Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy After Loss: Salina

In late June, I surprised my husband after our housewarming party with a positive pregnancy test. We’d been trying since we got married and were lucky enough to get a house big enough to raise a family in. Dating is not a sure thing, but estimates would have put our pregnancy at 6 weeks when I tested positive. We decided to keep the pregnancy close to the chest until our first ultrasound appointment 3 weeks later.

Like most healthcare appointments, my husband and I were very nervous leading up to the date. We were happy to find an opening at Lankenau, very close to our home and well-renowned for their maternity care. At the first appointment, the doctor was very knowledgeable and reassuring about the pregnancy. He helped us answer several questions about our expectations and we felt like we were in good hands going forward. After some talk, the doctor decided to finish the appointment with the ultrasound. The next few minutes felt like an eternity as they prepared. He searched for a moment and paused; we knew from what we were seeing that something was wrong. The doctor mentioned that what he was seeing looked more like a 5-6 week appointment rather than a 9 week ultrasound. He bluntly diagnosed a “blighted ovum” – the body was preparing for a pregnancy but there was no baby developing.

We went over the dates again with the doctor and he made it very clear that there was zero chance I was pregnant with a viable embryo. I burst into tears—I felt that my body had failed me. The doctor then informed us that I would likely miscarry at some point in the next two weeks and that if that wasn’t the case, he would prescribe misoprostol to induce the miscarriage. Our world shattered and we now prepared for a different reality leaving our first appointment.

After gathering ourselves, we left the hospital and went home to grieve. With the help of friends and family, we picked ourselves up and tried taking steps forward to put the loss behind us. I waited every day for the miscarriage to happen—the anxiety that came with waiting for the inevitable to happen became too much. I decided that I didn’t want to wait for the miscarriage and asked my doctor for the prescription. He obliged and I took the misoprostol. The medication made me ill and I felt like I was in a fever dream nightmare until morning. However, I noticed that rather than the expected heavy bleeding that comes with taking this medication, I bled very little. I reached out to our doctor the next day, and we made an appointment for the following week.

When I arrived to the follow up appointment accompanied by my mother (as my husband couldn’t get off work), the doctor entered the room and began discussing an ovarian cyst (he had confused me with another patient and had no recollection of who I was or why I was there). After being briefed on my case by me, he performed an ultrasound. Staring at the screen, we realized we were looking at a developing 9 week old baby—the doctor fell silent. The air left the room, and the tension was palpable. Why was there a baby now when there wasn’t one 2 weeks prior? How did we have a baby after taking the misoprostol? A million questions ran through all our minds simultaneously as the new reality set in.

The doctor looked at me and my mother, and immediately recommended termination. He then changed his recommendation after some Google research (I wish I was kidding.) and we scheduled an appointment with a specialist. As to be expected, there is very little information about misoprostol exposure this early into a pregnancy let alone any pregnancy. My mom and I left the appointment knowing very little about anything beyond that I was still pregnant and I was 9 weeks along with a seemingly healthy fetus. I called my husband and he was dumbstruck. The doctor had made it very clear in that first appointment – there was zero chance of a baby. Yet here we were, with baby still growing. We were able to see a fetal specialist the next day. He confirmed that our baby was healthy, and that we would continue to monitor for any abnormalities that could be caused by the misoprostol exposure.

If at this point you are wondering wtf happened (as we were), the only explanation that makes any sense is that I tested positive very early on in the pregnancy. For those who are planning on having children, figuring out ovulation cycles is an art that is a combination of both luck and science.  I have always had an irregular period, which made tracking my cycle even more challenging. My doctor never asked me about my period history nor did he seem to realize that could play a factor in the timing of our ultrasound appointment. From talking to the doctor, it seemed that we were actually 2 weeks behind the “timeline” based on the initial at home pregnancy test.

I’m happy to say that we have reached 39 weeks, and I am due next Sunday. I cannot wait to meet my miracle baby. 


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