Blighted Ovum – Coming to Terms with My Miscarriage

A blighted ovum occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, but fails to develop. It’s the leading cause of early pregnancy loss, and, as this post details, can come with some complicated emotions.
ultrasound revealing a Blighted Ovum

My fiancé and I have a 21 month old son. Yes, I am fully aware that’s basically 2. But I’m not rushing that, so for now he’s 21 months. We decided in April that we would begin trying for another one the following month. One month in and boom, pregnant. Talk about luck.

Fast forward two weeks later and I am now almost six weeks pregnant.

According to my app my baby is the size of a poppy seed. Aw. The nausea came, the food aversions came, sore nipples…the works.

For a week or so I’ve had a pinching sensation on my left side right above my pelvic bone. I decided it was time to call the doctor, and if nothing else I would at least get an early glimpse of my quickly growing baby. After describing my pain, my doctor throws out the term “ectopic pregnancy”. Oh crap. They schedule an ultrasound for four hours later. Pure torture.

I’m waiting in my car and I automatically start googling ectopic pregnancy.

I start laying out my spiel for God. I tell him, “Listen, I know it’s been a while but I will do whatever you want, just please don’t let me have an ectopic pregnancy.” He listens. The scan comes and my sweet poppy seed is growing in my uterus. They tell me the pain is a cyst, which is completely normal. Such sweet relief.

They schedule two more scans for the next two weeks to make sure things are progressing correctly.

I feel fine, as fine as you can feel in the first trimester. To me, pregnancy symptoms have always been a good sign. Scan #2 rolls around and everything is obviously fine because I feel pregnant as hell.

The tech says to me “I’m not seeing that anything has progressed since your last scan, I need to compare the two scans.” Maybe it was just my denial, but I was not picking up what she was putting down. She sends me back to the waiting room while the doctor compares the two scans.

Blighted ovum. That’s what my doctor tells me he believes is happening.

Uhm, sorry doc..did you not just hear me tell you about all of my pregnancy symptoms? I’m definitely pregnant. He explains that (in much kinder terms), there is no baby and there never will be a baby with this pregnancy. He schedules yet another scan to verify and tells me we can discuss my options at the next appointment.

I am 7 weeks and 5 days, and you know I have spent the last seven days reading blighted ovum misdiagnosis stories.

On the way to my appointment I say, “God..me again, if you give me a healthy baby I will stop yelling so much, I’ll play with the dog more, and I’ll stay off my phone during the day.” Yeah, the stages of grief are freaking fickle.

Somehow I think He must have known that I wasn’t going spend any more time outside playing fetch with the dog because guess what? No baby. No heartbeat. Nothing but a big empty sac. The tech tells me “I’m sorry sweetie, I know this is not the news you wanted.” She really hit the nail on the head.

So here I am, sitting half naked on the table with nothing to cover me up but a big white sheet.

My eyes are beginning to get watery and the tech is trying her best to clear the room for me. She hands me a box of tissues and tells me to take my time. Crying isn’t usually me, but this is something I can’t help. She tells me when I’m ready to have a seat in the waiting room and the doctor will bring me back shortly. 

“Shortly” was an hour later and every minute of that hour was agony. 

Here I am with my puffy red eyes and stupid empty sac in my belly, watching glowing pregnant women make there way into the office. They are waiting patiently to see their babies on the big screen. And me? I’m just sitting there, feeling like my body totally betrayed me.

The doctor tells me I have three options for dealing with the blighted ovum.

  1. Let my body miscarry naturally. This could happen tomorrow or it could happen five weeks from now.
  2. I could take a dose of misoprostol, which would induce my miscarriage.
  3. D&C..this one was completely off the table for me, mostly just because it made me nervous.

I pick option 2.

We are leaving for the beach in two weeks and I want this whole situation to be over with by then. I decide to wait until Thursday night to take it because I am off on Friday. 

I insert four pills (vaginally, what fun!) and wait. Four hours in and I began to experience cramps with such intensity that I would compare them to the early stages of labor.

So, here I am. Two weeks later and still rocking extra large pads, trying to hold back tears every time I see a pregnant woman.

I miscarried at 8 weeks. It’s something I’m still trying to wrap my head around. What makes it even harder is knowing that I am grieving something that never really was. I never had a baby in my belly, and for me, that’s really hard to process. 

My biggest take away from this experience was that I needed to give myself time and grace. I’ve spent a lot of time being bitter, and a lot of time feeling guilty for being bitter. But that’s just the way I am grieving and that’s okay.

I’m questioned from time to time about when we are going to try for baby #2 and I’m pretty honest about it, “I just miscarried and we are really looking forward to trying again.” They feel uncomfortable for asking and I reassure them that right now I am doing just fine. 

If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, you aren’t alone.

Check out some of our posts about it to read more about how people manage it, how they talk about it, or why they might decide not to share their story.

Related: Three Miscarriages, Three Experiences: There’s No Easy Option

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