When we left the hospital after my D&C procedure, Jeff drove me to my parent’s house to recover. My sister came to keep me company and evidently I was still a little high from the pain killers because I vaguely remember her laughing at me. She is a good nurse, waiting on me hand and foot and giving me a scalp massage while we watched every episode of The Home Edit on Netflix.
The physical recovery from surgery was pretty straightforward. I had to be inactive for about a week, with the exception of the occasional walk with Jeff around the neighborhood. About two weeks after surgery we got the call that the pathology results came back negative for a molar pregnancy. At the time, the doctor thought this was good news and cleared me to resume exercise, work, and other normal activity. We were told we could get pregnant again in two to three months, after a normal cycle and a buffer of a month to be on the safe side. We were sad to have lost our first baby, but were looking forward to trying again in the Spring, accounting for my sister’s wedding planned for Fall 2021.
The Bad News
There was, of course, one other detail on my mind: the outstanding results of our genetic testing. Thank God for doctor friends. I called my friend Amanda who is an OB/GYN and asked her 100 questions. She clarified that genetic testing takes awhile and I should be prepared to not have answers until around Christmas. She also mentioned that the reason the doctors thought I had a molar pregnancy was likely because of my hCG levels, not necessarily because of what they saw on the ultrasound. My hCG levels at 9 weeks were 112,000. Now she explained that hCG levels vary greatly from person to person, but she said the average is usually around 3,500 for 8-10 weeks gestation. This put things in perspective for me, my numbers were extremely high.
We got our results back from the genetic testing two weeks before Christmas. My doctor told us that our miscarriage was, in fact, a molar pregnancy. Instead of the normal 46 chromosomes, our baby (or maybe babies?) had 92 chromosomes. The doctor considers this a partial molar pregnancy, but instead of three sets of DNA, we had four and that makeup never would have allowed for a baby to develop. Our doctor told us that unfortunately a molar pregnancy comes with a risk of cancer. The doctor needed to monitor me for 6 months to see if signs of cancer develop. (For more on molar pregnancy, I recommend Mayo Clinic’s website.)
The hardest part of the molar pregnancy diagnosis for me is definitely that we cannot get pregnant during the monitoring period. This is because the type of cancer that can develop, called Choriocarcinoma, spikes the same pregnancy hormone that would increase if we got pregnant with another baby. That also meant I had to go back on birth control for six months. I was really looking forward to never having to pump my body full of hormones again and then wait for it to get out of my system to try again, but alas, here we are.
That brings us to the point when I decided to start this blog. We are right in the middle of this unfolding story and I don’t know what lies ahead for us this year. Whatever takes place in the meantime, I’m going to write about it. My hope is that it helps your aching heart know that you are not alone. There is just so much wrapped up in a miscarriage that I felt it was important for my own mental health to have a place to put all the details. However, I was still longing for the community of women who knew what it was like to experience this unique form of grief. I wanted to talk about it, to ask questions about it, and to have my own experience validated and normalized by others. If that’s you too, or if you are looking to support someone walking this lonely road, I’m glad you’re here. Maybe we can heal together along the way.