Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blighted Ovum

Somehow this picture just seemed appropriate

Well, we got answers today.  So, as promised, I'm back here to tell you all what's going on.  But know that I do it with a tender heart.  If you have horror stories, don't leave them in the comments.  No matter how well-meaning they are, they will freak me out.  So just help a sista out and keep your horror stories to yourself.  Okay, with that said, here's what's going on.



The day after Christmas we found out I was pregnant.  Hooray!  Everything seemed fine.  I felt fine.  We were visiting family in Virginia at the time, so we went ahead and told everybody.  That's what we had done when we found out I was pregnant with Olivia, so, ya know, no big deal.  Well, of course it was a big deal, but I mean it was normal for us to tell everybody right away.

So we told Bryan's family then and there and we called some of my family on the phone to tell them.  Everybody was of course happy and excited.  Us included.  The doctor's office had told me to call in as soon as I thought I was pregnant, so, since we found out in the morning on a regular weekday, I called in the day I found out I was pregnant and they scheduled me for my appointments with the nurse (you know, the one where they hand you a packet of baby info and tell you to take your prenatal vitamins) as well as an appointment with the doctor where he would do an ultrasound.

The appointment with the nurse was fine.  She asked me if I was feeling pregnant.  I had been feeling gross earlier that week so I said, "Uhh... yes."  She told me to take my prenatal vitamins.  Check.  She handed me a packet full of baby information.  Check.  Took a pee sample and some blood, sent me out the door.

Then last week on Tuesday was my appointment with the doctor.  8 weeks pregnant.  We had finally told Olivia ahead of time about my pregnancy.  She was so cute.  She kissed my belly and hugged it every night before she went to sleep.  Every time she got sad I'd remind her about the baby in mommy's tummy and she'd get all happy again.  So a couple days before my appointment Bryan told her about the baby show (ultrasound) and told her she'd get to see the baby on the baby show at the doctor's office.  I came across the DVD of Olivia's ultrasound and showed it to her so she'd know what the "baby show" would look like.  She was pretty excited.

All three of us went to my appointment--Bryan, Olivia, and me.  The doctor asked me how I was doing.  Any bleeding?  Nope.  Feeling okay?  Yup.  Then he had Bryan and Olivia come stand next to me so he could show us the ultrasound together.  He moved the screen away for the first little bit.  I remember thinking, "He probably does that in case it's bad news.  Then he'll know before other people see it.  No problem.  Go ahead, doctor."

The tone in his voice changed.  He turned the screen so we could see it.  Bad news was coming, but it hadn't quite hit me consciously.  He started pointing things out on the screen.  "There's the pregnancy sac."  And he kept trying to gently point out that he couldn't see a fetus.  He was being so kind and choosing his words carefully, but I had no idea what he was talking about.  Finally I blurt out, "I don't understand.  Is there no baby?"

He shows us the abnormal shape of the pregnancy sac.  He keeps trying to explain that I'm pregnant, but with no fetus.  I keep feeling confused.

He turns the lights back on, tells me I can get dressed again, and says he'll be back again in a minute so we can talk.

I think back on that moment and more than anything I just feel so, so grateful that Olivia wasn't old enough to have any idea what was going on.  She didn't seem phased by not seeing a baby in the baby show.  But she was the only one.

I got dressed and the doctor came back.  Olivia, who had missed her nap that day, was getting tired and squirrely.  Bryan wrestled her while I sat with my eyes glued to the doctor and tried to listen as carefully as I could to everything he said.  It was starting to sink in and make sense.

He said that what happened would be classified as a miscarriage.  Part of the reason I was so confused was because I had always thought that I'd know if I miscarried.  There would be blood and I'd know what happened.  But I hadn't had any bleeding or spotting.  At all.

The doctor said that what I have is called a "blighted ovum."  What that basically means is that, technically, I am pregnant.  There's a pregnancy sac and everything.  But something went wrong with the pregnancy early on--like the genetics didn't match up right--and the pregnancy never started to form a fetus.

He said he couldn't be 100% sure just looking at one ultrasound, so he asked me to come back again in a week for a follow-up.  But he was really open and honest with us.  He told us that he was pretty sure he was right about it being a blighted ovum.  He gave us a preliminary idea of what would happen next if it was--that it would either come out naturally, I could take some drugs to move the process along (he didn't recommend this in my case that day, but today when we talked he said it would probably be fine), or that it would need to be surgically removed.

