It was probably too early to tell, I thought, as I sat on the toilet and peed on another pregnancy test. I hadn’t missed my period yet, but the early test promised results “six days sooner” than my missed period. To be honest, I had spent an embarrassing amount of money on pregnancy tests over the last few months. But I needed answers. I needed to know. These little pink lines would tell me our future.
See, my husband and I had lost our first baby a few months before.
It had been a whirlwind of emotions from the beginning. Are we ready to try for a family? Will we have trouble conceiving like our parents? This shifted to Oh my gosh, we’re pregnant! How did it happen on our first try? Are we ready for this?
There was a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. No one talks about the shock of a wanted pregnancy, but we had taken a leap of faith. Everyone says you’re never truly ready for kids—my friend even said it’s a lot like jumping in the deep end of the pool.
We were cautiously eager.
We of course told our parents right away. This was the first grandbaby after all, and we had to share the news. I made an appointment with my family doctor to confirm it. I peed in a cup, and we waited in the treatment room to hear the result. “You’re pregnant!” she said. We looked at each other in amazement. Outside in the parking lot, we hugged and marveled that it was really happening.
The next step was making the first OB/GYN appointment at eight weeks. We booked the appointment and waited. After an eternal few weeks, we were finally in the ultrasound room, ready to see our firstborn. My husband squeezed my hand as the tech moved the ultrasound wand. We waited.
“Well,” she said, “I’m not seeing anything yet. The development matches with six weeks, not eight. But the dating on the weeks could be off.” I had been feeling some symptoms (fatigue, changes in appetite) and sometimes the dating of a pregnancy can be different based on ovulation. We felt assured that our doctor would shed more light on the situation.
In the treatment room, though, we didn’t hear what we had hoped for.
“We’re not seeing a fetal pole, there’s not a heartbeat yet,” the doctor explained. “It could develop into something. We’ll have to do blood tests to see if your hormone levels are increasing.”
My husband’s eyes teared up as the phlebotomist extracted a sample for testing. “It’ll be OK,” I had told him, feeling matter of fact. “Sometimes this happens and a baby doesn’t develop. We’ll be able to use this to encourage others who have lost babies.”
My levels did not increase, and at the next appointment, the doctor talked through my options: medication to induce miscarriage, D&C, or letting my body naturally remove the “products of conception.” Since when was a baby called a “product of conception”? I couldn’t bear the thought of anything invasive or medical, so we opted to let my body process it on its own.
Part of me, too, wondered if the doctor was wrong, and if so, I didn’t want to medically intervene if this baby was going to live.
The doctor was not wrong. Within the next few weeks, I had cramps and bleeding. A follow-up ultrasound confirmed there was no baby. We left the appointment in tears. I hadn’t realized until then how much I had wanted that baby, how much I wanted it all to be true.
And here I was now, staring at a pregnancy test and hoping for two pink lines of hope. A second pale, pink line appeared. I tested again a few days later, and the line was darker. We had an ultrasound, and there was a heartbeat and a baby. We dared to hope again.
Originally published on the author’s blog