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Discouraging 9 week ultrasound scan

(43 Posts)
Catsycat Tue 21-Jun-11 11:06:21

Hi, Please bear with me everyone - this is my first post on MN and is probably going to be a long one!

I am 9 weeks pregnant with my third child. I have never had any problems with any pregnancy (can't get the babies out by myself, but that's another story). When I found I was pregnant, I had one day being really happy, then went to my doctor to check which of my antihistamines I could carry on taking when pregnant. After advising about the medication, he offered to examine me (just externally) to check I wasn't more pregnant than I thought. I didn't think it could do any harm, as my GP is lovely and I really trust him. On my right side there was some tenderness when he pressed on it (quite hard pressure). He said I should maybe have a scan to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.

I went for the scan (transvaginal) but was only about 5-6 weeks, and they saw a gestational sac but nothing else. They couldn't see my right ovary at all. They said this was normal for the stage of pregnancy.

I went back for a further scan and this time they could see the gestational sac with the external scan, and then did a transvaginal one which showed a yolk sac too, and a small cyst on my right ovary. I was told the cyst is quite common and caused by the egg being releases, and that it will just shrink, also that it could have explained the pain. As they still couldn't see a foetal pole, they said I should come back, but again was told the scan was pretty normal for the stage I was at.

The third scan was yesterday. There was a student doing it, until the qualified sonographer took over. The student said she could see "something" but not clearly enough scanning externally, so said I could go to the toilet then started doing another transvaginal scan. She said "your uterus has dropped right down" and was having loads of trouble finding it, or my ovary either. The other sonographer took over but was also having loads of trouble seeing into my uterus. They had the probe inside me like they were unblocking a sink, and it took about twice as long as the other scans, which had all found the sac really quickly. It was quite painful and I had to arch my back up to aid the view (I have a back problem and this was quite uncomfortable!!). They asked if I had any pain that might have been the cyst popping, as I don't think they could even find the cyst for a while. Eventually they found the cyst, then they asked how far along I was. When I said 9 weeks, they said "this isn't a 9 week pregnancy, it's more like 5.5". They said the foetal pole was visible, but no heartbeat as it was too small at only 4mm. The sonographer said "I'm probably not allowed to say this, but it doesn't look like a viable pregnancy to me". She was really abrupt - no attempt to sound sympathetic at all. The midwife in EPAU said they can't say it isn't viable until it is 6mm and without a heartbeat, but she said although there had been development since the last scan, it hadn't been as much as it should be, and it was possible I would miscarry. I have to go back next wednesday for another scan, after which if there is no developement / heartbeat they will offer me treatment to end the pregnancy. Even my husband, who is usually very decisive and sensible, doesn't really know what to think. He says it isn't over yet, but also that he feels very sad about the scan.

Obviously, I am distraught about this. I've had no pain, no spotting that would have led me to believe there was a problem. I wish I'd never gone for the scans in the first place, as all the waiting is horrible. I just feel sick all the time, and I have CFS/ME which seems to have been aggravated by the stress, so I now ache all over as well and feel awful!

I've seen stories online about the scans being wrong, or thrown off by the shape of your uterus etc, as well as stories where things did go wrong. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I really need some support right now, as my husband works away and has had to go to work this morning, and isn't back till Friday. Every time I look at my two DDs I think how lovely this baby would have been, and I don't know whether to give up hope or not. I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

KateeTheBump Tue 21-Jun-11 11:23:41

Didn't want to read and run - I wish you all the best - and hang in there, I know it must be such a worrying time, but it ain't over til its over, and I guess some babies might just take a little while longer to develop. I don't think anything your doctor did can have done you any harm. Was it the same sonographer the third time round that did the other two? It might be that she just wasn't as good at the others at finding things.

Fingers crossed for you.

PS it does make me angry how health care 'professionals' can be so callous at times, just because it is small and tiny doesn't mean to say that its not cared for, or loved.

goodnightmoon Tue 21-Jun-11 12:08:34

good luck but I'd be preparing for the worst. there should be a hearbeat by now. the 6mm is when it absolutely must be there but normally it would be around 6 weeks and even when the embryo is as tiny as a couple of mm. there were times (i've had three miscarriages, 1 live birth and am now pregnant again) when i didn't like what the sonographer/midwife/doctor was saying, or they advised waiting a week to see, but they were never actually wrong. If things don't look right, they probably aren't. It's one thing when you're 7 weeks but 9 weeks is really pushing it for this to turn into a viable pregnancy. sorry to be harsh, I know you need support, but false hope is a terrible thing I think.

