Roughly 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. But according to the Mayo Clinic website, the number actually could be higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that it can be mistaken for a regular period. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester (before 12 weeks). That is what happened to me, except I knew I was pregnant. I have the home pregnancy tests to prove it.
We weren’t even really trying. We have two wonderful sons at home, but had always wanted three. And since we are turning 40 next year, we figured, “it’s now or never!” So I went off the pill several months ago — we were going to wing it, and see what happened. Anticipating I could be pregnant each month was a let down when I would “see red,” or feel the rush of my period starting. Yes, as I get older, it now starts with a vengeance.
Each month I would start to feel symptoms, and wonder, “could I be pregnant?” So as the day of my expected period came closer, I know you're really supposed to wait until you miss your period so the results will be even more accurate, but I would be tempted to take a home pregnancy test. I took a few in the past couple months, and always was disappointed to see no double lines on the stick. Anyone who’s considered having a baby knows the feeling of the anticipation, and the disappointment.
A few weeks ago, I had some different symptoms, I started getting that familiar “have-to-eat-every-two hours-or-I may-throw-up” feeling I had in other early pregnancies. It seemed to come from out of nowhere. I also didn’t get my usual migraine I get when I’m expecting my period. This was different, I thought, “maybe it’s happening ...” So when my period didn’t show up as expected, I took another test. It was positive! It was light and unconvincing, but positive. I was elated, even though I wasn’t sure I was completely ready for nine months of feeling “not myself,” and the following months of wishing I was already back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I took another test the next morning just to be sure I wasn’t just imagining the lines. It too was light, but positive.
I decided to wait a few days to give my body some time to start the process of growing this new fetus. I waited as long as I could, five days. I took another test, and it was again positive. So this was it, I was really truly pregnant. I decided to wait a bit to call the doctor, "just in case." Perhaps instinctively I knew what was about to happen.
Two days after that, just before I left work to get my boys from daycare, I felt that familiar rush, and I doubled over in cramping pain. Sure enough, it was blood I found when I got to the bathroom. I hoped against hope it was just implantation bleeding, and put on a panty liner. By the time I got home, I had to change it, and I knew this was not implantation bleeding.
The next day I called my doctor’s office to explain what happened. They instructed me to come in and have some blood drawn so they could figure out what was going on. The results showed I was having a miscarriage. My HcG level was going up, but my progesterone level wasn’t. Mine should have been reading in the area of 11.2-90. It was at 1.1, equivalent to the follicular (first) phase of menstruation. They call it a chemical pregnancy (miscarriage). I’ve read that when a miscarriage happens in the first trimester, it is generally because of a genetic disorder with the fetus. It gives little comfort, but that’s nature.
I had to go back again the following week to have more blood drawn to make sure that my HcG level was negative, indicating that the miscarriage was complete. It was. As I talked about in a different post, loss is loss. I have the “sticks” proving I was pregnant, even if it was for only a short time. I have the thoughts in my head—the thoughts I had about how to arrange our bedrooms when this new life would come to live with us, and I thought of calling friends to get all my infant gear back that I had loaned to them. I was excited to be pregnant at the same time as some good friends were also working on their second or third child.
Now I’m mourning. I’m wondering if we’ll be able to have another child. I wonder if we should at our age. I wonder how long it will take to get pregnant once my body has adjusted to what happened. Loss is loss. You question everything, just like I am, and just like I did in my other miscarriage at 12 weeks. Comparatively, this is a little easier, but it’s still miscarriage. I will be ok, but not now. I’m just getting by right now, and that’s ok for now.
Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.