My Blueberry and Our Short Journey
So as most of you know, I announced that I was pregnant on July 1. We found out on June 27 and had it confirmed on June 29 through bloodwork and urine that we were pregnant. Something that we didn’t think was going to be possible. We were so excited to tell everyone. We even discussed if we should wait to tell everyone in case something happened. But a lot of my research I did said that a lot of women wished they would’ve told at least their family so they had support when something happened. So, I thought it was a wise choice. Facebook world found out because we recorded telling my mom. Now I didn’t come out on Facebook about what I went through this past Wednesday because I didn’t want people to think we were just out for attention, especially after we just announced that we were pregnant three days earlier. So, here’s my story and warning, there are parts of it that are graphic, but these are the things that have stuck with me through this tiny journey with our Blueberry.
It was about 6:30 AM on July 4. I woke up late for work and went to the bathroom like I normally do when I wake up. It had been a week since I found out I was pregnant and we were counting down the days until our first baby appointment. I used the bathroom and noticed blood in the crotch of my sleep pants. I had just hoped that maybe it was light spotting which I was told is common in the first trimester of pregnancy. Then came the clots. They were somewhat large and looked more like I was having a period. I called my doctor. The doctor on call called me back and asked a series of questions. “Are you having any cramps?" "Is it like you’re having a period?" "How big are the clots?” I responded to all his questions. No, I wasn’t having cramps, yes it did look like a period, and the clots were about the size of a half dollar. He suggested I go to the ER to at least get checked out. Thankfully, I had gotten my pregnancy verified by blood and urine in my primary doctor’s office so I could go to the OB ER at Erlanger. We talked about it along the way to the hospital about what it could be or if we were miscarrying. We had already come to terms that if we were miscarrying, we’d be okay and we’d just try again. We get to the OB ER walking hand in hand. I sign in and they get me back almost immediately. They hand me a cup and some wipes and tell me I need to do a clean catch urine specimen. Easy, right? I get into the bathroom and proceed to clean myself. I can’t. There’s so much blood and it's literally running all over the toilet, my hand, and down my legs. I’m still not having any pain mind you. But I’m passing sizeable clots. I tell myself it’ll be okay and manage to catch some urine in the cup for them and look back at it in tears. I couldn’t even get them a clean urine sample, I was bleeding so much. So, I take some toilet paper and wedge it into my underwear to hopefully save my underwear from getting stained and walk over and put my sample cup on the counter. Now, at this time, they have separated me and my boyfriend and take me to an exam room where the sweet NP asks me to take everything off and put a gown on. She lays a big green incontinence pad on the stretcher and hands me an oversized pad to wedge in-between my thighs. She and her student go through the verification steps to verify my identity and figure out what my estimated due date is. Based on my last menstrual period, my due date was February 20, 2019. I was about 7.3 weeks.
They put an IV in and drew some blood to check my levels and to type and cross (verify my blood type), just in case I ended up needing blood. I started getting anxious and felt nauseous and like I couldn’t catch my breath. Was this the baby telling me something was wrong or was I just anxious because it was a small room and there were three of us in it? The NP has me lay back and put my feet in stirrups. She tells me that she is going to check my cervix. It takes her three adjustments. In-between each adjustment she has to use these large q-tips to clear away the blood and clots and at one point ends up dripping blood on my big toe. I know she didn’t do it on purpose but there’s something chilling about feeling your blood hit your toe and it instantly turns cold. I just tried to lay there and let my body relax and tell myself everything was going to be okay. Especially since my NP said that aside from the blood, my cervix was basically closed. I asked her what it would have meant had it been open and she responded with “I would’ve been more worried about a miscarriage.” This kind of put my mind at ease, it sounded like my little blueberry was actually okay. The NP and her student got warm washcloths and washed off my thighs and wiped down the outside of me and put a new pad on. They checked everything else on me and told me I sounded very healthy and that they wanted to run the bloodwork and schedule a transvaginal and belly ultrasound. My nerves got excited, this would be my chance to see my little blueberry. So, they asked me a few more procedural questions and then let my boyfriend back. We talked and watched videos together just waiting for me to get results back from the bloodwork and to go off to ultrasound. He kept my spirits up. He’s seriously my life and I don’t know what I’d do without him.
