TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion on Pregnancy & Loss
Dedicated to any family, couple or person who has lost a pregnancy or child.
From my last blog post you read that I was taking a break from charting for the month of September while my husband and I moved. I am glad I took a break from charting. I still kept an eye on my fertile window was as well as when my next period was expected. It was a nice break from having to "worry" about documenting everything.
My expected period was October 1st and debated leading up to it if I should take a test or just wait to a few days extra to see if my period would be late. Leading up to October 1st 'deadline' I had some odd symptoms. I didn't want to read into them too much so I tried to keep them out of my mind.
About a week before October 1st I had experienced some heartburn (which I never have). I also had a lot of CM leading up to my expected period when I am normally dry. Oddly enough, I was also craving Jalapeno Poppers - all the time & I don't like spicy food.
I knew my body well enough from the previous months of charting that something was different. So on the morning of October 1st I decided to take a cheap 88 cent Pregnancy Test. To my surprise there was just the FAINTEST line. I couldn't believe it and thought that I for sure had "line eyes" and was seeing something that wasn't there. I didn't drink or eat anything that morning so that I could get a digital right away.
I was on my way to the annual Twin Cities Birth & Baby Expo when I stopped to pick up the test. Once I arrived I went to the bathroom straight away and it took less than one minute for the digital to come up with the one word: Pregnant.
I was in complete shock. And of course I couldn't keep the lid on it! I told just about anyone and everyone at the Birth & Baby expo, but I had special plans for close friends and family. I downloaded a pregnancy app right away and messaged my midwife Deb that same day. Per our calculations I must have ovulated around September 17th since my last period started September 3rd. October 1st put me at 4 weeks that day. That weekend I was beaming.
A few short days later I was able to finally tell my husband Mike with giving him the gift of my positive digital test and a baby onsie. He didn't have any words. It was such a special private moment for us both.
That following week when I was 5 weeks pregnant, I couldn't wait to tell some of my closest girlfriends. We all went out for lunch and I made a sly comment about taking hand me down maternity clothes from them. They both were in shock but happy at the same time. It was fun to talk to them both about pregnancy (they both have kids). It really seemed surreal because I could talk about how I had fuller breasts, sore breasts, tired, bloated and the 'twinges'. It confirmed to me that yes, I was pregnant.
However, my joy and excitement came to a screeching halt later that afternoon. I started bleeding. I immediately panicked and contacted my midwife. She said some spotting and bleeding is normal in pregnancy, which made me feel better for a while. As the bleeding continued I knew something wasn't right.
As I continued to bleed I didn't know what to do or what to think. I laid in bed just trying to relax per the advice of my midwife. It was hard to relax. I knew something wasn't right and I was really worried. My male dog, Copper, who is naturally a snuggle bug was laying on top of me - something he has never done before. I think he knew I was worried.
After discussion with a friend, she convinced me to go into the hospital to get checked out. I didn't see the point in going in when I knew with all the blood that I was having a miscarriage. She wanted me to go in and make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy (implanted fertilized egg that is not in the uterus). So, at 11pm on Saturday, October 8th I went into the local hospital to get checked out. By that time I just wanted to know what my hcg levels were and to just confirm what I feared.
Once there, I was poked and prodded by staff. I felt like I was being experimented on (I wasn't but it felt like a violation of my body that I can't seem to put into words). Blood and urine tests were done as well as an internal & external ultrasound. I was put on an IV, provided with potassium due to low levels in my blood work and given a RhoGam shot (injected into the muscle of an Rh-negative mother, these antibodies circulate in her bloodstream and protect her against any Rh-negative red blood cells from the fetus. Her immune system then sees no need to take further action)
When my blood work did get back it didn't line up with how far along we had calculated. My hcg levels were at 10...not even enough to register on a home pregnancy test. I was at the hospital for 5 hours overnight to get all of this done. The most numbing 5 hours of my life. I made sure to send all of my lab results to my midwife and let her know that I went in. She confirmed that my hcg levels the previous week were at 100 (normal range) and that the decrease in levels verified that I had had a chemical pregnancy/miscarriage.
Over the next week - I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I would have random bursts of crying, didn't want to talk to anyone and was most defiantly angry with my body.
Then I come to find this out...
