Hello All. My name is Joy and I have had the unfortunate experience of being diagnosed with a blighted ovum, not once but twice. At first I must admit I decided to start this blog for therapeutic purposes in hopes of feeling better. Then I started to realize I was not alone. As I searched the internet I found posts from many women who had been diagnosed with this unheard of devastation, but that very limited information was available. So as I share my story and what little information I have feel free to share as well. You might be the link that helps heal, as well as prevent another person from experiencing this pain.
Well here we go. If you have made your way to this site I assume you have walked the same road I have. You a while back got a positive result on a pregnancy test, experienced morning sickness, sore breasts, food aversions, and fatigue. Maybe like me you’ve gone to your first prenatal examination, gave blood, were given a “Congrats” packet, and were sent home to prepare yourself for your miracle. Then when you had your first, second, or even third ultrasound you saw this:
The first time I saw this I was 22 years old. It was 2003, I was a newlywed and had been married around 3 months or so. When the doctor told me that I had a blighted ovum, I didn’t know what to think exactly. I’d NEVER seen let alone heard of anything like this and I thought that she’d made some type of mistake. After doing a vaginal ultrasound, the way she explained it to me was a little something like this, “Your body is exhibiting all the symptoms of pregnancy but there is no baby inside of the sac.” That was it. She told me I’d have to have my blood work checked to verify whether or not my hormone level was rising. If it was we’d do a second ultrasound to to see if we could see the baby, if not we’d have to discuss options as to how we were going to get the sac out. Well to make a long story short, my hcg dropped dramatically and I was given a medication which caused me to painfully expel the sac. It was weird to say the least. When people asked whether or not I was really pregnant, I couldn’t answer because I honestly didn’t know. Was my body just mimicking a pregnancy? Was my body confused? Was I delusional? All these questions surfaced in my mind constantly but since the doctor,( and I quote) stated “This is just a freak occurrence. You’ll be fine. This doesn’t happen more than once.” But wait. Did I tell you that during the conversation initially, she’d also stated, “I’m sorry. The lady I saw before you was on her second one.” So which is it? Do they not happen again or was that lady who she’d seen before me just a hell of a rare exception? Months later after spending many days researching I would later find out that yes I actually was pregnant. The doctor knew as little as I did. A blighted ovum is the result of an embryo failing to develop normally and the body…well killing off if you will a potential threat. The sac however will continue to develop until the body takes hold of the fact that the embryo has been absorbed and it causes a miscarriage. Since my body wouldn’t miscarry naturally I had to take medication to assist it.
The marriage, sudden pregnancy, then loss was a bit too much so we opted to take things slow and enjoy our married life. We traveled and were completely care free for nearly 8years. I got on Yasmin and stayed on it for 7 and a half years. Then in January of 2011 our lives were suddenly interrupted. A few months prior I had been diagnosed with clusters headaches, and it had been noted that my birth control could possibly be the cause. So I got off the pill but still used condoms as another form of birth control. So you can understand I was a bit taken back to learn in January that I was pregnant. But this time I was ok with it. After nearly 8years my husband and I were homeowners, had decent financial stability, and it seemed like it was time.
We were thrilled. My husband got on the phone and told everyone. I was crazy sick. I could hardly talk to anyone without nearly vomiting. By the end of Feb 2011 I’d lost nearly 10lbs due to the fatigue, morning sickness, and food aversions. I’d had my first prenatal appointment and things seemed fine. I was even given a due date of Sept 29, 2011. But when my doctor did the abdominal ultrasound nothing was picked up. I didn’t do vaginal because it hurt like heck when the probe went in. She didn’t seem concerned and just said we’d come back to do another later in two weeks. Then on March 1, 2011 I woke up, rolled over and looked at my husband and said, “The weirdest thing has happened. I don’t even feel pregnant anymore.” I won’t lie. I was terrified, but I’d been told by so many people that as I neared the end of my first trimester, my symptoms would decrease dramatically and I’d feel better. Yeah but I’d surpassed feeling better. I didn’t feel pregnant. I went back for my second ultrasound and we saw nothing except a sac. My heart dropped. Could this really be happening? Again my doctor did not seem concerned. She said I was probably just too early. Uh…lady I’m 11 weeks. We should hear a heartbeat at least! I went home a wreck. My husband being a man of faith prayed, and assured me things would be ok. All I could keep saying is, “You were there. You saw the same thing I did. It looks like we’re having another blighted ovum.” He hugged me tight and told me not to worry.
