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My Chemical Pregnancy

by | Fertility Blog, Katie's Journey

woman looking at a pregnancy test strip

My journey to conceive my second child is requiring more cycles with my Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) than trying to conceive my daughter did. To date, I have had one natural cycle IUI cancelled due to lack of ovulation and three failed IUI’s. After the third IUI, we decided to take a break for one cycle because we had a trip planned that lined up with when I would likely have my IUI scheduled. I have to be honest, it felt really good to take a quick break from the appointments, medications and the stress of it all. I think it was actually the best thing for me mentally to take a breather. Of course, my husband and I were going to try naturally because…why not!  

I purchased an OPK (ovulation prediction kit), something that I hadn’t used in over two years. Prior to starting fertility treatments this time around my cycles were still very irregular due to postpartum and breastfeeding so I felt that I had to track my ovulation if we were going to have a shot at being successful on our own. It’s a foreign feeling not knowing exactly what’s going on with your body when you are so used to close monitoring throughout your cycle. To my very pleasant surprise, I got a peak ovulation result on day 14…right in normal range! I took that alone as a win that my body had seemed to self-regulate.  

My standard IUI protocol is to go on Progesterone 3 days after my IUI to help sustain a pregnancy should one occur. I have always felt comforted by this security blanket because I know my body is as prepared as possible for baby. With a completely natural cycle I don’t have any of my security blankets like knowing how many eggs are being released, what my lining is doing, precise timing of ovulation etc. Because of this and because I had endured a previous loss, I wanted to know as soon as possible if I was pregnant so I could start Progesterone – so I decided to start testing early. I started testing nine days past suspected ovulation and the first two came back negative. At 11 days past suspected ovulation, I saw something. It was a very, very faint second line on a pregnancy test. It was so faint that I second-guessed what I was seeing. I sent a picture to a few friends and they confirmed they saw what I saw.  

Obviously, I was happy to see something but I knew that I needed to continue testing to ensure the line would get darker as the days went on. I showed my husband that evening and he confirmed that he saw the line as well. The next morning, we both looked at the test and I was expecting to see the line either get slightly darker or disappear altogether and we saw a line that looked the same. I went out and got a different type of test and I saw a line on that test too! At this point, I was starting to let the possibility that this could be real sink in, but I also kept my guard up. My gut told me something was off, but I was staring at a few tests that kept my hope alive. I continued to test and was met with the same line that was barely there. With each day that passed without the line getting darker, I knew deep down something wasn’t right. On the 4th day the line was even lighter and I started spotting that evening with cycle day one following the next day.  

A lot of things have gone through my mind about this. One part of me is feeling hopeless for my dream of a natural conception resulting in a live birth because the two times I have had an egg fertilized naturally without any monitoring, they have resulted in losses. I’m feeling guilty and frustrated with myself because knowing what I know about my body, was it reckless to try naturally? Isn’t that the reason I went straight back to the clinic in the first place? I’m allowing myself to process through these thoughts and feelings because my logical side knows these are irrational and emotional thoughts. On the other side however, I see this as more data and information about my body that will be helpful for my doctor. I am more educated about chemical pregnancies and that is somehow making it easier. I see this as a positive that we can do the first part naturally but we need help sticking the landing. I’m sad and disappointed but my hope isn’t shaken.