‘I heard the devastating words, ‘There’s nothing there.’ There was no heartbeat anymore.’: Woman urges ‘second opinion’ after ultrasound mistake

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“My husband and I decided to start trying for our second child in March. We had always wanted our kids to be close in age. One month later, April came and I had missed my period. I took a test and there it was. Positive! We were excited to take the pregnancy journey once again and have two under the age of two. I decided to call my doctor when I was about 5 weeks so I could get my blood work done. She scheduled an ultrasound for the next week. We were super excited to see our baby on the screen and possibly see the heartbeat.

Couple take selfie together while enjoying outdoor activities
Berkley Johnson

Ultrasound day rolled around and I was nervous. I was nervous for every ultrasound I had with my daughter. Our doctor did an abdominal ultrasound, and then I heard the devastating words: ‘There’s nothing there.’ She then told me I had a ‘blighted ovum.’ This means there was a sac, but it had no fetus inside of it. The egg was fertilized, but only a gestation was developed. I was in shock. How could I be pregnant but with no baby? My husband and I were so upset and confused.  She then proceeded to tell me the gestation sac stopped growing at 4 weeks. She told me I needed to take a pill to induce a miscarriage so I could pass everything. She told me to come back in two weeks to do a follow up ultrasound and blood work, to make sure everything had passed.

The next day I took the pill and I started to bleed and cramp instantly. This felt like a sick joke because it happened the weekend of Mother’s Day. Two weeks went by and I went to visit my doctor for the follow up appointment. I asked if we were doing the ultrasound and blood work, and she proceeded to tell me I did not need it. She said to me, ‘I just wanted to see how you were doing emotionally.’ I found this to be very odd. A few weeks went by and my bleeding had almost stopped, but I knew something was off. My body still felt pregnant even though I had already been bleeding, and I just felt weird. I decided to call my good friend who works at another OBGYN. I explained to her the circumstance and they got me an appointment the next day for blood work. I came in and explained to everyone what had happened. They were all confused to as why my doctor never did any follow up blood work for me. My friend took my blood and they told me they would call me the next day with my HCG results.

The next day they told me I needed to come in right away for an ultrasound because my pregnancy levels came back at 30,000. This is incredibly high for a 4-week Blighted Ovum. I was shocked, confused and very scared. They didn’t know if there was a twin, a pregnancy located somewhere else, or what it was. I immediately left work and went to the office. I sat in the ultrasound room, terrified. I didn’t know what to expect or see. She gave me a transvaginal ultrasound, and there it was, a 6-week-old baby. There was unfortunately no heartbeat anymore. I cannot explain in words the devastation I felt in that moment. I was confused how my doctor completely missed our baby on the ultrasound. I called my husband and told him what they found. He was so angry at my doctor. I cried so many tears throughout this whole process.

Woman takes photo of ultrasound of yolk sac
Berkley Johnson

I had one more ultrasound done a few days later to confirm no heartbeat. The next day, my body was finally ready to let go and pass our baby. I was so angry, hurt and confused as to why this happened to us and why our doctor was careless and completely missed our baby on the ultrasound. I researched to see if this had happened to anyone else and I found a whole website dedicated to misdiagnosed miscarriages.

I don’t know how I feel about everything. Some days I feel okay, some days I’m devastated, some days I feel like it is my fault that I didn’t double check, and some days it still feels like it didn’t happen. I see posts from women who we would’ve had the same due date as us, and I get depressed thinking we would’ve already known the gender. People think talking about miscarriages and referring to the fetus as an actual baby is taboo, and that’s why we are writing this; to let other parents know it does happen to other people and they are not alone. We can be here for one another. I’m here to say our baby existed, and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about our baby.

I’m sharing our story to spread awareness to always get a second opinion, and to trust your instincts. We want nothing more than to raise awareness so hopefully we can save other parents from going through what we did.”

Couple take candid photo looking at one another while holding their daughter between them
Lala Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Berkley Johnson, 21, of Las Vegas, Nevada. Have you experienced a misdiagnosed miscarriage? Tell us about that experience. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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