Siobhan McFarlane and her husband expected to see their unborn child for the first time when they went to the hospital for their 12-week ultrasound appointment.
Instead, the Scottish family received the heartbreaking news that Siobhan had a tumor in her womb, not an unborn baby, the Daily Record reports. The 26-year-old mother of one was diagnosed with a complete molar pregnancy and underwent surgery and later chemotherapy to remove the tumor.
“I was so scared,” she said. “We had gone from one extreme to another. It should have been one of the happiest moments of our lives but it turned into the worst.”
She decided to share her story publicly to help raise awareness about molar pregnancies, a condition in which abnormal tissue develops in the womb instead of an unborn baby. She said early detection is important because a molar pregnancy can become cancerous and endanger the woman’s life.
Siobhan and Alexander McFarlane said they began trying to get pregnant with a second child in August 2016. A few weeks later, Siobhan said she took two pregnancy tests; the first test was negative but the second one she took several days later was positive.
Here’s more from the report:
Despite their excitement, Siobhan and Alexander decided to keep the pregnancy secret until they had made it through the first trimester.
Over the next few months Siobhan, whose first pregnancy was ‘a dream’, experienced such severe nausea that she couldn’t stomach any food instead drinking litres of milk as it was the only thing she could keep down.
Putting it down to hormones and morning sickness, Siobhan decided to wait for her 12-week scan to find out if everything was okay.
The young mother said she suspected something might be wrong, but she did not expect the news she got at her 12-week scan. She said she constantly felt sick and the only thing she could manage to keep down was milk.
“It got so bad I did start to resent the pregnancy a bit but I thought the doctors would just tell me I was being an over emotional pregnant woman so I decided to wait for the scan,” she remembered. “Even though I felt like something wasn’t quite right, nothing could have prepared me for hearing that there was no baby. There are no words to describe how painful it was to hear that.
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“We just sat and cried for hours. To think we were going to see our baby and instead be told I had this disease was devastating. I had lost a child and gained this horrible tumour. It was terrifying.”
Siobhan underwent a D&C procedure to remove the tumor. Later, she went through five months of chemotherapy, according to the report.
In April, doctors told her that all was well. She said the moment was bittersweet because she was glad to be healthy again but she also was reminded of the baby who might have been.
“Getting the all-clear was bittersweet. I got the call just days before my due date and it was such a horrible reminder of what I had lost. I was healthy but I wasn’t bringing home my baby,” Siobhan said.
Siobhan encouraged women not to wait to see a doctor if they suspect something might be wrong with their pregnancy.
“I can’t help thinking that if I had known about molar pregnancies then I would have gone to the doctors sooner,” she said. “If I can raise awareness and stop someone else having to go through all that and going through the fear of being diagnosed with something they’ve never heard of then it will be worthwhile.”
A molar pregnancy is not an unborn baby’s life but irregular tissue that forms in place of the unborn baby, possibly because of genetic abnormalities with the egg or sperm, according to WebMD. A molar pregnancy often mimics symptoms of early pregnancy, but the woman is not carrying another human life inside her. If not treated quickly, a molar pregnancy can be dangerous.