An anembryonic pregnancy - my story in the hope it helps others

(23 Posts)
Lynne99 Wed 08-May-13 21:56:03

I don't know why I feel so compelled to write an account of what has just happened to me. I found myself searching late at night when I was feeling frightened for blogs, threads, pages with advice or comfort in the past 2 weeks and I suppose I'm hoping that by recounting what has happened to me might in some small way offer some support or reassurance to any one else going through something so horrid.

I was one day away from 12 weeks when it became obvious there was a problem. It was the day before our first scan, something we had been looking forward to so much. The pregnancy - my first - had not been easy with constant morning sickness and various bumps along the way.
But, I'd just started to display a little bump which was a bugger to hide at work and I really couldn't wait to share with my friends.

Only the next day something went wrong, I could feel it, I was 11 weeks and 6 days and it started feeling like I was getting a heavy period. The cramping felt different to the many twinges, aches and pains I'd suffered for 2 months. I tried to ignore them, my hubby kept assuring me it was nothing until after a trip to the bathroom I noticed I'd started to bleed. It was light really but I still felt panic. It was the evening and so we called the hospital who advised visiting A&E. So off we went, and we waited and waited until eventually a very kind nurse took us through to the back room. She took my blood pressure and pulse and kindly advised that as it was at night there was no one there who could scan me - the scan is all you want in that situation trust me - you don't care about anything else, you just want to see your baby on the screen and know that he or she is tucked up in there safe and sound.

She advised I go home, try to rest and come back at 9am to the early pregnancy unit where they could give me a scan. So that's what we did, numb and clinging on to the stats. Some women just bleed a little during pregnancy right? I'd read that online plenty of times and I still looked, felt, was pregnant. Only something also felt different, I just knew it wasn't going to be. Hubs was keeping a brave face on it all assuring me there was still a chance but I knew.

The next day we waited anxiously at the EPU and I was given the much wanted (though still awkward and embarrassing) internal scan. Much silence, whispering doctors. I was then told that my pregnancy was anembryonic. There was no baby. The picture on the screen, the one I was so used to seeing in friends sonographs with the tiny bean shaped thing where you have to pretend you can see it's a baby. It was just blank, empty. I was 12 weeks exactly, I knew that as my husband had been away and there was only one viable time we could have conceived (bloody Valentines has a lot to answer for!!) but on screen all that existed was an empty sac.

I was told that there was a chance my dates were wrong, that I should come back in a week and be rescanned just in case by some miracle a baby appeared. But in the meantime I might just miscarry naturally and if I didn't, and there was no baby, we could talk surgical or medical intervention next time.

So off we went. Feeling empty inside. Mourning the little baby us that we'd found ourselves so attached to. Life can be cruel. Especially as no less than 3 friends announced their pregnancy within 48hours. Seriously, what are the odds! Crueller still when I was summoned apologetically back to the hospital the next morning for a blood test they'd forgotten to take and had to sit with expectant mothers and newborns in the waiting room. Yes I did break down once out of there, you have to let it out.

The week that followed was a strange ole time. My husband, who I love dearly but who is as emotional as a front door, became this wonderful and pragmatic support. Comforting me, loving me and forcing me to go for walks and do some gardening and other trivial things that sound silly but really did help. Slowly the bleeding got a little heavy and the stomach cramps tighter until 7 days since the scan I found myself in agony. I wasn't prepared. No one told me it would feel like I imagine labour might, that naively believing maybe it is just like a period wouldn't be the reality.

Over the two days the pain became worse and worse and deep within. Painkillers didn't touch it and only hot water bottles offered some comfort. Bleeding got heavier and heavier soaking pads and eventually [graphic content] I passed a number of golf ball sized amounts of tissue. I'm writing that because it frightened me at the time and I wasn't prepared. I had no embryo to pass it was just the sac and tissue but it frightened me. I had about 2 hours with scarily heavy bleeding and materials. It happened suddenly, I was at a friends house for a cheering up meal and I had to get a taxi home and stay up most of the night hugging a hot water bottle changing pads.

