I promise that this is a happy story although it may seem like tragedy at times. There is also some content that may gross you out.
There are two kinds of pee-on-a-stick pregnancy testers. The Eager Pee-er and the Cautious Optimist-pee-er.*
I am an Eager Pee-er. This means I buy packs of early detection sticks in bulk for cheap on Amazon. I don’t mind testing way before the time that is recommended and seeing a possible false negative because it is too early to pick up any hcg hormone in my system. No big deal, I will just pee again tomorrow! I realize this method terrifies the Cautious Opti-Pee-er.
When testing early, there is also the possibility of detecting a chemical pregnancy and then losing it a couple of days later when your period is due. This is when most miscarriages occur, and most women never know they were pregnant. This would obviously be heartbreaking to know about, but still I test early.
Last month, after a couple false negatives, a faint line positive line showed up on one of my tests! Though it was very light, I knew I was pregnant and became giddy. My plan was to continue to pee on the tests each day until the pink line became dark enough so that I didn’t have to squint to see it. I would hand Benton the positive test just before Justin got home from work. B would run up to Dada and deliver the news that we were becoming a family of four.
Best laid plans.
The second day that I saw a positive test, the line had definitely darkened. I became more excited and started texting pictures of the said test to close friends and discussing due dates.
Then I started bleeding.
SO much blood. Not the cute implantation bleeding that you hear about. Serious blood. So I lost hope and started to cope with the fact that I had been barely pregnant and was not any longer. Instead of announcing good news to Justin, I told him that I thought I was having an early miscarriage.
He was not super convinced that I had lost it, and said to just wait and see. I called the midwife, and there wasn’t much they could do. I was sad. More sad than I thought I would have been. I started to read about miscarriage on the internet and how common they really are. And I read a lot of hopeful stories about how sometimes it is easier to get pregnant right after a miscarriage because your body is all revved up to grow a baby. I was comforted by this.
Day three came. More blood. Should I pee again? I know that the hormone can hang around in your system for a bit even after losing an embryo. Hmmm. So I figured I would just keep peeing on the sticks until I saw the positive line lighten and disappear. So I peed on another stick. The line was DARKER. What?!
Day four. More blood. Hopes are low. Positive line darkens. I take Michelle on as my lab partner and she starts researching hcg and inspecting my pee tests with me via internet chat.
Every morning brings more hope, confusion, stress, and sadness. Every test gets darker. Michelle is emailed a new photo every day and we freak out. A week later, the bleeding has stopped. I request testing from the midwife office and they agree that I should do two blood tests. The first would be to see what my levels of hcg and progesterone are. The second blood test would be 48 hours later and it would reveal whether the hcg numbers were going down as they would with a loss, or doubling as they would with a normal pregnancy.
MORE STRESS AND WAITING. More lines darken. I am all consumed with confusion.
Eight days after I saw my first faint positive and started bleeding, I got a call from the midwife office. My hcg was doubling.
Progesterone was high. I was still pregnant.
I don’t know. They still don’t really know what happened. If I hadn’t tested early, I would not have known I was pregnant for another few weeks, because I would have assumed that my period had occurred as normal.
The interesting thing that I learned from all of this is how many women experience bleeding in early pregnancy. Many people have told me their stories, and seems way more common than I would have thought. How awful if you are one of these women! The fear of loss is beyond stressful. I never bled a drop with B and was ignorant to these issues.
Sorry if you had to wade through all that pee and blood talk to get to the good part. I am announcing this pregnancy a bit earlier than the 12 week mark because I am not in an office anymore. I don’t see a reason to keep this a secret because if I do experience a loss, I will need support. Miscarriage happens, and I wish it wasn’t so hidden.
Yesterday, we got to see our new little one squirming around and waving those tiny nubbin arms and legs around. I am about 8.5-9 weeks now. There was a good heartbeat and no signs of anything unusual that would account for the blood. If all goes well, we will meet her in person sometime in mid-April. Although I would adore a little brother for Benton, I am quite sure there is a little girl in there and she is clearly a feisty lady already.
*Justin just reminded me of a third kind of pee-er. The kind that really doesn’t want to see a positive line. Ooops! The PLEASE NO-PEE-ER.