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Sarah’s story

Sarah writes about having a missed miscarriage that was then diagnosed as a partial molar pregnancy.

I’ve read lots of stories where people have gone on to have numerous healthy pregnancies after experiencing a partial molar. We’ve still got a long journey ahead of us but there is always hope.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and always knew I would face fertility challenges. I took the fertility medication clomid in 2013 to conceive my first child and we were very lucky that it worked on the first cycle. Unfortunately, the drug affected my vision and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to take it again for future pregnancies. We started trying for another baby when our daughter was one. It’s now been nearly four years of different fertility medication and treatments, failed IVF and some very bleak moments when the IVF medication made me seriously ill with a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

In February 2018 I decided to give up on the medicated route and started to have reflexology as a final last resort and less invasive option. We started to accept our fate that our daughter was our miracle girl – but it was on her 4th birthday that I found out that I was pregnant. I had an early pregnancy scan at 6 weeks which confirmed everything looked fine and healthy. Unfortunately, this ended in a missed miscarriage which was diagnosed at a 12-week scan. We didn’t know at the time, but the miscarriage was the result of a partial molar pregnancy.

I had no bleeding however I had felt very sick with morning sickness from around 6 weeks. This can be a symptom of molar pregnancies. At the time of the missed miscarriage diagnosis I was given three options of how to handle the miscarriage:

  1. Wait and see what happens (although at 12 weeks along with no sign of miscarrying naturally this didn’t look likely)
  2. Take some medication to bring on the miscarriage
  3. Opt for surgical removal via a procedure known as an ERPC

I was lucky to have a very good friend who is a doctor so I could discuss all the options with her, as I felt the early pregnancy nurses didn’t provide a great deal of information or guidance. In the end I opted for surgery as I felt it would be one procedure and it would be over with quickly. I couldn’t face having to go through the miscarriage – especially as I felt my body wasn’t wanting to let go of it naturally.

After surgery a sample was sent away for analysis (a choice I was given) to see if there is anything abnormal that might provide help in future pregnancies or miscarriages. It was about two weeks after the surgery that I was contacted over the phone by a nurse and told that I had had a partial molar pregnancy but not to worry as I would be closely monitored. This didn’t help at all and I felt very worried and scared. To make matters worse the consultant at the hospital was on holiday for 2 weeks so I was left feeling very anxious. I was told my care would be handled by Sheffield Teaching Hospital, so I contacted the team there myself and they were exceptional.

The most common treatment is minor surgery to remove the molar tissue from the womb, so it was lucky that I had opted for the surgical management of the missed miscarriage at the time. This usually gets rid of all the molar tissue, though some women need it repeating.

Once I had been formally referred to Sheffield for monitoring, I had to send a urine sample in the post to them every 2 weeks to check whether my HCG levels were coming down. Whilst I was being monitored, I was searching for other ways to help my body recover and fight the molar tissue. I changed my diet and incorporated lots of cancer-fighting foods – I thought if nothing else it could only have a positive affect on my health in general. It took until November to get the all clear (confirmed by a blood test), however I felt very lucky that I didn’t need any further treatment or medication to manage the condition and that my HCG levels returned to normal naturally and in a relatively short timeframe.

I found support by reading online stories and personal testimonials, especially those on the Miscarriage Association’s website and also a website and forum about molar pregnancy set up by a patient from Sheffield.

Despite everything we’ve been through, I keep telling myself at least we managed to fall pregnant naturally without medical intervention (I was told I wouldn’t ovulate naturally). I’m still searching for answers as to why this happened to me. I’ve read that some studies suggest a link to PCOS, deficiencies in carotene and folate. I’m worried that another pregnancy could result in a partial molar pregnancy again as the probability is higher once you’ve had one – but I’ve read lots of stories where people have gone on to have numerous healthy pregnancies after experiencing a partial molar. We’ve still got a long journey ahead of us but there is always hope.

You can find more information on molar pregnancy here, and about how we can support you with any feelings you may be having here.

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