Friday, March 31, 2017

My Molar Pregnancy Experience







Hi everyone. I promised this post as soon as I got my pathology results back, so here we go.

On January 2nd 2017, after testing for a few days and showing symptoms, I got a positive pregnancy test. My first symptoms of pregnancy were actually really vivid dreams. I remember having the craziest dreams when I was pregnant with Mason, and that made me wonder if I was pregnant again this time.

I felt a bit "off" about this pregnancy from the beginning. I was excited, but cautiously so. I pushed those feelings aside as normal miscarriage worries that every woman has. We excitedly started talking about names, making gender guesses, planning nursery themes etc. I even bought a few baby items (that I now have tucked away for next time).


We decided to tell our families and close friends after a couple of weeks. After all, I was getting strong pregnancy tests, having morning sickness, and every other sign to show the pregnancy was progressing well. I wasn't having any spotting or any issues that would make me worry otherwise.

We even made a really cute video of us telling my mom, and it makes me so sad that I can't share that now. We used Mason's Laugh & Learn Elmo to say "Mason, you're going to be a big brother!" when my mom was playing with him. It really was the best and her reaction was hilarious.

My strong morning sickness even made us wonder if it was a girl this time, since I didn't have that at all with Mason.

When it came time for my first doctors appointment, our family doctor decided to book me in for a dating ultrasound since I didn't know the exact date of my last period. We were excited since we didn't have one until 20 weeks with my pregnancy with Mason. I felt like it was taking forever for the hospital to call me, I called them asking for an appointment and they booked me in for the next day! I was so excited. I told our parents that my ultrasound was booked and we all felt relieved and excited that I would be able to confirm that everything was going well.

The Ultrasound

At the ultrasound they made Mitch wait in the waiting room and called me in. They always make the family wait until they do the initial scan. I told the ultrasound tech that I was nervous because other moms in my online pregnancy groups were dropping like flies (having miscarriages and leaving the groups). He smiled and assured me everything was probably fine.

Every woman who's ever gone through this knows what I'm about to describe. The nervous gut wrenching feeling you get when your watching the technicians face and they're silently staring at the screen, looking for something that isn't there. He asked me if I had been having pregnancy symptoms, and I said of course. He then told me he was going to do a trans vaginal scan to get a better look at my uterus. Again- silence the entire time, searching, not showing me the screen, not letting Mitch in the room.

He told me he was going to send my results to my family doctor and asked if I had an appointment coming up. I told him it was in a week and he said that was too long to wait and suggested I call them later that day. I knew exactly what was going on, but not hearing the words allows you to cling to any hope you have.

We walked outside silently, and when we got to the truck I started crying. You know the kind of cry if you've been through something tragic- it was a "cry your heart out" kind of cry. I called my doctors office but the line was busy. We decided to drive there to see if they could tell me anything. It was a Friday and the waiting room was full. I walked up and tried to explain why I was there to the receptionist but started crying, so she ushered me into a separate room. I had to wait TWO hours for my doctor to be done with the other patients before she could come in to tell me anything. She said the ultrasound tech found an empty sac and no signs of a fetal pole. She called the on call OB who suggested I get a Beta HCG done to check my levels because I may just not be as far along as I thought. More hope to cling on to. I went straight back to the hospital for blood work. She called me the next day to tell me my levels had gone up, which was a good sign. I was scheduled for a repeat ultrasound 5 days later. The longest 5 days of my life. I googled everything I could to try to find some ounce of hope. Lots of women have early ultrasounds that show an empty sac, so maybe I just wasn't far enough along.

My repeat ultrasound was the same- searching and searching , a blank faced tech, not seeing the screen, not allowing my husband in the room.



Finding Out It Was A Molar Pregnancy

At my follow up to that scan, my doctor told me that it appeared to be a molar pregnancy. She told me not to google it because I would worry myself (she knows I google everything). I googled it. Basically what happens is, instead of a baby growing, a mass of cells form grape like clusters from the placenta. I had a complete molar pregnancy which means there was no baby, just a benign tumour. Some woman have partial molar pregnancies where there is a baby, but the mole takes over and the pregnancy is not viable.