QueenCee Tue 21-Jun-11 13:25:25

I'm sorry you're going through this stress.
I've got no experience of your situation but I think I'd be inclined to listen to the sonographer. It is a big shame they were so abrupt.
I do have experience of MC though and was told by a consultant at the scan of my DD that bleeding or spotting only occurs some weeks after the baby has died, never ever before. So the fact your baby is still growing, albeit not at the expected rate would account for the lack of bleeding. That would only occur later if the worst happens.
If this was me, I'd prepare myself for the worst I'm afraid to say... If it all works out then that's great but it sounds like they are fairly confident of the result.
I'm so sorry x

goodnightmoon Tue 21-Jun-11 15:15:39

off topic but i have to disagree on that spotting statement, even if it is a consultant saying it. In my last miscarriage, I had spotting on the morning of a scan at 7 weeks but everything looked fine. I spotted on and off for 2 more weeks and miscarried naturally the day before the follow up scan. in my second miscarriage, I spotted from week 7 but the scan at week 10 showed the heart had only stopped beating a few days earlier. many women present with spotting and have a successful scan, only to miscarry later.

Catsycat Tue 21-Jun-11 15:37:45

Thanks for your messages.

The sonographer wasn't the same as the previous 2 scans, and was having a hard time seeing into my uterus at all. If it had been like the previous 2 scans, where they could see everything immediately (and were more respectful and not dismissive), I would have been more convinced by what she said.

KateeTheBump, thanks for your ps - you are so right - it may only be tiny, and it may be dead, but we did really love the little blob. I do feel in my heart that it is dead, the more I think about it.

PinkFondantFancy Tue 21-Jun-11 17:54:50

Catsy have you got another scan booked in for a few days' time? Is it possible your dates are off? Sorry you're having such a hard time, some sonographers treat all this as 'business as usual' rather than treating people with the sensitivity they deserve. Fingers crossed your next scan brings you good news.

NorthLondonDoulas Tue 21-Jun-11 23:29:12

Never give up until you 100% know for sure.... i too suffer from CFS/ME which is much worse when im pregnant and i actually have a similar ish story, its a long one so here we go...

Not trying for a baby (as i already have four and was on the pill) i started having horrible cramps that would come and go with intensity over about a week and then i "came on" so just put it down to my period. However as the bleeding got lighter the pain was still there so not being convinced it was period related i started a home diagnosis on the internet - Stomach cancer, ulcers, miscarriage and ectopic were some of the options that came up.

I bought a pregnancy test just to rule it out and to my surprise the faintest line appeared! Fearing miscarriage or ectopic we went straight to A&E. They took bloods and said my Hcg levels were so low at just 49 that i must have miscarried, but to return in 48hours for more bloods just to make sure. So we went back for the repeat bloods (in normal pregnancy Hcg levels should double every 48 hours) and my levels were only 53, leading them to tell me that i probably hadn't miscarried but it was likely to be ectopic due to the pain i had been having and the plateauing Hcg levels and to again come back in another 48 hours for more tests.

The Dr i saw this time was convinced that the last Dr was incorrect, and that my levels hadn't risen enough last time for them to class it as a viable pregnancy and said that i probably had infact miscarried. But when i rang a few hours later for the results, to the Dr's amazement my levels had risen to 91, so now i was told that the previous Dr was infact probably correct and it was probably ectopic and they booked me in for a scan a week and a half later.

Well this was where the plot thickens as it was not an ectopic as the gestational sac could be seen in my uterus - the sac was of a 6wk pregnancy, (my dates from LMP actually would have made me 9weeks) but there was no baby or yolk sac! So i was sent for more bloods and again my levels were at 1200. It had the staff baffled and i heard them talking about a molar pregnancy etc and i have been rebooked for

NorthLondonDoulas Tue 21-Jun-11 23:36:22

story cont....

rebooked for another scan x2 weeks later (which will be tomorrow).

I have had x2 miscarriages, x4 beautiful baby girls and i have also been a Birth Doula for the past 7 years and from my experience of my body, previous scans and the Hcg levels, it is probably that i am just in earlier pregnancy than the hospital thought and it is totally normal for no fetal pole or yolk sac to be seen up until x7 weeks sometimes. The morning sickness has started this week and so had the frequent loo trips and being pregnancy number 5 a little bump is already starting to appear. I am not listening to the hospital saying miscarriage/ectopic/molar as i know my body and i bet that at tomorrows scan i see a little bean!