My tips for the scary horrible day if it does happen naturally:
- Stock up on paracetemol and ibruprofen (you can alternate both)
- Have two hot water bottles, one for your front, one for your back
- Wear your comfiest pants and your biggest sanitary towels - better still apparently there's something called maternity pads which are better.
- Be kind to yourself, you're amazing and you will get through it.

But, there is hope. After that horrible night the pain in my stomach eased. Only slightly but it did ease. Over the next day or two the bleeding carried on, like a heavy period, some tissue still but nothing like that night.

I went back to the hospital today. This scan confirmed my wombs lining was at 13mm and slightly rough so it wasn't over yet but the sac was gone and as I was under 15mm it was advised that a surgical/medical intervention was not necessary. My body was doing it itself. This was good news for me as I didn't want the general anaesthetic or medical intervention. In another two weeks the bleeding will hopefully be over.

My only slight fear is that - as I'm rhesus negative - I wasn't offered an Anti D injection because I was just at 12 weeks. I have read it's standard not to below 12 weeks and I suppose there was no baby so perhaps it just wasn't needed so I will try not to dwell on this. Because today I feel for the first time in weeks like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Emotionally it will take time to move on but physically I hope I can now start putting it behind us, something I couldn't do until this second scan.

Everyone will experience a miscarriage differently I'm sure. For others surgical/medical might be offered right away and might be the best decision for you. But my advice would be don't freak yourself out reading every horror story and ask lots of questions of the doctors - they won't mind and it's better to make informed decisions. I wasn't really prepared and it was a little traumatic going through the miscarriage but I did get through the worst part of it. You're capable of being stronger than you ever know. Just be kind to yourself, look after yourself. Look to your friends and family for support and remember that the odds are in your favour for most people to go on and have a healthy baby and this experience will make you so much stronger.

I hope this helps anyone going through something similar and if it's just a long diatribe then it was at least cathartic to write.

Thoughts with all those going through something so crappy.

DizzyPurple Wed 08-May-13 22:09:23

Sending you a hug xxx I had a miscarriage at ten weeks a few years ago and it was similar to how you describe with the bleeding/pain etc although I did pass a tiny foetus. Took me a long time to get over mentally as was a much longed for baby (and still saddens me greatly but is definitely easier than it was). I had counselling which really helped me and subsequently had a gorgeous dd which most definitely helped. Sounds great your dh is looking after you. Look after yourself and give yourself time to grieve for this baby as well as getting your strength back physically. x

RicStar Wed 08-May-13 22:09:35

Sorry for your loss lynne. Your story sounds much like mine & i also wish i'd known more what to expect. There are some good post m/c threads on here. Take care of yourself over the next few days

Tomkat79 Wed 08-May-13 22:11:31

Aww lynne99 thank you so much for sharing this. You're very brave and very strong x

I'm so sorry for your loss. My MC happened a couple of days off 12 weeks too (last month) and I experienced the same fear after having to visit A&E on a Sunday then wait for 9am Monday for the EPU. I had already started to miscarry heavily by then so they couldn't even tell me what gestation the foetus was when it died. sad I opted for surgical management as I had a funeral to attend in another part of the country and didn't want to travel whilst bleeding. I think you are so brave to have allowed it to happen naturally. I miscarried a lot of it naturally but there was still 'retained products' as they call it and I couldn't risk another big bleed. I can relate to not knowing what to expect - I was in hysterics when I passed tissue, and for some reason didn't realise the pain would be actual contractions (I have a DS already). It's hard, isn't it? sad Thank you for sharing your story, certainly makes me feel less alone. <thanks>

Oops should have been thanks smile

Bibblebobbleparsnip Wed 08-May-13 22:33:37

Thank you very much for sharing your story. You are right in that you are a very brave lady and sincerely hope you continue to heal both physically and emotionally. I have a very similar story to yours and you are absolutely right in it feeling like labour. Unfortunately for me during one of my miscarriages something got stuck on its way out and I ended up passing out and being blue lighted to hospital hmm It did all sort itself out eventually and I now have 2 more children (my miscarriages were after the birth of my first) so please take hope in that.
Do take time to grieve. I named my "baby" and remember "her"'every year around my EDD and when I lost her. Not dwelling on my loss, but remembering that "she" did exist, and that for 11 short weeks I was her Mum and I had hopes and dreams for her too.
I hope that your husband continues to be supportive, it's good to be able to share that with him.
Look after yourself and give yourself time. In my own experience it has been a great healer.
(Un Mumsnetty hugs)