They come and get me for the ultrasound and my boyfriend goes with but he sits outside the room. I get on a stretcher from the wheelchair and lay back. I know the routine for a transvaginal ultrasound. I tell the tech that I have to keep the pad so the NP can monitor how much blood I’m losing, so she passes me a clean towel that I roll my somewhat bloody pad in and lay it next to me. She has me scoot down to the bend on of the bed and I let my legs fall apart as is procedure. First, she does the ultrasound on my belly to get an idea of how big my uterus is then she does the transvaginal. As I’m lying there, she’s taking so many ultrasound pics and then at one point, stops and angles the computer further away from me so I can’t see the screen. I thought this was a little weird as she was just okay with having the screen where it was but I tallied it up to that she had to angle the wand a little differently to get another view. As I’m lying there, I can feel the condom on the wand coolly touching the bottom of my buttcheek and it instantly makes me want to scratch but I keep my hand still until she is done. Before she finishes she asks me if I had ever been diagnosed with cysts on my ovaries and I said yes, I’ve been dealing with them the past seven years. And she says alright, well we’re done, and hands me back my pad and lets me get situated. When I’m putting the pad back in place I decided to scratch where the condom had brushed against only to realize that it wasn’t the condom from the wand. It was blood running out of me onto the green pad and it had cooled when it ran down my skin. I wiped my fingers off onto the towel the tech had handed to me and laid back on the stretcher for the tech to take me out. I get to the wheelchair and stand up and sit down into the wheelchair and instantly see my boyfriend and my eyes go to the stretcher where the green pad is and it has blood all over it. At this point, I just surrender to the thought that something was wrong and that I was going to lose my blueberry.
The transport girl wheels me back up to my room where now we’ll await the results from everything. About 15 minutes after I come back from ultrasound, my NP sticks her head in and tells me all my lab work came back great. My HCG levels were almost 7,000, I wasn’t anemic, and I had A positive blood. My boyfriend and I are happy with the results from my lab work and we just settled in and waited for the results from my ultrasound. About 45 minutes later, two doctors come into the room to discuss my ultrasound results. They proceed to tell me that I’m pregnant, but that I’m not pregnant. What? How is that possible? I was confused and so was my boyfriend. So, I asked had I already lost the baby. The one doctor responds with. “No, you have a blighted ovum.” I asked what that was. The same doctor responds “Well, your ultrasound showed a gestational sac measuring to about seven weeks, but inside that sac, there’s not anything to create a baby.”
I looked at the doctor and said: "How does that happen?"
He responds with "We don’t know exactly but you have to get that ovum out before you can try to get pregnant again.”
I looked at my boyfriend and the doctors and said, “That’s harder to understand than something being wrong with the baby or an ectopic pregnancy.”
The female doctor looks at me and says “I know but you have some options. We can send you home with some medicines to speed up the process of your body expelling the sac, you can wait it out and do it naturally, or you can have a D&C and we can do it today. When was the last time you ate?”
I looked at them shocked and said "Umm I have PCOS and my mom had endometriosis and possibly ovarian cancer, what would be the best route to take? Would a D&C make my PCOS worse? And I ate last around ten last night.” I feel like I asked a thousand questions, and they answered all of them but I couldn’t answer what I wanted to do. The one doctor said he’d give us some time to talk about it and they’d check back later for my answer. My boyfriend started instantly researching what could cause this. Out of all my medical training and everything they told us about pregnancy in high school, I never once heard about a blighted ovum. Why did my baby not develop? By seven weeks it should’ve already had a heartbeat and little nubs where its legs and arms would eventually come in. Damean had looked up what causes a blighted ovum and they’re actually very common. So common that they are the cause of every one out of two miscarriages in the first trimester. What usually causes a blighted ovum is not enough chromosome from mom or dad or when the cell was dividing it didn’t divide right causing me to just have this gestational sac that kept growing but didn’t have a baby in it.