Good luck and keep us informed, wish you and your family all the best.

Victoria.x

PoppysMom Wed 22-Jun-11 01:58:12

Good luck Catsy!
My first scan showed absolutely nothing. No gestational sac, no yolk sac, absolutely nothing. Apart from a uterus that was twice the normal non-pregnant size. This was at 5 weeks.
I went back at 7 weeks, very scared, as I had been told there should have been something visible and fortunately there was a tiny blob now with a heartbeat, however baby measured 4.5mm and was classed as6 weeks pregnant. The lesser ate was kept and it wasn't until my last scan at 15 weeks that baby had cought up to the dates and now measures the size she should based on when I know I conceived.

I was told that my uterus was tilted back and as such it was difficult to see anything.

I really hope that you have a positive outcome and I think you should hold on to your hopes.

I will keep an eye on this thread and hope you will be back soon with good news x

Wormshuffler Wed 22-Jun-11 07:15:24

Don't give up yet OP, there is a lady on the January board who went back 3 times and eventually they found it. Fingers crossed for you.

MrsCLH Wed 22-Jun-11 10:19:10

Hi Catsy

Your consultant sounds exactly like the one I had for my 6 week scan. My LMP put me at 6+4 and the sac was too big and no heartbeat. Consultant said it could be early gestation but said in all honesty he thought it wasn't viable. Absolutely prepared myself for the worst, went back a week later and lo and behold there was a little jumping bean measuring exactly 7 weeks, they were just out with my dates. I'm 26 weeks now smile

So whilst I'm not saying that you will have a positive outcome like me there is still a chance. I just wanted to share my experience.

I found that preparing for the worst was the easiest way to handle it. It just isn't nice having to wait.

All the best with it.

Mrs H

Catsycat Wed 22-Jun-11 10:27:22

Thanks so much for your good wishes everyone, and for sharing your stories. It means a lot. I am being rescanned next wednesday, so will update this once I have more news. Good luck with your scan Victoria (and with the CFS/ME) - let us know what happens.

I don't know if it has any bearing on this, as I didn't have early scans with my other 2 children, but both of them were very late - 18 days overdue after a failed induction (no reaction to 3 lots of prostins and 1 day on syntocinon drip!) by emergency c-section, and 14 days overdue, again by emergency c-section, after labour failed to progress. I think I only went into labour at all the second time because I had 6 membrane sweeps from 37 weeks pregnant, by a fab midwife who was aware of all the current research (this approach has been proven to encourage labour in women who failed to go into labour in previous pregnancies). My two DDs weren't absolutely huge (7lb 12oz and 9lb 10oz). Part of me wonders if this lateness has any relevance, though they looked the right size on the 12 week scan, so I guess not... I'm finding it hard to be hopeful; can't eat, have a headache and feel sick all the time, and feel that I can't breathe. I wish i hadn't had the scans at all. Even if it is the worst news, I'd rather have found out all at once than have weeks and weeks of waiting.

Sorry to rant -probably being really boring and self pitying, but can't help it right now...

Catsycat Wed 22-Jun-11 10:32:15

I'm so pleased for you Mrs H smile I hope they were wrong in my case too. Thanks for sharing your story, and hope you have a lovely pregnancy.

I know this is horrid, but I've already started thinking how we can have a little "funeral" for the baby, and what we can do to remember it. It feels so sad that there will never be any proof it was alive at all.

Catsycat Wed 22-Jun-11 13:26:28

I have booked a private scan this afternoon, as I just want confirmation that the scan on monday was right and not botched. At least then I'll know. Going on my own as DH works about 3 hours drive away and has been away since yesterday, not due back till Friday and can't get out of work meetings (he's interviewing people for a senior post and has already rearranged and crammed things in so he could come to the scan on monday, and is take holiday from next wednesday, so not his fault he can't come).

NorthLondonDoulas Wed 22-Jun-11 14:31:40

Thank you very much... scan is at 4pm so i will keep you posted. Like wise please let us know the outcome of your private scan. Good luck - fingers crossed for you.x

Catsycat Wed 22-Jun-11 16:37:09

The scan has confirmed that the baby has died. They can't even see the foetal pole any more. They were so kind and respectful, and really understood how I felt. They have given me the photos from the scan, so at least I have something to remember. The consultant advised me to have the tablets, as he said there was so little tissue there, it was just the size of a finger nail, and he said I could end up not miscarrying naturally for another 8 weeks. He said he thought it was cruel how it had been left by the EPAU, and to be honest I agree with him. I just want it over now, and am feeling very sad.