In this day & age I turned to Facebook support groups for women who have experienced loss while TTCing. I found out that 1 in 4 women experience a loss! This number shocked me. When I posted this image as my profile picture on Facebook I had multiple women I know reach out to provide any bit of comfort they could. Some of whom I didn't know they had experienced loss. Sadly, this was the way some of my family found out that I was going through the miscarriage and even pregnant in the first place. It was definitely a difficult time emotionally for me.
It did lead me to question - what is the difference between a chemical pregnancy, and a miscarriage? I personally have been using the term miscarriage but wanted to know more about the difference in terms.
Terms & Definitions
So what is a Chemical Pregnancy? Per my online reading, Chemical Pregnancy is a clinical term used for the stage of pregnancy before a heartbeat can be seen on an ultrasound (usually at 6 weeks). Most ultrasounds will not be able to show anything before 6 weeks. When an egg has been fertilized, and attaches itself to the uterine wall it is called Implantation, which is needed for the placenta to start developing. When the placenta starts to develop this will cause the hormonal changes in a woman's body raising hcg levels (the pregnancy test hormone). This tiny life form takes a few weeks before it will be visible for an ultrasound. Therefor the term for Chemical is used for the change in hormone levels in early pregnancy. After the 6 week period, the pregnancy is labeled a Clinical Pregnancy. Not only are the hormone levels indicating pregnancy but there is a visual confirmation with the ultrasound. Usually at 6 weeks a sac can be seen with a fluttering of a small heartbeat.
The question I wanted to know was this - is it a miscarriage? YES. Using the term Chemical Pregnancy only gives the indication of what stage in pregnancy a woman was in. Some women don't even know that they had a chemical pregnancy because they pass off their late period to stress. For me, this could have been totally true if I had not known my expected period, wanted to test and was trying to get pregnant.
So now what?
I found out I was pregnant on a Saturday and had blood work that Monday. I right away went on Prenatal Vitamins (something I should have been doing before hand). My midwife tried to keep things positive in the fact that my blood work in other areas (such as progesterone) all looked very good. Now, remember I had weight loss surgery back in December of 2015 so there was a concern that I may have been lacking proper nutrients to support a pregnancy. However, that was not the case for me. Debbie (my midwife) told me to keep doing what I was doing (nutritional wise). I have worked very had to have a balanced diet and have an exercise routine. She recommend to continue tracking, taking the vitamins she recommended and that if we (my husband and I) wanted to start trying right away that we could. Deb stated that I am healthy enough to support a pregnancy and that I should also think about the fact that I was able to get pregnant. It provides some comfort knowing that I was able to get pregnant but just like so many other women I worry about how long it will take me to get pregnant again. I hear stories of how women are super fertile right after a loss and get pregnant right away, but on the other hand I hear the total opposite.
It has been over a month since my loss and I have since then had a "regular" period. During my miscarriage I bled for an extra 3 days but when my first regular period returned, it went back to the 4-5 days that it has been the past 7 months. I am currently on cycle day 9 with about 4 days until my fertile window.
After extensively talking with my husband, we have decided to stop tracking and hopefully let things happen on their own time. This for me, is extremely hard to do. I will continue to track my periods & cervical fluids but I am debating on Temping again. Right now my sleep pattern isn't ideal for attempting to get an accurate reading.
It is difficult because I feel like I need to control this ONE thing about getting pregnant; on the other hand it can be super stressful. I think my husband is starting to feel it and see it in me. According to him (note that he does NOT have any medical degree), I won't get pregnant with being as stressed as I am. Which, I have to agree, but I want my body to get back to "normal" and know that I am fertile again. There are a lot of mixed emotions on my end and I don't know when or how I will straighten them out.
I have come to terms with the fact that I was pregnant and had a miscarriage. I personally find it hard to trust my body in it's ability to do what it's supposed to. However, the Doula in me needs to stay positive and know that it will happen someday.
I want other women to not be afraid of getting pregnant, or still being in the early stages of pregnancy. Be happy. Enjoy and celebrate it. Even though I only had one week of knowing I was pregnant, it was a time I would talk to my baby. No matter how small he or she was I connected to my child in a positive way.
Make sure to take care of yourself all the time. Not just when you are trying to get pregnant or when you are pregnant.
Even though my loss was early on, I feel very deeply for any family, couple or individual who has lost a child. My heart goes out to you all.
Thank you for reading!
Take care and Sticky Baby Dust to you all!
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