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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 7: Like A Pelvic Game Of Asteroids

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the seventh of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 25, 2014
Dear Friends,

Yesterday was my two-week post-operative checkup. The good news is that everything appears to be in order. I'm healing and generally feeling much better.

And now for the great news. After the D&C, the products of conception were sent to a lab for analysis. One of the standard screens is to rule out a rare complication called a molar pregnancy. I urge you not to Google this as it will make your brain explode. Basically, in a molar pregnancy the cells that should develop into the placenta instead turn into small cysts. There are two kinds of molar pregnancy: a complete mole, in which no normal cells remain; and a partial mole, in which some cells appear normal and others are not. The initial screen ruled out a complete mole, but was inconclusive on the possibility of a partial mole. So the pathology lab will perform a second screen.

Molar pregnancies are treated differently than other non-viable pregnancies. Because the cystic cells are derived from products of conception, they can produce their own hCG. And because fertilized eggs implant by borrowing into the uterine wall, it's possible for some deeply-placed cystic cells to remain after a D&C. It's like a pelvic game of Asteroids - when you blow up a big rock, sometimes a bunch of little rocks come hurtling back at you and those rocks are really hard to hit. For this reason, the protocol after a molar pregnancy involves a lot of screening to make sure the hCG level comes down and stays down.

Apparently, the screening for partial moles has been tightened recently. My midwife said that the lab has been requesting extra screens quite a bit recently. They haven't turned up more molar pregnancies, but you know - pathologists be pathologizing. The extra screen could take another 2-3 weeks to complete. In the meantime, the protocol for molar pregnancy has to be observed.

I have to admit, as horror franchises go this is a pretty great twist. It's no Freddie vs. Jason, but way more creative than anything the Saw movies churned up. By the time you're this deep in a series, you're not really looking for genuine thrills and chills anymore. You're just expecting relentless unpleasantness. To go in for what should be a routine cervical prodding and find out this failed pregnancy can effectively reach out from the grave and ruin my life? That's inspired.

For the next two to three weeks, I get to have a weekly blood draw. I would prefer a weekly waterboarding. You'll remember, of course, that an extended period of weekly blood draws was the exact scenario I was trying to avoid by getting the D&C. See what I mean? Inspired.

It gets even better, though, because if the second screen confirms a molar pregnancy it means weekly or monthly blood draws for an additional six months. What's in six months? Wait for it . . . my due date. That's right - there's a slight possibility that I will get to endure a full-term pregnancy of misery. You gotta tip your hat, right? Because I sure as hell didn't see that coming.

I should stress that molar pregnancies are extremely rare, occurring in less than 0.25% of all pregnancies. I'm trying to keep that in mind as I make my way through two to three more weeks of uncertainty. However, I'm also bracing for the worst because, let's face it, I've been on quite the unprecedented run of crappy luck lately.

My husband attempted to refocus my mind last night by pointing out what he views as the most important news, that I'm healthy and well-recovered from the surgery. This is a totally fair point, but does little to alleviate the incredible sense of dread and fatigue I feel at this point. I keep hoping I'll see the end of the tightrope, and instead it disappears into the mists in front of me. I have to psych myself up for every blood draw, just hoping this'll be the last one. Do you think this is how Cary Elwes felt when he got the script for Saw 3D?

So in short, everything is fine and simultaneously terrible. But whatever, it'll all be over eventually.

Where's the sleepy Maserati when I need him?

Best,
nj

-

Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6: The Garage Doors Of Fresno.

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Tomorrow: No gross fetal parts identified.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on January 28, 2015


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