Typically the word “yes” is a positive and exciting thing. It implies moving forward, positivity, acceptance, progress… you get the picture. I, personally, love the word “yes” in most areas. Interestingly, in the one area I have major reservations around this word is also the same circumstance that many others have mixed feelings surrounding it as well- a positive pregnancy test.
It isn’t as simple as “OMG! Two lines!!!” and continuing with all the happy plans. When I get a “yes”, there’s testing every couple of days to make sure its “sticking”, hyper analyzing every hint of a symptom, not knowing if the nausea is from pregnancy or from the anxiety of waiting to see if there’s a heartbeat, waking up every morning hoping you’re not bleeding everywhere and losing your baby… again, googling the statistics of infant survival if born at so many weeks, wanting desperately to get excited and plan the nursery and names and new schedule changes but not letting yourself go there thinking it will set you up for further disappointment. In the instance of a negative test there’s obsessing, and double takes, and magnifying glasses, and trying to see if it’s just the lighting, and googling the test batch number to see if there was a recall, looking up if it was a period or “heavy implantation bleeding”, reading EVERY. SINGLE. STORY. of women who had no clue they were pregnant because they took a test and it said negative but they actually were pregnant. It’s stressful. It’s disheartening. IT IS EXHAUSTING mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I know way more than I want to know about pregnancy tests. No seriously. Did you know there is something called the “hook” affect? “What’s that?” you ask. It’s basically where your HCG level so high it actually cancels out the positive pregnancy test result and shows a false negative. It is incredibly rare and you have to be about 2 months along for it to be a possibility.
And yeah, in my desperate urges to be pregnant, I’ve imagined myself as a victim of said “hook affect” on a few occasions.
Did you know that the red line tests are way more accurate on the actual test result but if you’re super early in your pregnancy it’s easier to see a blue line? Did you know that testing super early with a blue line can make you think you’re pregnant because it looks so close to an evaporation line therefore making it necessary to wait for a brighter blue line or retest with a red line? Did you know that entire batches of pregnancy tests can be recalled for any variety of reasons to include giving false positives or false negatives and the only way to find out is to web search that specific batch? Did you know you can get a negative test and within 24 hours get a positive because HCG doubles every 24-48 hours for the first couple months? Did you know you can be pregnant but your HCG is so low that a test doesn’t detect it for several weeks? Did you know that when you’re testing early, you have to have waited at least 4-6 hours after urinating to test so that HCG has enough time to build up to read on a test? Did you know that if you drink a bunch of water in order to test, you can dilute your urine too much to get an accurate reading? Did you know that you can wait up to 10 minutes for result because a positive might show up after 3? But did you know that if you wait past 10 minutes a positive line could be an evaporation line? I could go on and on and on.
Like I said… I know way too many variables behind a stick you pee on. It sucks. Can’t just pee on a freaking stick and wait 3 minutes anymore.
I’m not an obsessive person on hardly anything. But when it comes to testing for pregnancy I *have* to know as early as possible because I have to be on hormones and blood thinners and vitamins and supplements ASAP just to have a slight chance of sustaining the pregnancy. It’s why I know so much about the tests and the variables and ins and outs of trying to get an accurate home test so I’m constantly running to the doctor for blood tests based on an inkling or a “maybe”.
So last week, on July 1st, I got a “yes”. The whole reason I tested was because I was having strong pregnancy symptoms. I thought there was no way I was pregnant because I had just finished my period 4 days earlier. In addition to that, we have been preventing pregnancy like the plague right now and I knew I couldn’t be. I am still not emotionally ready to be pregnant. That’s new for me.
I’ve always had the “keep trying” disposition but losing Leo at 3 months definitely hit me harder. Maybe it was because he was #7. Maybe it was because I thought he’d make it because I had been diagnosed with problems we now knew how to address in pregnancy for the first time. I don’t know. But it crushed me nonetheless. Anyway, getting back on point… My symptoms were SO strong though that I decided to take a test anyway.
So here we are, about to head to our friends’ house for dinner and I get a positive test. I freaked out. For the first time ever, I got a positive pregnancy test where my heart sank and I started crying and hyperventilating. “What are we going to do about money? We can’t afford this right now! Do I need to start preparing for another miscarriage physically and emotionally? Should I call my doctor? Should I start doing my Lovenox shots and taking hormones until I can get to the doctor? I can’t afford to be sick and tired right now in the midst of launching a business.” All the things. I didn’t know how to cope with or process. So we went and I was basically just trying to forget about it and enjoy being with our friends. We picked up more tests on the way home so that in the following days I could continue to test.
