Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chemical Pregnancy

Hello, all.

Let me apologize in advance for the length of this and the 'adult' language I plan on using.  If  language offends you - skip this post.  (And inevitably others...)

I definitely knew I would write about this, but originally I thought I should wait until it was a little less fresh.  I was thinking about it today, however, and knowing me if I wait for it to be a little stale I'll be a bit too rational about it.  I'm an emotion-bottler (as many of us are - either originally or because infertility creates it).  I can already feel myself, when talking to the few people I've told about it, putting an "I'm okay", "here are the positives about this" spin on it when in reality I'm not quite there yet.  Laying my guts out there has never been my strong suit...

That's an understatement.  It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, always has.  Since birth, basically, I've wanted to be "strong" and so I have been. And honestly, in the horrible/dark/awful moments of infertility I have no fucking interest in being strong anymore.  None.  But my natural instinct still kicks in, like there's something physically stopping me from losing my shit in front of people, even in front of the people who would probably love me to (because it'd be good for me, not because they're sadists).  Even if I'm telling myself "just let it GO" my tears dry up if there's another human being in the room.

Anyway.  My point is I'm going to write about this while I'm still raw about it, in case tomorrow or a year from now someone is googling the words "chemical pregnancy" because they've just gone through one, and are sick to death of reading about it in a nice, tidy, "no big deal" delivery.

In short:  It fucking sucks.

Not in the way that a miscarriage does, or a stillbirth does, obviously.  Nowhere near, oh lawdy do I completely understand that.  In being the 'strong' woman, and in responding the way that I'm responding to a chemical pregnancy, I cannot fathom a further along miscarriage.  Cannot.  Fathom.

But again, in short, chemical pregnancy fucking sucks.

I just finished my first round of IVF (I've added my lovely TTC resume as it's own page if you care to venture).  The jist is that I haven't used a condom with my husband in 8 years, we've been actively trying to get pregnant for 3, and prior to this month I had never had one pregnancy that I'm aware of.

In a later entry I'll go into all the ups & downs of IVF (and try to do some entries just on the meds) but let's just stick with the chemical, for this.

My Chemical Pregnancy Story:

Last Saturday (June 23) would've been considered 12dpo or in IVF lingo,  9dp3dt (meaning 9 days past my 3 day transfer).  I woke up, took a pregnancy test, and it was negative.  I was devastated, convinced it hadn't worked.  I felt stupid for having any hope at all.  Tears were shed, Bubba comforted - said "it's too early to test - this is why they say wait until the bloodtest, or at least the day before".

I spent the afternoon trying to cheer myself up, trying to repeat what my husband said - that we won't know until Monday.  And in the afternoon, I caved and took another one after holding my pee for 4 hours.

And there it was.  Faint, but there it was.  The line I have gone blind looking for for the last three years.  I took pictures of it (of course) .  Sent it to my three best friends through my iphone, and they didn't see anything.  (I think because unless you're like us, pee stick experts, you expect 2 solid pink lines to mean pregnancy because that's how it is in the movies.  What they don't realize is that a faint line means that yes indeed you are pregnant, because the only way you get that line is if you have the pregnancy hormone in your body).  So then I took it to the big guns - TWW.

YES, they saw it, yes it was faint, yes it was probably a BFP.  By nighttime, my depressed mood transformed into excitement.  We fell asleep on the couch - me, excited, Bub, cautious.

I woke up at 5 in the morning, peed on a FRER.  10 minutes later we looked.  Positive, definite positive.  I know what this means (though I can't rap my head around it, really) and Bub starts to get excited.  The thing we've been wanting for years, the thing that I've been torturing my body over, the thing I've wanted my entire life, was happening. Happening to us.

The congratulations are rolling in on my TWW post.  I run out, get my husband & I some breakfast (vow that now that I'm pregnant, this will be my last McDonalds breakfast).  I see an outdoor fleamarket is opening near my house on the way home, so I decide to go to that, because I need something to do before I pee again.

