It has taken me over two weeks to write this. I think the main reason is that I knew when I wrote this, I would have to go back to my Drafts and open and eventually delete the post entitled The Happiest Birthday, because it's not longer applicable. And if I'm being honest? I haven't even opened it now. I am scared to read what I wrote on March 15th, 2013, the day I turned 25 and the day I got my first positive pregnancy test. Because my first pregnancy to date, that I wished for and prayed for and hoped for, did not end the way it should have. And that is the story I'm forcing myself to sit down and write now, because one day? I'll want to read this, even though right now I find that hard to believe. And if not, if I ever actually post this, maybe someone else will read it and take something from it that helps them go through what they are going through - the way I felt when I reread Megan and Ashley's stories the very day I got my diagnosis: chemical pregnancy.
I guess I should explain from the beginning.
After the month where I tried least to get pregnant over the past five months, I was starting to get my hopes up. Of course every time HH asked me if I thought this might be the month, I reassured him no way, but I think I was just trying to protect myself. Why get excited for something and then have mother nature shit all over my plans like it had for months? I was definitely not pregnant, no way.
The day my period was due was also my birthday (happy birthday to me), and on my way out the door for work I grabbed a cheap pregnancy test. While some might find it a little odd to take a pregnancy test at work (and by some, I mean me too really), I had always had these big dreams of telling HH in a fun surprising way (though, not sure how surprising it really could have been, but I digress). I knew the only way to get to surprise him was for me to find out at work, and tell him when he got home later that night. So that morning, after holding it and doing a potty dance all the way to work, hours before my first employee or patient would arrive (and off the clock, thankyouverymuch), I took the pregnancy test that was sure to be negative. And after a few minutes, my definitely not going to be positive test turned positive.
It's funny they say a woman becomes a mother the minute she sees those two pink lines, but motherly was not the feeling coming over me. I felt like a child, giddy with excitement, and there were lots of "no f-ing way"s and "holy crap"s uttered in my tiny work bathroom. It's strange, with the amount of effort I had put into getting pregnant, I could have never prepared myself for the feeling I would get when I finally got there.
After a few moments to myself (and no tears, I knew I wasn't going to cry), I went to my desk, clocked in, and smiled like a crazy person all day. I couldn't believe it had finally happened - all those thoughts of me being worried I would never get pregnant, how silly was I! I am pregnant, I am going to have a baby! I can't believe I ever worried, I will totally get to have the family I've always wanted, and here I am starting with this first little life that I just found out about.
One of the sadder things for me to remember is the amount of times I reached into my purse to look at the positive test. Not because I thought it would change between glimpses, but because I was so happy, I wanted to remind myself every few minutes about what had just happened. I think I must have looked 15 times in the hour before my other employees starting showing up.
But the day went on, and the purse ended up staying closed. After all, there were other women's babies I needed to take care of, and I had to keep busy to avoid from announcing it to every person who walked in the door. I kept thinking, how do people keep this a secret for so long? I want everyone to know, I am no longer just your nurse - I am your nurse, and I am going to be a mom!
When the work day ended, I went to a local department store and bought a boy and girl onesie and planned to tell HH by giving them to him. For the sake of honesty, I'm going to admit the big reveal to Hubs didn't go quite as planned, there was lots of shock (I guess I was wrong, and it was easy to be surprised), but at the end of the day we were excited and after a few days we were very excited.
Only a few days after finding out, I decided to tell my best friend, CA, because I knew I needed someone to be able to talk to. In my mind, if God fobid, something happened, I would want to talk to her about that anyway, so it was safe to spill. We debated on who else to tell, but decided to keep it on the DL until at least after our first appointment, which would have been in two days as I'm writing this, on April 10th. But, you already know this story doesn't end with us telling our families elaborately, with MIL Red jumping up and down and Hat Dad tearing up with the news.
On Wednesday, March 20th, I began spotting. It was very light and I wasn't feeling pain, and all the pregnancy message boards reassured me not to worry, this was totally normal. But I felt like something was wrong. I was hesitant to give my feelings too much power, though, because hadn't I been worried I would never be able to get pregnant in the first place? Perhaps (and by perhaps, I mean definitely) I'm just an overthinker by nature (no shit just said all my friends and family reading), and wouldn't it be silly to get myself all worked up because I feel funny. But I did call the doctor, and I did get some blood work done, and I was trying to take it easy like the doctor had advised. And by the end of the day? I had a doctor's appointment that Friday (which just so happened to be HH's birthday), and the spotting had stopped.