The reason I was having so much morning sickness is because HCG levels are much higher in a molar pregnancy than in a regular pregnancy, which can make symptoms worse. How unfair is that? Worse symptoms and no baby to show for it.

A molar pregnancy can act like a cancer and spread to other parts of your body, so it's really important to remove it asap and have follow ups done often.

In rare cases a molar pregnancy can turn into actual cancer called Choriocarcinoma. Thankfully this type of cancer responds very well to chemo and has a high cure rate. Molar pregnancy and Choriocarcinoma both fall under the umbrella of gestational trophoblastic diseases.

The D&C

I was terrified for my D&C. It was scheduled a week after my last scan. I had never been put to sleep before and didn't know what to expect. My mom came up for the day and went to the hospital with us, and we sent Mason to daycare.

When we got to the hospital, I had to get an EKG done before the procedure (they call it a surgery but procedure sounds a bit nicer). All of my stats were great- blood pressure was normal/low, heart rate was good etc. I was taken into a room and given the gown to put on. They gave me some Tylenol and something to soften my cervix. Dr Collins came in to describe the D&C to me. I felt comfortable with her immediately. She walked in smiling, told me to call her Sam, and answered every question I had.

Basically with a suction D&C they dilate your cervix, and suck out the contents of your uterus. Sometimes they use both scraping and suction to get everything. Then they send a sample to pathology to confirm that it's a molar pregnancy and make sure it's benign.

The anaesthesiologist came in to answer any questions I had about being put to sleep. Once he left, I was lead down a hallway to the operating room. It was super bright in there and looked like the ORs do on TV. They gave me warm blankets (the best part), and an IV. They put the mask over my face and I remember thinking "I'm not going to fall asleep" and then suddenly I was waking up, telling the nurse she was really pretty. I felt like I had had a few drinks, and didn't feel sick at all like some people said I might. They gave me a popcicle and Dr Collins came over to tell me about the procedure. She said it went well, but I needed stitches on my cervix because it tore a bit.

I was ready to go home within 20 minutes. I wasn't in any pain at all, and had very minor spotting. My mom bought us all lunch and chocolate to take home (thank God for moms), and I took it easy the rest of the day. Mitch was great and took care of me and any needs Mason had so I could relax. The day after the procedure I felt fine, so Mitch and I took a little road trip to go car shopping (he got into a head on collision just days before my D&C). I was a sore, and still a bit tired and dizzy from being put to sleep but otherwise felt okay.

Follow Ups

After the D&C I've had to have weekly blood draws until my HCG levels reached 0. I'm happy to report that as of last week my levels were 5, and I just had my last weekly draw yesterday. Today I had my follow up appointment with Dr. Landeau (he also did my pre op appointment). I love him as much as I loved Dr. Collins. He has such a kind heart and I really appreciate that in this situation. He told me that I have to get monthly testing for 6 months to make sure my levels stay down. With a molar pregnancy if the levels go up, many women need chemotherapy to lower them.  Levels going up means it could be growing or spreading. The interesting thing about molar pregnancies or related diseases is that you can check to make sure your levels are still low at home with a simple pregnancy test. He is putting my name on a registry in Halifax for molar pregnancies, and they will track my blood work going forward and let me know if my levels go up. Dr. Landeau says we will be able to try again in 6 months. Dr. Collins told me 3-6 months, but if you get pregnant too soon, molar pregnancies can recur so I'm fine with waiting.

He also confirmed that my pathology came back as a complete benign molar pregnancy. Since my levels dropped so quickly (it takes months for some women), there is a good chance they will stay down and I won't need chemotherapy or another D&C.

Now that I'm only doing monthly blood draws and I'm done my follow up appointments, I feel like I can finally start moving on from this and start planning for the future.

If any of you have gone through something similar , I would love to hear your story and connect with you in the comments below.

Pregnancy loss happens to so many women, and it's nothing we should be ashamed about or hide. Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and for all of the support I've already received.

***Check Out My Updated Post About Nearing The End Of My Blood Work Here: Molar Pregnancy Update ***

Dedreanna

15 comments

  1. Hugs to you my friend, I wont ever forget the day you told me the news that you were expecting then when you told me the other news my heart broke for you.

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  2. I am sorry. Sending you a hug.
    And strength and positivity.
    I wish it wasn't this way.

