I haven’t written any posts about the pregnancy for the last little while with good reason I suppose. We’ve had a sort of roller coaster ride since our first ultrasound a week and a half ago and now that all the drama so to speak has died down I think I’m prepared to write about it. I guess last the bloggy world heard I was super excited about our first ultrasound where we’d be able to see our baby growing and thriving with a super cool heart beat but this was not (or so it seemed) in the cards for us.
We arrived at our ultrasound with the usual excitement and I was called in by a young technician who began the scan as normal doing an abdominal measure first and then the normal early pregnancy transvaginal scan which I had fully anticipated as this was the procedure when I was pregnant with Jacob. The technician proceeded very quietly taking measurements and as much as I tried to decipher the things that she was speaking into the microphone for the taped recording all I could make out were words like “to the right” “to the left” and “gestational sac”. When I think back on it right now the atmosphere in the room seemed very tense and after a few moments she stated she would be right back because she wanted the doctor to have a look. Of course I’m not able to just allow her to walk out of the room without an explanation so I inquired about what was going on and she reflected that she was having a difficult time seeing my ovaries. At that point I was perplexed because I thought to myself “how odd that she can’t find my ovaries with a trans vaginal ultrasound” but of course I thought nothing of it and waited for her to come back. A short while following her departure she returned proclaiming that she just needed to take a few more pictures and we’d be done. After a few clicks of her ultrasound machine she turned the screen and showed me an screen with a round black circle and stated this is your gestational sac and there is no baby in there. I was again perplexed and said “what do you mean no baby?” to which she replied that either I was much earlier then I suspected (which wasn’t all that possible) but what was more likely is that we were experiencing a blighted ovum because the sac was measuring 6 weeks and 1 day. I stared at the screen blinking my eyes in effort to both stop the tears from falling and to possibly imagine that it might all be a dream. The ultrasound didn’t go as I anticipated – there was no rejoicing and Mike wasn’t even brought in for the traditional introduction to your baby that all the father’s in the waiting room go through. I couldn’t help but feel robbed of my joy as I got off the table, got dressed and made my way out to find Mike in a sort of stunned canter. He immediately looked at me and I was staring at him and I know he could tell from my face that something was wrong but I didn’t cry…I just stared and said “Mike there was no baby”. On my way out the door the technician told me I should come back in a week to have another scan so obediently we booked one for the following Thursday (June 19th) and left the ultrasound lab – the two of us sort of down but still shocked.
I have never been one of those people that has had things go easily in my life. I have always had to work hard and a lot of times there are a lot of bumps in the road until I get to that happy place that I was or am looking for. I’m blessed to have a really great family and an awesome Man in Mike so much so that some days I wonder how I’d ever breath without them around for me. As we ventured home Mike reassured me that everything was going to be okay but his face was riddled with worry and concern and I knew that he was simply comforting me which is the usual way that Mike copes – by taking care of me. I remember sitting next to him on the bed and leaning my head on his shoulder and saying “I really just want this baby Mike” and he said “We’re going to have this baby Melissa” and despite how badly I wanted to believe him I just couldn’t but I just couldn’t cry and that was surprising to me. For the first time in my life I wanted it to be THAT easy…that we could conceive on the first try and carry a healthy baby through a full term pregnancy.
Our ultrasound that day was on a Tuesday and the repeat ultrasound was the following Thursday and I agnonized about how I could survive the week and 2 days that we would have to wait because I have a history of worrying without ceasing and this sometimes causes me to feel completely out of control with my life. I decided to just focus on getting to my doctors appointment which was the following Tuesday because I half heartedly expected that I’d walk into the room with my doctor an she’d tell me everything was fine. I did my best not to excessively scour the internet for information but I did try and do research on what a blighted ovum was and what I learned is that basically the baby has severe chromosomal problems and your body decides not to develop the baby but since your body believes you to be pregnant you still grow a gestational sac. Somehow I stumbled upon a website called www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com and read story after story of people diagnosed with a blighted ovum who later went on to find the baby with a heartbeat….I stared blankly at the screen and secretly hoped that this would be me. I wanted and craved to be one of those people but the one thing they all had in common was a tilted uterus and surely I did not have a tilted uterus – this was NOT a problem in my pregnancy with Jacob.
