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

(32 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.

JannieH Sat 22-Jul-17 19:02:32

My an embryonic pregnancy was over 30 years ago - my first pregnancy. Nothing prepared me for the shock of the first scan. I managed to back my car into someone else's in the car park. I was sent off for 2 weeks (because I was going home to my parents for a week) and told to have another scan on my return. I was not warned that I could miscarry and I was having horrendous morning sickness. I looked as pale as death. I was fortunate and did not miscarry but had to have a D&C to clear everything away. A couple of days later I ended up back in hospital with a haemorrhage. The good news is that I went on to have three healthy children' all grown-up now, so take heart. I hope you will have the family you long for. Xx

Bex112 Mon 31-Jul-17 20:39:50

I have just had my 12 week scan this morning and been told that there is no baby. An anembryomic pregnancy. I didn't even know there was such a thing. I feel so gutted. Totally shocked and numb. I can't believe there is nothing in there - I still LOOK pregnant! I am now awaiting a phone call tomorrow to ask me what I want to do. I don't know what I want to do. I don't want to be under a general anaesthetic but the alternatives sound very painful. I was 12 weeks last Wednesday so stupidly believed I was out of the danger zone and told lots of people including my 5 year old daughter. I should have waited for the scan results first but I was too excited. My daughter has been talking to "the baby" through my tummy, and we had chosen names for him/her. It feels silly to grieve something that was never there but I can't stop crying.

K0013 Mon 31-Jul-17 22:54:39

Bex I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is not silly at all to grieve, it is something we all need to do to get through this. Sending you big hugs x

Bithjah5 Sat 13-Jan-18 06:12:34

Thank you for posting this thread. I just went through almost exactly the same situation. I fainted after passing the empty sac and had to go to the ER. I had lost so much blood. There was so much physical pain. But nothing compares to my broken heart. Istill can't understand how my pregnancy lasted for so long (12 weeks+) without an actual baby in there. I still don't believe that nothing was there. Maybe it just stopped developing before they can see it with ultrasound? I know this is a super old thread. But i just wanted to post. It helps me feel less alone. And I still feel like I need answers. How can this be? There's almost no information on the internet. Do any of you know anything more? I mean even if it was too small to be seen on ultrasound, wasn't there still a tiny human in there? I had plans for her/ him. So many plans. We named the baby Lolly. Luke if it had been a boy and Molly for a girl. So combined = Lolly. Anyway. .. if anyone sees this, it happend to us too. I hope you all are doing better. I'm so sorry for you all.

Bithjah5 Sat 13-Jan-18 06:26:21

Bex... i don't think it's silly to grieve. asked my doctor if it was silly and she said it was a pregnancy and it is a loss. I still can't believe that the amniotic sac was completely empty. My heart is breaking with you. We told our family and our other kids that we were having a baby right before the bleeding started. I feel so confused. And I've been so sick from the anemia i developed. It was all so traumatic.

SaraMC84 Sun 04-Mar-18 16:32:28

Thank you for all your posts. I know they were written years ago but I’m just going through this now & it’s so helpful (both emotionally & for expectations) to read. Devastating to hear those words empty sac, didn’t even know what it meant, now waiting for 2nd scan xx

Carlieflower Thu 16-Jan-20 22:50:49

Okay I'm sorry I know this thread is super old but I'm so thankful to have read this... I had a miscarriage like this a while back and it has still bothered me that I was not prepared for the pain... I was told "light bleeding and cramping" but honestly I'd rather tear a ligament in my knee again before I go through what I went through that week... We had gone on a road trip to my in laws. I was excited to see them and get my mind off of the impending passing of tissue.... Had a great time but started cramping towards the end... I should have just stayed at their house longer but I thought I could make it home. We were halfway home so about 4 hrs home and 4 hrs from in-laws house and the cramps had become so unbearable and I had started bleeding profusely... My poor husband didn't know what to do. I ended up in a gas station bathroom in a tiny town for over an hour... It felt like a life time... Not trying to scare anyone but just trying to let others know to try to stay near home... This was the most traumatic experience I've ever had and when I had mentioned the trip to my doctor they said I'd be fine... I was not. I think our health care professionals are trying not to scare us about the miscarriage but I feel they should be more transparent about how much pain a woman can have during one. I was not prepared and nobody talked to me about how this could go even though they knew I would miscarry...
Thanks to everyone for sharing in this thread and letting me know I was not alone in the pain I felt, physically and emotionally. I never thought the words "empty sac" could be so painful... My husband, my mother and I cried together a few times. We were all so excited. It's still hard to accept sometimes but looking forward to the future

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