My Chemical Pregnancy
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
I’ve been secretly writing in my blog for the last year and a half, talking about my experience, with no balls to post anything, this is what I wrote in February. It was 6 days after February 12th. We were two days before Valentine‘s day, and I thought, everything was finally starting to work.
What‘s working you may ask?
First let’s flash back to a year ago. Things were good great even! I was working hard, Dave was enjoying a bit of a sabbatical from working. We were away for a few days, and I finally convinced Dave it was time to start thinking about starting a family. I originally typed “thinking, but “thinking” is a bit of an understatement, we had been thinking and talking and considering for a while. Months very seriously, years if you consider all of the times I had said to Dave we should try.
It it was something we didn’t talk about with family. I had too much fun for years telling my family I was never having kids, you’d never imagine how crazy this made them... probably about as crazy as it made me feel when we had the pressure on us to have kids. But really, I didn’t want the questions, I’m not patient so other people asking me “oh when is your period due? Are you pregnant yet?” Was just going to push me to a point I was committed to a mental institution.
As time passed, one month turned to two, to four, to six, and not even a slight hint of pregnancy. No late period, no real symptoms.
I figured it was time to start asking questions. I started with my family doctor. He started some preliminary testing. Bloodwork, ultrasounds and a fertility “favourite” a hysterosonogram. What’s that? This is when you have a catheter inserted into your cervix, which is then injected with saline in order to check your fallopian tubes for blockage, checking for fibroids, cysts and any other abnormalities. All of this happens at the same time as the ultrasound. It was quick, and not so painless. I remember it well, a quick squirt and then a massive cramp that consumed my whole body. It was not as bad as I read online, but I think I was just a lucky one.
Because patience is one of my greatest weaknesses, I was relieved that the doctor was the one administering the test. She told me that everything looked good, she wished me the best of luck, and sent me on my way.
After the quick procedure, I made my way to the airport for a quick few days in NYC for work.
I had a total of 23 days of travel over the next two months, so it took a while to get back to the doctor. With no clear issue, I was referred to a specialist to try to figure out why nothing seems to be working for us.
As if waiting for ovulation, then your next god damn period isn’t painful enough... there was of course, there was a two month delay before getting in with a specialist. It wasn’t until this time that I really started to feel the pressure of this process. I felt the constant disappointment, the fear of never being able to have a family of my own. I felt the heartbreak, month after month. I knew I needed to take things into my own hands, and the internet research became the biggest source of information and craziness for me. I started actively tracking temperatures to see the shift that indicates ovulation and I started acupuncture with a fertility specialist who has been so critical to my journey. Combined with a ketogenic diet, the acupuncture has helped to regulate every part of my cycle, and create a clockwork machine-like process that makes tracking a hell of a lot easier.
Despirt every effort I’ve made, nothing seemed to work. The defeat repeated itself for the next few months.
We went through Christmas with the fear that we‘d be grilled with questions of what’s next for us, waiting for posts of pregnancy and engagements on facebook and Instagram. Working through all of these conversations in my head, I was relieved we didn’t get any of them directly. I wanted to make people feel bad for asking something that was none of their business. I wanted people to feel the pain that I was feeling. Instead I internalized the pain, shielding even Dave from the emotions and fear I was carrying. I had started isolating myself, from my family and my friends.
As we rolled around to January, I finally had the chance to see my specialist. Feeling I had done everything in my power to make a change, I felt even more broken after meeting the specialist. With only a few basic repeat tests, we were told to keep doing what we’re doing. Despite the fact that he’s worked in medicine, let alone fertility medicine for like 50 years, he should know, the last thing a hormonal woman, who can’t manage to get pregnant, wants to hear is keep on doing what isn’t working. We left. I cried. (There’s a theme here)
As happens every month, I dealt with yet another week of disappointment. At this point, I knew something had to be wrong. I had some concerns with my cycle. A standard cycle has 14 days before ovulation and 14 days after, the luteal phase. The issue with a shorter luteal phase is that it can take 7-10 days, my body would be lucky to get to 8 days and immediately say ”yes!”. I called the doctor and he said this could be the reason we haven’t succeeded thus far.
