When a miscarriage would be “good news”.

I’ve really struggled with whether or not to share this but as I already wrote about TTC, I figured an update is order. But this is about to get pretty intimate…so if that’s not your thing, turn back now.


I didn’t think I’d find myself here — in a position where a miscarriage would be good news. But here I am.

The day after I wrote my prior post, I got a faint positive on a home pregnancy test. I was beyond shocked and overjoyed…although I tried to withhold my excitement. As my spouse said “we’ve been down this road before”…aka excitement for something that ends in disappointment. My first pregnancy, before I eventually conceived my son, resulted in an early miscarriage, and that left it’s emotional scars and lots of early pregnancy anxiety.

I tested again the next day, and then the next.  That tell-tale line began to darken, and with it my hope began to expand. Then a few days later, the line was fainter — a sign that HCG was not increasing the way it should. I prepared myself for what would happen next, what happened the first time…the line would grow fainter and fainter and then the bleeding would start in a few days. But that didn’t quite happen.

What did happen, was that the line sort of stalled out but stayed positive. And despite intermittent waves of cramping, no bleeding came. I called my doctor and explained what was going…that I suspected I was heading toward a miscarriage, but not bleeding yet. They scheduled me for an appointment the following week.

In the days that followed one part of me was abandoning hope as I saw those lines on the pregnancy test staying faint. Another tiny part of me (mostly the part experiencing morning sickness) thought, hey, maybe this could actually work out ok somehow, as unlikely as that seemed.

Then, the night before I was scheduled to see my doctor, the bleeding came. Heavily. So much like what I remember feeling during the first miscarriage almost 3 years ago. It was almost a relief to be out of limbo and feel like I had a definitive answer. I called my doctors office the next morning to ask if I should even bother keeping my appointment. They said yes, just to make sure things were progressing ok.

The doctor had me pee in a cup to confirm pregnancy. (Confirmed.) Next the speculum to check how heavy my bleeding was. (Heavy). Then a transvaginal ultrasound to check the state of my uterus. She turned the monitor away from me. Clicked measurements. Printed pictures. What the fuck could there be to snap a picture of?

I was told to sit up, cover up with gown. The look on her face told me something was not quite right. My first thought…the miscarriage isn’t progressing. I’m going to need a D&C. Ugh.

Wrong.

“Your uterine lining is thick, but there’s nothing there.” This didn’t seem to warrant the look on her face. Wouldn’t a miscarriage mean nothing in the uterus? She must have seen my confusion. “There’s no evidence of anything in your uterus.” She repeated, with more emphasis on NO and ANYTHING. “But there is a mass near your ovary. Have you heard of a tubal pregnancy?”.

Yes. I have. And they sound scary as fuck.

I got dressed and we continued the conversation in her office. “It could just be a cyst”, she says.

A wave of relief. I reply, eyes brightened, “Yes! I get cysts all the time! It’s probably just a cyst”.

Her face dimmed in response to my brightening. “But this doesn’t look like a normal cyst”. She explained to me how normal cysts look “regular” and typically occur within the boundaries of the ovary. (I know what she means, I’ve seen my cysts on ultrasound before). This “mass”, she explains, seems to be beside my ovary rather than inside it, and is not shaped regularly.

I remind her of my BRCA+ status and that any combination of the words mass & ovary strike fear deep into me. She assured me that an ectopic pregnancy is much more likely than it being any sort of tumor (especially given my last ultrasound was only 2 months ago and was totally normal).

She explained to me the procedure for figuring out what was going on — blood draws to see HCG levels, immediately following the doctors appointment then again 48 hrs later. Levels staying the same or rising would indicate ectopic pregnancy, levels dropping would indicate miscarriage.

So basically these are the possibilities for what is going on in my body right now ranked from least bad (because there is no “best”) to worst:

  1. Miscarriage + unusual but normal ovarian cyst
  2. Ectopic pregnancy
  3.  Miscarriage + small tumor near my ovary
    • 3a. Benign tumor
    • 3b. Cancer

Why would miscarriage be the “good news”? Basically because it’s the only option not likely to have a significant impact on my short-term future fertility…and this is particularly important given the limited timeframe we’ve given ourselves to make another baby before I get my BSO. The treatment for ectopic pregnancy would really reduce the chances that baby #2 will become a reality.

So now, I wait for news. I had my second blood draw yesterday and am expecting a call from my doctor tomorrow with the results. I’m feeling weirdly optimistic…based solely on how things feel in my body…but the confidence on my doctor’s face when she told me she thought it may be ectopic shakes my resolve. And frankly, I’m not even letting myself think much about option #3…it’s just too much to take in right now. But the words…”mass near your ovary”…have a way of lingering in my BRCA brain.

 

 

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