GYN who gave me the rundown on miscarriage “options.” I assumed I would wait it out, that I would start bleeding and then be able to make a choice about what to do. But the second ultrasound at about 11 weeks confirmed a molar pregnancy, and the OB/GYN called the same day to schedule a D&C under anesthesia for the following morning. The D&C was performed by a different OB/GYN, then the fourth major care provider I had seen thus far.

I was just in shock at this point, not able to process much of what was happening. The D&C happened on a Thursday, and I had to decide if I should attend an intensive 15-hour Sat/Sun class that weekend (if I didn’t go I would’ve failed or had to drop the course). So I went, as any other driven, emotion suppressing, postop-mesh-panty-wearing woman would do. The relief of my pregnancy symptoms was welcome, no nausea, breast tenderness reduced, energy increased. As I came to the end of the term, we got the results back in from pathology and found out that the pregnancy had been confirmed a complete mole. A tetraploid hydatidiform (4x male DNA, 0 female DNA), pretty rare I guess! I almost wish I didn’t know, though, because it made me feel that I had no baby to grieve.

I had been doing a weekly blood test up to that point, and when the hCG finally hit 0 in December, I was instructed to return for monthly blood tests (I have three left now!) to make sure the numbers stay at 0 and to refrain from conceiving again for another 6 months. About this time was when we also starting receiving bills from the hospital, what beautiful reminders of the painful, jarring life experience you just went through.

Fortunately I’ve had many wonderful women to talk with about my experience. Miscarriage is hardly a rare event, despite the many different known and unknown causes for it. Unfortunately, I’ve had a severe drop in confidence, both professionally (I dropped out of my post-bac course) and personally (I’m more confused than ever about wanting/having kids). I can’t place any meaning on this experience, and if this is the only experience I’ll have personally with pregnancy, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can’t imagine working with pregnant/postpartum moms anymore. I’ve started looking into other career options, and I just hope this fog lifts from me eventually.