Easter Egg Fail!
We spent yesterday at our family farm (more like playground) with my sister and got home late last night. My husband put the kids to bed and I started working on filling up Easter eggs. He asked if we should hide the eggs in the morning worried that ants would get inside the eggs, but I said I was tired and worried the kids would wake up before me and convinced him and my oldest stepdaughter to hide the eggs last night before we went to sleep. True to form, the kids got up before us and waited as patiently as they could for us to wake up at 7:30am. The hunt started not long after and didn’t last long enough for me to snap more than a couple of photos. As the kids picked up the last of the eggs they started screaming. Ants were crawling on their eggs and baskets. If that isn’t a good metaphor for my story, I don’t know what is!
Once I decided I wanted a baby, I started planning everything. I started taking prenatal vitamins a year before we got married. We decided we wanted to try to have a summer baby. I bought a nursery rocking chair and ottoman from someone who posted it on our neighborhood website. My Amazon order history shows a list of all the books I read about conceiving, pregnancy, and newborns. I knew what to expect BEFORE I was expecting. The week I conceived our baby, I went shopping with my mom at Pottery Barn Kids and fell in love with a crib named “Rory” (a good laugh for anyone who knows my obsession with Gilmore Girls) and a bedding set called “Sleepy Sheep.” I doubt I’ve ever been more prepared for anything in my life!
Through all that planning, I had never read about molar pregnancies. When I had my follow up appointment after my D&C in January, my obstetrician told me that she’d received the pathology report from the procedure but wanted to discuss it with me in person. I was surprised there was a pathology done, as we were told they didn’t usually do testing to determine the cause of a miscarriage until a woman has had 3+ miscarriages. I had thought it would be a standard post op appointment and had told my husband he didn’t need to come with me to the doctor’s office. Right after the doctor greeted me, she starts explaining that they found two things in the pathology report. First, our baby had 69 chromosomes (triploidy) – a condition where the baby has 46 chromosomes (2 copies) from the father and the usual 23 chromosomes from the mother. This happens from the moment of conception when two sperm fertilize one egg and triploidy is “not compatible with life.” My first thought to this news was, well Bill is pretty awesome so I can’t blame this kid for wanting to be 66.6% dad and 33.3% me. And my second thought was relief to know that I hadn’t done anything to harm the baby and that I could finally stop asking the question “why” over and over and over. Second, she explained that it was also a molar pregnancy. My first thought to this was, ok I’m some kind of freak who got pregnant with a tooth (?) as flashes of a Grey’s Anatomy episode replay in my mind. Specifically the episode where a man thinks he’s pregnant but they find a teratoma growing inside him. In all of my Grey’s Anatomy medical education, I’d never heard of a molar pregnancy diagnosis. Basically, when my egg became fertilized by two sperm, the baby AND placenta began to grow abnormally. As it turns out there is a really good reason babies receive half their DNA from mom and half from dad. The paternal cells grow rapidly and are kept in check by the maternal cells that act as a sort of tumor suppressor. So having a molar pregnancy means everything is growing at warp speed. My hCG (pregnancy hormone) grew as rapidly as my belly. By week 9, I had to go buy maternity pants because I’d run out of clothes that fit! In a way this molar pregnancy diagnosis explained all the strange things I’d experienced while pregnant. Typically, the D&C procedure removes all the “products of conception” (can they really not find a better name for it??) and a woman is cleared to try again anywhere from 1-3 months after a miscarriage. I was told that I needed to have my blood checked weekly until my hCG level hit negative (<5) to ensure that all of the cells were removed and did not start to grow again and metastasize. If I hit negative on my own then I’d have 3 more monthly checks to make sure my levels remain negative and I’d be cleared to try to conceive again. If I didn’t hit negative on my own, the next step would be getting injections of Methotrexate – a chemotherapy drug – to kill all the abnormal cells. Molar pregnancies fall under the category of “Gestational Trophoblastic Disease” – gestational refers to pregnancy and trophoblastic refers to placental cells. I specifically had a partial molar pregnancy which means I had a triploidy baby and abnormal placental cells. There is another form of GTD called complete molar pregnancy which occurs when an egg contains zero maternal DNA but is fertilized by sperm, resulting in a pregnancy with no fetus but abnormal growth of cells. Another more rare form of GTD is called Placental Site Trophoblastic Tumor where a malignancy occurs at the location of where the placenta attaches to the uterus and often metastasizes to the lungs or other organs. This can actually occur with normal pregnancies – so it’s important for the placenta to be examined after birth and hCG levels checked around 6 weeks after delivery.
The doctor told me that a molar pregnancy occurs in about 1 out of 1500 pregnancies. Basically I lost the baby lottery. I had planned everything out in advance, but ended up with an Easter basket full of ants.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was that no amount of planning can ensure a good outcome. If I do become a mom, it will be in God’s timing, not mine. When that time comes, I know in my heart it will be EGGStra special. ☺️
HAPPY EASTER to you all!! 🐰🐣🤗
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.