Over the next few days my pregnancy symptoms increased- the symptoms I have only when I’m *actually* pregnant. (I have lived with consistent pregnancy type ailments and symptoms since I had Emmy but certain ones stand out and/ or increase in the event of an actual pregnancy.) I continued to feel more nausea, I was crashing the only way I do when I’m pregnant, I experienced multiple painful bouts with sciatica which I only have when pregnant, I would eat and immediately feel sick but then feel hungry again and feel sicker if I didn’t eat quickly. It was rough. And mentally draining. I was so distracted, I couldn’t focus on very much. I have been feeling so terrible I can’t work out and release anxiety that way. And Isaac’s been over-committed and pulling extra hours so I can’t go for a walk by myself to clear my head. Plus it’s been a holiday week with all the crazy around that… it’s just insane. #whenitrainsitpours
I started analyzing the period I just finished. I recalled all the things about it that were weird that I had even talked about with my mom and a few other gals that “knew the struggle”. I was 4 days early which is when implantation bleeding can show up. I was WAY more tired than usual and experienced such intense mood swings I thought I was going nuts. (Ok- nuttier than normal.) My acne broke out in a way it seriously never has before in concentrated little clusters.
Warning: TMI in the next sentence…
I had heavy clotting and a heavy flow that lasted 7 days. I typically only clot when I miscarry but on the very rare occasion I do on my cycle, it’s almost unnoticeable it’s so light.
I know several women who have had implantation bleeding that imitated a period so I started researching all the possibilities.
-Obviously the first thought was that the test was just totally faulty. I looked up that batch and the expiration date though and there was no cause for concern on that front. It was a high quality test and it has been stored properly and carefully so if I did get a positive test it was because my body genuinely thought I was pregnant. False negatives are fairly common- false positives are rare.
-One theory was that I could be pregnant with multiples and one or more didn’t stick so I had a partial miscarriage (my “period”) and my body expelled the non-viable egg(s) and I kept the healthy one.
-The next theory was that I have an ectopic pregnancy but I haven’t experienced the intense pain one normally does in that situation so I’ve ruled that out.
-An additional thought was that I had insanely heavy implantation bleeding and since I have PCOS, I could have experienced weird bleeding in general but still have a healthy, implanted egg.
-Next to the last theory was something I keep going back to and that is I have pituitary gland issue. It’s something that has come up in multiple conversations with medical professionals and family/ friends and is something we plan on pursuing an actual answer on when we can get back into going to doctor appointments. Your pituitary and fertility treatments are pretty much the only thing that can give you a false positive.
-The final thought was that I may have had an early miscarriage. Some call it a “chemical pregnancy” but it’s a miscarriage nonetheless because your body still produced HCG. Personally, I feel like this is the most likely scenario because I have had a trickle of symptoms I only have when pregnant, a positive test, and all the factors with my weird cycle would point to a miscarriage. I’m not going to officially say that’s what it was because I’m not ready to make my number of losses grow to a total of 8 plus I can’t go to the doctor to confirm so I’ll just chock it up to “a really weird blip in the midst of a stressful season of life”. What else can I do?
After routine testing over the next few days resulting in negatives, and most of my symptoms dwindling, I have come to the conclusion I am not currently pregnant. Was I pregnant? Only God knows.
Did it make me realize that I want to get pregnant again? Honestly, no. For the first time ever in mine and Isaac’s 6 years of marriage, I can honestly say I don’t want it. The thought of being pregnant and losing again terrified me.
I’ve never felt truly terrified of anything since before getting married and especially not about getting pregnant. I’ve always had this “keep trying and have faith in God’s plan” mentality. I’ve always hopefully tested every month just dying to be get another positive and give it another go. But now I kinda hate myself for changing. I hate that I feel like my faith in being able to have a healthy baby is depleted. I hate feeling hopeless. I hate that what should be the most exciting thing in life is something I dread and fear.
I’ve realized that a “yes” is also incredibly scary. As someone who has always taken life by the horns, welcomed intense challenges, and thrived off of conquering obstacles, “yes” was a powerful and inspiring word. Now that I have reached a level of loss that I can’t process in a healthy manner, the word “yes” is daunting in regards to pregnancy and infertility. It scares the crap out of me.
So many of my sweet and precious friends who have also been dealing with infertility and loss have been heavy on my heart the last month. I know so many of you want to see that “yes” and for you it would be the best thing in the world. I want you to know that I am praying for you every single day to see that, and that the “yes” grows into the most amazing, healthy little one you get to hold soon. I know that seeing a “no” is full of so much devastation. I know that it’s draining in the depths of your very soul. I know it is draining on your relationship with not just your spouse but also your friends and family. For my other friends getting a “yes” that eventually turns to “no”, I know that is draining too. To get hopeful then despaired, to rejoice then have to grieve, to see that heartbeat then feel it slowly fade away. No earthly pain compares especially because it’s such a lonely and silent grief that only affects you. I am here if you ever want to not feel alone. I am here if you want a friend that understands your grief and turmoil. Please feel free to reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through any of my social media platforms listed under my Contact tab. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I mean that.
In conclusion, “yes” is a complicated word. When it comes to a pregnancy test “yes” evokes different and complex emotions for every single woman out there reading it. I hope the word “yes” is a good word to you. We need to keep it positive. For the most part at least.