October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month (PAIL for short.) I’m sharing my pregnancy experience, which ended in miscarriage, followed by a Molar Pregnancy diagnosis with hopes to bring awareness to Molar Pregnancy. This is what life was like after my most recent miscarriage.
The Happy Part
My pregnancy started out like my previous pregnancies. I surprised our 1 year old with a “Big Sister” shirt. She put it on and I filmed her walking into the living room to surprise Daddy. We were overjoyed to find out I was pregnant with baby number 2. Our toddler started a daily routine of kissing my belly, rubbing on my Belly Butter, and talking to her little brother/sister from the beginning. Those were the sweetest moments ever! During that time, I was ecstatic to be selected to join Earth Mama Organics Mama’s Bump Squad 2.0. (I had started using Earth Mama Organics products two years prior when our rainbow baby was born, so I jumped at the opportunity to join a supportive group of mothers who were also expecting during that time.)
My Molar Pregnancy symptoms
I welcomed my first pregnancy symptoms, which were sore breasts and nausea. I immediately started taking my prenatal vitamins, sipping my Morning Wellness Tea, and made an appt with my OBGYN as I had previously miscarried before we successfully had our rainbow baby. They did a urine test, an hCG draw, and an ultrasound. The ultrasound looked great except the baby measured 5 weeks and 2 days when it should have measured 7 weeks. (This was the first clue of a molar pregnancy, which was a sign consistent with triploidy, in reference to the unusually early growth restriction.)
I went back to their office two days later to make sure my hCG was going up. Sure enough, it was. My hCG was very high, which was the second clue that this was a molar pregnancy.
My next ultrasound was scheduled six days after the initial ultrasound to confirm the baby was still growing. The baby measured 6 weeks and 1 day, with a strong heartbeat, just as it should. However, the blood work for my thyroid came back showing hyperthyroidism (the third clue.) This confused me as I’d always been considered healthy.
Around this time, I started feeling extremely nauseous (hyperemesis,) and exhausted all the time. My symptoms were far worse than I’d ever experienced, which was the fourth clue. I had never heard of molar pregnancy so I didn’t know what symptoms to look for. (I never experienced any bleeding so there was no reason to suspect anything was seriously wrong.)
I began having episodes of blurry vision, weakness, fast heartbeat, dizziness, extreme fatigue, sickness, and food aversions. People around me kept telling me it was normal, but something didn’t seem right. Nevertheless, I kept the Mama’s Bump Squad 2.0 informed about all the results and they encouraged me every step of the way.
The headaches and nauseousness were so bad that I started losing weight rapidly. I felt worse with each passing day and began having cramps all the time. I started having gall bladder attacks (the fifth clue,) which I’d never experienced before. One night during a gallbladder attack, I was in too much pain to nurse. That was the night I weaned our toddler from breast feeding. We both cried ourselves to sleep that night.
The gallbladder attacks continued, mainly in the middle of the night. I remember waking my husband up one night and telling him something was wrong. He made the comment, “I hope not because we just told everyone that we’re having another baby.” In that insensitive moment, while I was pacing the floor in pain, I thought, why is it such taboo that we can’t share our joy of pregnancy with others until after 12 weeks? We’re not allowed to let others know what we’re going through? We don’t want to make others uncomfortable with our miscarriages and our loss?” I felt alone.
12 Week Ultrasound
Nine days after Mother’s Day, I was scheduled for our 12 week ultrasound. As I drove to my appointment, I vividly remember speaking with my mother on the phone. I said to her verbatim, “I feel like this baby is sucking the life out of my body. I feel like I’m dying. Something is wrong with this pregnancy.”
I knew something was wrong by our our ultrasound tech’s actions. She turned on the ultrasound, immediately turned off the sound, turned the screen away, then turned it off. She asked how much longer until my husband arrived. When my husband came in, she started the ultrasound again. It was quiet and I squeezed his hand because I knew I had miscarried again.
We miscarried 5 years prior, so I knew the quiet routine with immediately shutting the sound off and turning the monitor away. I didn’t want to believe it, so I waited for her to bring in my OBGYN and they told us together that I had miscarried.
I buried my face in my hands and cried as they told me the baby only measured 10 weeks and had no heartbeat. Our toddler comforted me as we scheduled a D&C. I couldn’t bare the thought of carrying around my dead baby inside of my belly for weeks, while my toddler kissed and talked to him/her daily. I broke the news to our family and to the Mama’s Bump Squad. They responded with an outpouring of love and prayers, which were much needed.