I hope you have better news Victoria - am thinking of you.

Wormshuffler Wed 22-Jun-11 17:40:22

Sorry sad would a phone call to the GP do any good? could they prescribe it? Such a stupid system .

PinkFondantFancy Wed 22-Jun-11 17:53:09

So sorry Catsy sad I think I would call the EPAU and discuss it with them now before they close for the evening. You have a number of options now (tablets are just one of them) and they've all got different pros and cons - the EPAU should talk you through them and help you to choose what suits you. I found the miscarriage boards were really useful and supportive if you're ever looking for advice/support xx

Catsycat Wed 22-Jun-11 18:34:32

Thanks Wormshuffler and PinkFondantFancy. Have made an appointment to see my GP tomorrow. I have the report from the private scan so will take it and discuss it with him. I tried to phone the EPAU at 16:58 and they were already closed (meant to close at 17:00, grrr!). Hoping my GP will phone them and sort it all out for me, as he tends to do that kind of thing!!! Wish DH was here, but not back till friday...

Just to mention, I told nursery about the scan etc, as I needed them to keep my 2 DDs for longer, and one of the co-owners of the nursery actually offered to take me to the scan and come in with me. I said no, as I felt if it wasn't DH with me, I'd rather go alone, but just thought how lovely it was of her to offer - people can be so kind. smile

NorthLondonDoulas Thu 23-Jun-11 00:08:52

Oh catsy i am so so sorry! My thoughts are with you and your family!x I had my scan and again it looked like there was nothing in the gestational sac and they were confused as the sac was slightly bigger than last time and my Hcg levels were still rising so they called the head sonographer in who took a very very long time giving me an internal scan. In the end he thinks that there was something in the very outter edge that was kind of wafting (so on the edge that it looked like it was outside of the sac) he said that most sonographers wouls miss it. It blended in so well to the outer grey of an ultrasound that he was unable to take proper measurements and the gestational sac is apparently an unusual shape so again i have to go back in another two weeks for another one. I truely hope that you are ok! please feel free to pm me if you would like to talk.
Victoria.x.x

PoppysMom Thu 23-Jun-11 04:28:20

I am so sorry Catsy sad

I am sorry you are having such a tough time too Victoria. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you

MrsCLH Thu 23-Jun-11 09:41:47

Oh Catsy, I'm so so sorry to read this this morning, I really hoped it would be good news for you. I'm glad you haven't got to wait any longer to find out and you can start dealing with it now. I don't know what else to say really other than I hope you are okay and my thought are with you xx

Catsycat Thu 23-Jun-11 10:14:53

Thank you everyone for being so kind, and I do hope your next scan is good news, Victoria. I'm sorry you have to wait, as it's so hard.

I went to my GP today, and he was lovely. He has arranged for me to go to Warwick hospital this afternoon to find out about the management options - not sure if they will be able to start anything today though. I didn't want to go back to the original hospital, which is the "default" one for our area, after what happened on Monday. Warwick is where I had my second baby, and it was lovely, so my GP was really kind and made a few phone calls to get me in there. Apparently they will do another scan, as they don't have access to my previous ones, which I'm not looking forward to. Hoping it is external only like yesterdays, as I still feel bruised from the internal one on monday.

I wrote a poem for my lost baby last night, and would like to share it. I'm not claiming it's great literature or anything, but it helped me to write it.

For F3

Never the shock of light on eyes used to darkness
Never the chill of air on skin used to warmth
Never pain, hunger, frustration
Struggling to learn how to feed, talk and walk

Never sadness or disappointment
Never to pine for unrequited love
Never to struggle for money or fulfilment
Never to feel misunderstood

Never to see your body ageing
Never to see your loved ones die
Never to feel other than peaceful
Never to shout, never to cry

Never to hold you, never to know you
Never to smell your brand new skin
Never to marvel at your perfection
Dancing with your sisters in the sun

Never the proud wave at the school gate
Never to see what you could become
Only a photo of an empty space
Only a vacancy inside my womb

Never to forget you, my precious baby
Never to regret you were here inside
Held in my heart, and always remembered
Living, immortal, inside my mind

Catsycat Thu 23-Jun-11 10:15:27

F3 is what we called the baby by the way, in case that seemed weird.

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