Less than a month after our wedding, a Sunday morning, I found out I was pregnant. Although it wasn’t specifically planned, my husband (I’ll call him G) and I were eager to start a family, and had kept “busy” on our honeymoon. I took this first pregnancy test quite early; understandably, the line was faint. So faint that G didn’t even believe it. “You can barely see it, I don’t think it means anything”, he said. But I told him, with all the faith in the world, “A line is a line, we’re pregnant!” and proceeded to take a picture of said test and text it out to two trusted cohorts for verification. “A line is a line, you’re pregnant!!” was the enthusiastic consensus, and several more pregnancy tests that day (of different brands of course), also showing faint lines, began our walk on Cloud 9.
Prior to this, as I’ve heard is fairly typical, my concern was that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant at all. I feared an onslaught of bleak one-lined tests and the words “NOT PREGNANT” confronting me month after month. This two-lined test, faint as it was, redeemed me. Never again would I have to worry about that, why, we had gotten pregnant on our first try, barely even trying! I was thrilled, my husband was ecstatic, and a series of OBGYN appointments confirming doubling HCG levels (the pregnancy hormone) only made us more confident. I bought G the book “Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!”, I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, banned all the foods and drinks you’re supposed to ban, envisioned our nursery, thought up creative, adorable baby names for the boy I knew we would have, and shared the news with a couple close friends. I was going to do everything you’re “supposed” to do to a T and more- typical of my slightly neurotic personality.
Also typical of my slightly neurotic personality (G would contest the slightness of it), was the compulsion to take pregnancy tests daily to confirm to myself that I was “still” pregnant, that everything was going as it should. Watching that line appear and get darker every day gave me comfort that all was well in there. Until the day… that it didn’t get darker. And the following day, when it actually appeared lighter. And the next day, lighter still. People told me “Stop taking tests, you’re pregnant!” and that the darkness or lightness of the lines didn’t mean anything. But I knew. I knew in my heart that something was amiss and we wouldn’t know this baby. Armed with the knowledge of my last HCG number, and while G was at a golf tournament, I marched myself into the doctor’s office, told them my fears and demanded another HCG blood draw. They obliged and time seemed to slow as I waited for those results. Finally, a doctor I had not met with before came in by herself and by the awful, sympathetic look on her face, I knew my fears were founded. The number she told me my HCG measured at was far below what it had been last time, even lower than I had dared to contemplate. Typically, they’re supposed to keep doubling. All I could do was laugh. And cry. She confirmed that I was going through an early miscarriage (a “chemical pregnancy” they call it- too early for an ultrasound, pregnancy can only be monitored by your HCG levels; surprisingly common) and that I would need to keep getting blood drawn until the HCG returned to a “normal”, non-pregnancy level. A weekly reminder of what was lost, to add insult to injury.
I didn’t call anyone on the ride home, not even G. He had believed everything would be fine and that the doctor would reassure me. Secretly, I’d hoped for that too. I went straight home, sat in our walk-in closet in the dark, until G got home and found me there. I couldn’t say a word, but he knew. He was shocked, he’d felt so positive, and we were both heartbroken. Couldn’t believe this was happening, and less than a month after our wedding! How unfair! He sat down next to me in the closet for what seemed like an eternity, and we felt a sadness completely new to us. After we began talking, I naively vowed I would never try again, never wanted to risk feeling like that again. I think he felt that way in that moment too. And to the few people who did know we were pregnant, did know I was going to the doctor that day to “reassure” myself, I sent them a single text message that night, two words, the saddest words I’ve ever written: “No baby.”