A thing but not a thing

And so, as you might reasonably have expected, and as I might have slightly given away in my last post, given how contrarily these things go, the fact that I was so convinced it wasn’t going to work meant that when, on the morning we were going away for the weekend, and I did a precautionary First Response test, it showed the faintest of faint – but still very definitely there – lines.

Or, as I put it to B when I walked back into the bedroom “Well I’m not ‘Not Pregnant’.” But I wasn’t going to get too excited. It was early. It could be a chemical pregnancy. It wasn’t a thing until it was a thing.

But then, when I did another test 48 hours later, that line was definitely darker. And 48 hours after that, the blood test confirmed that, that day at least, I was pregnant. Because that was how I thought of it. That’s how I’ve continued to think about it. On those fertility forums I despise, I’ve seen women talk about being “PUPO” – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, but after the miscarriage, after everything we’ve been through, I feel quite the opposite. I feel like “that day I know I was definitely pregnant but until the next blood test / scan, I can’t assume I still am.”

Jennie Agg, who writes about her recurrent miscarriages, has written beautifully about this. About how miscarriages and fertility issues rob you of any possibility of ever “enjoying” a pregnancy, of ever taking it for granted that it will all be fine. It’s why that while, increasingly, I’ve felt ok about telling friends who knew what was going on (basically the same friends who I told I was convinced it wouldn’t work) that actually, last Monday, I was definitely pregnant, but there’s no guarantees that I am today, I’ve avoided telling anyone who I know just won’t understand that.

I’ve recently been seeing the term “fertility privilege” being bandied around and while at first I rather baulked at the wokeness, it does seem a beautifully concise shorthand for anyone who has never struggled to get or stay pregnant. Someone who has never had to question that blissful assumption that a line on a pregnancy test now means a healthy baby in nine months time. I am not that person, I never will be. I am the person who, on waking, whether it’s the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, goes through a mental checklist to see if I’m still pregnant – even though I know it’s utterly futile…

* Do my boobs hurt? (Yes? Well that’s irrelevant as you’re on progesterone that’s making your boobs hurt.)

* Have I got strange stomach pains? (Yes? Well it could be that you’re still pregnant – I remember my friend Q saying “what nobody tells you about pregnancy is that it’s basically like having stomach ache for nine months” – or they could be miscarriage cramps)

* Do I feel slightly nauseous? (Yes? Are you sure? Could you be imagining it? Or hoping that’s the case?)

* Are you bleeding? (No? Well you didn’t bleed last time and you still managed to miscarry.)

As my friend Q reminded me when I was freaking out “Nothing means anything, you taught me that.” And so we lurch from one milestone to the next. Me feeling perverse pleasure whenever the slightest exertion exhausts me, or when I feel my stomach turn in response to a strong smell, yet all the while not wanting to presume anything until that next scan, that next blood test, that next marker that says “yes, today you’re still pregnant and everything is as it should be.”

That’s why this isn’t a “Hurrah, I’m pregnant!” post. It’s a “I have documentary evidence that I was pregnant 10 days ago and in a few days I’ll find out whether or not I’m still pregnant and things look ok” post. Because it could never be anything else.

4 thoughts on “A thing but not a thing

  1. It takes a while to sink in and let joy overtake the feeling of anxiety but very very happy for you! All the best with the pregnancy. Make sure you look after yourself now mentally as well as physically. Nothing quite prepares you for when that bundle of joy comes so be kind to yourself and take each week as it comes 😉 xxx

  2. “Someone who has never had to question that blissful assumption that a line on a pregnancy test now means a healthy baby in nine months.” I am someone who has never had any reason to doubt a healthy baby at the end but who has never enjoyed pregnancy because of the anxiety, the state I can get myself in re early loss or stillbirth is terrible. It is a privilege to be in that position and all worked out well, but I suppose I am saying even women who haven’t experienced loss can have a hard time. I don’t understand anyone who can enjoy it, whatever their history, except maybe they think what point is not enjoying it because a heart breaking end is always going to be heart breaking? I’ve seen your later posts and hope you’re okay.

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