Trigger Warning: This post contains descriptions of chemical pregnancy and pregnancy loss.
Hi, friends. This is not my normal post. It isn’t reflective or connective or even remotely polished. In contrast, it is largely analytical, detached, and defensive. Closer to an accounting than anything else.
I have been unable to post for almost two months because this has been weighing on my mind. So I’m writing and sharing this today, as deep as I can currently let myself go. Because I want to get back to all of you, but I’m not quite willing to forget.
I used to think losing a baby early, like really early, must be easier than a “miscarriage”. The simply not knowing, having never taken a test or even suspected pregnancy. It was just a heavy period, no biggie.
To anyone who has ever suffered a chemical pregnancy, I am so sorry for having ever allowed myself to believe this is true.
Sunday, March 3, Nick and I experienced our third loss. We never knew we were pregnant.
And friends, it was not easier. Not even a little.
I have struggled for weeks feeling like I shouldn’t share this one. Like I’m not supposed to talk about it or don’t have a right to my pain. Because I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, never even knew I was pregnant, can’t even 100% say I was pregnant.
If you aren’t familiar with chemical pregnancy (I hate that term almost as much as I hate the term “miscarriage”), it’s how the medical world refers to pregnancy loss that occurs within 5 weeks of gestation. For whatever reason, an egg will have been fertilized and completed implantation, but it will not progress beyond that point. The loss occurs around the time of your expected period.
The trouble with chemical pregnancies is that unless you’ve taken a pregnancy test, they’re almost impossible to prove. In our case, we weren’t trying to conceive and, as such, I had not tested. My OB was out of town, and I had to wait two weeks to be seen by someone familiar with my history. Too late to test. And I knew it would be too late to test. I knew when I agreed to wait that I would never truly be able to know.
So maybe most who experience chemical pregnancies will never know they have experienced loss. Who can say? But I know what a miscarriage feels like, through and through. So in the spirit of full disclosure, because I’ve been the girl desperately googling for answers, and because I’ve promised to always tell you my truth, let me reiterate my trigger warning before moving forward.
My whole life I’ve been irregular, my cycle ranging anywhere from 6 weeks to three months as my normal. Ever since Lottie was born, my period has shown up at four weeks on the dot. It’s been glorious.
So it was more than a little surprising when my last cycle was only three weeks in length. I’ve never once in my whole life been early, but I didn’t think much of it. Like I said, my period has never been normal.
But later that afternoon, my low back began to ache. Like, really ache. A symptom I have never experienced in conjunction with my period. But I’d heard of back pain being a PMS symptom, so I shrugged it off. Just one more joy of womanhood to add to the list.
Enter 2:00am when I woke in pain, feeling what I can only describe as back labor. Because that is 100% what it felt like, and cramps are nothing like back labor. Still, it wasn’t until I began passing clots that I allowed myself to believe I might have been pregnant.
Look, I’m not going to go into more detail than that, but if you’ve ever lost a baby, you know the ache that follows. All the awesome symptoms that come with miscarriage. I experienced every one in the book. I was down and out for 24 hours. This was not a period.
I am positive it was not a period.
Still, there’s this whole element of doubt surrounding me, whether or not I should even be grieving. If I have a right to claim a loss that it is literally impossible to prove.
Because if I did lose a baby and I don’t grieve, then I never gave love to my child. And if that slim possibility that I didn’t experience a loss is true but I do grieve, than I am just a woman who doesn’t know how to be happy.
I am choosing to share today because I have to share. Because I’m finding it impossible to stay quite. Because I feel this horrible guilt for never having given my baby any love, for never once praying for her or thinking to her as I have with all my other children.
For not reciting the same mantra I clung to as each of my angels slipped from soul: Mommy loves you, mommy loves you, mommy loves you.
This post is entirely for me, to show the world that I believe I lost a child even if no one else believes me. So that when the day comes that I am finally joined with my angels, I can say, “I told them about you,” and she can know that she was loved.
That’s reason enough for me.
Looking for more posts on chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, and infertility? Try For My Child With Wings: A Letter to the Baby I Lost or By the Numbers: A Hopeful Mother’s Journey to Her Rainbow Baby.