My first IVF ended July 12, 2013, in a chemical pregnancy. I hate that term. So instead of telling people I had a chemical pregnancy, I told them I had a miscarriage. Or, simply, that I lost my baby. Because that’s really what it comes down to. I think there is this misconception about chemical pregnancies, that they aren’t as big of a loss as a miscarriage is at 12 weeks.
To me, my baby became more real, in the eyes of whomever I was telling, when I referred to the situation as a miscarriage, rather than me telling them I had a chemical pregnancy. When I gave them that cold medical term, I just got a confused stare, a hesitation, and then a timid, “Oh, I see. What is a chemical pregnancy?”
One time, after telling an acquaintance that I had a “chemical,” she bobbed her head up and down and then said, “Oh, right, like a false positive?” I remember subconsciously reaching up by my neck, and brushing my fingers across the necklace I had just bought, feeling the scratches of what was supposed to be my baby’s due date engraved around the metal. I didn’t trust myself to answer her.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine several months ago, who had gone through two miscarriages, one at 12 weeks and one at 14, and during the discussion of this, she suddenly stopped and looked up at the ceiling at the coffee shop, thinking. “Yes, I had both of those two miscarriages, and then I had a whole bunch of chemicals,” she said as an afterthought, with a wave of her hand.
After the initial pain of losing Adam, I started feeling guilty, or maybe it was really a feeling of ridiculousness, that I was holding my loss up there with babies who were lost at 20 weeks, babies who had fingers and toes, and were a confirmed boy or girl. All I had was a positive home pregnancy test, two betas that had steadily decreased, and a “feeling” that this baby would have been a boy.
My second chemical pregnancy took two twin babies from me. In some ways, they were more present inside me than my first loss because with them, I had much stronger early pregnancy signs. So why don’t I feel the same as my first one? Why did I not curl up in bed unable to breathe from the sobs that wracked my body like losing Adam did to me? Why did I not name them, and make a shadow box from their first baby picture as embryos, with their Texas onesies? They were my babies too, so why am not grieving them in the same way? And even worse, why do I still ache for Adam, when these two were his siblings?
It’s not because they didn’t come from my eggs. No, I knew the moment I got the fertilization report that these were my eggs. That it didn’t matter that they came from someone else. The moment our doctor showed us the picture of the two embryos, they became my babies. But I don’t know why I don’t grieve these two, why I grieve more of the loss of this entire failed cycle than I do the fact that my babies didn’t make it.
I wish I could end this with some sort of conclusion, some spark of “Maybe it’s for this reason.” But, it seems these days that the more I think about this journey, the more unanswered questions pop up, and the inner turmoil continues to grow.