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I was. I was pregnant. (Trigger warning, emphasis on ‘was’)

I was in absolute bliss for 5 days. Happy as a pig in shit if you will.

Before all of this started I had seen a walk-in clinic doctor to get some blood work done, just to make sure my nutrients were in order. Nothing super fancy or fertility specific, but Iron, Thyroid etc. She told me at that appointment that her sister had gotten spontaneously pregnant at 39 and again at 41. I was relived. She said I was not “old” in fertility terms. Living in a city where there’s a 10+ year wait for a family doctor, I was thrilled when she invited me back ‘when I got pregnant’ to confirm the pregnancy.

Needless to say I called her office immediately. I made an appointment and I went in just 4 days after the positive test. I peed in a cup and they did the test – really a crappier version of the home tests I was doing. I waited for 10 minutes and they came to tell me they couldn’t confirm the pregnancy. I asked, “How?!”, I was just testing at home and it showed fine. Clearly something was wrong. So she sent me for betas.

For those new to that term, hCG Betas are a blood test that measures human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, basically confirming pregnancy and viability based on the gestational age. You want a certain number by a certain day post ovulation for viability. People that get pregnant spontaneously do not usually have to do this. It’s more of a test to ease the mind. There is what they call a “qualitative” beta, which is a yes or no that you’re pregnant, and a “quantitative” test which gives you a measure of hCG hormone. I had the latter.

My beta came back 23. I was pregnant, but I was “not pregnant enough”. By the date of ovulation – which I knew because I am a psychopathic tester, it should have been over 50. hCG should approximately double every 48 hours, so they send you for a second blood test two days later. My second beta was 17. It was then confirmed that this was a late chemical pregnancy.

Here’s a little crash course for those who haven’t been through this:
– A chemical pregnancy is when an embryo tries or does implant, however it doesn’t stick or implant properly, resulting in a positive test that fades out over time, up to 5 weeks of “pregnancy”. It is also considered an early miscarriage by many professionals.
Pregnancy is calculated from the start of your cycle, so first day of your period would be day 1. This is a bit confusing, but it allows you to more accurately date a pregnancy that progresses based on approximately how long the eggs take to mature before ovulation.
Ovulation occurs approximately 14-21 days after your period day 1, this varies depending on the person. If you get pregnant, 14 days would be 2 weeks pregnant. It’s weird but it’s how they do it.
– After ovulation, we have what is called the Luteal Phase. This is a period where progesterone – a hormone created by your body – ramps up to support a potential embryo implanting. Most luteal phases last approximately 14 days. Some are less, some are more. Anything below 9 days is considered a short phase and often needs supplementation. This can also prevent healthy pregnancy from occuring.

When I got my news of my chemical pregnancy, I was 4 weeks 6 days (one day shy of the clinical guideline for a “miscarriage”). My HCG didn’t drop until later, so I still consider this my first loss.

Pregnancy loss is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. In Canada, it is believed that up to 25% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. That’s 1 in 4 pregnancies. I had NO idea the stats were this high before going into it all. I didn’t even think to myself that this pregnancy may not work out.

After a week or so the hCG was gone from my system. I wasn’t able to see it on a test after just a couple of days as most tests don’t pick up anything under 20 mIU/mL.

What people don’t often talk about is how this FEELS. Yes it happened, yes it sucks. But how did it feel?

Telling my husband I had a positive test had me ecstatic. My husband is not a reactor… as in he barely cracks a smile when he’s happy. His response was “cool” or “nice”. But he didn’t bat an eyelash when I started making a list of baby registry items, or started looking at baby names. In just 5 days I was making plans.

To both learn that a pregnancy is not viable, and learn how common it was in such a short time was devastating. It’s not that i grieved the loss of a “baby” per say (some consider it a baby and that’s fine too), for me I grieved the loss of hope, of a future I had imagined, of my life progressing into a different season. I was ready for it and it got taken from me. It was like being on a plane, moving to another country, and being pulled off the plane and told that your visa has been revoked. You won’t be going after all. You’ll be stuck in limbo, or where you’ve been all along for the foreseeable future. The future you’ve planned for and hoped for won’t be happening.

My heart broke.

It took a few days for me to consider moving forward. We got pregnant in 4.5 months after trying, which at 37 was not too shabby. Surely we would do it again. So we started off on our timed intercourse journey again.


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