Too Good to be True

We went for an early ultrasound today, when I should have been 6w1d or 6w2d according to my ovulation date (or 7w based on the date of my last period).  The only thing there was an empty gestational sac measuring 4w3d.

The ultrasound tech and doctor were bending over backwards trying to reassure me that it’s very common to get dates wrong in early pregnancy, but I’m quite certain of the dates (I mean, I had a positive home pregnancy test two weeks ago — it’s basically impossible that I’m only 4w now!).  There’s just no way this pregnancy is viable.  I also had an inkling, since yesterday (Mother’s Day in the US, no less) I had just a bit of mucus tinged with dark brown flecks that looked ominous.  That quick conception was just too good to be true.

I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings swirling around in my head right now.  I’m sad, obviously.  This was a much-wanted pregnancy.  It was a little quicker than we were expecting, but we were delighted that we were able to conceive so easily and looking forward to the prospect of a little sibling for S.  Honestly, I also felt like I might have dodged a bullet — if everything had gone smoothly, it might well have been the end of my reproductive phase of life, which it now looks like is going to drag on even longer with a bit more heartbreak.  I am so done with this phase of life… except that I’m not, because we really want another baby.

On the other hand, there are some silver linings.  The timing of this pregnancy was messing with my tenure clock, and now the odds are that I’ll be able to stick to my original clock, which would be nice.  Also, two under two was a little bit daunting, and now we’ll have a little more time to enjoy our amazing little guy on his own, and he’ll be a little bit bigger and more independent before (hopefully) a future sibling disrupts his universe.  I know these things.  They are not really all that comforting, though. I wanted that baby.  A lot.

The big question now is, what next?  Given how undeveloped the pregnancy is, why is my body still holding onto it?  The doctor drew some blood to check my HCG levels and told me to come back in a week, so there are no immediate plans to intervene (although she did say she’d call later today to discuss the outcome of the blood test).  I hate the waiting game more than anything.  I think that if nothing happens in the next week, I’ll start to ask for medical management with misoprostol.  I just don’t want this to drag on forever — I want it to be over with so that we can move on with our lives, and hopefully with another healthy pregnancy.

In a way, I’m also kind of uneasy about what it means that we conceived so quickly.  Does it mean that the RE won’t want to move forward with the plan we developed before I got pregnant this time?  Possibly not, since I’ve still been having irregular periods since my son was born, and I still have the abnormal HSG — those two things have not changed, although at least now we do have the good indication that my right fallopian tube is still functional after the birth of my son.  I can’t help but be certain that the quick conception was a fluke, and that we’re in for a long haul with conceiving another viable pregnancy.

I guess the other silver lining is that I’m handling this a whole heck of a lot better (at least so far, about three hours after getting the news) than I handled the news of our daughter’s loss at 18 weeks.  For one thing, it’s a lot less unexpected — having no heartbeat on an otherwise totally uneventful pregnancy at 18 weeks was like getting hit by a truck.  At least this time around we knew the probability of bad news was significant.  With early miscarriage rates around 20%, and this being my third pregnancy… well, it was not exactly an improbable outcome.

For another thing… we’ve been in worse places before.  Once you’ve handled second trimester loss, first trimester loss seems somehow more bearable.  That’s not to say that first trimester loss isn’t devastating for many families — of course, it is.  My heart breaks for the stories I read here about first trimester loss — multiple losses, no living children… it’s devastating.  You can’t measure or weigh grief.  Our grief this time is just a little more muted, by two things: the loss of our out daughter “broke us in,” in a way — I just don’t expect good news when I’m pregnant anymore, so this bad news was a little easier to take because of our experience with bad news in the past.  And, the other half of the muted grief is that we have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing little boy at home who means the world to me and whose snuggles take the edge off of the loss of his nebulous, but no less longed-for, sibling.  Plus, he gives me hope that I might someday be able to carry another pregnancy to term.  This time, the statistics make sense.  If we have another early loss in the future, I actually suspect it’ll be a whole lot harder to handle.  Right now we’re at one full-term baby for three pregnancies.  If it becomes one full-term baby for four pregnancies, I’ll start to wonder again what more might be wrong with me that makes my uterus a place where babies go to die.  I also hope we’re not playing “collect them all” with pregnancy outcomes — so far, we’ve had one first trimester loss (still in progress), one second trimester loss, and one full-term healthy baby.  The other outcomes don’t look particularly appealing, so I hope we’ll be able to take a pass on those!