Three days later, we arrived at the hospital for my D&C. I hoped and prayed that after this day, I could start the healing process. But little did I know, that was just the beginning.
All of my nurses were so nice and sweet. They asked me why no one was with me. (They don’t allow children in pre-op so my husband stayed with our toddler.) The nurses took turns comforting me and holding my hand at times during the pre-op process.
The Miscarriage Folder
They brought me a green folder filled with miscarriage information. I carefully read through each page, and discovered we had burial options. The hospital could make arrangements for the burial of the remains through a hospital appointed funeral home. The second option was to make our own arrangements for burial or cremation. I wasn’t expecting to have options so I called my husband. He said we didn’t have any plots purchased and asked what I wanted to do. I reached out to my husband’s family to see if they could suggest any local arrangements. The response I got was “Oh okay. That’s interesting. Kenneth (my husband) is there with you right?” I was crushed.
No one offered any suggestions or thoughts so I decided to let the hospital take care of it. It was too much to handle. At that point, I was too emotional to comprehend the rest of the paperwork in the folder. The nurse came in and asked me if I would like to have a blessing of the remains. I didn’t even know what that meant, so I said no.
The anesthesiologist met with me and explained what to expect. A team of people including the anesthesiologist and my OBGYN came to get me. I was happy to see a familiar face. When my OBGYN told me that everything was going to be okay, I burst into tears. That’s when the anesthesiologist gave me something to help with the anxiety, and as I started to fall asleep, I realized that was the last time my child would be in my womb. I knew I would wake up empty, once again. I put my hands on my belly and told my child, “I love you.” That was the last thing I remember.
The Recovery Room
I woke up in the recovery room alone. I began to cry as I realized my baby was gone. There was my pregnant looking belly, but it was empty inside. I texted our family to let them know I was out of surgery. The nurse wheeled me out to the car and I was so happy to see my 2 year old. I gave her a big kiss and held her hand as I cried.
Once we got home, I sat down to finish reading the packet and I found the paper that explained the offering of a blessing. It said you could opt to have the chaplain come to the bedside to conduct a blessing over the “products of conception” after surgery. The remains would be respectfully covered with a blanket that you could take home as a remembrance.
I began to cry as I called the hospital back and told them that I now understood what the blessing was and I wanted to come back to do it. They said the baby had already been sent off to the lab for testing, but they could arrange to bring the baby back. They warned me that the baby was already put inside a container with formaldehyde and was sealed shut inside of a plastic bag. I didn’t care. I needed to see my baby with my own eyes so I knew this was all real and not just some bad dream.
Back to the hospital
Although my husband was frustrated that we had just driven all the way home from the hospital, he understood that I needed to do this for myself. We drove back to the hospital and my husband waited outside with our toddler as they took me back to pre-op again.
They put me in a room and a nurse brought in the remains covered with a white blanket that had a blue angel and blue stitching on it. The chaplain came in and we said the Lord’s prayer together. He left, but the nurse remained. As I removed the small white blanket, the nurse nervously said not to open the bag. I assured her that I wouldn’t open it, but I just needed to see my baby with my own eyes and I wanted to pray over my child alone. She stepped outside the room and stood watching me.
It was just like they said. There was my 10 week old baby inside of a small plastic container. It was covered with labels and sealed inside of a plastic bag that read “Caution.” I turned the container around and suddenly saw my baby’s foot press against the container wall. As I cried and wailed in grief, I laid my hands on the container and prayed over my child, while the entire pre-op staff watched from outside the room.
I had no idea how much time had passed. Then I remembered my rainbow baby was waiting outside in the car, and she needed me. I thanked the nurses and the staff for arranging one last blessing for my baby. I walked out of that hospital telling myself, that I was going to get through this because my living child needed me.
Recovery at home
The following day, I woke up with severe cramping, and swollen eyelids from all the crying. I suddenly realized the pink color had come back to my skin and my body felt “good” for the first time in three months. That week, I received the sweetest package from Earth Mama Organics. They sent me this Healing Hearts Comfort Kit with a personal message signed by the entire Earth Mama Organics team.
I began setting aside quiet prayer time in the mornings. I sprayed the aromatherapy Healing Heart Mist, lit the Light of My Heart aromatherapy candle, held my baby’s white blanket, and cried as I read the comforting messages on the sides of the candle’s box.
As the daily cramping continued, due to my uterus shrinking, I began my search for grief resources. I utilized support from www.babylosscomfort.com in addition to my daily prayer time.