Essexgirlupnorth Wed 08-May-13 22:43:13

Sorry to hear about your miscarriage. Please check about the anti-D I though you should be offered it after any bleed in pregnancy.

RainyDay7 Fri 10-May-13 10:32:09

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been really helpful to me personally as I am going through this right now, I am in the limbo of waiting for a second scan though we already know the outcome. (ours was our wedding anniversary weekend away) I just wanted to let you know that your story has helped and reassured someone that they will get through this too. Hugs and Thank you.

Glitterybits Mon 03-Jun-13 20:27:27

I'm so sorry for your loss. This sounds horribly similar to my own anembryonic loss at 12 weeks. I could have almost written it myself. I agree that the physical discomfort and blood/ tissue loss was far more frightening than I was led to believe by the info given to me at the hospital. It also took a very long time for my hormones to settle down again. However, there is hope. Three years later I have a beautiful baby girl. You never forget the loss, but you will smile again. Be kind to yourself.

Nearly42 Sat 15-Jun-13 21:02:14

I'm so sorry you have been though this. When I had my miscarriage I was just so angry that people had no idea how horrific it can be. Just thinking you would bleed a little and that was it. Thank you for sharing our story xx

Nearly42 Sat 15-Jun-13 21:02:40

Sorry, that should have been 'your story'

Pebz92 Fri 13-Sep-13 22:00:09

Im sorry to hear what you have been through, it must have been very traumatic for you going through that and not knowing. Your story has made me realise i am not the only one who is going through this as i am only young (21) and have not known anyone go through this let alone heard of it before.

This week i found i had anembryonic pregnancy aswell, but i did not experience any bleeding or discomfort, i went to my 12 week scan on monday i had mixed emotions happy excited nervous as to what it would be like to see my baby for the first time. I had a student sonographer taking my scan and as she started to rub over my belly i could see the screen to the side of me, i saw the empty sac and was thinking there should be a baby shape fetus in there but wasn't get too worrid at that point as she was student and just might not have it at the right angle, she said to me are you in your early stages, i replyed no i was 12 weeks yesterday and she carried on looking

A minute or 2 later she said let me go see the senior sonographer so when she walked out i turned to my partner and said something wasn't right but he said lets just wait to see what happens just then the senior sonographer walked it and started, i was looking at the screen and still could not see a fetus. He then asked me how far along i am and i told him 12 weeks, he then started clicking on the screen measuring the sac and he then told me your have had anembryonic pregancy and the sac was about 9weeks along and if the was a fetus he should be able to see it. At this point i aort of zoned out and could not take anything in.

I was then led to another room where i could talk to a midwife as to what happens next. When the midwife started talking she said to me there is 3 options that i could take: patient management, medical management or surgery. As this point i was overwhelmed with information but the only thing i could think of is not patient management as 3 weeks have already gone and my body was still thinking it was pregnant so it could go on for another 3weeks or so.

In the end i went with medical management and i was admitted in to hospital at 9am the following day and was given the medication at about 10am. 7 hours later still nothing had started to happen and they was about to discharge me home as they started the paper work i had a huge clot (which i thought it was the sac) they then said they going to keep me abit longer just to keep an eye on me and see how the bleeding goes and after that i had afew more big clots.

It got to 11.30pm the nurse came to me and said the bleeding has settled and i can go home she then explained to me that i have not yet passed the sac and i would have to pass it at home and that i am rhesus b negative. Still not taking anything in i went home and the next day after having a bath i passed out and had to go back to hospital for more check luckily it was nothing. It is now friday and a have my next scan a week today to make sure it has passed it all but so far nothing.

