Being pregnant with my fourth child began with a bang. And not just because this was to be our fourth kid in five years. My first ultrasound at six weeks showed ovarian cysts. Incredibly big and quite a few.
The diagnosis: partial molar pregnancy
I went back at eleven weeks to have the cysts checked. When the ultrasound tech got quiet and started to stumble over her words, every pregnant lady knows to panic. The doctor said the word "partial molar pregnancy". The ultrasound had shown a mass of cystic tissue, and that combined with the cysts, strongly pointed to this particular, rare and devastating issue.
As this terminology was not something I had seen in any of my pregnancy books, it took some explaining to grasp the severity of the diagnosis. Apparently, months ago two overzealous sperm decided to fertilize the egg. Our baby had 69 chromosomes, incompatible with life, even though I had just seen him/her wiggling around the ultrasound screen.
With that dagger in, the doctor went to twist it.
The accompanying tumor/tissue could turn into cancer. Molar pregnancies are so rare, even at the large hospital I was at, they are hardly ever seen. But I was presenting a textbook case. I was sent down to get blood drawn for the NIPT tests to confirm or deny the genetic abnormality. The results of the test would point us in the direction we needed to go.
How is this possible? How is this a thing? The questions only began there. Our baby had a strong heartbeat, most of these types of pregnancies miscarry by the end of the first trimester. So are we waiting for a miscarriage? And if it doesn't happen, then where does that lead? There were no good options to lean toward when every road is a cliff that just sends you flying off into even worse situations.
Waiting for results
We waited for what felt like eons for those results to come back. In the meantime, I scoured the deep dark depths of the internet for any ray of light that this would turn out okay. I found hardly any real life stories about anyone that has experienced this. Every parenting stage I've been through I have found solace through seeing that someone else was in the same boat I was. It's so isolating to not find someone who understood, someone out there who would have empathy.
Our genetic tests came back.....Normal. Our baby was just as healthy and thriving as it should be. Everything was totally FINE. A seriously odd chance of a case of numerous cysts combined with a massive bleed that directly led to the diagnosis. So many dark thoughts about what could have been could all be put away. Our case had even kept our doctor up at night and we are a story ever etched in her mind. The release of emotions when he was born, and truly was healthy and beautiful, was cathartic at the least.
To anyone else who experiences any type of molar pregnancy; here's at least one story for you.
Someone else understands a part of what you went through. I feel for the decisions you are faced with and the questions you have and for the journey you are about to begin.
Have you dealt with something scary while pregnant that ended up being okay?
We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.
Our next reco: Scary Shit Series: Surviving Diagnosis Day