Abnormal Recovery Symptoms
The bleeding continued and I began passing small grayish-blu pieces of tissue. I called my doctor’s office but they said it was normal. Eight days after my D&C I had my 4th gallbladder attack. The cramping continued, I passed more tissue and the bleeding hadn’t slowed. I called my doctors office again and my OBGYN wanted pictures of the tissue. She confirmed it was retained products in the photo, and that was the day she told me the lab results finally came back showing that I was diagnosed with a Molar pregnancy.
I had no idea what a Molar pregnancy was because I had never heard of it before. The more I googled, the more scared I became. I realized that this molar pregnancy could actually result in cancer and necessary chemo.
Molar Pregnancy Facts
For those of you who don’t know what a Molar pregnancy is, it is a rare occurrence (1 in 1,000 pregnancies) which is the result of a genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to a growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus. Here’s an excellent resource with detailed information on Molar Pregnancy.
According to Wikipedia, “Molar pregnancy is an abnormal form of pregnancy in which a non-viable fertilized egg implants in the uterus and will fail to come to term. A molar pregnancy is a gestational trophoblastic disease which grows into a mass in the uterus that has swollen chorionic villi. These villi grow in clusters that resemble grapes. A molar pregnancy can develop when a fertilized egg does not contain an original maternal nucleus. The products of conception may or may not contain fetal tissue. It is characterized by the presence of a hydatidiform mole.”
Molar pregnancies rarely involve a developing embryo, although mine did, and the growth of this molar material is rapid in comparison to normal fetal growth. It has the appearance of a large collection of grape-like cell clusters. There are two types of molar pregnancies, “complete,” and “partial.”
Molar Pregnancy Support Groups
Suddenly this healing period turned back into the nightmare that I thought was over. I joined two Molar pregnancy support groups that I found on Facebook, called “My Molar Pregnancy Support Group” and “Molar Pregnancy Support.”
My OBGYN scheduled me for a fasting ultrasound to check my uterus and gallbladder. The ultrasound showed my gallbladder was healthy, with no gallstones. However, it also showed retained products, and very large cysts on both ovaries that had developed over the previous 3 weeks as the molar pregnancy had continued to grow inside of my body.
They immediately scheduled me for a second D&C with ultrasound three days later. Thankfully, I was able to arrange for my closest girlfriend to meet me at the hospital, stay with me for surgery, and drive me home afterwards while my husband watched our toddler.
Recovery after my second D&C was much better than the first one. I used that time to learn more about Molar pregnancy and soon learned that Charing Cross Hospital, in London, is leading the way in Molar Pregnancy treatment and research around the world.
Twin Partial Molar Pregnancy
I was officially diagnosed with a Twin Partial Molar Pregnancy. This is an extremely rare version of a partial molar pregnancy where twins are conceived but one embryo began to develop normally, while the other was a mole. In this case, the healthy embryo was very quickly consumed by the abnormal growth, which is what caused the miscarriage.
I know of a few cases where women have gone on to deliver a healthy baby, and either have or have not ended up in more advances stage of Choriocarcinoma from the twin mole. (Choriocarcinoma is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease.)
Weekly Monitoring after Molar Pregnancy
In the case of molar pregnancy diagnosis, the standard procedure after a natural miscarriage or D&C is to have weekly blood draws to monitor hCG level drops. The goal is for your hCG levels to reach negative, which is zero or <5 within 56 days or less.
From my experience, you may see large drops in hCG levels at the beginning. Then those drops become smaller and smaller. Once your levels reach around 100, from collective experience, the drops slow drastically. They may only decrease by 20-25 or less each week. It seems that the lower the numbers get, the smaller the drop becomes.
My family had put me on a prayer chain and I tracked my numbers each week as we prayed for the numbers to continue dropping. My test results were available the following day at noon. Afterwards, I would call my husband with the results and post in our Mama’s Bump Squad. We all sighed in relief for that week and prayed for a continued decrease the following week.
The doctor explained that if my test results came back with the levels increasing, I would need to see an oncologist the same day and begin chemo. The go-to treatment for increasing hCG levels is methotrexate, which is a form of chemo. If methotrexate doesn’t work, typically the chemo is switched to a more aggressive form, depending on what your oncologist decides is best for your particular situation.
My Blood Test Results
Here are my weekly hCG levels as a reference: (I had follow up testing in October to make sure my levels stayed at <5. I also continue to take pregnancy tests with a sensitivity of 25miu. If one of the tests shows positive, I know to immediately schedule an appointment with my OBGYN.)