So, I called my mom. The woman who I just told three days earlier that I was finally going to have a baby. She was heartbroken, I could hear it in her voice even though I know she was staying strong for me. I even joked that I was pregnant with a ghost baby to try and lighten the moment. She told me that the D&C was probably the better option because I would have a fast recovery and wouldn’t have to basically give birth to my little existent but non-existent blueberry. I opted for the D&C. The nurse and NP I think were weirded out because we weren’t crying. We were actually laughing and making jokes about how I was pregnant with the ghost in my apartment’s baby. Which is weird I know but we’re so used to the negatives with us trying to get pregnant that this just didn’t seem to faze us. When you are constantly disappointed, you just become numb to the negative and just move on. We talked it out and decided we also wanted our little blueberry to be sent off to be tested to see what caused it to not grow and with the D&C it allowed us to do so. We decided for him to go ahead and go home to get me some clothes in case I had to stay the night. We said our goodbyes and said that we’d see each other before I went to surgery. He left and I turned out the lights and laid on the stretcher watching South Park, waiting for them to come and get me for surgery.
I was doing okay emotionally, really, I was. Something in my brain told my body that it was okay because there wasn’t an actual baby, so I technically wasn’t losing anything. I ended up taking a nap while they ran some fluids through me before surgery. Around 3:30 they came and got me and took me down to pre-op. Damean didn’t make it there in time so I just gave his number to my nurses downstairs so he knew where to go. So, I laid in pre-op talking to all my nurses and anesthesiologist, waiting for Dr. Branch to finish with his emergency C-section he was doing. I was making my nurses laugh. I was doing so good emotionally until, Christian, my GYN surgery nurse said he read my case and that I was going to be okay and that the fact I got pregnant in the first place was a blessing. I started crying. All day I had been so strong, but it took him to tell me that I was going to be okay and that he knew what I was going through was tough but I had a miracle.
See, it’s so hard for me to find people who really get where I’m coming from. For the past seven years, I’ve been trying to conceive. It makes me extremely upset when I see old school friends who are having babies left and right or people who shouldn’t be having kids are having them and getting them taken away. I’ve never understood why I couldn’t have the thing I wanted most in the world. And it may make me sound bitter but when I’d see Facebook friends post that they were pregnant, I would just scroll on by and not even like or comment on it. That’s how much it hurt me to see those posts. But this nurse knew what I was going through. I was so very grateful for all my pre-op staff. I get anxious about surgery and they ended up keeping me calm and reassuring me I’d be okay.
Finally, Dr. Branch was free and it was time for surgery. I remember them giving me some anxiety meds to keep me calm and we all were making jokes on the way to the operating room. Then, in the room, I moved over to the surgical table and they got me all settled in and the anesthesiologist brushed my hair back and the nurse grabbed my hand and said, “We’ll be here when you wake up, you’re going to do great.”
Then the anesthesiologist told me to breathe in deeply and after three breaths, I was out. Next thing I know I’m in post-op crying. My anesthesiologist was to the left of me rubbing my hand and trying to calm me down and one of my nurses was on the right of me talking to me and telling me how good I did. I was crying and kept repeating over and over that I just wanted to be a mom. She ended up getting a cold washcloth and patting my face down with it and told me about how she went through the same thing before she had her daughter. She brushed my hair back and said: "Don’t worry honey, you’re going to get your chance again and it’ll be before you know." I just kept crying but I realized she was right and that I’m not the only one who has gone through this. And even talking to some close friends I have found out that some of them have also had a blighted ovum like I did and they now currently are either in a healthy pregnancy or just had their first after a D&C/miscarriage. So now I can only look at the positives, I have no cysts on my ovaries and I was able to get pregnant. Two things that I thought would never happen. Little blueberry, you’ll always be mommy and daddy’s blueberry.