Over the next few weeks I tried my best to keep calm. I still did not feel pregnant but continued to care for myself as though I were. Then on March 19, 2011 my world was torn apart. My husband and I were at the movies and I got up to go to the restroom. I came back horrified. I let him know that when I went to the bathroom I discovered a dark brown discharge in my undies. He asked if I was bleeding. I told him no. He said, “Well most women spot during the first trimester. I read about that a few days back.” Awww how sweet! I was so thrilled that he’d taken the time to read about the changes that I felt calm and went back to watching the movie trying not giving it another thought. I was not bleeding. He was probably right and I as usual was probably over reacting. The next morning we got up and went to church, and when we came home I saw the same brown discharge again. Something wasn’t quite right. We made an agreement that if it didn’t stop by the next day, or that if I saw actual blood, I’d go to the ER. Every hour I kept going to the restroom checking myself. The brown stuff was gone, and no blood. I reasoned in my mind that I was over reacting and went to enjoy the rest of our day.
That evening we returned to church for a worship service. I sat down in my seat and felt wet all of a sudden. Like I was on my period. I got up and went to the restroom expecting to see the brown discharge but when I wiped this time, I saw blood. I immediately got my husband and he rushed me to the ER. I was hysterical. I was terrified, and by the time ER got to me no blood. Of all things! It was almost as if it had never happened. I started thinking I was going out of my mind. The doctor on call that evening, and the nurses were pretty sure I was fine. That all changed about 15 minutes after being seen. The doctor proposed to do an ultrasound, and when she did it, we again saw that dreaded image of the sac with no baby inside. I broke out into tears. I couldn’t believe this was happening all over again. My husband was in complete denial. He said everything from maybe the baby was hiding to perhaps the equipment was outdated. But I knew otherwise. I knew what I felt, I knew what I saw, and I knew what I’d experienced before. That night I had a hcg test done. I was also sent home with a pamphlet with instructions on how to care for myself with a “Threatened Miscarriage”. I also went back two days later for another reading. The first reading was at 8319, which was extremely low for 13 weeks(a woman that far along should be between 25,000-250,000), the second came back at 5104. It was now confirmed. We had another blighted ovum. Our hearts broke and we cried in each other’s arms. I was mad I was crying. I was mad that I was going through this again, and I wondered why God would be so cruel. Everyday I’d see stories about people abusing and neglecting their own children. We were more than ready to love this kid beyond all measure.
I was later given Cytotec on March 22 to expel the sac. I opted to take it orally this time instead of vaginally as I’d done in the past. This was because when I took it in 2003, I had a pain so intense I couldn’t stand. I was told that orally wouldn’t be as bad and that I’d experience pain still but not nearly like I did vaginally. Well not only did I not experience pain but as of today, after 2 doses, the sac has still not passed. I will be going in for a D&C soon. I’m beyond devastated. I’m angry. I thought this was not supposed to happen twice. I feel like all hope is lost and that I should look towards adoption, but then a small voice inside of me keeps telling me not to give up. So I won’t. I’m not going to jump back into trying immediately. The psychological trauma outweighs the physical, but I will not be defeated. I’m not angry at God. in fact God commanded us all to be fruitful and to multiply. It’s my right. If you are going through this for the first time, or maybe like me the second, just know you’ll get through it. Yes it hurts. Yes it looks bad, but there are options available and there are women who have gone on to conceive and deliver healthy babies after this. Be encouraged. God Bless!