By Katie Weadley
When I peed on that pregnancy test, I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. I knew even if I was pregnant, I was bleeding and it didn’t feel normal.
But, still – when those two lines popped up, I was as elated as ever. I immediately called my doctor’s office who assured me bleeding in early pregnancy was normal. They scheduled me for an ultrasound the next week. Although I was so very happy, somewhere deep inside I knew something was wrong. The night before our scheduled ultrasound, I began to prepare myself.
I was empty. I could just feel it.
Still, nothing can prepare you for how it will feel to watch the ultrasound technician’s face change. I watched her face as she moved the wand around my uterus and I saw the internal struggle that she must often have to face; “What words am I going to say to make the blow less painful?”
I muttered, “There’s nothing there, right?” Her kind eyes looked at me and said, “Unfortunately, I don’t see anything.” I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t.
I met with the doctor soon after and she explained that I likely was experiencing a chemical pregnancy, an early miscarriage. She explained how common these were, and that most women don’t even realize they’ve had one.
“Many women don’t even know they’ve had a chemical pregnancy.” It was a scientific fact, but it felt like an offensive accusation. I heard: “It’s really not that big of a deal, they happen all the time.”
I talked to friends and family in the days after the news and they offered both words of love and some even tried to play to my logical side.
They told me things like:
“It’s probably better that it happened so early.”
“Miscarriages happen when something is wrong.”
“Does it make you feel better to know it’s just a chemical pregnancy and that nothing was really there?”
All these comments were well intentioned and in some way they did make me feel better. I know the statistics – 1 in 4. 1 in 4 women will experience some type of infant loss. I had thought about this statistic both times my husband and were trying to conceive. I had said all these things myself when talking about it to my loved ones who had experienced miscarriages as well. Hell, I had thought these things when I was laying on the ultrasound table being told about my very own. I knew there was nothing I could have done. I knew it wasn’t my fault. It did make me feel better that I hadn’t seen or heard a heartbeat at one appointment then didn’t see one the next.
But, if all of this was true – why did I feel so lonely? Why did I feel so lost? Why was I grieving so desperately, for something that wasn’t there?
But, more importantly, why did I feel the need to justify my feelings of loss and grief to anyone, even to myself?
I had a complicated chemical pregnancy. I heavily bled for two weeks straight – a constant reminder each time I went to the bathroom that my body was working against the one thing I desperately wanted. My hcG levels continued to rise – not at a normal rate, but enough to have the doctors question if my pregnancy was ectopic, instead of chemical. I had to endure a dilation and curretage procedure to remove tissue from my uterus and a dose of chemotherapy medication. They still don’t know where the pregnancy was, and as my doctor said, “it will always be a mystery.” And yet still, despite all the pain my body endured, I felt the need to question and try to justify my emotions.
I don’t know why I felt and still feel this way. But I’m giving myself constant reminders, each day when I wake up in the morning, that it’s okay to feel that I’ve lost something – because I did.
For anyone who is going through this experience – you never need to justify why you feel the way you do. A chemical pregnancy is still a pregnancy. You can grieve because this is a loss. Even if your pregnancy was only a thought or an idea – it still meant something.
And so to my Mystery Pregnancy:
From the first moment I saw two lines on that test, I immediately began to envision your future in our family. The way I would tell your Daddy the news. How we would teach your older brother I was carrying his younger sibling. I wondered if he would understand, and how I would try and explain it to his two-year-old brain. I imagined the elation our families would feel about adding another child to our family. Your father and I even started to brainstorm names. I imagined my belly growing and I already looked forward to feeling your sweet kicks and hiccups.
I imagined your nursery and how I would decorate it. I longed for the first moment I would hold you on my chest and feel the warmth that only a newborn can bring. I imagined how exciting it would be to bring you home, to have your brother look at you and how perfectly you would fit into our family.
I was never given a due date. I don’t have a picture of you. I never heard your heartbeat. But, my sweet mystery pregnancy – you were wanted and you were loved. And I will grieve you for as long as I need to, to help fill the emptiness in my heart.
I only knew about you for a week – but it was enough to imagine a lifetime.
About the Author
Katie Weadley is a millennial Mama living in the midwest with her husband and two year old son. Her and her husband met in high school and still live in the town they grew up in. She works for a nonprofit agency that provides services for people with disabilities. She cries watching commercials but loves to rap a Nicki Minaj song in her car by herself.