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  3. Oh this is so heart-wrenching to read. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I'm glad your levels have dropped quickly and that you're able to move on! Sending you lots of love! <3

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  4. I am so sorry you had to go through that! How scary... and heartbreaking. But I'm so glad it was benign!! Thank you for sharing.

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  5. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I think there are a lot of other women who experience loss, and go on line looking for stories to know they aren't alone. Thank you for being brave enough to give them a place to go.

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  6. I had a molar pregnancy in February 2016, had a D&C and had to undergo chemo. After I finished Chemo I had to have monthly blood draws to make sure my HCG levels didn't go back up. That took a year. My doctor gave me the green light to start trying just 2 days ago. It was scary and sad the first couple of months but as I went thru treatment I felt good and kept a positive attitude. Thank God I'm done with this but now I'm feeling scared of trying to get pregnant and worried that it could possibly happen again. It's crazy that most of the people I dealt with at hospitals and clinics throughout my process had no idea what GTD or a molar pregnancy was. I've suffered 2 miscarriages prior to this molar pregnancy so I was excited but worried just like you when I first saw the positive pregnancy result. But also, just like you knew that something wasn't right, I just had a bad feeling and sure enough, something wasn't right. I want to keep a positive attitude and hope and pray that things go well on this 4th attempt. To all the ladies that have gone thru the same situation i just want to say to try and keep a positive attitude and love yourself and treat yourself through this difficult time. No one can understand what you're going thru unless its happened to them.

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  7. Wow this was definitely hard to read. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm so sorry!

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  8. Hi, every time I hear about a molar pregnancy it hits me every time. The same emotions, it's so scary. U found out I had a molar pregnancy after having a bleed and an early ultrasound and I will never forget it. This was my first pregnancy :( I had My D&c the next morning and I'm 2 months away from completing my follow up. It's such a hard thing to go through and I find it hard to share my story with others as molar pregnancy is not well known. There are molar pregnancy support groups on Facebook with other women who have been through this and are still going through it. I have definitely found these groups helpful. Thank you for posting this blog and wish you all the best with your follow up and future pregnancies xx

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  9. I had a complete molar pregnancy in 2012. Days before I turned 23 I started chemotherapy. I had to undergo 13 weeks of chemo, which was weekly. I feel like my ob/gyn really failed me. He just kept having me come back weekly for 5 weeks. He would told me I'm earlier than I thought, come back and we'll repeat your ultrasound next week. Finally I knew something wasn't right and went for a next day second opinion. They sent me straight to the hospital for a D&C. I wish there was more awareness for molar pregnancies. I'm so glad you're at the end of this journey!

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    1. I wish there was more awareness too! It was so hard finding other stories like mine online

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  10. Hi I am going through this right now. My d&c is in a few days. I am sick as a dog so sick that I have weakness and my entire body is in so much pain. I cbt relax as I have three children to look after on my own. 6 4 and nearly 2. I honestly feel like this is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through and I'm not sure if I can make it.

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    1. Praying for you! Thanks so much for sharing. It gets easier as time goes on. I'm having my last blood draw this month. Fingers crossed!

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  11. I just recently experienced this and was devastating, very similar situation prior to D&C but I got an infection days after the first procedure and had to be hospitalized and had one more a few days after. My doctor said mine was on its way to becoming a mole so wasn't actually diagnosing as a "mole" but treating me as it were one aka no ttc for 6-12 months which made my heart sink because we wanted a third baby close to our other two and had waited longer this time around as a break and now in addition will need to wait another 6-12 months. Not only is it emotionally disturbing and confusing but you tend to deal with the hormonal shift that happens after giving birth which makes coping kind of more, well, difficult. Everyone around me that knew was nice but did not know or understand the molar thing, even after explaining it to a few people I gave up. As if a miscarriage was not enough then you have to worry about cancer (and for me this is not the first time) so it was difficult relaying that emotional roller coaster of testing and waiting and hoping for normalcy.

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    1. I have been pregnant 10 times. 3 full term. 1 Molar. 6 miscarriages. My molar pregnancy was my last pregnancy. It is one of the worst experiences to overcome. My prayers are with all of you.

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing your story! There's some comfort in knowing that we aren't going through this alone.

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