I’m getting ready to put my legs up in those super fancy stirrups for yet another test that might deem me even more infertile, when the doctor (whom I don’t normally see) says to me, “So you’ve had a couple losses, right?”
I said, “Oh, well, I had a chemical pregnancy in May, and then our first IVF didn’t work.”
He says, “Okay, so yes, one loss. You’ve had a loss.”
Ouch. The word “loss.” I honestly hadn’t thought of it in this way until I heard the words come out of his mouth at that very moment. I have had in my mind this whole time that in May we had a chemical pregnancy. And while that’s certainly what happened, I don’t think I had fully equated it to a loss yet — even though it was, in fact, a pregnancy loss, a miscarriage. We had a very early miscarriage.
Maybe it was the term “chemical pregnancy.” Perhaps I didn’t feel like my feelings could be justified if I said out loud how badly I was actually feeling about losing our first and only baby.
But then I thought about it, and I suppose he was right. That 4-week-and-2-day-old baby had made me a mom.
After finding out our second IVF worked, I remember thinking carefully about what I should eat, how often I should be standing, and if I should have been getting more sleep. I found myself wondering, thinking about the fact that I actually had a very tiny little baby inside of me. I found myself thinking about what I’d do at work if I delivered in January, even though a part of me knew, deep down, that this might not work, that the baby might not stick around.
My hCG beta levels were low, and it could all end that upcoming Tuesday. This was the Friday before Mother’s Day. I found myself wondering if I was really going to stay a mother on Mother’s Day. I was told “Happy Mother’s Day” by the few who knew we were pregnant. I got a plant from my husband to celebrate me being a mom that day.
I found myself eating pickles like it was my job. I had symptoms that I never fully experienced before, along with a positive beta. Not many symptoms — 4 weeks is obviously early — but there were a few there. Whether they were simply symptoms of the dreaded progesterone shots we IVF patients have to take, I’m not sure, but at the time, they felt like pregnancy symptoms.
In those fleeting moments, between that Friday and Tuesday, I knew I was pregnant. There were a few times when I was beginning to feel like a mom. There were some signs that told me otherwise, but again, with pregnancy, you never know. Something can be something, and it can also be nothing. Even though I had a small amount of bleeding that weekend, and I sat there with my husband holding his hand and looking at the tears in his eyes, I still remained hopeful that I’d stay a mom.
After my test the other day, after I left the room at the clinic, I got to my car and sobbed. I just could not stop. The tears felt never-ending. I couldn’t breathe, I was crying so hard. Maybe it was because it was a genuinely painful test and I almost cried in the office too, but I think it was also because, in that moment, I finally realized that I have had a pregnancy loss.
I held onto hope for four days in between blood tests. Well, really, I held it for three weeks because I had been carrying that embryo in me from day two of conception. That’s the beautiful thing about IVF — you can see your baby at 2 days old.
It was enough though. It was enough for me to grieve the baby that was, and the baby that could have been.
Even though it stung when he said the word out loud, it was good for me to hear. It helped me remember that I was a mom for a minute.
I was a mom. You are a mom.