I got pregnant, and then I lost it.
It’s called a chemical pregnancy, essentially, a very early miscarriage. A lot of women have them, something like 50-60% of all first pregnancies end this way, and many don’t even know it. It happens when you miscarry so early that the bleeding occurs around the same time as your period would normally come. The bleeding is generally heavier with more clots than normal and with more intense cramping. For some women the bleeding can last significantly longer than a normal period. Before the invention of super sensitive pregnancy tests, women would not have known they were pregnant and so, mistake the miscarriage as a normal period. Since we can test so much earlier now, you can get a positive test and then begin bleeding, confirming the chemical pregnancy. This is why so many people urge against testing early, because the emotional cost of it is so high.
It started in the morning. My basal temperature had already dropped so I knew my period was coming. The second I woke up I felt horrible. The cramps weren’t just in my abdomen but everywhere, I felt it in my entire body. I went to the bathroom and found copious amounts of dark, thick blood running out of me. It’s never that heavy, and it got all over everything. I got cleaned up and continued to get ready for work, took a shower, made coffee and prepared lunch for the day, assuming it would get better as I moved around. It didn’t. By the time I was ready to dry my hair I couldn’t stand up straight. I called my boss and told her I had flu symptoms. For the rest of the morning I laid on the couch clutching my stomach in pain. Nothing would ease it, not the heating pad, not pain killers, I could not even tempt myself back into sleep. In the early afternoon I went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time to clear away the blood, and in the toilet there was a horrible clump of odd looking clots. I had been suspecting this was no ordinary cycle, and that bloody clump confirmed it. I stared at it for a long while in disbelief, wondering what I should do. Finally saying, “I’m sorry, I wish I could do better for you.” I flushed the toilet and watched it disappear.
The rest of the day passed in a haze. I watched TV and even tried (unsuccessfully) to work, I felt numb. When Husband finally got home I told him what I thought had happened, he had been looking up articles online himself trying to figure it out, he agreed with my conclusion. We agreed to look at it as encouragement. At least we knew we could get that far, we could at the very least, get a fertilized egg, now it is just a matter of keeping and growing it.
I didn’t feel the pain of the loss until the following Saturday. We had gone to a store and run into a girl that had announced her pregnancy around the time we’d started trying. There she was with her new baby. We saw her before she saw us and I tensed up at the sight of her. Husband gently took my hand and suggested that we go to the men’s section at the other end of the store. We browsed, not really looking at anything, until we slowly made our way back to the section we’d come for. As we approached the checkout, he suggested that I run next door to the grocery while he stood in line. I wasn’t sure he’d seen the woman, but I felt sure he was protecting me from having to face her so soon after our loss. I asked him about it later, he had seen her, and he’d purposefully steered me away with out a word. What did I do to deserve him?
Slowly my body recovered from it’s ordeal. For about a week after the miscarriage my whole torso felt tender to the touch, the way pressing on a bruise feels. I tried to rest, taking the next couple of weeks easy both physically and emotionally, not pressuring myself into anything I wasn’t ready for. I spent one morning talking with my best friend (who also happens to be a labor and delivery nurse and a mom) about the experience. She reassured me that there is literally nothing I did or did not do to cause this. That God was not punishing me, bad things happen because we live in a fallen world, not because God is so cruel to rip my child away so early. Husband keeps reminding me that it’s not ‘if’ we have a baby, it’s ‘when’. He says God wants us to have a child, and when the time is right we will.
I’m now about to ovulate and I’m still reeling from the experience of the miscarriage. I still see the clot so clearly in my mind, still strangely suspended in the water. I feel as though I’ve dealt with it in my mind, but the sadness of loosing what we’ve been trying so hard for and for so long, still weighs heavy on my heart. It’s like a leech feeding on my happiness and motivation. I must soldier on, survive until the sadness ebbs away and I can be myself again. We are actively trying this month, like nothing happened. I had no lasting symptoms nor anything to cause concern, there’s no reason we shouldn’t trudge on.
I’ll end with this, a few lines from a poem I have often recited to myself:
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
By Maltbie Davenport Babcock