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What Happens When You Don’t See a Heartbeat at Your 7 Week Scan

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What Happens When You Don’t See a Heartbeat at Your 7 Week Scan

I thought it was fairly common not to find a heartbeat at an early scan.

But apparently, I was wrong.

We went for our first scan this Monday, only to be told that there was no detectable heartbeat, although our measurements indicated growth to 7 weeks. We were told, “this has probably only just happened”.

I thought that another miscarriage was pretty unlikely to be the case (I’d already had 3 blood tests to show my HCG levels were going up every week and my nausea wasn’t acting like it was going to ease up anytime soon).

The ladies at the ultrasound clinic reassured us that multiple miscarriages do happen and suggested we see our OB as soon as possible.

Luckily, his clinic is in the same building as theirs, so they showed us the back way to get there using the fire exit so we wouldn’t have to face all the mums-to-be and new-born’s parading up and down the halls and in the elevator on our trek up there. The receptionist was very understanding and agreed to fit us in to see our OB that afternoon.

I spent most of the afternoon googling how common it is to see a heartbeat at 7 weeks. There were numerous stories of ladies online reporting that they saw no heartbeat at 7 weeks and then a very clear one a week later.

There were also an equal amount of sites indicating that a heartbeat should show at 7 weeks unless the dates were miscalculated. I thought a miscalculation was a very real possibility for us, considering we were surprised to find out we were pregnant in the first place.

There was also some disturbing research from the UK that indicated about 1 in every 200 miscarriages were diagnosed incorrectly, leading to unnecessary D & C procedures. It appeared guidelines in most countries had been updated in recent years to reflect those findings, but it really didn’t do anything to ease my mind about our experience.

Mid-googling, Sam called to check in on how I was doing. I was clearly pretty upset and relayed my findings to him. We had a long chat and decided that, although we were sure the technicians administering the ultrasound knew what they were talking about, that we would insist on another scan for a second opinion, just to ease both our minds.

So, we waited in angst the next few hours until our appointment time.

Our OB was very understanding and patiently explained to us that it was highly unlikely that there was an error with the scan. He explained that we had probably just been very unlucky to experience a miscarriage on two occasions and agreed that this was unexpected given our earlier blood tests.

His suggestion was that we have another D & C so that he could test the remains (it’s so early I’m not even really sure what to call it this time? Embryo? I’m not sure this one would have made it to fetus stage?).

I reluctantly agreed, but we continued to question the integrity of the test. Our OB was very kind and understanding and agreed that he would do another scan for us the following week for peace of mind, before doing the D & C. We agreed that would make us feel more comfortable and thought the plan seemed sensible.

So… now I get to spend the next week continuing to experience nausea and tiredness knowing with pretty much full certainty that we’ve had another miscarriage.

I’m not exactly holding on to any hope for that scan on Monday, but at least I’ll know that we were absolutely certain…

I know that multiple miscarriages and recurrent losses aren’t as common as single miscarriages but if you have any thoughts or wisdom you would like to share, please feel free to comment below.

Until next time…

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7 Replies to “What Happens When You Don’t See a Heartbeat at Your 7 Week Scan”

  1. I am so sorry! My husband and I are also trying for our first child. People make it seem so easy & fun, but the truth is it’s a struggle for many of us. I just said a little prayer for both of you! <3

  2. We miscarried our first pregnancy in 2013. In Nov 2014 fell pregnant again as was told at our first scan there was no heartbeat. Like you I insisted on a follow up scan and spent the next week feeling like my world was ending……… a week later there was a heartbeat and we now have a very healthy & happy 16 month old. Whilst I think hot should prepare yourself for the worst sometimes miracles do happen and I hope in this instance it happens for you. Sending you lots of positive thoughts xo

    1. Hi Louise, thanks for sharing – I know your experience is a very rare one and I definitely won’t hold on to any hope but it does make me feel much better about insisting on the second scan. I’m glad you had positive news in the end – and what an awful way to spend a week, imagining the worst when everything is OK!? In any case I think it’s worthwhile doing the second scan for peace of mind if nothing else x

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s a very scary time–I had a miscarriage in November and it was a two week wait from suspecting that something wasn’t right to confirmation. Heartbreaking. I hope there’s still a chance for you to get good news, but I understand how terrible this sort of experience is. My heart breaks for you

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