Well, anyway, wish me luck that this doesn’t drag out too long and that we’re able to move on and conceive again soon.

25 thoughts on “Too Good to be True

  1. knalani

    I’m so very sorry.

    “You can’t measure or weigh grief.” This is so true. Thinking of you and praying for a healthy sibling for S in the near future. ❤

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you. ❤ Don't worry about it — I absolutely know what you mean. I said the same thing to my doctor when she called yesterday with my blood test results, that I didn't want this to drag out. They're going to check my HCG levels again Wednesday and if they're falling (which seems likely) they'll give me misoprostol. I really hope that'll be the end of it.

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    I am so incredibly sorry. I understand what you mean about not wanting this to drag out, as I always found the physical part the hardest to deal with. Please know that I’m thinking about you and sending all my love.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you so much. ❤ I know you've been through this more times than you care to remember, so I know you've been in the horrible waiting game many times before. Still nothing really happening, just waiting for the results of the second HSG draw and hoping I start bleeding on my own soon.

  3. jwhitworth7

    Oh I’m so sorry. Your attitude is admirable. I related to a lot of what you said about the waiting being the hardest part and just wanting it to be over with. The two times I had a missed miscarriage and found out during the 1st ultrasound they told me that dates can be wrong etc. like you I was pretty certain of the dates and really just wanted to figure out. How we could move forward. I’m wishing you the best!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you. ❤ Yes, the waiting is just the worst. Did you ever move things along with misoprostol, or did you wait until it started on its own? It looks like that's the choice I'm going to be facing this week, so I'd be interested to hear how your experience went. With our late loss, we didn't have a choice, so this part is new to me (yay).

      1. jwhitworth7

        Ugh. The choices. I opted for a D&C both times. The first (before Oliver) there had been a heartbeat but it wasn’t what it should be and none at the next US. They could do a D&C the next day. The second one (after Oliver) I just wanted it over as soon as possible as I was so heartbroken and they could do the D&C in the office so we opted for that. Both times I was about 7-8 weeks along but was measuring only 6 weeks with no HB. Early loss is all to common. Ugh.

  4. xykademiqz

    I am really sorry. FWIW, here’s my story. When we started trying for baby No 3, I also had a blighted ovum (empty sack pregnancy) at about 8 weeks ultrasound, foreshadowed by light spotting. I’d never before had a pregnancy loss and I felt devastated; I started obsessing I was too old (just turned 37 at the time) and my eggs were bad, even though in reality we’d gotten pregnant pretty quickly, plus this was garden-variety first-trimester loss and people go through much more traumatic experiences… I think once you’ve had a pregnancy loss, you can never go through pregnancy without some trepidation. A loss of innocence of sorts.

    I opted to do a D&C as soon as possible and I recommend going that route. (The time between the first ultrasound and the D&C was a dark one.) The procedure is no big deal really, and you’ll know everything has been cleaned out. The body will reset at that point and consider the D&C like a period (sort of). It’s recommended to wait one normal cycle before trying again. Our story has a happy ending, as I conceived on the second cycle after the mandatory one-cycle wait and I was older than you are now — the blighted ovum pregnancy was in June-July and in late June of next year we had Smurf! So I know this is a setback, and it’s great that your spirits are high — it will happen, and soon, I have no doubt! Electronic hugs and fingers crossed!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Oh, thanks so much for sharing your story, and I’m so sorry that you’ve been here too. I think you’re right that even during what is clearly a normal, garden-variety first trimester loss (like you, I’ve had two totally normal first trimesters before!), it still makes you start questioning everything about your fertility and your body and have you waited too long and what if it happens again… it’s brutal, no matter what. I’m so glad that you were able to move on and have Smurf so soon after going through it — that’s encouraging.

      I’d prefer to avoid another D&C if I can… after delivering our daughter, I had retained placenta and hemorrhaging and an infection, and wound up having a D&C two weeks later to clear everything out. The procedure itself was fine, but I did have a small amount of scarring. Once you’ve had scarring, you’re more likely to have more of it, so it’s preferable to avoid a D&C if you can. I’m hoping that since things are so early, and since I’m already spotting (got my first bright-red spotting this morning) it’ll all just clear itself out on its own soon. But since apparently my HCG levels are still rising (because of course), they’ve got me booked for another ultrasound on Monday just to make completely sure that there’s nothing in there before I get the medication to speed up the process. Here’s hoping it all just gets a move-on before then…


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