6 June 2018

It was the end of March 2018, and for a week or so I had been feeling constantly sick. We never expected that I would be pregnant as I had previously been diognosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and informed by my GP that having children would be difficult. However, to our surprise, 2 wonderful lines popped up on the test.

I didn’t know what to say, neither did Rich. We both just sort of stared at each other in shock before sitting down to discuss what to do next.

After the shock came the excitement, and we couldn’t wait to share the news with our parents, who were under strict instructions to keep it quiet.

The happiness it brought us all was incredible. Just what we needed!

The following week we had our first appointment with our midwife. She was lovely and made us feel calm and comfortable. We were in this magical bubble, planning our future as parents!

At the beginning of May 2018, Rich went on holiday with his Dad whilst I went on a girly holiday with my work friends. The holidays were booked the year before so we didn’t want to miss out on some chill time in the sun. Our midwife had given me the ok to travel so off we went!

Whilst away, I found that I couldn’t keep much food down and felt very rough at different parts of the day. I assumed this was all normal.

On one of the last days, I woke in the middle of the night with awful cramps which lasted a matter of minutes, then to find when I used the bathroom that I had passed some blood. I initially panicked and didn’t know what to do. Here I was in Turkey, away from my partner and no access to my midwife.

I pulled myself together and tried to relax. Luckily there was no more cramps or bleeding, but I was keen to get home from that point and probably seemed like a party pooper.

Upon returning home, I had an appointment with the midwife. Rich was still on holiday so my mum came with me. I hadn’t told Rich what had happened as I didn’t want to worry him. My midwife didn’t seem too concerned and explained that light bleeding/cramping can be normal in early pregnancy, but to call her or attend the emergency department should things not seem right.

The next few weeks went on, and I found that I was losing weight quite quickly, was being constantly sick and suffered from severe migraines. Soon enough our first scan came around. I was roughly 13 weeks at this stage and we couldn’t wait to see our baby on the screen. However, for some reason when I woke that morning, I had a feeling of dread, like I knew we were going to receive bad news. Rich kept a positive attitude and held my hand all the way.

Upon laying on the hospital bed, the midwife talked us through the scan procedure and that sometimes the baby might hide at first. I still had this strange feeling and could focus on nothing but the midwifes face. She had gone from a smile to a look of concern, and before she said anything I knew something was wrong. She explained that she wasn’t getting a clear picture so to rule out any complications she wanted to send me for an internal scan. Rich held my hand tighter as we walked back through the waiting room of expectant couples, and were escorted to the early pregnancy unit.

We were ushered into a small room where we were greeted by a very friendly consultant who talked us through the internal scan and what the results might indicate. With that, the scan went ahead. I tried to ignore how uncomfortable this was and focused on a poster on the wall of cats!

After a few minutes the consultant asked me to get dressed and come and have a seat to discuss. She went on to tell us that she couldn’t see any movement and the baby seemed to be smaller than what she would expect. We were instructed to come back a week later for another scan with the hope that there would be more movement and a clearer picture, but to also prepare ourselves for the worst.

I can honestly say that was the longest, hardest week of my life. Not knowing if our baby was alive or not. Having zero answers but trying to keep a brave face.

Finally the day came and we were back in that little room for another scan. Rich had my hand, I focused on the cat poster again, and every part of me was urging the consultant to tell us good news.

After several minutes, I watched the consultant look to her assistant, then look to us and said the words we had been dreading “I am so sorry, but there is no heartbeat”.

It was like being kicked hard in the stomach. I stood up from the bed and fell into Rich’s arms. I could barely breathe from crying and begged Rich to make it all stop. He didn’t know what to say or do, just held onto me. The consultant gave us a few minutes to take it in before explaining to us her findings and what the next step will be.

We were informed that from what she could see, our baby had stopped developing and she suspected it had become a ‘molar pregnancy’.

This is something neither of us had heard of and we later learned how rare it is. It is where a group of abnormal cells begin to grow, which can also be cancerous. The only way to determine if this was the case or not was to be put under anaesthetic and have baby surgically removed to be sent away for testing.

The 6th of June 2018, the day of my surgical procedure. I was terrified and heartbroken. My bundle of pure joy had died and was now being taken away from me. Rich couldn’t stay with me whilst I was in hospital for the day, and I can honestly say I have never felt more alone or weak.

The weeks went by in a blur. I was at rock bottom, trying desperately to pick myself up. Poor Rich bottled up his emotions to be strong but all I wanted was for him to scream or cry so I didn’t feel crazy. We never really spoke about what was happening because it hurt too much. I eventually built up the courage to go back to work, and remember on my first week back getting the phone call to say they had finished testing baby and could confirm that I had suffered a complete molar pregnancy. Because of this, it explained why I was so sick and losing weight as my HCG levels were dangerously high and I now had to undergo monthly tests for ‘persistant trophoblastic disease’ which is a form of cancer related to molar pregnancies, where some of the abnormal cells have stayed in the womb and cause HCG levels to remain high. If untreated, the cells can regrow and spread to other parts of the body.

For a full year after being given those results, I had monthly blood and urine tests to monitor my HCG levels. Then finally in 2019 we recieved the news that my HCG levels were at a safe level, there was no sign of cancer and finally we could grieve properly. Nearly 2 years on and I still find it all hard to deal with. Why us? What did we do wrong? When will we have our happy ending?

We are both lucky to have each other and such supportive, loving family and friends.

Without them, we would be lost.

This year we will: light a candle for our baby and for all babies lost this way. We find the whole situation difficult to talk about and this is the first time I have gone into full detail about what happened. I feel if our experience can support another couple going through a molar pregnancy, they won’t feel so alone or afraid.

 

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