Mine was yesterday.

My husband and I have tried for two years without a single positive test and spent six months waiting to be seen at the fertility clinic. The week of my first appointment I had a positive test but it failed to progress and I lost it within a week. They call that a chemical pregnancy.

They told me it wasn’t my fault. I’m 40. They told me I have “diminished ovarian reserve” but there were things we could try. We started right away. I took Clomid. They say it can cause blurred vision and a host of other things. There are people online who say it can do permanent damage to your uterus. I had to check for ovulation every day. We had to drop everything the day we got the smiley face and go in the next morning. We had to get my husband’s “contribution” in a room at the clinic. They try to make it nice. The lights dim. There is a couch and a tv pre-loaded with porn. It was awkward.

They “wash” the “contribution” and then you have to walk it to the next area held tightly in your hand to keep it warm. They load it into a syringe and feed a little tube into your uterus. My cervix tips to the back, I’m told. I had to arch my back then my husband helped hold up one leg so the nurse could get a good angle. That was awkward too.

And then we waited. I was late but the tests were negative. I had a little bit of spotting then a deluge. It was thick and black like tar. There were more clots than usual. The internet says Clomid can do that. It can delay your period. It can cause dark blood.  I was sad but not surprised. It was the first try.

I had an appointment the following week for an X-ray and a procedure where they inject contrast into your uterus to make sure nothing is blocked. They had me pee in a cup before because they always do. It was positive. How could that be? I had my period. They did a blood test and another two days later. I was pregnant and my numbers were going up like they should be but low. They weren’t sure of the date of conception. I was. We hadn’t had sex since the day of the insemination. Trying for two years has killed any libido I had. I didn’t want to. And I didn’t want to mess anything up if the insemination had worked.

I worried about everything. I had started Clomid again. Would that hurt it? How could I have had my period? I dug through the garbage and found the pads. I pulled them apart. That was not spotting. I had spent three days feeling like I had peed my pants. I pulled out the tests I had taken. Negative. Definitely negative. Every time I sent messages to the nurse with worries she responded with “I understand your anxiety but…” They scheduled a “viability” scan scheduled for week 7/8. That would have been 5 days from now.

I had no symptoms of pregnancy. Everything you read online says that could be normal. It also says it could be a sign of a problem. But it all is. They know so little about pregnancy really. “Everyone is different and every pregnancy is different.” Everything could be normal or not.

I started having cramps but not horrible. That could be normal too. But only on the right side. I knew (because they told me after the loss the last month) that the right side is where I should have ovulated. The internet says one-sided pain could mean an ectopic pregnancy. That it implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Finally something that was not also maybe normal, right? I hedged for two days. I didn’t want to be one of those pain in the ass patients who bugs them every day but then two days ago it was constant cramps in just the right side. Not horrible, again. But consistent. Not normal.

This time when I sent a message the nurse responded with “Come in tomorrow. We want to do a scan. And if it gets worse, please go to the ER” the lack of “We understand but…” was like permission for me to worry. It didn’t get much worse but I made it worse in my head. I went to the ER. They did a scan and saw nothing. At all. Not in my uterus or out of it. It made me feel a little better at least. They said they didn’t think they would do another scan in the clinic the next day but that I should go in and follow up with them anyway. I did. And they did do another scan.

When I told the tech that I had just had one and did they need to do another she asked what they had seen. “Nothing at all? That’s why we need to do another. It’s in there and I’ll find it. I have to. ER isn’t used to looking for these.”

She found it right away. She held my hand when she told me. It was in the tube. It couldn’t survive. I might not survive. My husband hadn’t come. I told him not to. I thought they wouldn’t do another scan. It would just be talking to the doctor. The tech sat down and talked through it with me. She let me call my husband so he could rush down from work. She gave me a hug and let me cry. She reassured me that she didn’t see a baby. She saw a bundle of cells in the wrong place that weren’t developing like they should. There was no heartbeat. A baby, at this point, should have a heartbeat.  She told me they were concerned “but not scared”. We were lucky. We found it early. It was tiny. There was no immediate fear of rupture but there was a risk and even greater if they didn’t “end” the pregnancy right away.

They never use the word “abortion”. They say “terminate” or “end”. They repeat “We have to take care of you.” They repeat the risk of rupture and “bleeding out”. They remind you that it can’t live. The tech and the doctors never called it a baby. They didn’t even call it an embryo. They called it “cells”. They give the option of surgery or a drug. They promise you that the surgery doesn’t seem to affect future fertility very much (who knew that the fallopian tube on the opposite side could “pick up” a floating egg released by the other ovary?) but I didn’t want surgery and they said the meds could be really effective in this situation. They explained that methotrexate is a chemo therapy drug. That is targets “fast growing cells” like a baby…or cancer. I would have to wait three months for it to all be out of my system until we could try again but recovery from surgery could take almost that long as well. I had responded well to the Clomid, a few extra cycles shouldn’t vastly affect my low ovarian reserve. So I waited for over an hour for the shot. My husband had made it there by then. The doctor had explained the options to him again while I listened. They make the drug at another clinic. They don’t use it very often at the fertility/ob/pediatric clinic. The lab across town where they see cancer patients would have to make it and then bring it over. It takes awhile.  We waited.

When it arrived, the nurse explained the process to me. She used the word “baby”. She used the phrase “You aren’t having the baby”. It was like being punched in the face. She had me lay on the procedure table on one side for the first shot in one hip and then flip over for the next on the other side. I chose the wall side first. I didn’t look at my husband. I couldn’t. I stared at the blank wall and cried but tried not to let my shoulders shake or any noise to come out. I knew he was watching me. I tried not to think of it as a potential baby. I tried to remember what the tech said about a bundle of cells that weren’t developing correctly. That couldn’t develop correctly. I flipped over and gave my husband a half smile/grimace and then stared at the labels on the drawers across the room and took deep breaths. I don’t know what the labels said. Sheets? Extra gloves? I wasn’t reading them. I was staring. I had to close my eyes. I didn’t want him to see me cry right now.

We left. I said “thank you” awkwardly a few times. I had to schedule follow-ups and I started to cry again in front of the receptionist. I have to have a blood test on days 4 and 7 to make sure it is working. The resident doctor had told me I would have to go to labor and delivery in the hospital on Saturday afternoon for a blood test because everything else is closed. The attendant jumped in and said “She can do it at the other lab in the morning. It’s more humane.” I appreciate that.

So, I started by saying that mine was yesterday but I guess it’s more accurate to say mine is happening right now. Because no one tells you the different ways it can be done or explains that sometimes it’s not immediate. That it’s a process. That I will spend the same amount of time becoming un-pregnant as I got to be pregnant.

Mine is right now.

(Note: I live in a state with a heartbeat law. It never came up because there wasn’t a heartbeat. There would have been no question anyway because there are carve-outs for the “health of the mother” but that doesn’t matter. I resent that the first thing I did when I realized what it could be – before I even reached out to the doctor’s office – was to Google state law to find out if I even could get it fixed without a struggle or without a trip out of state. Because that’s what it was. It was fixing something that was going to hurt me or kill me. As hard as it is to think of a baby that we so desperately wanted as a threat or a cancer, it was. It is. It’s not a baby but a bundle of cells that can’t become a baby. No matter how hard it is trying. And I hate  that I felt like I had to make sure that I had permission from strangers in the state capital to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done.)