mom life

TTC Over 40 | Cycle 10 – Our Third Early Miscarriage

positive pregnancy test
Test date: 12/25/2019

Finally! We had finally conceived. After 10 cycles, 2 miscarriages, countless pee sticks (ovulation test strips and pregnancy tests), consistent monitoring of every symptom, basal body temperature tracking at 5:50 am every morning and endless hours of praying, hoping and believing. We did it!

I got my first positive home pregnancy test (hpt) on December 19th (2019), the day before hub’s 45th birthday – the result was a clear but faint positive. I was beyond excited and eager to share the news with him but I knew he didn’t want to hear any test results until my period was at least seven days late. He figured that waiting a week would be sufficient to know if it was going to result in a chemical pregnancy or not (since I had yet to go more than 4-5 days past my expected period date in our previous miscarriage cycles).

So, I waited to tell him and scheduled a doctor’s appointment with my primary care physician for December 26th to confirm the pregnancy. In the meantime, I did what I tend to do during the latter days of every one of my TTC cycles: I continued to take hpts.

Now is as good a time as any to talk a bit about my compulsion to incessantly test after already receiving a positive result. It’s a neurotic and ultimately futile attempt to control a situation that is completely in God’s hands. That said, and in all fairness, I mean, who has the actual gumption, discipline and sensibility to wait for a doctor’s confirmation seven long days away when there’s a box of 30 “cheapie”* pregnancy tests in your bathroom cabinet waiting to be dipped into a warm cup of fresh urine? The good Lord knows I certainly don’t. Hmph. God, help me!

And, of course, to add to the irrational madness that is my life at the end of every two week wait (TWW), I was also testing with “First Response Early Response” and WalMart’s “First Signal” brand test (pics below).

Truth be told, from the first positive result until the day after my doctor’s appointment, I might have taken at least 25 pregnancy tests. I’d become wholly consumed with watching those two beautiful lines develop over and over again, test after test after test.

And blissfully unlike the days before my previous 2 miscarriages, the positive lines were getting darker by the day. 12 days past ovulation (DPO) was darker than 11 DPO, 13 was twice as dark as 11 and by day 15 I was happy enough with the lines on the tests that I didn’t feel the need to test again. My doc appointment was in a couple of days, I confidently reasoned. I could certainly wait until then.

Equate First Signal pregnancy test line progression
Line progression during third chemical pregnancy | December 2019

Sitting in my doctor’s exam room waiting for him to return with my test results, I used a photo editor on my phone to quickly create a collage of me and the hubs’ goofy face selfies. The plan was to text message that pic to him along with a pic of the positive urine test results and announce the pregnancy with this caption: “This is what this kid has to look forward to!” He would love it. We would revel in our success. We would begin to plan for our next steps. It was going to be great!

As I gleefully put the final touches on the collage, my doctor came in and there was no time for my mind to register his unusually somber expression before he softly, plainly stated, “Sorry, dear, the test is negative.”

Gingerly, he touched my arm and then immediately turned his attention to his computer so he could make additional notes and, perhaps, avoid seeing the rapid swell of tears that filled my stunned, widened eyes. I was confused and so utterly disappointed. I has been so sure, so convinced the doctor’s test would be positive this time because I’d seen line “progression” on my First Response tests (the “holy grail” of tests in the TTC community).

In a desperate attempt to prove to the doctor (and myself) that I was indeed pregnant, I requested a blood test to determine my beta hCG levels. My doctor sympathetically agreed and wished me luck as I gathered my things and headed towards the lab.

First Response Early Response line “progression” 12/20 – 12/25/2019

Early the next morning I received a call from the doctor with the results of my hCG test. He said, verbatim, “Dear, it appears that you’re slightly pregnant…” Slightly?! He continued, “Your levels are at a 13. Please follow up with an OB/GYN from this point on… ok?”

Well, by the time he called I was bleeding and miscarrying… again. Still, I was grateful and relieved that there was enough hCG to confirm I was pregnant. In my mind I felt validated. I’m not crazy. I’m not seeing things! There were two lines on those tests!

I informed the doctor that I had already begun bleeding and he instructed me to go to the nearest urgent care, as this was an emergency and I “could potentially save the pregnancy”.

Say what, now? Ugh. Thanks, Doc, for a sprinkle of false hope to salt my wounded soul.

Calmly, I asked, “Hmm? But you said I’m only slightly pregnant, so what is there to save?” I was bitter, angry, sad and frustrated but also equally indifferent and disconnected at that moment. No need to go to an urgent care, I thought. This is the third time this has happened and I’m sure it will end the same as before. Still, I decided to follow his instructions and went to urgent care … two days later, after most of the bleeding and cramping had subsided.

There, I was examined and another blood hCG draw was done. I received an ultrasound to confirm that all the tissue had passed and that there was no residual “products of pregnancy” remaining in my uterus. The nurse practitioner informed me that I was “good to go”, my hCG levels had dropped down to a 2 and the miscarriage was “complete”.

Complete. Finished. Done. Yet another pregnancy loss.

God, help me!

Addendum: This post is the bare bones of the events that led up to our third early miscarriage. I present the facts more so than my feelings. It’s still difficult for me to find adequate words to articulate my raw emotions during those days, which is why it’s taken me over a half a year to return to my blog and write this post…

*The “cheapie” tests are a non-descript box of home pregnancy tests that cost less than $10 on I got my first positive with one of them a mere 10 days after I ovulated. Nice. They are definitely worth the money for compulsive testers like me.

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