Thursday there was no spotting, and what hurts my heart the most right now is remembering how ridiculously excited I was for the doctor's appointment the next morning. I can't think about myself lying in bed telling HH "it's so exciting, even though we won't be able to see anything really, we'll be able to see where the baby is going to grow!" without wanting to cry. I wasn't being naive, I knew something could still go wrong, but I hoped and prayed that when the spotting left, so did some of the risk.
And then Friday came and the spotting was back. And within hours it went from spotting to heavy spotting to bleeding and then, I knew. 1. I am a nurse, and 2. a master googler. I know what is normal, and what isn't. And before I even made it to my lunchtime doctor's appointment, I knew what bad news was awaiting me. While I know he was just trying to be supportive, the "everything is going to be okay"s from HH were kind, but I knew they simply weren't true about this.
After an ultrasound where the technician was quite coy about what was going on, we met with the doctor who told us she had "good news and bad news". The bad news was exactly what I feared - there was no baby anymore, I had suffered a chemical pregnancy, or in layman's terms - an early miscarriage. Oh, but the good news? I got pregnancy in the first place, and that was a good thing.
At the time, that seemed like such bullshit that it made me hate her. Here I was, losing a baby and the potential for this little life I so badly wanted to create, and this chick is telling me there's good news? There was a lot of holding back some "shut the f up"s on my end, but with some distance, I see what she was saying, and I imagine I'll write about that whole "silver lining" of the situation another time.
Back to the bad news. It hurt, obviously, but in the strangest way. I didn't feel grief like I was losing a family member, after all, I had only known I was pregnant for a week. What I felt was more like longing. I immediately wanted to go back, to get to see the two lines on the test again, to get to relive telling my husband, I wanted to go back to the night before when I was excited and not this moment I was currently in where I felt broken and raw and empty.
There were lots of tears, and a sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized the only way out this office was through the waiting room full of people waiting for their happy appointments. Their first ultrasounds where they would take home black and white pictures to go try and figure out which end was the head at home, the anatomy scans where couples would be delighted to find out their baby was 100% healthy, and the last appointments where the doctor finally gives in and schedules an induction and the soon-to-be new parents get to match a birth day with their baby. It didn't seem quite fair that I had to leave through the same room they were all waiting in, with my handful of tissues and my bloodshot, swollen eyes. It wasn't fair, but none of it really was.
We went home, and I made some phone calls that needed to be made. One to CA, who was saddened in a way that made me love her even more than before. I heard the urge to cry in her voice not because she was losing much, but because she knew how much I was hurting in the moment. And a phone call to my mother, who didn't even know I was pregnant, but needed to know what I was going through.
There were more tears, some hardcore wishing this was a nightmare, and lots of hugs from HH, as he struggled to figure out how to help me get through something no one should have to go through. But at the moment I felt so definitively alone, I was not alone at all. I was a sad, sad statistic. Because according to my doctor (and there are many other stats you can find online that hover around the same ballpark numbers), chemical pregnancies happen in one of three conceptions. One in three times an egg is fertilized, it doesn't last past six weeks of pregnancy (the official line that is drawn separating a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage). My doctor explained many of these pregnancies go undetected, by women who aren't actively trying to get pregnant or don't even realize their period is a few days late. My doctor told me this was completely random, and that it most likely wouldn't happen again.
The days that followed were hard, but for many different reasons. Mainly because no one really knew what I was going through (but a select few) and so there was no sense of mourning for anyone really but me (and HH, but men are so different). There was no tip-toeing around me, because no one knew that they should be. The very next day actually, we had a birthday party with HH's family, and part of me wanted to scream "what the hell is everyone so excited about, I just lost a baby, dammit" and the other part of me knew that even if I did, it would never make me feel better.
But I didn't feel like I was losing a baby. I felt like I was losing the potential of one. I lost my beautiful story of feeling blessed that God gave me the most wonderful birthday present of all - a new life. I was losing telling HH's family on Mother's Day that there was a new mother in the room. Gone was my idea to tell my girlfriends with a party to kick off the summer. I was losing my November 20th due date, which was so funny because TG had a baby two days after my birthday and I would have one just days after hers! I lost my Christmas newborn, a way to surely see the holiday season in a new light. I was losing all the things I had initially thought about this baby, and it would never be the same with the next. And more importantly, I would never have another first pregnancy. This would always be the first chapter in the novel of the family I hope to have one day.
The more removed I get, the easier it has become. It is not all I think about now, and I am not crying every day. But sometimes, in moments I least expect, I feel a wave of sadness and that longing feeling come over me and it's like I can't breathe. Like the loss is choking me and there is a tightening in my chest that hurts so badly and I wonder if I will ever not get those waves of pain. I don't ever want to forget, but I don't always want to feel so overcome with this feeling either.
Linking up with Things I Can't Say for Pour Your Heart Out.