I hope you didn't mind me sharing my story with you but i hope that both our stories help other woman know that are not on there own.

Aga0 Mon 03-Mar-14 13:06:00

Hi Girls, Im with you on this one...
Last Wed I has an urgent scan (i had painful kidney but nurse said I should do a scan just to be on the safe site). Then we went.. with a massive smile on our faces excited that we will see baby but there was nothing.. completely nothing... I was devastated.. No one who not went through it knows how painful it is. Midwife told me about the options but it was well overwhelming. She asked to me read up about them on Miscarriage Association whenever I will be ready. I did it yesterday but Im really confused what to do what to choose and what my next step should be. I called midwife office today asking if I will decide to go for tablets then will I get it when my scan will be (this Thursday)? She said that I will have to be in hospital for the first dose, then go home, then come back for the second one?? Is that true? I would love to to stay at home, i think that situation like this should be as comfortable as possible for us..
I spoke with my friend and she said that there is really bad pain after tablets, is that true?
Help me girls... I dont know what to do sad

Aoifebelle Mon 03-Mar-14 15:30:09

Aga so sorry, it is completely bewildering and utterly shit.

You have thre choices. You can wait to mc naturally. This can take weeks, can be painful and you will need to live with the uncertainty of when it will happen.

You can have an erpc. This is a quick and painless surgical procedure done under general. Usually takes 24-48 hrs to recover completely. Some women don't like the thought of surgery, but others prefer the certainty and finality.

I have no personal experience of medical management, but none of the options are pain free. I think you have to attend hospital as they insert pessaries high up in your vagina. I have read they can cause sickness and diarrhea, but they work quickly and you know when it will happen.

If you get some decent pain killers take them before the pain sets in and you should be able to cope whatever route you choose.

All the best

Nee1 Mon 03-Mar-14 15:39:49

Hi Aga0 and everybody else,

I've recently been through a very similar experience to what has been described here. It would have been my second pregnancy, I already have a 2 1/2 year old son. I had my pregnancy scan at 13 weeks (I had a funeral week before so couldn't attend the appointment) and there was an empty gestational sac. I was told to come back for another scan as there were 'structures' of some sort and they wanted to be a 100% that it wasn't a viable pregnancy. Although I knew that this definitely was going to end in a miscarriage, I've still got the picture of my son's first scan picture and you can clearly see a foetus, also deep down, I had a feeling something was wrong because I really didn't connect with this pregnancy unlike with my son.

As it turned out the doctor booked us in for an appointment too early, so the next scan, to them not 100% unviable as the 'structures' had grown by 1/2 a mm, and they implied that we could be aborting if we took medical intervention then. It was a crap situation to be in. I really just wanted it to be over.

I ended up miscarrying at 15 weeks, the week before my third scan I had began to bleed small amounts. At the third scan they knew for certain it wasn't viable as the sac was collapsing. I took the option of medical management as I really couldn't handle waiting however long to miscarry naturally, and I just wanted to have time to recover and try and again. The tablets were inserted as pessaries, they don't give oral pessaries at Eastbourne. They inserted 4 tablets, I had to lay down for 30 minutes, then we were discharged. On the way home, I began to feel cramps and then at home I lay on the sofa with a big sanitary towel, and a hot water bottle. It was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Every so often lots of blood and fluid would gush out. I didn't take any painkillers or paracetamol, but for me, the pain was bearable. I went to bed that night and woke up feeling a big gush of fluid come out. I went to the toilet and then more blood and the sac fell into the toilet. Unfortunately I didn't see the sac and I didn't want to fish it out!

The bleeding afterwards was on and off for 3 weeks. Luckily, I had absolutely no problems. I conceived again 2 weeks after the bleeding stopped with no period. I just couldn't wait, I really wanted to be pregnant again.