I made it through the first two days rather easily by keeping myself in a state of shock and perhaps denial but by Thursday the swell of emotions had built and at some randome point during the day I just started crying my eyes out which I’m sure was a variety of emotions including pregnancy hormones building up but after crying I felt better and I was able to get to a place of acceptance that we had no control in this situation and if we were going to lose the baby that there was absolutely nothing that Mike nor I could do. The days crept by slowly and I continued to find hope in the misdiagnosed miscarriage website where people in similar siuations to ours were posting their positive outcomes. On Tuesday Mike and I were off to the doctor in hopes that she’d be able to shed some light on the situation but truthfully I think we both left feeling more sure that things were headed down the wrong path. My doctor is the kindest most hard working physician that I know and she felt that if the sac was truly empty and we were truly as far along as we suspected then we were probably headed towards a miscarriage and that if we didn’t miscarry naturally she’d provide pills that would help the pregnancy “dissolve” – she completely agreed with Mike and I that this would be a last option and ordered two blood tests to be done 48 hours apart so that we could see if my pregnancy hormone was increasing or decreasing. The doctor was very perplexed about why she had not received a copy of the ultrasound results and reflected that usually if there is a problem they fax over the results right away so the doctors can tell their patients; she stated that she’d call the ultrasound lab and call me later in the evening so she could let me know what was written in the report. When I was at work that evening the doctor called and left a message on my home phone stating that the ultrasound stated that there was no visible yolk sac, fetal pole, or heartbeat and that there were “visibility” issues which didn’t make sense since I had a transvaginal ultrasound and you don’t get any closer to the baby then looking through the crotch if ya ask me. I put the results of the ultrasound in the back of my head and secretly desired for the “lack of baby” to be a big mistake.
On Thursday morning Mike and I met up (he took a half day off of work) and we made our way to the blood lab so I could do my second beta HCG draw (pregnancy hormone for all you non pregnancy smart people) and then we were off to our ultrasound. We sat in the waiting room for our name to be called and the 15 minute wait felt like 20 hours to me but finally my name was called. The technician introduced herself to me as Lyndsay and I followed her back into an ultrasound room feeling incredibly anxiously and I swear my heart was aching to rip right out of my chest – I was certain I didn’t have the ability to cope with bad news and the partners are not allowed in until all the measurements and such are completed. As I stepped into the room where the machine is I couldnt’ help but feel so overwhelmed that every ounce of emotion in me spilled out and I started crying and told the lady that I was very scared and that we were told we were possibly losing our baby – she reassured me that I would not leave the office today without some form of answer and I thanked her for that because unlike the technician from the previous ultrasound this girl seemed genuine and I believed her. The technician worked a bit doing both transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds and I just kept hearing her say the same words that I had heard in my previous ultrasound “gestational sac” and for a few minutes I held my breath until she said “Well Melissa you have a very tilted uterus and I’m going to go and get a senior technician to help me find your baby”. Breath Melissa – Did she just say what I think she said? Tilted uterus? This is exactly what I had read about on misdiagnosed miscarriages and I decided at that moment that I had hope that my baby was there alive and well. The senior tech came in and we tried some positional things and the two women worked very hard until at one point they said “Don’t move Melissa, don’t breathe, stay very still” and I swore time stopped for an instant as I wondered what they were seeing. After what seemed like an hour but was clearly a few minutes the first technician left and the senior technician stated the doctor was just going to look at the ultrasound so I had to be very still and then they’d show me what was on the screen. The tech came back and stated “The doctor is happy” and they turned the screen and showed me my baby with a fetal pole, a yolk sac and a BEATING HEART!!! I started crying with tears of happiness and thanked both of them for their hard work – they reassured me that the tilted uterus would correct itself between 10-12 weeks and were about to stop the ultrasound when the younger technician yelled “Wait MIKE!” and she ran out to get Mike and brought him where I loudly proclaimed Mike the baby is OK!!! Mike smiled and looked at the screen and we were both extremely happy. I thanked the ultrasound technicians about 1000 more times and made my next ultrasound appointment for 5 weeks later when we’d be 12 weeks and could check on how that uterus was doing.
The moral of this story is to trust your instincts. I just did not believe that my pregnancy was over because my symptoms were strong and remember that you should always get a second opinion. It is not right for a technician, doctor, anyone to give you a diagnosis of a blighted ovum before 8-10 weeks and the first ultrasound techncian should have told us about the tilted uterus instead of marking it down as visualization problems. We are not out of the miscarriage woods yet because anything could happen at any point but we are happy and content for now that our baby is growing and has a heartbeat. We have learned that when you are pregnant you dont’ have any control over what is going to happen to the baby but you do have control over the kind of care that you recieve and the respect and good medical care that you deserve. If you are reading this and you are experiencing a blighted ovum, get a second or third opinion before you accept that it is over. Keep your chin up and know that your baby too, like mike might be alive and well.