Most women who are trying to conceive and are in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy don’t tell anyone, for fear of having a miscarriage. It is a very real concern, and one of the downsides of telling people you’re pregnant before that is having to tell them your baby has stopped growing.
Every Friday for the past 5 weeks I have had moments of panic where all I can think about is what the results during my scheduled ultrasound are going to be. When I told my doctor about that two weeks ago, he thought it was a bit silly that it only happened on Fridays, and that there wasn’t much to be concerned about. Alas, this past Friday he was out of town, so I could schedule my ultrasound for as early as I wanted, which I chose to do.
I knew right away that there was something wrong. The ultrasound tech asked if we were in a hurry as there is a new fellow at the practice and he is supposed to be seeing ultrasounds. She had done a quick scan when she asked this. I had seen the monitor, and I hadn’t seen any movement, which means there is a problem. So we went back into the waiting room for about 15 minutes until the fellow arrived and went back into the exam room. Sure enough, he too didn’t see anything, and let us know that I’d be getting a call later that day with our options. I started researching what they would be and was prepared for when they called. What I was not prepared for was the doctor I spoke to asking me to go back in the following day for another ultrasound. Saturday mornings ultrasound showed the same thing, though I chose to look away from the monitor.
I can imagine that I had a similar feeling to women who choose to have an abortion and are forced to see an ultrasound first. Let me tell you, from first hand experience, it is akin to mental torture. Being forced to do that when losing your child is probably one of the worst things a regular person could experience. I know it was for me. And I unfortunately probably have to do it again on Monday afternoon at Kaiser.
I emailed my Kaiser nurse on Friday to ask her what my options were through them. As I’ve already been there for an OB appointment, any treatment choice should be covered, versus paying fully out of pocket at my clinic. She emailed the doctor on call and scheduled an appointment for me. If they cannot help me quickly enough, I will end up using the surgery center across the hall from my fertility clinic.
For a missed miscarriage, there are three options:
- wait for your body to naturally miscarry, which could take weeks and cause an infection
- take some medication to get the process started quickly (generally in about 4 hours) and can also cause an infection
- do a surgery called a D&C, where they remove everything from inside your uterus, with a very low risk of infection
With options 1 and 2, if you don’t fully expel everything, you have to have a D&C anyway. I’ve, and we’ve, decided that a D&C is the best option for me. I don’t want to wait around and then have to have emergency surgery. I’d rather just get it over with quickly, so we can get back to doing another transfer in a few months.
All of this has, of course, been devastating. There have been lots of tears, and lots of unpleasant thoughts. There was also some Googling, in which I discovered that women with PCOS have not a 15-20% chance of miscarrying like the general population, but a 45-50% chance of miscarrying thanks to the hormone imbalance that is PCOS. It is also likely that the embryo was abnormal to begin with, and whatever development happens at 9 weeks was always going to be fatal. The only way to know is with analysis, which I think always happens when you have a D&C.
It is my sincere hope that this experience won’t emotionally and mentally affect any future pregnancies, but I know myself better than that. I know it will affect things, and I’ve already decided that if I get pregnant again, David will be the one receiving all the info. I won’t want to know anything until well past the mostly safe point. No blood work results, no ultrasound pictures, no nothing, in the hopes that if we have another loss it won’t be as horribly painful.