“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.