I just looked around the flea market, holding my belly.  Total disbelief that inside, there was a tiny cluster of cells that in a few months would become my baby.  Our baby.  My baby.  It was a little hot, so I decided to venture into Macy's.

I bought a onesie that said "Daddy's little Monster".  I bought a onesie that said "Grandma is the best".  I knew I wasn't going to tell anyone else until later in the week, but I could tell them.  I went home, hid my purchases, and went to pee on a FRER, and the big guns, a DIGITAL.  The digital made me a little nervous because I know you have to have a lot of HCG in your system for it to say "pregnant".  I dipped everybody in a cup, and watched.  The FRER showed a pink line right away, and then on the digital, the word.  Pregnant.  And it was talking about ME.  Pregnant.  I've been wanting anyone or anything to say that to me for 3+ years.  And there it was.

I went screaming out of the bathroom to where my husband was, and showed it to him.  He was excited - but less excited than he probably should've been because he had just realized he had lost a lot of work he had been doing on the computer the last few days.  I thought "well damn, we're going to remember it being like this for the rest of our lives".

I drove down to where my Mom lives, an hour away, and brought the onesie I got for her.  She thought I was coming down for some comforting -she knew how I was feeling Saturday morning, depressed as though it didn't work.  When I got there, I showed her the onesie, she said "is this because we're being optimistic?" and I said "no, I've taken about a dozen tests in the last 24 hours - and they all say pregnant".  And she said "Let's see what the Doctor says".  And again, I thought "Damn, this is how we're going to remember it for the rest of our lives".

When I got back, Bub was officially excited.  We got dressed, we went out to eat. We listened to my ipod in the car, playing the songs I'd played 1,000 times during IVF that made me think about the baby.  We talked about when it would be due (March 4th), when we'd tell people, we wondered when I would start feeling sick.  (My symptoms were just crazy heightened sense of smell, sore boobs, weird poo, and as weird as it sounds my uterus felt different).  We went to bed talking about our little family, pure bliss.

Monday I got up super early to get my Beta.  On my way out Bub said "Good luck" and I said "please, I'm going to rock this test".  I did not bother taking a test that morning.

I got home, and he tried to stay long enough to be a bit late for work... I thought it'd be good for him to be in the room and hear that I was pregnant from a medical Doctor or at least the RN.  When he couldn't wait anymore he said "I know you're pregnant, it'll be good news" and walked out the door.

About an hour later the RN called, and I could tell from her voice, instantly, that something was wrong.  There was no "I have some good news for you" or "congratulations", just "well, we got your beta results".  It was 10.  Which means I was pregnant, and that this is not going to be a viable pregnancy, but that I have to 'behave' pregnant and come back in 2 days later just to make sure the numbers are dropping.  This will be an early miscarriage.

Bub had gone to work, my Mom was on her way up.  I was alone.  I hung up, and instantly had a panic attack.  I ran around the house making gutteral, animal noises, and hurling everything that would remind me of the baby not to be - the pregnancy tests, the baby books, the onesie I had gotten for Bub, into a bag and in a part of my closet where I would never see it.  Then I put my face in a pillow and shouted 'why' for I don't even know how long.  Then I took the pregnancy tests again - the lines were lighter, and the digital said "not pregnant".  My Mom arrived, and the day I envisioned consisting of us celebrating turned into me staring like a zombie, unable to speak and my Mom breaking down because she didn't know how to help me.

The two days of waiting for that, you know, 1% chance of hope was agony.  Then on Wednesday, it was confirmed - my number had dropped to 8.  Baby not to be will be leaving my body.

They said it's a positive sign that I got pregnant.  Even with one, imperfect embryo, my body wanted to be pregnant.  It had implanted.  Next time we can change things.  Get more eggs, hopefully more will fertilize, hopefully hopefully.  I got pregnant, it's just this time my body didn't stay pregnant.  Something was wrong with the embryo, it happens all the time, it has nothing to do with the infertility factor.  And at least my body recognized something was wrong early on.

