Monday, 23 December 2013

Molar Pregnancy

I had my D&C nearly a month after I had found out that I had first lost the baby. At the hospital I was given a mountain of medical paperwork to fill out and led to a waiting room which, cruelly, was right next door to the labour and delivery ward. Sitting in the lobby with a bunch of women who were hours away from holding their healthy babies in their arms while I was waiting to say goodbye to mine must count as cruel and unusual punishment.

The nurses were lovely and held my hand while I lay on the operating table and cried. I cried because I was scared, I cried for our baby that we never got to meet, and for the life that we had planned out as parents but never got to experience.

And maybe that's half of my problem. I plan too much. I love structure and knowing how things are going to go because there is safety and security in that. And perhaps this is why I have such a hard time dealing with all of this; because there is no plan on this journey to motherhood. Nothing is a guarantee and I am powerless in all of this. I have learned the hard way that I can't plan my life. If I could, I would have had my first baby at 28, followed by a second one a couple of years later. Instead, I had three losses under my belt by the time I was 30 and I'm still trying to become a mother.

A few days after my D&C, I got a call from the doctor asking me to come in to see him because he thought that I may have had a partial molar pregnancy (PMP). If you're wondering what the heck that is, you're not alone. I had never heard of a molar pregnancy until I had one. The doctor explained that there had been a tumor that had been growing around the fetus which causes severe deformities and eventually kills it. One of the signs of a molar pregnancy is extremely high hCG levels and that would explain why the first pregnancy test I took showed up so clearly despite it being so early.

The doctor said that I would need to be closely monitored to make sure that the tumor didn't grow back. If it did, I need to be treated with chemo. Few words have the power to strike pure fear in people's hearts; tumor, cancer, and chemo are definitely up there as some of the most terrifying.

There are two types of molar pregnancies: a complete molar pregnancy and a partial molar pregnancy. You can learn more about the two types here. Regardless of the type of molar pregnancy, the treatment is the same. I was told to get a weekly blood test to monitor my hCG levels until they returned to zero. After they had remained at zero for 3 consecutive weeks, I would have to have 6 more months of monthly blood tests in order to make sure that the levels were not rising. Only once the doctor was sure there was no chance that the tumor would grow back, would I be allowed to  try and conceive again.

From the time I was diagnosed with my PMP to the point that I was given the all-clear took nine of the longest months of my life. Ironic, isn't it? I could have had a baby in the time that it took to get better. And while I healed physically, the fact that I wasn't able to jump back into the proverbial saddle (and sack!) made it almost impossible to heal emotionally. I was stuck in medical limbo - not sick, yet not well enough to try for another baby.

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