I am now about 9 weeks along, I have had an early scan at 6.4 weeks and there was a yolk sac and heartbeat. I am still so apprehensive though and will be until the 12 week scan. It is crazy, as the pregnancy symptoms before were so strong. Really bad nausea and fatigue. I was just annoyed with my body for holding on for so long. Anyway hope this helps in some way to enabling you to choose an option.

smile

Aga0 Mon 03-Mar-14 16:02:44

Hi Nee1,

Thats was my first pregnancy and it is really difficult to cope. Baby wasnt planned but I loved it from the moment when test shown positive. I knew that after bad news will be even worse and thats what im scared off.I would like to go with tablets but Ive heard really bad stories and in some point im thinking that it is easier to go sleep and wake up "sorted", but its an operation which can leave a scar tissue..
I dont want to go through it any way. I just need to wake up from this horrible dream ! Im just scared and so empty inside. Heartbroken cant even a word to describe what I feel now... sad

Nee1 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:33:53

Really feel for you :-( Wish at this moment in time, I could say that it will get better, but I'm still dealing with it despite being pregnant again. You have take consolation that a blighted ovum is common but very rare to happen twice. I'm writing this but constantly googling it online! You have to let yourself grieve and accept it will take time.

The medical management route worked really well for me, I didn't want to be under general anesthetic and the hospital recommended natural or the pills. They work to induce the miscarriage. I had heard lots of info but it was fine and over with quickly.

Do whatever feels best, and remember it is very unlikely to happen twice. The u/s sonographer said thst with a blighted ovum, the cells separate and half form the sac and the other half don't form the embryo.

Take lots of care of yourself. Miscarriage association are really helpful, you can call them. xx

Aga0 Mon 03-Mar-14 23:20:36

Aoifebelle, I'm just scared that's all. Nothing is pain free but I'm not mentally strong nowadays then staying at the hospital is not making me feel extremely happy. If I want to cry, scream I would prefer to do it at home. Is just this home feeling is needed in situations like this.
We will see.. Preparing for the worst.. At least I might not be disappointed...

Aga0 Mon 03-Mar-14 23:33:34

Nee1, I would not wish the worse person in the world to go through what we do... I have never been so scared, depressed and in such emotional pain in my life. I was just so happy... Few days before I found out I said to my friend that I can't wait to kiss those little hands and feet! And in the matter of few minutes your life is upside down. I'm so scared but (I know it's stupid ) but I don't want to let it go as I think what if Dr made mistake and everything is OK and baby was just hiding?! I don't know what should I do. I don't want to be around people but don't want to be alone either. Crying every day as I really wanted this little person. I wanted to protect it but I failed from the beginning. My brain knows its not my fault but heart is in pieces.
I was thinking about calling miscarriage association but the only thing what they would hear would be cry...
Thank you for your support hun. You don't even know how much I appreciate it xxx

Aoifebelle Tue 04-Mar-14 07:03:15

Aga it is totally shit, scary, heartbreaking. I know what you mean about wanting to be at home, but if you do end up in hospital,please know that it will very probably not be as awful as you think it will. In my experience the staff are very sensitive and you will suprise yourself with your strength.

This will be horrible, but you will get through it and there is every chance you will go on to create the family you want.

Nee1 Tue 04-Mar-14 08:18:13

Aoifebelle is right, staff at hospital are very supportive and you will get through it. It is horrible experience to go through, I've never been so affected by something. For me the worst part is the loneliness. 've not been able to talk about it and have kept it quiet as I have four friends who are all expecting and due around the same time I would have been.

If you need to, seek help with the emotional side. I have seeked cbt for depression and that has helped a lot. Also, I know a lot of women who have had miscarriages but gone on have successful pregnancies. Unfortunately it is common, but unlikely to happen again. Let yourself grieve for as long as you need to. xx

WLHI Tue 15-Apr-14 23:02:34

Lynne99 This exact same thing just happened to me, only tomorrow I have to go in for the MVA. You gave some AMAZING encouragement and it's been a real boost for me to read that this an experience that I have shared with you, sadly. It's so wonderful that you shared your story. We will try again, we will be mothers! It's so very very sad to go through this. Taking your maternity report in, hoping for the best but suspecting the worst and then leaving with the reality of a pile of miscarriage literature is hard to bear. Thank you for your support.

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