… the nurse told me over the phone this afternoon.
And with her words I felt something in my soul shatter, sending pieces of my heart flying into space, unable to ever be reconstructed.
5.97. That was my beta. The minimum level a blood pregnancy test can read is 5.00.
“It’s a chemical pregnancy,” she continued, as though I needed more salt poured on that wound, as though my heart didn’t already know the awful truth. I’d been testing for 5 days at home, watching the lines on the pregnancy tests grow darker for a few days before they began to turn lighter. I know what a chemical pregnancy is. And I suspect whoever who coined that repulsive phrase is the same soulless person—undoubtedly male—who came up with “spontaneous abortion” and “blighted ovum” and other banes of the infertile woman’s existence.
But do not—DO NOT—tell me that it’s “not even really a pregnancy.” Because I was (and technically still am) pregnant, whether it lasted 5 days or 280. Time doesn’t somehow negate reality. And during every precious hour between when our embryo was transferred back into my womb until I bleed him or her out, that embryo was real. He was loved. He was wanted. He was prayed for, immensely. He was believed in. I dreamed out his future. Five days is more than enough time for a foolish girl to have planned out her entire pregnancy, down to the announcements and the baby’s outfit to wear home from the hospital. A moment is all it takes to kill such a dream.
Nurse scheduled me an appointment for five days’ time—an appointment to make sure my HCG was decreasing, not doubling. I vacantly picked a time to come into the clinic in five days. I’ve no intention of actually going.
I hung up the phone. In a fit of rage I threw a plate across the room. I wanted to watch it shatter, to see it splinter into unmendable pieces, to end up with sharp edges and no hope of being redeemed. It clattered to the floor harmlessly, landing intact. My attempt at decimating innocent dinnerware thwarted, I felt my rage grow, a strong desire to break, to hurt, to destroy.
Later that afternoon Jake and I stood by the banks of the river while Puppy frolicked on the beach, sniffing logs and fruitlessly chasing birds. Cold, damp, and raining, only people who are grieving visit the park on a day like today.
I watched rivulets of water form a miniature Amazon, making a descent through the sand into its tiny version of the Atlantic, and I thought to myself that naturally it should be raining. Today was not made for sunshine. Today was made for exactly this, dreary gray, befitting my mood.
Further down the banks, the Philadelphia skyline poked its head above a cloud of hazy fog and I imagined all the people there going about their day, a normal day by all outward appearances, that to me will always be anything but. And in my city of a million plus, it seemed I was alone, merely a stranger walking among them. Secret failures of the fundamentals of womanhood that I carry in my heart, a microscopic embryo that I carry in my womb, an invisible disease that is to blame for so much of this heartache.
I debated posting this without first writing a “Debbie downer” caveat. But I decided not to. This is my space, my blog to write as I see fit. No apologies necessary. Maybe I am just another faceless infertility blogger having a bad day in Infertility Land, but going into this I knew it wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows when I chose to write about this topic. Infertility blogs rarely are.
Going forward, I’m torn. Maybe I’ll take a break from here. Or maybe I’ll be back in a few hours, cheering along and encouraging all my blog friends in their journeys, because it’s just somehow… easier… to hope for others.
As for me, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to completely give up hope: I just cannot fall into total defeat like that. But I will be realistic and do nothing going forward to continue supporting this pregnancy; whatever happens after that will either be fully expected or a miracle.