The good news, apparently its “Manageable”. My doc prescribed me progesterone, something to take twice daily in order to extend my cycle and allow a bit of extra time for implantation to happen.
I started the pills a few days after ovulation.
My temperatures started rising (good news!) I was getting all of the right symptoms. I felt like it was time to get excited! I went to my acupuncture appointment, she performed a special “implantation” treatment in order to help the process along.
A few days later, I started getting hot flashes, I was exhausted to the point that I bailed on brunch plans (sorry ladies!). I was bloated and crampy, and I’m guessing a real treat to be around! I had just gone to a physical with my GP, as he was examining me, I lay on the table crying, exploding with sadness and the hopelessness I’ve been feeling cycle after cycle. He gave me the biggest hug and said something that was one of the most relatable things I’ve heard through the process. He said every month, it’s like dealing with the grief of a loss, he made me feel like it was “ok” for me to be emotional, and not the slightest bit judgemental. I haven’t told many people, but the common reaction is “it will happen” or “just relax”, “have a drink” or “go on vacation”. It’s just not that simple, and it sure is a good way to piss a woman off. (Please take notes)
Tuesday (the 12th) was a snow day. I was up at 4:00am, and thought, why not pee on a stick? In the dim light with my sleepy eyes, I didn’t see any result, threw out the test and went back to bed. When I woke up a few hours later, I wanted to check again. I pulled the test out of the trash bin, and was in shock. I saw the faintest of lines. Because you’re not supposed to read the results after 10 minutes, it can in some cases produce a false positive. It was something I had never seen before, never even a slight shadow. I spent the whole day speculating until Dave came home and I opted to test again.
The second test showed the same result. Another positive. All I can remember thinking is “Holy Shit, I’m Pregnant!” Dave and I started getting excited, thinking about how we would tell our families, how I was going to decorate the nursery. Dave was skeptical, the test was so faint, he needed a bit more colour to believe it. (You can see it below!)
I decided the next morning I would test again, I would get up early and that way Dave could find out before he went to work. I had a bad feeling. It was warranted. The test was even more faint than the night before, I had already emailed the doctor, and I was waiting for instructions on what to do next. I didn’t want to believe the two tests I had taken, so I reserved my cup of first morning urine, and raced over to the closest 24 hour pharmacy to buy more tests. By now, Dave had left for work and I was left sitting on the floor, crying, staring at the fourth test in twenty-four hours, that was clearly showing a more faded reading than the night before.
When I got an email with a requisition for bloodwork, I knew it was going to confirm the bad news. I went in for the test, and waited 8 hours for the bad news, I was confirmed ”not pregnant”.
My HCG levels came back at 2mIU/mL, to be pregnant you need to be over 25mIU/mL. For the pregnancy test to read it, I would have had a reading over 6, with the expectation that it would double over the next few days.
So what does this mean? I was pregnant, albeit briefly. The common term would be a chemical pregnancy, something that happens so close to conception, and often before a missed period, so most people don’t even notice they are pregnant. Because we’ve been Working on this for 12 months at this point, I’m hyper aware of everything going on in my body, and far too impatient to wait the 14 days I should have to test.
Wednesday, I was a mess. I didn’t leave the couch, I was feeling all the feels and the tears were flowing. I couldn’t make the trek to work. I couldnt handle much of anything. The time watching tv, shows I couldn’t explain to you, and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, but not absorbing a thing.
I braved the world on Thursday. It didn’t take long for me to break down. I walked into my bosses office, and immediately it began. I cried for 20 minutes, before locking myself in a bathroom stall to regain my composure. When I told Dave, I explained my emotional state as if you combined, a pregnant woman, someone who’s miscarrying, and someone who’s pmsing, all while manually adding additional hormones all at the same time.
Its been 6 days now, and the emotions are still running ramped. I’m feeling all the feels, the fear of starting again, the lack of optimism going into yet another month and the fear of disappointment once again
As much as I fear the disappointment that could come with another month of trying. I’m hopeful that something good will come, at some point in time or another. In the mean time, I’m experiencing the craziness that is hormones, that is emotions, that is disappointment. Every day that passes, there’s more and more that everyone sees, and this blog post probably makes it more understandable and maybe justified?