Finding The Words

I've been trying to write this post for a while now but the words never seemed to come out just right...
Last month, I experienced a chemical pregnancy, and a loss at 5 weeks. To date, after three cycles, this was the only confirmed pregnancy I've experienced. We transferred two embryos on day three of our second FET cycle. My first beta at 13 DPO was 43. The doctor said to me “ Congratulations, you're pregnant.” But, we all knew 43 wasn't high enough. The second beta was 41. That was it. For just over one week I was pregnant. Our embryos, our babies, weren't healthy enough to survive and thrive. I started bleeding at 5 weeks. I was so thankful to have made it that far. I don’t know why, but that really meant something to make it to 5 weeks.
Since then I’ve struggled to make sense of what happened. Being pregnant for one week. What does that mean?
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the term “chemical pregnancy"...what it implies. Technically, any pregnancy that ends before 6 weeks and the identification of of a sac or pole is a chemical pregnancy ~ according to my RE. Anything after 6 weeks is technically considered a miscarriage. Many of the chemical pregnancies I’ve heard of end before they’ve begun. The woman starts to bleed when she would normally expect her period, despite a positive pregnancy test. Typically, women (who aren’t obsessive-POASers like we infertiles) may not even know that they've had a chemical pregnancy. Mine fell somewhere in between. Part of me felt like I was lying when I said I had miscarried. Part of me felt like I didn't deserve to grieve but to me it was a real pregnancy. And it is a real loss. Calling it “chemical” makes it seem like it was something less than that. But to was very real. I know you might not all agree with that and most doctors wouldn't, either. But I need this to be recognized as a real and valid pregnancy. Especially after going through IVF, and getting my very first positive pregnancy test ~ this brief pregnancy was the result of so much effort and love and intention. We were devastated to lose it. 
Please know that I'm not trying to make more of it than it was. But, the reality is that it was a pregnancy. I even have a picture of the embryos who snuggled in and struggled to live. It could have been our first child(ren) together. We loved those babies every single second they were with us.
I've grieved this loss. More than I had thought I would, honestly. It’s been a long, painful process. But, I'm also thankful to have something to grieve. I know that we were so blessed to have a pregnancy, even if only for a week. I'm still feeling emotional. I wish I were still pregnant. I miss the potential that we lost that month. That was my first pregnancy since starting this journey...chemical or not.

Perhaps by Small Bird Studio via Etsy


  1. I felt very similar about what happened with our first IVF cycle. Though it was technically a chemical pregnancy, I can't call it anything other than a miscarriage because it just doesn't feel right. Thinking of you!

  2. I am with you. My second loss was a technically a chemical but I don't think of it like that at all. I considered myself pregnant and then I miscarried. You are right to believe this way!

  3. This is a very poignant post. I think that you have every right to grieve the loss of your babies. It seems more like a miscarriage to me because your beta was fairly high and your period was delayed for a week. I think also with IVF, especially when you have seen the embryos and you have a positive beta, you have every right to grieve this loss as a miscarriage.
    Thinking of you and really hoping that you a healthy 9 months is in your very near future.

  4. Hi Janet,
    I just found your blog. I had a chemical pregnancy with FET #3 last month (although technically only our third transfer as we never got to do fresh from OHSS). I feel for you, i find the hardest part of all of this is the ups and downs. So horrible to finally get that test only to have it go nowhere. on the plus side, maybe it means we are ready now.....I hope so.

  5. I've had a chemical and also a natural m/c at 12 weeks. Both were devastating in their own way. I refer to them both as miscarriages. As far as I'm concerned I've had two miscarriages. I think you should too if you feel it best embodies how you feel about it. I agree that the term chemical somehow reduces the experience from what it really is.

    You had a miscarriage. I am very sorry for your loss.

  6. I've had two miscarriages and one chemical pregnancy. I think they should re define a chemical, because the chemical I had was definitely not a miscarriage, but my beta was only 20, and I didn't experience bleeding until AF was expected. What you experienced was definitely a miscarriage. I think it may be a really grey area, but we love all of those embryos we transfer, and we mourn their passing.

    I'm thinking of you. I hope that your next step brings you more happiness than sorrow.

  7. You definitely had a miscarriage. In my mind a chemical is over before you know it but you kept going on for a week. Hence you had a miscarriage.

    I wish this hadn't of happened to you. It breaks my heart sometimes a straight BFN is much easier to handle. It's harder to mourn an empty than a "you are pregnant"

    Thinking of you.

  8. Sending you all a big heart felt "Thank You" for your encouraging words and amazing really and truly means the world to me.



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