He was so nice about it all.  He sat and answered our questions for at least a half hour.  Though, in the end, I went home with more questions than answers, if you know what I mean.

We made our follow-up appointment with the receptionist and then left.

I didn't cry.  I didn't want to cry in the doctor's office.  And I didn't want to cry like that in front of Olivia.  It wasn't until later.

Later that evening, when I started writing an e-mail to our family and some close friends about what was going on, I just sat and bawled my eyes out.  My heart was broken.  Here I had been dreaming up a life with two little kids, a baby brother or sister for Olivia, what we'd name the baby, and then--nothing.  It was all nothing.  No baby.  No sibling.  No name.  Just nothing.  I felt so incredibly empty.

I cried over and over again that night.  I was so sad about the lost hope of a child and so scared about what would be happening to me now.  Everything I knew about having a miscarriage was that it was awful and painful and terrible and disgusting.

And I didn't know then what I know now about having it surgically removed and I was so scared about it.  I thought it would be like having a C-section and I was terrified and angry.  I thought, "All that pain and that whole traumatic experience, and there won't even be a baby at the end of it."  The C-section I had had when Olivia was born wasn't a worst-case-scenario, but it was no walk in the park.  It was a terrible experience and if there hadn't been a sweet baby girl at the end of it it would have been downright hellish.  I kept thinking of having to be strapped down with my arms shaking and shivering and I just kept on crying and crying.

Later Bryan came up from studying and I told him how scared I was about it.  He told me he had been looking it up online and that it wasn't like having a C-section.  It wasn't supposed to hurt at all.  And since they don't have to worry about a baby, they can put you under all the way.  I hadn't thought about that.  Then a day or two later one of my good friends who is a nurse stopped by and while we were talking about it she said that they don't even have to make an incision.  They just do it vaginally.  It's apparently a fairly minor process.  Hearing those things helped calm me down a lot.

Then came the waiting.  I should mention that the doctor had said that, if he was wrong and there was a baby inside, the reason he wouldn't have been able to see it at the initial ultrasound would probably be because we had aged the baby wrong and it was just smaller than we thought.  There was some hope in that, I guess, but I knew in my gut and in my heart that the doctor's initial diagnosis would end up being correct.  I had seen the screen on the ultrasound.  The sac was plainly empty.  And, while I'm not one to usually track my periods, I knew for sure when my last one had been.  So the idea of it being aged wrong seemed very unlikely.

The problem is, my body still thinks it's pregnant.  So I've been all over the place.  Nauseated.  In pain.  Uncomfortable.  Had no appetite.  Had no energy.  Not enough sleep.  Congestion.  And now it was all a constant reminder that it was all for nothing.

Despite all this, I was surprised how quickly I got over things--on an emotional level.  I hope you won't think I'm heartless, but I haven't cried about the lack of baby since the day after we found out.  It would be different--at least to me--if the circumstances were different.  Mainly, if this was my first pregnancy and we didn't already have a child, I'd be absolutely devastated.  I would worry that we would never have children, that I'd never have a successful pregnancy.

And, also, I would feel differently about it, I think, if it had been a regular miscarriage where a fetus had died.  In that case, there would be the loss of an actual baby.  (And, I know this is weird of me, but it just really grosses me out to think of having a dead baby inside my body.  I told my friend that today and she laughed at me and told me I'm just weird.  I think she's right.)  If that were the case, I would be grieving a life lost, the death of a child.  But in my case, there wasn't any death at all.  It's just a lack of life.  More of a lost hope than a lost life, if that makes sense.

So I sneaked into Olivia's room every night to give her extra kisses, and I got over things more quickly than I thought I would.  I was still anxious to know what the next step would be, but I was past the grief.  I felt ready to move on.

Then yesterday (Monday) I had this pain--sort of near the inside of my left leg joint (as you can tell, I'm really up on my anatomy) and the pain was getting worse.  When I took a shower I was feeling around where it hurt and I felt a sort of lump.  And then I really started freaking out.  The next morning it was painful even to walk.  I sat on the floor and cried while I changed Olivia's diaper.  It just hurt.

I called the doctor's office.  My doctor wasn't in, but they wanted me to come in and get checked out by one of the other doctors.  Long story short, this other doctor did another ultrasound, confirmed that he still didn't see a fetus inside, and told me he didn't think the pain I was having was related to the pregnancy.  And that was about it.  He told me I should keep my appointment with my doctor (the one I had today--Tuesday) and basically sent me out the door.  I was really frustrated about it.  I guess it's good that it wasn't all something more serious, but it just seemed ridiculous not to leave with more information than I walked in with.