Those are all the things that have been said that I've been repeating to myself.  At first they weren't comforting at all, and now slowly but surely I'm able to hold on to the little positives.

I've spent the last week on the TWW boards (with a closer look at the 'loss' forums even though I realize I only slightly belong there) and playing video games (they sneak way too many babies into television and movies).  When the horrendous cramps started my Doctor was kind enough to call in some vicodin, so I've also been spending the last several days in a delightful drug haze.  Eventually I let my two best friends come over once I was numb enough.  "Kali" watched some stupid TV with me.  After a few days my house was a disaster because I was afraid if I started picking things up I would find a baby thing I had forgotten to banish - so when "T" arrived he said "I don't know what to do for you, so I'm going to clean your house".

I feel better, I do.  The more days I put between me and that one, happy day the better I am.  Today it's been a week. I'll never go back to that flea market.  I can't listen to my Ipod because all the baby songs are now my most popular.  The idea of going through another holiday season childless is enough to make me stop breathing.

But, we'll try again.  We have our follow up appointment on Tuesday, and we're thinking IVF #2 will be late August, early September.

I just thought I'd add this to the interwebs while I was still a little raw about it in case anyone was searching.  At the very least just to re-affirm that yes, fellow infertile, chemical pregnancies fucking suck.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Don't feel like you need to minimize you loss because it was a chemical. It is devastating no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at. Ugh I can just remember how happy I was before my miscarriage and then feeling embarrassed for telling people, buying baby on. But it's only natural to be excited after trying for so long.

    1. Yup, I beat myself up quite a bit for allowing myself to be hopeful.. Sorry for your loss, as well.

  2. I am so sorry. I have been through what you described twice as well as a recent 2t loss. I wish that no one had to experience any type of loss.

    Lots of (((hugs))) to you.

    1. Leslie, Cannot. Imagine. a 2t Loss. I'm so very sorry. Hugs right back at ya, sister.

  3. Coming over from the Lushary to say that I love your blog name and that I am so sorry about the chemical pregnancy. No matter how soon or how late the loss, it's still a terrible one. Be gentle to yourself as you begin to heal and move forward. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

    1. Thanks lady! I feel better the more time between I put between myself & my one day.. Approaching being human again!

  4. It really is devastating. I cried reading that! It brought back some of my painful memories. But I thank you for posting this. It's important for people to understand what it's like. I wish no one had to experience any type of loss. :*( This is really good for people to read, and you explained it so well. I know I needed to read this. I have pushed back a lot of my memories and burried them. I know I need to FEEL those emotions though. Lots of hugs and love to you xoxo. Take some time to really feel those emotions and let them out. We are here for you.

    1. Lisa! No idea how my blog decided your comments were spam but I have corrected the error!

      Yeah, I'm hoping eventually this will be a painful memory in the back of my mind that I don't pull out much... getting there. ;)

  5. I'm so sorry! :( Chemical pregnancies are a sad kick in the guts. In the past year I've had a miscarriage, a stillbirth and a chemical- and I swear it was the chemical that nearly pushed me over the egde. It was like mother nature saying "here it is, right here, you can almost taste it.......oh wait, NOPE HAHA! Not this time SUCKER!"
    I'm sneding positive sticky baby vibes to you. Be kind to yourself.

    1. Oh G-d that is a SHIT year. I'm so sorry. :(

      Wild, incredibly inventive tribal baby dances on your behalf.

  6. Having had both an early miscarriage and a chemical, I can tell you it does effing suck. It's a cruel joke. I was so angry after mine. I actually kicked a wall and threw stuff. I hope things get better soon and IVF #2 brings you much better news!

    1. Yup, it for sure made me a tad bit.. pissy. ;)

      Thanks girl, I have everything crossed for your upcoming FET!

  7. A loss is a loss, and it always sucks. I'm so sorry. I appreciate that you took the time to write this so that the next person that goes through this doesn't feel guilt for feeling shitty. And I think it is important to give your feeling space before stuffing them down. You are strong for facing this.

