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I was pregnant.

Pregnancy after loss is a beast, even if the loss was barely after finding out you’re pregnancy in the first place. My previous loss was so early that I didn’t really know it was happening, had it not been for my beta bloodwork telling me so.

When I got this positive, the feeling was not exactly excitement. It was a flurry of tests over and over until I felt confident it wasn’t going to to fade or disappear. I tested for maybe 10 straight days to watch the line get darker. After a while, it’s natural for the tests not to be able to accommodate the levels of HCG your body is producing, so you get the illusion of a lighter test. To combat this, there’s a theory that if you dilute your urine again, it will be more easily picked up by the pregnancy test. This was the case for me at a certain period – I can’t recall when, but I am guessing around 20dpo or so.

I would every now and again catch myself thinking, when we have this baby in 9 months, wondering what they would be like, who they would look like more. I wouldn’t let myself buy anything this time around though. It’s just different when you know how fragile pregnancies can be (god, I envy those people who never have a loss or significant struggle to conceive).

I am going to get really real and candid for a second. I have only shared this with 1-2 friends during this process. Many people who know me know that I have always been a bit of a black sheep. If you read my earlier posts, there’s a slight indication of that. But it runs deep.

Much of my ‘history’ has been pieced together through stories my family have told me – family I trust – and I didn’t know this until I was very much an adult in my 30s. My mom had me after having what I can only assume was an affair with someone while she was married. She wanted a baby, so I am told. Why I don’t know. I learned from a very young age that it likely wasn’t the “baby” she wanted, but the stability and security of a ‘normal’ relationship. My biological father enjoyed drinking. They weren’t super young, 26/28 when I was born. Technically, the divorce from my mom’s husband happened late, right around when I was born. I found this out through a divorce certificate I discovered in a box a number of years ago. Some drama went down, no doubt. My bio father wasn’t looking to have a baby. I believe there was deception involved, and I also believe abuse was a factor in my not really knowing him until I was an older child.

When I was around 2, I was “lucky” enough to have had my mother’s boyfriend take an interest in raising me. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother while my mom was off being a 20 something year old. But when I was 3, my “Dad” started to raise me more full time. His family took me in like their own, and to this day they are my primary supports.

I say all this because as much as I was “wanted”, I wasn’t. I was planned, but I wasn’t. My entire childhood, and life, I couldn’t picture growing up with a stable and secure life, with the nuclear family and with the ease that comes with secure attachments (a really good book on this is Attached, for anyone curious about the impacts of infant and childhood attachment). Nothing I have ever done has been achieved without taking the hard road.

I was moved around every 3-5 years of my childhood/teen years. I never had a “group” of friends, always lurking on the outside. I had lots of friends, but never truly fit in any one place. I couldn’t go to university when my peers did because my bio parents made too much money but refused to help me out, so I didn’t qualify for loans until I was 24. I never made university friends because I was 7 years + older than everyone else. I didn’t learn to drive until my mid 20s because nobody would take the time to teach me (my now ex bf graciously offered when I was 24). I’ve never been on a “family vacation”. Nothing has come without a fight, a wait, a challenge. This “fight” is a part of my soul.

When we got pregnant, I couldn’t believe it would be this easy. This simple. And in true me fashion, it wasn’t.

Trigger warning ahead: graphic descriptions.

At 5 weeks and 4 days I started bleeding. My periods are usually light, so this was scary. I passed some heavy tissue/clots. I was sure I was miscarrying this pregnancy and had passed it. I had some intense but brief cramping. I googled it, naturally. Cramps and blood isn’t good in combo. I called my clinic and I got in for an emergency ultrasound at the hospital the next day to verify whether it was gone. It wasn’t. The sac was there, measuring correctly. Why was I bleeding?

The doctors chalked it up to what they call a SCH (Subchorionic Hematoma), a collection of blood in the uterus that eventually releases. It can be harmless, or harmful. It depends on the type.

My clinic told me to go home, take it easy, and continue my meds (progesterone injections, those huge gross ones, and oral/vaginal meds). I did just that. I continued to bleed lightly, but it tapered off slightly.

My next ultrasound was scheduled for 6w2d. I did not have high hopes. They wanted to monitor me closely, even though the norma was to do the first scan around 7 weeks. Two days before I started bleeding heavily again. More tissue and clots. I went to my ultrasound and I said to the doctor, “I’m prepared for bad news, so please be real”. He said, “we’re you prepared for a heartbeat?”

Holy effing shite. This threw me. I was floored. My heart skipped a beat. A HEARTBEAT? IT HAS A HEARTBEAT?

He explained that I was measuring a couple of days behind, which in itself is not a huge deal. But the heartbeat was slower than he’d like. He called it a “guarded pregnancy”. We’d want to be cautiously optimistic. It could go either way.

Nothing comes without a fight, I told myself.

I left the clinic elated that it was still hanging on. I was still pregnant. We could do this. If I could fight so could this baby.

The week passed, I passed more blood. Less bright coloured (a good thing indicating older blood vs. a new bleed). I was still scared to death.

We went together for my 7 week ultrasound as planned.

I listened to Tara Lapinski’s podcast, Unexpecting, recently and she put words to feelings and experiences I hadn’t been able to describe. In her podtcast she reiterates how in all her scans, she noticed the technician “seeking” before giving bad news. This was what I experienced.

Seeking. Measuring. Seeking. Seeking. Measuring.

The baby was there. It was measuring 6w2d (at 7w, not good). She said “theres no FHR”.

Ok, but what? What is FHR… then, my brain put the pieces together. Fetal Heart Rate. There was no fetal heart rate. (are you crying yet? Because I am…).

How the f&%! I held the tears back then, I don’t know. She said she was sorry. She left the room. I had no pants on. My husband was staring at me with sad puppy eyes. Unsure what to do or say. I told him to look away, I couldn’t handle being nude and having him stare at me with those eyes.

I got dressed, still holding it together. Doing that thing we as women are taught to do. “Stop crying”.

I walked out of the room in a daze. Walk through the waiting room. Get to the door I told myself. Just get to the damn door.

I opened the door and emotionally I collapsed. I cried and cried and couldn’t stop crying. I have never cried so much in my entire life. All of the feelings of black sheepery, having a hard go all the damn time, never getting a break, came flooding to me. All the hope was washed away by my tears. I got in the car, I had to get my husband to drive because I couldn’t keep my eyes open and dry. I cried the 25 minutes home. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried when I got home. For days, I continued to cry.

The flicker was gone. The hope was gone. Our baby was gone.

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