So now, today.  Tuesday.  I know this is posting after midnight so it'll say Wednesday I think, but it's still Tuesday to me.  Anyway, today I went in for the appointment with my doctor.  Obviously we left Olivia with a babysitter this time.  I'll say first, that I woke up this morning with no pain.  Whatever had been bothering me all week and especially yesterday, seemed to have gone away on its own.  So I have no idea what that was about.  The doctor doesn't really know either, but since it went away, we didn't worry too much about it.

Anyway, we went in, the doctor did yet another ultrasound, and confirmed his initial diagnosis. It was what I had expected.

He then told me I basically had three choices.

First, I could wait for the pregnancy to come out on it's own.  He said it would feel like a really bad period with cramps and bleeding, and then it would be over.  He said it usually happens pretty fast.  The upside to this is that it happens naturally.  The downside is that you don't know when it will happen.  He said if I did want to wait, that he'd let me wait up to about 4 weeks.  If it hadn't happened by then, they would insist on getting it out another way before it got infected or something and started causing other problems.

Second, he could give me some medications (he told me the name, but I forget now) that would help things along.  He said it was kind of like getting Pitocin when you're in labor.  But it's a different drug and, instead of helping your body push a baby out, it pushes out the miscarriage.  The upside to this is that it still (sort of) happens naturally.  The downside is that it can still be painful and, while you know a little better when it might happen, you still don't know exactly when it would happen.

The third option was to have it surgically removed.  In this case, they would dilate the cervix and then go in and take out the pregnancy.  The risks included anesthesia and the chance of puncture while they're getting everything out, but he said these were a less than 1% chance.  The upside would be that I would know exactly when it would happen and then it would be over with.  The downside would be that I'd have to go and and have the doctor do it and that it wouldn't happen naturally.

To be completely honest, I had already made up my mind about what I wanted to do before we walked into the doctors office today.  I'm ready to move on.  I just want to get it over with.  The prospect of feeling like I have been for the past week any longer than I have to just sounded miserable.  I asked him to schedule a time to remove it.

So I'm going in to have it removed on Thursday.

I'm not really looking forward to it.  And I hate that I have to keep sending Olivia off with babysitters.  But in my heart and in my gut, I feel that this route is for the best.  Everybody is different, of course, but, for me, I feel that this is what's best.  With the way things have been going and just knowing my body, I don't think it would be likely to come out on its own anytime soon.

The doctor said it could take up to a week to be fully recovered.  Some recover faster, some take a little longer.  But he said to expect about a week.  Side effects could include residual cramping and bleeding.

...

I want to tell you why I'm telling you all this.  Because this information is personal.  Very personal.  And some of it is a little gruesome and not very nice reading material.  But I'm writing this for two reasons.  One reason I'm writing it is because you have all been so kind and thoughtful over the past week and I wanted you to know what was going on.  I didn't want you to be left in the dark with some mysterious answer about what's going on.  I don't want you to keep worrying about me when you shouldn't.

But the other reason I'm writing all this--the most important reason I'm writing all this--is because I know I'm not the only one who will ever go through this.  This is the post I wish I could have found and read that night I first found out.  This is the information that would have calmed my nerves, told me what would happen, and help it all feel okay.  This would have answered a lot of my questions.  I think if I had read this I might not have felt so scared.  I might not have felt so alone.  I might not have felt so empty.

If you are going through this, know that it will all be okay.  This will end.  This problem, though it's overwhelming now, is temporary.  You may not be right now, but soon you'll be okay.  Don't let anyone tell you how you should feel.  Feel what you do feel.  If you feel sad, feel sad.  If you feel lonely, feel lonely.  And when you stop feeling sad and lonely, don't feel guilty for having the strength and the peace of mind to move on.  It doesn't mean you're heartless.  It just means that you trust God enough to know that he knows what's he's doing with your life and your body.

And know that I am thinking of you.  You who is going through this.  You who was just searching for "blighted ovum" looking for answers to a problem you don't yet understand.  You who is feeling lost and confused.  I hope through writing this you'll feel a sister walking you through it all.  This is what happened to me.  Soon I'll be okay.  Soon you'll be okay too.  I didn't give this post some clever title.  I titled it as plainly as I could so that it will come up in searches and, hopefully, help you.  I hope so much that it does.  That it does help.  That it brings you some degree of peace.

