Chemical pregnancy – or more accurately – early miscarriage – leaves you feeling cheated. Just as the joy sets in that you are pregnant it is ripped away. It is over before it ever really began. That is why some doctors say that the test was a false positive. They don’t mean that the egg wasn’t fertilised – the only way for the test to turn positive is if the pregnancy hormone is triggered by an implanted fertilised egg – they mean that the egg didn’t develop into a foetus. It never developed beyond cells. It was at a very early embryonic stage. I don’t say that to diminish how you feel – having had 3 chemical pregnancies one after the other I know just how painful they are. I’m saying it to help you process what the doctor means if they say that. Because I know when I hear that I want to shout and get angry and say I WAS PREGNANT, STUPID.
A chemical pregnancy ends before the pregnancy becomes visible on an ultrasound. If the pregnancy is visible on ultrasound, it is known as a clinical pregnancy. This happens around 5 1/2 weeks when the embryo has grown in size. However, just because it is not big enough to be seen before that point, does not mean it doesn’t exist. In fact, by the time you would be missing your period, your baby will already have a very primitive heart that has started to beat. This beat won’t be detectable until about 6 weeks (so 2 weeks later) but it will have been beating away for some time before that. That means that even in chemical pregnancy loss, there may have already been a tiny beat. A tiny flicker of life.
With each chemical pregnancy, I’ve felt cheated. The joy I felt was so quickly destroyed. The ability to experience pregnancy. The appointments. The scans. With chemical pregnancy there is nothing. You may get a blood test to check your HCG but most likely you will just quietly go about your day and no one will know. It is lonely and isolating. At least when I lost George, I had lots of appointments at hospital with sympathetic doctors and nurses. I wasn’t alone. I know some people think I’m brave or stupid to write this blog and be so open – but without it my mental health would have suffered even more. This blog has given me the courage to break the silence. I haven’t been alone. People have understood what I am going through because I have the courage to say. So yes, I feel cheated, angry, lost and desperately sad – but I don’t feel alone.
Here’s an extract from my journal from our 4th chemical pregnancy. I think it sums up the confusing emotions you feel.
Had another positive test today. But it’s faint. It should be dark by now. M is still hopeful but I know that this is another chemical pregnancy and I am hurt and furious.
I’ve been so happy and now it is happening again. Another baby that didn’t survive.
Still feel sick. But also emotional and angry. What a combo.
If you are going through something similar, I urge you to find some way to express your feelings. Don’t go through this alone.