I look down at the stick and see two pink lines. It’s early and I know how easily this can slip away. Six days post Day 5 transfer. I know this is really early, but I have never had a positive result this early on. Could this be the round that we make it to a live birth? I continued to test during the agonizing two-week wait for my beta test with the clinic. Each day the lines were still there, growing darker and darker. My first beta test with the clinic confirmed what I already knew— I was pregnant, again. I had been down this road before, twice to be exact, both times miscarrying before my first ultrasound.
However, this time instead of feeling excitement and hope, I felt apprehension and worry. When the nurses would call with blood results, they would have such excitement in their voices. When I had to get more medication at the clinic pharmacy, they would smile and congratulate me and ask me how I was feeling. If all of these people could be so positive and excited, then why couldn’t I? I’ve done seven rounds of treatment across three and a half years resulting in two miscarriages and a chemical pregnancy.
Did I lose all hope along the way?
I made it to week six, but not without incident. It was the end of my fifth week and we had received almost a foot of snow overnight. I had an appointment that day and while I was walking through the parking lot I managed to slip on a pile of ice under the snow and fall hard on my stomach. After a few seconds the sobbing started, I was finally pregnant again and now it was likely gone. How could this happen? I laid there for what seemed like an hour just crying and being angry at life. Then I gathered myself up and went home and called my clinic. They told me I had to wait until next week to come in for my ultrasound.
I arrived at the clinic the following week thinking that I would see nothing on the screen and that they would confirm what I already was thinking. I lay on the table watching the screen and was surprised to see the tiniest blip. I was measuring where I should be, and the heartbeat was textbook. I was told to come back in two weeks for my next scan. The next two weeks were agony. Every cramp or twinge sent me into panic mode where I would google for hours what I should be feeling at this point in my pregnancy. On days that I didn’t feel as pregnant as the internet told me I should feel, I was worried that another miscarriage was around the corner. I went back for my eight-week ultrasound and everything was fine. I was exactly where I should be, and I even got to hear the heartbeat. Tears rolled down my face as soon as I heard it.
This was our baby and it was finally our turn.
At this point our clinic cut us loose and we found an OBGYN. Our first appointment was scheduled for twelve weeks. In the meantime, I had to do my NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing). I did my blood test through my clinic and was told I would have the results in 7-14 business days. We were eleven weeks along at this point and I couldn’t get excited. I was living in fear that we would get the call that there was something wrong. Waiting for these results gave me more anxiety and filled my head with doubt every day.
Finally, we received the call with our results that everything was fine. I was twelve weeks, and everything was great, but I still was anxious, nervous, and filled with dread. Would I be like this my entire pregnancy, just waiting for something bad to happen? I had finally made it to the “safety zone” and I couldn’t even enjoy it. Even the thought of a Facebook announcement filled me with dread. What happened if we didn’t make it all the way and then had to tell everyone? I found out that my in-laws were telling everyone now that we had our test results back.
So that night we did the most rushed announcement just so that most people would hear it from us first.
As the weeks rolled by my belly started to grow and I continued my regular check- ups with my OBGYN. At my 16-week appointment she decided to pull out her doppler and try to listen for a heartbeat. Before she placed the doppler on me she informed me that there is a chance that it is too early, and I wouldn’t hear anything and not to worry. She felt around for a while moving it up and down, left and right— we didn’t hear anything. I got dressed in silence, booked my next appointment at reception and then as soon as I got out of her office the tears started. They lasted my entire drive home.
I felt so defeated. Obviously, something had happened, and we would see at the 20-week ultrasound that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. How could I continue to live like this? I was constantly depressed and anxious about everything to do with this pregnancy. I should be happy and enjoying what could be my only pregnancy. Instead I was spending all of my time googling symptoms and fearing the worst. Our 20-week ultrasound confirmed that everything was fine and that we were right on track. They also confirmed that I have an anterior placenta, which makes me feel less movement and sometimes delays when I feel it. There was nothing wrong with my baby, I just had a front facing placenta.
Why hadn’t I come across this issue in all of my googling? At least that would have provided some sort of explanation of why I couldn’t feel things that my pregnancy app was telling me I should be able to feel. It was at this point that I realized that I needed to start enjoying my pregnancy, as I was already half way along. I hadn’t done any pictures, or even really acknowledged that I was half way. I worked so hard to get to this point! I shouldn’t be counting down the weeks like a doomsday clock.
Instead I should be bonding with the child growing inside of me.
The feelings and worries that I faced my entire fertility journey didn’t stop once I became pregnant, they just mutated and adapted to current conditions. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and though I still have my moments of panic when I don’t feel the baby move for a few hours or if I feel a twinge or cramp, I have learned to enjoy and embrace everything that’s going on.
By Sarah Cheltenham