… we were pregnant.
For 36 hours, we were pregnant.
It feels weird typing that. I don’t even feel comfortable saying it out loud to people. I don’t feel justified to feel the same sorrow that women who have ‘proper’ miscarriages experience. We never heard a heartbeat. We never had time for a bond to start forming.
But a loss is a loss whether it is at 36 hours, 36 days or 36 weeks.
You mourn the loss of what could have been. You grieve for what you could have had. You feel sad for what has been snatched away. You cry for what you fear you will never get again.
The pain and heartache is still legitimate.
It was our 3rd cycle of trying and charting. It was the best looking chart I had had and my temps kept on climbing and climbing. The sex had been perfectly timed over my fertile period. I was optimistic. I had tested on 9dpo and it was negative.
We were going away for my 30th birthday to Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire. It was me, Dave, my parents, my brother and his long term girlfriend. There was a hot tub and we were going to do Go Ape and segwaying through Sherwood Forest. It was the perfect way to celebrate Easter weekend and my milestone birthday. I had been looking forward to it for months.
On the evening of 11dpo I tested again. I left it in the bathroom whilst I went to start packing. Dave was downstairs. I went back to the bathroom to get my toiletries and I glanced at the test on the side expecting to confirm what I was used to: a stark white background and a BFN. Except what I saw stopped me dead in my tracks.
I could see a second line.
My first word was “shit”. I remember standing there, staring at it, hands to my cheeks, repeatedly saying “shit” to myself. It wasn’t the typical euphoria you might expect because I just wasn’t expecting to see ANYTHING. Because of my shock, I didn’t even break the news to Dave in a romantic pre-planned way either. I took the stick, went downstairs, thrust it in his face and said “Dave. Look.” That’s when the analysis started. We went back upstairs and looked at it in different lights and in different rooms. The packing had been abandoned by this point. I took endless pictures on my phone and applied different filters to enhance the line. I uploaded an unfiltered pic to K-Squad and everyone agreed: there was a second line. Congratulations! We were pregnant.
We were pregnant.
Dave and I went to bed that night in a fuzz. We laid there, looking at the test again, checking to see that the line was still there. And it was. We tentatively started talking about what this meant. The night passed by in a blur.
The next morning, I took another test but I didn’t have a big enough wee. However, the line popped up straight away that time, although it wasn’t as complete as the day before because of the lack of wee I got on the stick. But when I saw the line, and Dave agreed that this was definitely a second line and I was pregnant, he immediately laid down rules for the weekend. No hot tub and no drinking.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to hide my lack of drinking and hot tubbing from my family as I had been going on for weeks about how much I was looking forward to those two things! But Dave was putting his foot down. He compromised with me doing Go Ape (although he wasn’t happy about it) but was adamant about the no alcohol and hot tub.
We got to the lodge around tea time and fortunately I could use the excuse that I was tired and wanted to get an early night for the weekend ahead. My brother, dad and Dave went in the tub at 10pm and I was desperate to join them, but instead I went to bed. I was 12dpo. I was going to take another test in the morning.
The next morning, Dave was up before me. He kissed me good morning then got up and left me to get ready. We had our own bathroom so I had privacy before seeing anyone. I went to the toilet, ripped open another test packet, prepared to pee and that’s when I saw the spotting in my pants.
I froze. I had felt nothing all night. I hadn’t felt pregnant, but then I hadn’t felt like my period was coming either. My temp was still super high that morning so there was nothing to prepare me for this. I took some toilet paper and wiped. That’s when I saw the blood.
I was devastated. I sat there and silently cried. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and wanted Dave to come back so I could tell him but he was with my family. I also had no ‘big pants’ or sanitary towels with me, only pantyliners. I wasn’t expecting my period so I had no reason to bring anything. So of course I was now stuck with no tampons or anything. I had to come out and I had to tell people.
I can’t remember what happened next. I must have told Dave somehow. Then I think he and my dad, brother and sister-in-law went for a walk. That left mum and me on our own. I am super close to my mum. I also have a face that hides nothing; it gives away exactly what I’m thinking. There was no way I couldn’t tell her. She didn’t know we were trying officially (although she had her suspicions) and here I was telling her that I WAS pregnant, but now I wasn’t. It was horrible. But I couldn’t give in to my emotions either because we were all heading out to Go Ape that afternoon. Life had to carry on when I just wanted to hide in my room and cry.
My sister-in-law came back and she saw me crying out on the veranda. I confided in her and thank goodness for her. She said the right comforting things and she had tampons too. So at least I was saved in that respect. Except I’d never used a tampon before, since I was 12 and trying one for the first time. I just never got on with them. But here I was, with no option. It meant that I could carry on, and use the hot tub over the weekend, but I always ‘felt’ IT there. Reminding me that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
I remember climbing the rope webbing when I fell off the high wire at Go Ape that afternoon. I have no problem with heights but I have no upper body strength. When I fell, and couldn’t get myself back up and had to be hoisted by the crew using ropes on the harness, I remember just crying. Dave and I lied to the people around us, saying I was just scared, but actually I was crying because I was devastated and the adrenaline was the only thing getting me through.
I had a lot of fun that weekend. But if you look that the pictures of me from the second day onwards, the smiles didn’t reach my eyes. I was changed from that point on.
I still have the photos of the tests on my phone and iPad. I can’t bring myself to delete them. I would be devastated if I lost those photos, as they are the only reminder I have of what we had. I sometimes look back at them again to remind myself that yes, I wasn’t imagining it, yes, I was pregnant, yes, there were 2 pink lines there. Then I put them away again. They are very private photos now.
Those pregnancy test adverts and scenes in films “I’m pregnant!” are a fucking joke. You get those two lines and that’s it; you’re officially pregnant for the next 9 months. Bollocks.
The devastating thing about a chemical pregnancy is that it robs you of your trust and faith. It hardens you. It means that if ever you are blessed to have those two lines again you will never actually trust that they will stay there. You have a permanent fear that they won’t last. You will spend every day peeing on stick after stick to check that the second line isn’t fading. You remain scared of going to the toilet in anticipation that there will be spotting or blood in your underwear. You will hold your breath until you actually get confirmation of a heartbeat at your first scan. But even then the fear will remain. Miscarriage. Late term miscarriage. Stillbirth. You will never quite trust your body. You will never have 100% faith that what you have will work out.
The reality is, when – WHEN (I tell myself) – we get those two pink lines again, I won’t be jumping for joy. I will be inwardly ecstatic but outwardly cautious. I will be mistrusting of the permanence of their existence.
What I’ve learned from my all-too-brief experience of pregnancy, is that it can be cruelly snatched away in a moment.
Mother Nature is a shit.