Mother's Intuition Saved Baby From Medical Abortion

After three unexplained miscarriages over a period of two years and eight months, 29-year-old Rachel Schoger of Caldwell, Idaho received some terrible news from her doctor. She'd managed to get pregnant for a fourth time, but a hormone test and ultrasound revealed that the pregnancy was ectopic. The fetus had no chance of survival, and Schoger faced the possibility of life-threatening internal bleeding if the pregnancy wasn't terminated.

Her doctor gave her a medication to abort her pregnancy, but after two doses, Schoger couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong. A week later, right before her second round of injections, she insisted upon one more scan—just to be sure.

The results of that ultrasound shocked everyone. Despite all the testing she'd undergone, the unthinkable had happened


Not only was Schoger still pregnant (just five weeks along), the fetus was in her uterus rather than lodged in a fallopian tube. It wasn't an ectopic pregnancy after all, and if Schoger hadn't demanded a follow-up scan, no one would have known, and the baby would have died.

Here's where the story gets really, really weird: Schoger says the reason she asked for a second test was that she started having nightmares about a baby "crying out in pain" inside her body. She said,

I needed (the second ultrasound) to calm me down, to know I was doing the right thing.

The revelation that she was having a normal pregnancy should have been wonderful news ... except, tragically, she'd already been injected with two high-dose shots of methotrexate.

Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug which is often used to end an early ectopic pregnancy. Basically, the medication stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as embryonic, fetal, and early placenta cells. It's a relatively safe way to deal with the dangerous complications caused by an ectopic pregnancy, but it has a devastating effect on a healthy growing embryo.

Schoger eventually gave birth to a baby girl named Seraphine, who had a number of serious birth defects. Her daughter has undergone multiple surgeries, will never be able to bear children, and has a malformed spinal cord that may someday impede her ability to walk.

It's beyond horrible that this woman was misdiagnosed (and worse, her story may not be all that unusual—one 2002 study showed that almost 40 percent of pregnancies diagnosed as ectopic are later revealed to be normal), and I cannot begin imagine what she went through after learning the healthy pregnancy she'd been trying for for so long had been unnecessarily compromised.

But there's an undeniable silver lining in what happened to Schoger. For whatever reason, something told her to get that additional ultrasound, and that's what saved her little girl's life. That so-called mother's intuition many of us have experienced at one time or another in parenthood may simply be coincidence ... but sometimes, I wonder.

Do you think it's possible this woman truly sensed that she'd been misdiagnosed?

Image via Flickr/rustygrass

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