I’m a little tired these days. For a number of reasons. Mostly because I’m still dealing and reeling from another pregnancy loss. Having run the gamut of losses from missed miscarriage to regular miscarriage to an ectopic pregnancy and now – a molar pregnancy – I think I’m only missing a blighted ovum from my repertoire of losses. We have one successful pregnancy out of the six, and I’m without a doubt grateful.
I can’t explain to most people what each loss feels like, and what it does to a person or the fact I have zero tolerance for anyone who says things like “You’ll see you babies in heaven,” “God knows best,” or “At least you have – insert child name here -“ (You mean the rest didn’t matter?) Oh, and the comparison to Hannah. Sometimes the platitudes are worse than saying nothing at all.
I went back for my follow-up appointment after my D&C to ensure that everything was “back to normal” (whatever that means right at this stage) and for the most part, I’m grateful that physically, I don’t feel worse and that recovery, while emotionally and mentally difficult, wasn’t as challenging physically. But I digress.
We were under the impression that that the molar pregnancy was a “partial” molar pregnancy versus a “complete” molar pregnancy. The difference being that in a partial molar there is usually a fetus that’s non-viable coupled with a placenta going wild, while a complete molar has no fetus, but with similar placenta issues. Our ultrasound at 6-weeks showed a single fetus and a heartbeat.
Web MD explains this better:
A molar pregnancy — also known as hydatidiform mole — is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops in the uterus. A molar pregnancy starts when an egg is fertilized, but instead of a normal, viable pregnancy resulting, the placenta develops into an abnormal mass of cysts.
In a complete molar pregnancy, there’s no embryo or normal placental tissue. In a partial molar pregnancy, there’s an abnormal embryo and possibly some normal placental tissue. The embryo begins to develop but is malformed and can’t survive.
Anyway, it was easy enough (and understandable) for the OBGYN to conclude that our pregnancy was a partial molar because of the visibility of a fetus. Or so we thought.
Here’s the “fun” stuff that I can’t wrap my mind around. The pathology report was delayed and I didn’t know why, but my OBGYN explained that they needed more time to be sure about the results. Apparently, I did have a COMPLETE molar pregnancy, even though there was definitely a separate fetus in the uterus. Complete molars – by traditional medical explanations – have no fetus because it becomes mass of tissue.
[See previous definitions to make sense if it’s even a matter of relevance]
I’m sitting on the examining table with an obviously bewildered look going “What do you mean?” Apparently, it also confused the OBGYN, who by then was getting partial and molar pregnancies definitions confused, but I really can’t blame her because the reality is, those type pregnancies don’t happen often.
The pathologist indicated that the pregnancy was essentially twins. Except that one was a molar pregnancy and the other was a regular pregnancy with a female fetus. There are instances of a twin surviving the molar pregnancy, but in this case, one twin apparently miscarried (or so they think) and the other did become a mass aka complete molar pregnancy. The ultrasound never showed a second fetus because it was early in the pregnancy and at that point, it was turning into placenta that would eventually go nuts. So it made sense for the OBGYN to simply assume it was a partial molar.
Why do I even bother with these details? I honestly don’t know. It’s just beyond “sucky” for the lack of a better word and I’m as of now – a medical anomaly – since there’s so few of us around. I mean “twins.” All we hoped for a viable pregnancy and didn’t even consider twins let alone this whole molar pregnancy mess. Makes all this a whole lot worse because it seems like the molar “killed” the fetus because sharing a “nutty” placenta wouldn’t have been a viable option anyway. There was exception, but those are rare and few. I mean, this is more than bad luck, at least if you believed in “luck” or “fate” or whatever else that you’d like to call it. This feels like “Here’s your punishment for the awful things you’ve done,” but only a hundred times worse.
Processing the recent news has been difficult. Adding to the fact, that I’ve got a few more weeks of blood draws to make sure the beta HCG numbers have dropped to “0” to make sure that the cells don’t regenerate. Then I get checked the next six months to make sure the cells aren’t growing back. If you missed the earlier explanation, a molar pregnancy is essentially a benign tumor. In minor instances, it can turn cancerous, though very treatable when caught early.
[With my luck, I dread to think of the possibilities]
Fun fact: My beta HCG levels were at 749,000 ml before the D&C and that’s a good indication (without an ultrasound) that the pregnancy is a molar. It’s dropped to 389. So it’s moving in the right direction.
Fun fact 2.0: I’ve had a pregnancy loss every year since 2010 except for 2013.
Long story short, it continues to be a stressful period in life. I suppose bad things happen to people who can take on a great deal of stress and sadness, but I wouldn’t wish this (and the other losses) on my worst enemy.