Conception Doesn't Always Lead to a Baby
Full transparency: I started writing this post weeks ago with the intent of publishing it much sooner. But it's been hard. Hard to think about. Hard to write about. Hard to put words to my feelings.
Back when I wrote about our biochemical pregnancy (read Part I and Part II if you missed it), I told you I would share what that means for us plus some education around it. I thought National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (October) would be a great time to talk about it.
So, let's dive in.
What exactly is a biochemical pregnancy?
The medical definition of a biochemical pregnancy is the absence of an identifiable pregnancy on ultrasound examination despite a positive urine or blood hCG pregnancy test.
Yes, got that.
When I was inseminated (gosh, that sounds so romantic), the sperm and the egg finally became one. An embryo was finally created!
But, we were never going to meet that baby.
So technically, a biochemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage that occurs within the first few days of pregnancy. The embryo that was (ACTUALLY) created, produces enough of the pregnancy hormone to show up on a pregnancy test. But, it does not show up on an ultrasound.
As if infertility isn't already heartbreaking enough.
What causes it?
Research has shown that the main causes of a biochemical pregnancy are the genetic abnormalities of the embryo itself. During the development of the embryo, as cells divide and multiply, the migration of the chromosomes may be abnormal and lead to abnormal embryos.
What does this mean for us?
Enough of the science mumbo jumbo. Let's get into the meat and potatoes and talk about our feelings.
Obviously, we're sad.
Something we want so terribly bad was within our reach for the very first time. I will never forget that feeling I got when we saw the positive pregnancy test. I felt like myself again for a very short amount of time .
We're also hopeful.
While this one didn't turn out how we wanted, it showed us that something different DID happen this time––which is a breath of fresh air! We've experienced failure after failure and heartbreak after heartbreak, so for something different to happen is a positive sign for us. We CAN get pregnant! We didn't this time around, but it has renewed our sense of hope.
A Loss is a Loss is a Loss is a Loss
After our biochemical pregnancy, I struggled. A lot. I grappled with questions and internal dialogue that completely wore me out.
Is it really a pregnancy if it couldn't even be detected in my uterus?
If we hadn't tested early, would we even have known what was happening?
Is it weird that I'm so sad about this?
Others experience loss that is so much greater than mine. Are my feelings even valid?
Is it OK that I wonder what this baby would have been like, even though it didn't make it very long?
Where's God in all this? Why did He let this happen? Doesn't He know that we've already been through so much?
I was chatting with a very wise friend of mine (check out her website: Heartfelt Beginnings) who has been through immense loss herself, and she told me exactly what I needed to hear:
"I hate the loss comparison game. While some may not consider it a loss, you did. You felt it. And however you personally feel about it, is the right way to feel about it."
I don't need internet validation to tell me that how I feel about what I experienced is "right" or "wrong." I don't need a doctor or a therapist or anyone else to validate my experience and heartbreak.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about loss. A loss is a loss is a loss. That's all there is to it.
October is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month
With all these "National" days recently (like, where the heck did National Daughter and National Son Day come from? I am still recovering), I did my research on this one and found that this month is actually legit:
In 1988, US President Ronald Reagan declared October as a month to recognize the unique grief of bereaved parents in an effort to demonstrate support to the many families who have suffered such a tragic loss.
I read a lot about this over the past few weeks. Did you know pregnancy and infant loss affects 1 in 4 women? That's a whole lot of people who have experienced this type of grief. This includes stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, or any other cause at any point during pregnancy or infancy.
I would add biochemical pregnancy to this list. It may not "technically" count as a pregnancy or miscarriage, but it does to me. My loss is just that –– MY loss.
Whew. I'm glad I made it through that one. Most of the time, writing these blog posts come pretty easy to me. This time was not one of those times.
I've been stuck on this one for so long that I am getting a little behind in sharing our journey! Stay tuned.