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Trying-to-Conceive Blog

Empty Gestational Sac at First Transvaginal Ultrasound (Maybe) 7 Weeks

Based on what I really hope are mistaken calculations, I'm 7-days-and-change weeks pregnant. Not so long ago I posted about what an eye opener TTC was leading up to testing positive for this pregnancy. The joy I felt when I saw that second pink line was unlike anything I've ever known, no exaggeration. Aside from a chemical pregnancy a few months ago (which showed up on the strip looking more like an evaporation indent than anything else) I'd never had a proper AH-HAH moment.

I was also in the midst of my fertility work up, with its blood panels and sonograms and HSG's etc. I'd really felt like TTC had me hitting rock bottom. But. Little did I know that TTC was an emotional cake walk compared to watching the OB/GYN's unhappy expression while she seached the ultrasound screen in vain for signs of an embryo and yolk sac. Nobody home.

She was very mindful not to prematurely diagnose what may well be blighted ovum and reminded me (while I sat there with trembling on the examination table under the giant lap-napkin they give you) that I may be wrong about when I conceived.

I wasn't up to explaining to her how I'd basically kept an OCD diary of every OPK result, symptom and intercourse session for half a year or more leading up the the BFP, and it's near-impossible that I fell pregnant more recently than I think I did given when I tested positive on a FRER.

A later date of conception than what I'd written down could explain an empy gestational sac, as in theory the embryo and/or yolk might not be visible in there before 6 weeks anyhow. The doctor said the gestational sac looked to be 5 weeks and a couple days, not 7. But a common symptom of blighted ovum is that the sac is developmentally delayed in measurement, so I don't want to get my hopes up.

The image on the screen of a dark, round hole-like hollow in my uterus struck me as the loneliest thing ever. I took a picture of it with my phone because I felt weird about carrying around this miserable image printed on a strip of fax paper in my wallet for the rest of the day. Later on my partner and I zoomed in on the image. We both saw a blurry lumpy form but research has shown that this is "debris," or possibly even the early stages of sac desintigration. Just the kind of thing you want passing through your thoughts on the job while you teach your class, right? That's the other thing you don't anticipate: when you feel like your universe is crumbling apart, you still have to get out there and hustle because life goes on. It goes to show you really never know what's going on in people's private lives. Lots of us are just keeping up appearances. I feel like I've been one of them forever at this point, and it just keeps getting lousier. 

Even though I'm supposed to hold out and stay optimistic until next week's vaginal ultrasound, and possibly the next, and the next since who knows, sometimes they say the baby just appears much later on, I can already feel myself distancing myself emotionally from this pregnancy because it's literally the only way I'm going to be able to walk down the street and function in society and not fall apart. I'm an emotional person to begin with and the pregnancy hormones had me crying over the baby dinosaur in the Jurassic Park trailer, so you can imagine what anticipating a probable miscarriage is doing to my mental landscape.

I got home and sat up late reviewing medically induced miscarriage (the pill route) vs aspirational (vacuum) or waiting it out until nature ejects the empty contents of an "anatomical pregnancy" (contractions, bleeding for days and weeks) and I'm just like wtf. This is heartbreaking and even though I know it's super common, blah blah blah everyone goes through it, nothing could have prepared me for what a misery it would be to consider miscarriage options the way you review any other set of medical choices: it's work that may have to be done, it'll come at a cost and this is how life goes sometimes so take your lumps like everyone else. 

I'm no stranger to prayer and I do believe in the power of positive thinking... to a point. But I've also lived through enough loss and disappointment to know how ugly reality can get and I don't know how else to respond to this unwelcome discovery than to start grieving now, throw in the towel and get the hopeful part, which can hurt way more than despair- as every woman on this board knows- out of the way.


I am so sorry. I do not know the pain of loss but can relate to many of the feelings that you so heart-wrenchingly describe, and I understand how hope can feel like a poison at times. Even if you cannot bear the burden of hope right now, I will hope for you, as I'm sure will many others here, that this is not the end of your pregnancy, that it is a cruel trick of the universe in the middle of an otherwise long and safe pregnancy. I also hope for you that somewhere in the midst of everything to come, whatever it may be, that you can find what you need to get through. Sending all the hope for better days your way. ♡

Firstly , I am so sorry you are going through this. I know how horrendous it is , I had a blighted ovum last year , I found out I was pregnant just before my wedding day, and had a scan a few weeks after.
I really hope from the bottom of my heart that everything works out for you.
I think I knew deep down something was wrong from the beginning , I didn't feel pregnant , I couldn't wrap my head around it , I had to see a doctor a few days after I found out due to a medical condition I have , I expressed my concerns that something wasn't right and I had painful cramps but I was dismissed , I guess I knew something wasn't quite right and I wish she had listened to me.
The next week will be really tough , it's a horrible limbo to be in.
The only piece of advice I can give , if it doesn't go the way you want it to, is to opt for a D&C, I chose to let nature run its course , and it was extremely traumatic , it dragged on for over a month and I ended up in hospital, I wish someone had told me that so I wanted you to know. But I'm praying that you don't have to go through it and it's the best possible outcome for you. I hope your ok and try and stay positive. It's out of your hands now and time does heal, you will be ok eventually no matter what happens. Thinking of you and sending lots of love xx

Hey, thank you for commenting. I feel your pain 100%.

Miscarriages seem to have a cruel sense of timing. I was getting ready to announce the pregnancy to my dad who's going through late stage pancreatic cancer and won't be with us for much longer. You were about to walk down the aisle. It really starts to seem like life is testing you, right?

I guess I didn't really know what "feeling pregnant" would look like for me, so I didn't really have any way to gage if it was progressing normally or not. Within 4 days of the bad news sonogram I started to spot at work, and like you, I've opted to ride it out naturally which has been messy and surreal, although I guess a D&C or "medical management" would feel weird too, in their own ways. Basically, everything feels weird now. Everything.

As I'm sure you remember, from day to day the emotions really fluctuate during the loss. Sometimes I think, "thanks for being on alert, body. It was in a miserable, roundabout way but you reported for duty and rejected a non-viable life." And then other moments I think "OMG it took AGES to conceive and it may as well take ages more, plus every medical professional tells me I'm running out of time."

Then I burst into tears and want to hide in bed but I put on a brave face and go to work like everyone else has to!

Moving forward, have you experienced much anxiety about repeat miscarriages? That's one thing that has me really freaked out: how many more of these will I have to survive, and am I capable of carrying a baby to term? I guess you're right; it's out of our hands and you just have to let time do it's quiet work on your mind and body. But holy hell, it has been misery and then some. I feel gutted by the whole thing. There's no user's manual for what happens to your mind afterwards and I have so much respect for anyone who's come out the other side of all this.