To everyone who's worried, please don't be.  Things will be okay.  I will be okay.

To anyone who still thinks it's okay to leave horror stories in the comments, again, please don't.  I want what I've written here to comfort people, not freak them out.

And to all of you who have sent me e-mails, left comments on post, left treats and notes on my doorstep, babysat my daughter, brought meals, thought kind and hopeful thoughts, offered prayers on our behalf, and sent all your well wishes my way, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.  I have felt it all.  And it has all meant so much to me.

Things have been hard.  But soon, it really will all be okay.

...


Edited to add: Click HERE to read about how the surgery went.  It was really low-key and painless.  Promise.  :)


39 comments:

Unknown said...

*hugs, my friend!

Thank you for sharing. Lots of love, hope, and peace to you guys <3

Janelle said...

God's peace over you Katie. I've been there, and you're right, it will bless someone that you've been willing to be open. And, you're also right, many of your "followers" have been worried - this is actually about what I had suspected the issue was, and I'm so sorry - for the loss, for the grief (of any sort), for the discomfort, and for having to deal with medical stuff. Praying for your healing.

Sassy Sarah said...

You are awesome and brave for sharing. I shared a similar experience on my bloglast year for e same reasons- No one should feel alone when they go through struggles. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Glad you have so much support where you're living! It's nice to feel loved.

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

Love you, Katie! Hang in there! I'm glad you're feeling better emotionally...and I'm excited for your body to feel better to match it in a few days or a week or so. We'll be thinking of you.

Lauren said...

Oh, Katie :[ I kind of remember a post a while back where I thought you might be pregnant. So much love coming your way. I seriously wish I was in Ohio to do all those things for you-watching Olivia, and bringing you dinner, etc. Knowing that you'll be okay is definitely a good thing, and I'm so glad you shared with us, and I know that that post will help someone one day like you want it to.

Kim Y. said...

Sending you a hug an I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's wonderful that you are sharing this as, like you said, others won't feel so alone and confused about their emotions after the diagnosis. Wishing you strength tomorrow and a healthy recovery.

Kendra said...

I'm so sorry Katie! That would break my heart. Hope Thursday goes well!

Rebecca said...

I have been praying for you and I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Camille said...

Just want you to know that we are thinking about you and sending good thoughts and prayers your way!!
Camille

Kendra Last-Bookartist said...

Thank you for being strong enough to share your story. So many people suffer miscarriage alone because they never even told they were pregnant. You are a strong amazing woman and I know in due time you will have another amazing little person in your family. Hugs and love to you my sister, Kendra

Steve and Nicole said...

Katie I've been praying for you and will continue to pray for you. I know you've already helped people by sharing this. It meant a lot me personally, you're amazing Katie.

Jonathan and Marissa said...

I have been thinking about you, and hoping things were going better. I am sorry to hear about your pregnancy, but happy that you now have some answers. You will be in my prayers!

Sarah @ Sarahndipities said...

I'm sorry you've have such a rough time. Thanks for sharing your experience... I know it will help someone in need. Get rest. Get better. Prayers for you and your family are coming your way. :)

KILEY said...

Oh Katie what heartbreaking news to receive. I am glad you are doing better and hope all goes well tomorrow!

Rebekah Byron said...

I'm so sorry, Katie. This must be awful. I admire your strength.

Sarah said...

I've been wondering what's been going on with you... that's really hard. I'm glad you have more answers now and that you feel good about moving forward. Thanks for sharing your experience and I pray that all goes well!
Love!

Kristie said...

Thank you for sharing. This is hard thing. As I read I just had such empathy for you. I hope you get feeling better soon.

Freckled Pink said...

So sorry you had to go through this. I have been through the same thing, and the more I've shared about it, the more I've found others who have dealt with similar issues. Praying you have a quick recovery and feel better soon.

Emily said...

I love you Katie! I hope all goes well tomorrow. I'm thinking of you my dear friend! :)

Jess@craftiness is not optional said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this, Katie. :( I went through the exact same thing before Sadie. It's no fun but you will get through it, and I'm sure hugging your precious O will help so much! Thinking about and praying for you!

Julia said...

We love you. Heavenly Father loves you. Thanks for sharing. You are in our prayers!

Liz said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope everything went smoothly today and you're soon fully recovered. Thinking of you x

Reecea said...

You are so brave. Thanks for sharing. I believe it might help other women going through the same thing. Glad you're okay.