4/5/18: hCG 72,673
4/7/18: hCG 91,887
After Molar Pregnancy Diagnosis and Second D&C:
6/16/18: hCG 237
6/26/18: hCG 75
7/03/18: hCG 40
7/10/18: hCG 25
7/17/18: hCG 19
7/24/18: hCG 13
8/07/18: hCG 7
8/14/18: hCG 5
10/02/18: hCG <5
I’m one of a few women diagnosed with a Molar Pregnancy, who thankfully, did NOT end up with cancer. Exactly 5 months later, my hCG levels were confirmed to have remained at zero and my ultrasound came back great! Every cyst is gone, and my ovaries and my womb are completely healed! Praise the Lord!!! Thank you to the Mama’s Bump Squad 2.0 and to Earth Mama Organics for all of your love and support during my pregnancy, miscarriage, and molar pregnancy journey.
If you, or someone you know is experiencing a miscarriage or a loss, I highly recommend this thoughtful Healing Hearts Comfort Kit. I can say first-hand that this kit has helped tremendously through my healing journey. As my Thanksgiving due date approaches, I’m planning to begin personal Christian counseling. I’m also planning to visit the cemetery and light my candle as a birth remembrance for each of my 4 children in heaven.
There is no straight path between grief and acceptance. It’s a twisting, and often uneven road where healing takes place little by little. Trust the process and be patient with yourself. You are not alone.
Molar Pregnancy Support Resources
- Baby Loss Comfort Grief Resources
Molar Pregnancy Resources:
- Management of Molar Pregnancy
- Molar Pregnancy Information (UK)
- American Pregnancy Association – Molar Pregnancy
- Mayo Clinic – Molar Pregnancy
- Cleveland Clinic – Partial Molar Pregnancy
- March of Dimes – Molar Pregnancy
- Charing Cross Hospital in the UK – Molar Pregnancy
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive a small affiliate commission. Regardless, we give our promise that we only recommend products or services that we use personally and believe adds value to our readers.
I had a molar pregnancy last year. This post really hit home – it was absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience, it can be very lonely at times. Thinking and praying for you
[email protected] says
Hi Erin, I’m so sorry you experienced a molar pregnancy. I completely empathize with you. I agree, it can definitely be very lonely sometimes. The good news is, there is hope. One day at a time. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Where are you in your post-molar pregnancy journey? I’m happy to lift you up in prayer as well.
Kaitlin Brooke DuRoss says
My due date was supposed to be 11/25. I had the same symptoms of sever cramping, fatigue, nausea. This was my first pregnancy, I had nothing to compare it to. I thought it was normal. On the day I was supposed to hear my baby’s heart beat I was having my D and C. Because of covid my husband was not able to be there with me for all the ultrasounds and the surgery. The loneliness was terrible. The doctors told me over and over again that molar pregnancies were very rare and it’s probably not that. Well it was. I really didn’t think about the possibility of cancer or a molar pregnancy when morning the loss of a child that would have made me complete. Now I have an angel that I can not wait to meet when my time comes to leave this world.
[email protected] says
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I empathize with you. I’m so sorry that you experienced this. Especially since your husband was not able to be there with you. I was also alone for my surgery. You’re right about the loneliness being terrible too. I’m not sure if you were diagnosed with a molar or partial molar pregnancy, but how are you doing? Where are you in your journey? Are you having weekly blood tests?
I am so sorry to hear your story. I experienced a partial molar pregnancy as well. I am currently going in weekly for hcg level checks. Praying it goes down quickly. Would love to try to conceive again sooner than later.
[email protected] says
I’m so sorry you are going through this too. Have your levels hit less than 5 yet?
Marissa Khosh | MamaRissa.com says
Thank you for sharing your experience with molar pregnancy. I’m so sorry for your loss as well as everything that goes along with that difficult healing process. It is so hard to emotionally comprehend what happened, isn’t it?
I had a complete molar pregnancy that was discovered at 16 weeks in January of 2021. Fortunately, the D&C completely removed everything and my hcg went down steadily as it was supposed to. But it was incredibly difficult to process emotionally. Here is my complete molar pregnancy story: https://mamarissa.com/my-complete-molar-pregnancy-story-pregnant-with-a-tumor/
I think that is really special that you got to see your baby after your first D&C. While I’m sure it was very emotional for you, I’m so glad the hospital was able to delay the testing so you could go back to say goodbye.
I hope you have found healing from this traumatic loss both physically and emotionally. I know that time does not take away the pain, but sometimes it helps to soften the edges.
