These last two months have been incredibly eventful. At the end of August, after weeks of wondering and hoping, and a few negative tests, we found out that we were expecting again. Equipped with new knowledge and a positive attitude, Kevin and I were (cautiously) ecstatic. We only shared the news with a few people, because we really just wanted to be sure that everything was going well before we spread the word. I went in a couple of times to check my hCG (the pregnancy hormone) and progesterone levels, to make sure that they were increasing as they should (in the first trimester they should double every 48-72 hours). All appeared to be going well! My progesterone was fairly high, hCG was more than doubling, and overall I was feeling great. In fact, the absence of nausea made me nervous and scared. I was reassured that every pregnancy was different and not to worry and a few weeks later, the nausea came, and then the vomiting. It wasn’t as terrible as it had been last time, so I felt confident.
We finally made it to the 8 week mark and our first ultrasound appointment. Unfortunately, we were not given happy news. After a few silent minutes, my doctor stated that she did not like what she saw and that it looked like I was having a molar pregnancy. I had vaguely read about molar pregnancies on the internet a time or two, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. I didn’t ask too many questions because I was so shocked that yet another pregnancy was ending in disappointment instead of a baby. The doctor had my blood drawn to check my hCG levels and let me know that I would have to schedule another D&C. We left the office and waited for the call to schedule the procedure, but instead, we were informed that my levels were not as high as would indicate a complete molar pregnancy. They wanted to make sure there was not a viable pregnancy before continuing with the D&C, so I would need to come back in on Wednesday (today) for a repeat ultrasound. I wasn’t offered a lot of information, because they did not have much else to give me, and was not happy about having to wait another week to figure out what was going on. I didn’t want to have to wonder for another week if I was pregnant or not, much less think about the impending doom of having surgery.
As I tend to do, I hit the internet and researched molar pregnancies. Essentially, a mole is a noncancerous cyst that develops in the uterus. A molar pregnancy starts when an egg is fertilized, but instead of a viable pregnancy, the placenta develops into an abnormal mass of cysts. There are two types: complete (there is no embryo or normal placental tissue) and partial (there’s an abnormal embryo and some placental tissue, but since the embryo is abnormal it typically can’t survive). With a complete mole, your hCG levels are astronomically high, and there is increased risk for the tissue to re-develop after a D&C. In RARE cases, this can require chemotherapy. I didn’t like reading that part, I wish I had stopped researching before I learned that.
At the ultrasound today, we learned that there is not currently any fetal development. Last week, she did measure something that could have been a fetus, but we didn’t see it this time. She cannot tell us for sure if it’s a complete or partial mole until after the D&C when they send off the tissue for testing. Based on my hCG levels being lower than she expected, my body could have already realized this isn’t a viable pregnancy and started the process of dropping my hormone levels (eventually miscarrying, if a D&C was not done before that happened, but this would take a while), which would be a positive sign. Even though we didn’t see any fetal development today, my doctor mentioned that there could have been some early on that did not survive. At this point, the D&C is scheduled for Monday, and after that we will be monitoring my levels until they reach 0. No trying to conceive until then, which could be several weeks or several months. If at any point my hCG starts spiking up again, we’ll have to monitor it for longer as that can indicate regrowth.
Molar pregnancies are pretty uncommon and something that I have never heard anyone talk about experiencing. Unfortunately, once you’ve had one your chances for having another are increased, so any future pregnancies will be considered high risk. There are other options for conceiving, instead of the natural route, which we’re considering at this point. I don’t feel that I could emotionally handle another loss, so I’m open to anything I can do to give us a better chance. We just want a baby. Our baby.
As far as how I’m doing emotionally…I’m hanging in there. Kevin and I are both feeling very lost and confused, because again, no one is ever prepared for this. When I’m not feeling numb and emotionally cut-off, I’m angry, disappointed, heartbroken, and confused (I keep saying that). Two losses and two D&Cs within six months is not something I ever expected out of my first year of marriage. I know that we’ll get through this because there isn’t another option. Moving forward is my only choice, but for now I’m just here.
I wanted to more fully discuss my experience this time around, because it’s hard to find good information on molar pregnancies from women who have experienced one firsthand. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll answer them as best I can.