    1. Thank you, lady. I'm finally in the stuffing them down phase of things. ;)

  8. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I think that people somehow think that a 'chemical pregnancy' sounds less horrible than miscarriage, but it's the sound of a dream shattering either way. When I had my early miscarriage (6w1d) it was still very real to me-- I'd had a picture on my phone of the "pregnant" pee stick that I'd thought happy thoughts at; you shouldn't discount the feelings you had about being pregnant or the fact that March 4th will likely be a sad day for you. I'm so sorry that it happened to you and I hope like heck that come round 2 the research trial pays off and you don't ever have to feel this crappy again.

    1. Thank you!

      Yeah I'm so hoping that I am pregnant by the time March 4th rolls around... Hoping I'm pregnant tomorrow, you know, but SOOOO hoping by March 4th.

  9. Ugh. That sucks.

  10. I can relate to every word in this post. Chemicals are mother efing awful and a whole bunch of other shit.

  11. Going through one right now and I am one of those random people who searched Google for "stupid chemical pregnancy" and am so glad I found this post.

    I've had a stillbirth, and of course the experiences are very different, but the pain of a chemical is still very real and so very valid. That was my tiny ball of cells and I had high hopes for it, just like you did for yours.

    Thanks for being so honest...I find I have such a hard time telling people how I really feel about all this ttc/infertility madness. It sucks. I hope things are looking up for you!

  12. I'm so glad you posted this. I had a miscarriage and chemical last year...and the chemical made me more angry. Most of my family didn't understand or didn't think I was really pregnant, and assumed it would be so much easier to deal with. It's not.

  13. Just read this and brought tears to my eyes. We had a similiar thing happen with our first IVF but didn't fully miscarry till 8 weeks (blighted ovum). The universe felt cruel to tease me with those positives all to result in shedding the baby I had already loved. You describe it perfectly. we are doing IVF again this summer and I'm hopeful but horrified. One crappy thing with IF is when/if we do get pregnant, we will now be "guarded" "skeptical" for a bit instead of that pure excitement so many people get. Oh well, give me a baby and I'm happy. Good luck to you!!

  14. 4 years later, people are still googling chemical pregnancy.

    I actually googled "unbearable sadness chemical pregnancy".

    The thing is, I have two daughters who I had zero trouble conceiving, one was even an accident. I don't say this to brag, or make anyone else feel bad, the fact is that I took them for granted. Easy conceptions.
    In the past year I have had two CPs. One was while I had a copper iud, imagine the guilt after that. I don't believe in abortion, and I thought I'd researched thoroughly enough to feel confident that iuds are preventive not abortive.
    We weren't trying, we were very not trying. Don't ask why but on 10dpo I took a super sensitive pregnancy test. And there it was, a definite faint positive. I went through an array of emotions. But when I finally got in to see my doctor three days later, the positive line had faded to nothing. When I got my blood tests back 5 days later they were a pure negative, and my period came on schedule, and uneventful.
    Well, if that was it I could almost play it off like a weird dream. But fast forward 9 months; my copper nemesis is long gone, because we're trying for number 3, I'm sitting on the campground outhouse toilet looking at blood on the toilet paper and realizing that those cramps weren't gas. And last week that positive pregnancy test that I got, where the line just didn't get darker, but it was still there, is now nothing more than a late period, with horrendously debilitating cramps.
    Imagine my horror when I read online that sometimes iuds can cause permanent fertility issues. Where was this information last year?
    Was it me? Did I simply make a bad decision and cause this? Or was it a fluke? A chance, un-baby meeting of sperm and egg? Have there been others that I didn't know about?
    How am I supposed to unpack from a camping trip when everything I packed, I packed while pregnant?
    If this was no more than a bunch of cells that couldn't become a person, what am I mourning? Hope? Expectation? Being pregnant? Why can't I breathe?

    Next month, always next month. Or not? What if it happens again? What if this is the new state of things?

    No answers. Only a wish for hope.