[email protected] says
Hi Marissa, Thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing your own story with me. I’m so sorry for your loss too. I’m so glad your hcg went down like it was supposed to! I’ve heard so many stories of other women with complete molar pregnancies who ended up needing chemo. So praise the Lord that yours went down! I will say that I agree that time does help soften the edges. There is one thing that gives me so much comfort and peace about it. Many years ago, God gave me a VIVID dream and I saw 3 children in this amazing place with my mother-in-law. She looked so radiant and the children were playing quietly. Somehow I knew they were all my children, but at that time, I had only lost 2 children and my mother-in-law was alive, so I didn’t know what to think. Two of them looked the correct age for how old they would have been. Afterward, I told my MIL about my dream and that I had 2 children in heaven. A year later, she passed away from battling leukemia and ended up with pneumonia. Another year after that, I lost my 3rd child. That’s when it hit me that my vivid dream was real! I saw my Mother-in-law in heaven with my 3 children! She was watching over them there in heaven and she looked amazing and seemingly younger! I never knew if they were boys or girls before that, but in my dream, the oldest was a boy. Then there was a younger boy who was helping a much smaller girl. So now I know I have at least 2 sons and a daughter there. Since then, my partial molar pregnancy was my 4th pregnancy loss so I don’t know the gender, but somehow I find comfort in knowing that they are in heaven with Jesus and my mother-in-law. May God bless you and may you continue to find healing with each and every day.
I am having a molar pregnancy right now. Before my D&C my HCG levels were extremely high, 460,476! I was so very sick. This was my second pregnancy, the first was a very early miscarriage (blighted ovum) and it felt so much more real. Thanks to the high HCG I was so very nauseous and exhausted. But I thought it was a good sign I was so sick, I thought it meant at last a healthy pregnancy. I drank tons of ginger tea and soldiered through. I was so very wrong. When we had my 8-week ultrasound, it was quiet. They found my baby, who had no heartbeat, and the molar pregnancy. (I’m having a hard time saying the word “tumor”). It’s been 3 weeks since my D&C and my HCG levels had a big drop down to 15,621 but this week they went up to 16,818. I am trying to be brave but secretly I am terrified. It is so helpful and reassuring to read your story and the stories of the other women who commented. My breasts grew and they ache so much as if I was still pregnant. Does this eventually fade? I am finally allowing myself to grieve. I was in so much physical pain the past 3 weeks that now that I am feeling a little better the emotional pain is hitting me like a wall. I am old in pregnancy years, 39, and I think this might have been my last chance. I am not only grieving the loss of my child but perhaps the loss of motherhood altogether. Since we were keeping it a secret until 12 weeks (it was going to be Christmas!) I haven’t told any family other than my husband. Only 2 of my close friends who are coworkers know. I missed Thanksgiving. My D&C was on the Monday after and between the pain, the bleeding, and nausea, I couldn’t bear going. I told my family I had a nasty stomach bug. I hated lying but the thought of telling everyone and making everyone sad at Thanksgiving just was too much. I still don’t know if it’s right to tell my mom. I want to. But she’s probably given up hope on grandchildren from me since I took so long before I was ready to try getting pregnant after my last miscarriage and I don’t want to raise or dash her hopes. But I also want my mama to comfort me! And in person, I am terrible at keeping secrets and not sharing my heart with her. I am definitely going to spend time with her during Christmas. I don’t know what to do. But sharing with you all feels good. I am so grateful for your stories.
[email protected] says
First of all, April, I am SO very sorry that you are going through this. I empathize with you and this is not easy. What did your doctor say now that your hcg is increasing? There is a Facebook group called “My Molar Pregnancy Support Group” and there is a second group called “After My Molar Pregnancy Support Group.” Please join both of these groups if you haven’t already. I am a member and we share a wealth of knowledge and our own experiences there. We can help you with expectations and what your doctor should be doing etc. To answer your question, yes eventually the breast pains and aches will stop. It’s from the surge of hormones in your body. Unfortunately, that can sometimes take weeks to months after the D&C. Please let yourself grieve and give yourself grace. No matter how you are feeling emotionally, it’s okay and your feelings are valid. I’m so sorry this all happened at the holidays too. I wish I could give you a big hug! Only tell your mom if you want to when you’re ready. You don’t have to force that conversation. But I’m here if you want to talk. We can connect over on Instagram and I will send you my cell phone via DM if you’d like. Please let me know what the doctor says the next steps are as you should be having weekly blood draws at this point. The goal is for your hcg to drop continuously. I would love to pray for you if that’s okay with you. I will try reaching out to you via email next.