Sunday, May 25, 2008


“LFP” stands for “Little Faint Positive.” In the wee hours of the morning, unable to sleep, I gave in to temptation and peed on a stick. And holy fucking crap, there was an incredibly faint pink line. Dipped a second test in the pee (I always pee in a cup so I can take two tests if I get a positive, because I’m just that anal), and got the same, almost fainter, second line.

I know that half of you are going to want to start yelling and screaming (figuratively), jumping up and down (again, figuratively), and passing out cigars. I imagine that the other half of you are going to want to throw your computers against the wall, because that bitch acted like she was one of US; but she’s just a fertile fraud and now I will never read her blog again.

Let’s put these reactions on hold for a few weeks. Please, understand, that this is not a BIG FUCKING POSITIVE. It is a very tiny, very delicate, itty-bitty positive. Believe me, I would love to start designing the nursery, calculate my due date, and get all dreamy-eyed about whether it’s a boy or a girl or twins.

But I’ve been here before. Several times. In fact, right about now is our real danger zone. J’s sperm aren’t great, and our embryos don’t tend to last. Maybe things are turning around on that front—this is the first time we had blasts left over to freeze, which is a good sign—but I’m not counting my fetuses before they attach, if you will allow me such a cheesy turn of phrase.

The biggest concern right now is that this will turn out to be a chemical pregnancy. So allow me, if you will, to bitch about the phrase “chemical pregnancy.”

The Babychaser’s Rant About the Phrase “Chemical Pregnancy”

A “chemical pregnancy” appears to be any pregnancy that ends at or around the same time your period was going to start anyway. A year ago (almost to the day), I experienced a chemical pregnancy. IVF #1 was almost over. My beta was in two days, and I had yet to learn I could POAS to find out early. I started bleeding and cramping. Assuming the cycle had failed, I went in for my beta steeled for the worst. Imagine my shock and surprise when the nurse called in the afternoon and told me I was pregnant! I actually laughed at her. Mind you, she did say it didn’t sound likely I would stay pregnant. And given how hard I was bleeding, I couldn’t help but agree. But there was a chance.

So for two days I bled and cramped and cried. I had a bad cold, was in horrible pain from the cramps, and was completely overwrought. In my house I had cold medicine, percocet, and xanax—drugs that could magically heal all these ills, but I couldn’t take any of them because I might still hang onto my baby.

The second beta was just going to be a relief, a go-ahead-and-take-your-drugs-it’s-all-over phone call. But my beta had doubled; my pregnancy was still viable. So two more days of misery while I waited and cried out to the universe to please save my baby. It wasn’t until four days after the first test, a week after I started bleeding, that I was sure the pregnancy was lost.

The phrase “chemical pregnancy” implies a fake pregnancy, a phantom, something not real that has trigged your hormones into throwing off false positives. This is not true. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a “chemical pregnancy” without an embryo at least partially implanting, creating a rise in HCG. You cannot have a “chemical pregnancy” without losing that embryo. In other words, you cannot have a “chemical pregnancy” without being pregnant.

I think they call it a “chemical pregnancy” because, before we invented the “chemicals” in an early pregnancy test (either by pee-stick or blood), women who had “chemical pregnancies” didn’t know they were pregnant, because they never missed a period. The literature out there says women just thought they had had a late, and a “heavy” period.

Having gone through this, let me tell you: a chemical pregnancy miscarriage does not feel like a “heavy” period—it feels like a miscarriage. In fact, last year, before my beta results came in and when I had no idea the test would come out positive, the cramps were so bad, so burning, that I could picture some beast clawing at the inside of my uterus. My friend was in my office after a particularly bad moment, and I said to her, “I haven’t felt this kind of cramps since my miscarriage.” That's right, I said this when I thought I was just having a period. I could tell the difference.

And there was nothing phantom-like about the resulting hormone crash. My period, once it finally gets a day or two in, can be a kind of release, where my hormones get back to normal after the PMS buildup. But a week after my “chemical pregnancy,” when my beta numbers finally started to drop, I crashed hard—the kind of hormone crash that comes only after a miscarriage.

Now I know that the further into a pregnancy, the worse the miscarriage. My chemical pregnancy was by far the easiest of my miscarriages, both physically and emotionally. But it was real. Not fake, not false, not phantom, not a fluke. I was pregnant, however briefly, and I lost that pregnancy, and it was painful and horrible.

I’m pretty sure the phrase “chemical pregnancy” was invented by a man.


Io said...

I clicked over and I seriously forgot to breath for a minute.

I (won't say the word) that the LFP goes on to become a BFP. You must be so scared right now and I wish wish wish there was some way of fast forwarding to a happy beginning.
I'll be here holding my breath. Let me know if you need anything.

Newt said...

