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Can We Stop Using This Term When Talking About Infertility?

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RM

Two and a half years ago, I lost my baby. It was our first of five IVFs and it was the first time I ever experienced a positive pregnancy test. It had already been four years of trying to get pregnant with a variety of medications and IUIs. I remember taking that test July 8th 2013, setting it on the bathroom counter and walking out, too nervous to sit and wait for the results. I remember when the time was up, walking back to the test and seeing those two pink lines. First, I cried. Then I went out and bought a newborn onesie that read, "Daddy Rocks!" My husband cried when he received it.

On July 12th I found out my pregnancy was no longer viable.

For four days, I was pregnant. For four days I got to surprise my husband, my family and friends of my successful IVF. For four days I imagined who was inside me (a boy, I decided), who I would meet in nine months. And then it was over. Before it really could even begin.

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My doctor left a kind message on my voicemail that day, explaining what I was experiencing was a chemical pregnancy and that I could expect some increased bleeding and cramping over the next few days. We could call him when and if we were ready to try again.

A chemical pregnancy is deemed a very early miscarriage. One that happens before a gestational sac can be viewed on ultrasound and the only evidence a baby existed was a positive home pregnancy test or beta HCG.

To me, a chemical pregnancy meant my baby was here, and then he wasn't.

My heart and mind battled constantly, grieving the loss of my baby and then yet wondering if my loss wasn't as important as those I knew who lost babies later in their pregnancy...

For weeks afterward, I felt like I was walking through fog. After the initial bleeding was over, I was left with an emotional scar. My heart and mind battled constantly, grieving the loss of my baby and then yet wondering if my loss wasn't as important as those I knew who lost babies later in their pregnancy; babies that could physically be held in the palm of their hand, whereas mine could only be identified by gradually fading lines on a pregnancy test.

And yet, as I write this, the tears are falling. It's been almost three years and my four-month-old miracle daughter is sleeping beside me, and I still cry for him. For Adam. For my baby that should have been two years old this month. I had him for four days and the loss is still unbearable.

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For the duration of my infertility treatments, I told the doctors about my chemical pregnancy. To them, it was information to document in my chart. To my friends and family, to the people I met, and in my writing, I said, "I lost my son. I had a miscarriage." Because the cruel, cold term "chemical pregnancy" doesn't do justice to the grief, to the gut-wrenching tears I've cried over the years, wanting my baby back.

It's OK, as grieving mothers, to stop using this term. We can stop thinking that our losses weren't as important as babies lost later on in pregnancy, because they are still losses and that makes them meaningful to us. It's OK to name your babies, to say their name to others. Know that your pain is like no one else's pain, because it's your own. It was your baby. And it's OK to celebrate that baby even if you only knew them for a brief moment.

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