Sheri and David said...

I'm SO sorry Katie! I had the same thing happen to me with my first pregnancy, and it was tough! I hope you and your cute family are all doing okay!
-Sheri Stewart

Beth @ Sand To Pearl said...

Ok, I know I'm totally late reading this, but I am SO sorry! In June we had our first miscarriage (it was an early normal one). I felt like an idiot for being sad over something that only survived inside me for a few days. Then I talked to my Aunt about it (who's been through it many times) and she told me to be as sad as I want, and that no matter how little the baby survived, I was entitled to grieve. And you are entitled to the same thing. Your body told you you were pregnant, everything pointed to the signs that you were, you are more then entitled to grieve! And thank you for posting this. So many of us keep this inside, our secret pain because we're ashamed of being sad over it, or too upset to admit to it, then it's all kept tangled up and never fully dealt with. Which not only is bad for us, but it bad for anyone who has the problem in the future, because they don't know where to turn.

Gabs said...

Hi, I know I'm a little late here! Just found out about your blog today! I also had a BO myself with my first preganacy and we also had told everyone about the pregnancy. I was 10w on my first doc appointment when i had the bad news! I also remembered being totally confused like u said. I thought I was having a psychological pregnancy. But I'm writing to you to tell that after reading a lot online, in some good websites, I ad a little different conclusion than you! That I had a baby (soul) in my belly but just for a very brief time! So it was my baby! I read that a BO it's when the zygote divided into 2 (one will develop the baby and the other the embryo sac), the baby part died pretty soon. But since the ovulum was fertilezed, I like to believe that life and soul are there from the first instance! It surely helped me through my experience!

carly kalisz said...

Hi Katie, I just read your post after I googled 'blighted ovum.' this is what I am currently going through and I just wanted to say I was reading your post with tears streaming down my face because I am feeling all the things you have written. I feel a lot calmer now it's pretty scary stuff but just wanted to say thanks, you are an angel and now i feel a lot more informed on what happens next. Lots of love and big hugs to you, carly xxx

Maria Mendez said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I just went through. I miscarried on Sunday. Mine too was a blighted ovum. I am still not sure how I should feel. I know there was no baby but I lost what could have been a baby, a baby that I really wanted. Thankfully I have two children and they will help me get over this quickly.

Katherine said...

I appreciate your post. I am going through this right now. I was original told that I was having a missed miscarriage but the the second ultrasound revealed that it is actually a blighted ovum. I have decided to try and wait fir it to complete naturally but I am already 10 weeks along. Just hoping it happens sooner rather than later.

Heather Brandt said...

Thank you for bravely writing! I have only been pregnant 1 time and it was blighted ovum so I appreciate someone sharing their experience. It helps me not feel so alone in this...God has not helped us to get pregnant again but trusting in His ultimate plan for our life and family.

emma perkins said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. We just found out on Thursday through ultrasound that my 1st pregnancy would be my 1st miscarriage, blighted ovum. I was at 7 weeks 2 days and I was bleeding and my body was beginning to take care of the process itself. Everything went naturally that night. I didn't know what to do & I just cried and cried with my husband. Just like your post said, I went searching for blighted ovum and this popped up. Your story has helped me so much. So much reassurance that we will be okay again someday and acknowledging that need to trust in the Lord, in his plan. I am doing better now, but I think that has a lot to do with your post. That there are other women out there who have had to suffer this & I don't have to do it alone. It gives me strength. And it reminds me who to put my faith in. Thank you so much for writing this. I will never forget it. God Bless

**Tiffany** said...

Thank you.

KayCi said...

Thank you! This helped a lot!

KayCi said...

Thank You! This helped a lot.

Mentos said...

I'm waiting for my hcg test in two days time. It's the longest 48hrs in my life. But you are right, having a 15 mth toddler really helps alot in this situation. Thank you for sharing. It bets more than anything in the world to know I'm not alone. Am now hoping for the best and getting prepared for the worst.

Mentos said...

Although it is a suspected blighted ovum, but I'm still praying hard that it's just a later conception that resulted in a miscalculated date. Am I silly or what

Irish Lass said...

I had my d&c yesterday - it was fine. You will be fine.

VaTani Gia said...

Thanks for this....im still trying to decide what to do and just found out Tuesday. But Your post really helped.

VaTani Gia said...

Thanks for this. I just found Tuesday and still trying to decide which option to take. But your post really helped.