Oh my gosh. Sending lots of hope and cautious excitement. Be strong, sweet little emby.

Manda said...

Wow... I stumbled over here and found this. I'll be quietly thinking really good thoughts for you. I'm keeping it quiet just in case the universe is listening and doesn't know about the LFP yet.

DC said...

LFP!!!!! LFP!!!!!

Even tough it's not definitive, it is super great news!! Please keep us posted on the beta results. I have my fingers (and toes) crossed for you.

Thank you very much for your comment on my blog. DC is a coincidence; I am a lawyer, but I live in Southern California.

I did live and work in DC for a year between undergrad and law school and I LOVED it there. I always thought I would go back after law school, but fate had different plans.

Good luck with your beta! I will keep checking back to find out about your (hopefully very good) news.

DC said...

BTW . . . Hope you don't mind . . . I added you to my blogroll. :)

Ms. J said...

I totally agree, a "Chemical Pregnancy" is some bullshit expression that is completely insulting. And it's most certainly NOT a havy period, as you and I (unfortunately) know.

I am praying like crazy for ya, and sending good thoughts your way.

I was thinking about you this afternoon . . . my fertility challenged cousin & his wife are coming over for dinner this evening, and I have been shoving things into Lil' Pumpkin's nursery and our basement so that they don't have to be confronted by baby gifts everywhere.

Anyhoo, in doing so I came across my aforementioned stash of Ganirelix and some other Rx's, and it made me think of you and our blog-chat about unused drugs.


peesticksandstones said...

Oh my! I hope you are savoring your LFP right now. I have no idea what I'd be doing.

Yeah, that chemical pregnancy thing has always confused me. I THINK that's what I had a few months ago after my IVF -- a beta that went up for like a week then slowly back down. But to me it was still "miscarriage #3", a real pregnancy, even though it resolved itself naturally.

Anyway -- let's not talk about that stuff. This could very well be it. Very well be. So hang in there. I'll totally be thinking of you and sending out good luck vibes on beta day.

beautycourage said...

I'm laughing about your "count the fetuses before they attach" line. I love it, hadn't heard that one before.

I agree, Chemical Pregnancy just sounds awful, it must be MAN-made, if you know what I mean...

I'm sending very quiet, strong, healthy, growing, dividing, attaching vibes your way.
I hope you are able to do something fun and distracting this weekend!

Katie said...

Here's to your LFP turning into the fattest BFP the world has ever seen!!! Bigger than big. Huge. Fat. And positive.

annacyclopedia said...

I'm with Io. I'm cursing (with joy) and praying and cheering - all very quietly and under my breath. You will be extra super duper overtime in my thoughts and prayers this week.

Thanks for your great comment. It's so good to know I'm not alone in looking for the damns signs, and I think I will adopt your mantra. It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything. I'll let you know if it works for me.

K77 said...

Quiet, little, hesitant, hopeful congrats to you.

kate said...

lfcoj! lfcoj!

(little fucking cheers of joy)

Jen said...

I wish there was some way for you to get to the end of the uncertainty and find out the ending.
I don't want to be a sunshine stuffer, because I know that is not what you need. But damn, I hope this worked for you.

No jumping, no screaming. Just good good vibes coming your way.

Shinejil said...

I'm sending my loving thoughts your way. I can only imagine how rough this moment is for you--and the road's been pretty rocky lately.

Here, here on the chem pregnancy rant. I second it. The term is so belittling to the experience of early m/c.

La La said...

OMG...I'll be checking back obsessively (fingers and toes crossed).

Ms Heathen said...

After everything you've been through, your reluctance to let hope out of the box is entirely understandable.

I'm joining all of those who are quietly wishing and hoping with you.

Malloryn said...

Don't pay attention to me... I'll be sitting over here being quietly hopeful and excited. And probably obsessively checking your blog.

I think the same guy who invented the phrase "chemical pregnancy" also came up with "implantation bleeding". I hate that guy!

Joonie said...

I so agree with you on chemical pregnancy. I, having had one myself, always hated that term.

Having said that, I'm very hopeful for you! Sending you lots of good thoughts and positive energy!

kcmarie122 said...

Yay! That is awesome! I know it's just little right now but you have to start with little to get to big.

I'll be crossing my fingers for you!!!

Barb said...

My "period" after my chemical pregnancy was indeed one of the worst I've had. But my periods tend to be horrible anyway, so it was still similar. I have some animosity toward that phrase myself. It definitely makes it seem like no big deal.

As for you ttp (teeny tiny positive), I am sending you cautious excitement and hope. You forgot to include that whole group of readers who would look at that post and then proceed to think, "I HOPE it's a good one." That's how I think almost every bfp (or ttp) i see. It saves on computer monitors. ;)

GL chickie.