My Inconvenient Truth

Monday, November 21, 2011

WARNING: This post may contain some overshares.

I want to come clean about something, because it's really been weighing me down.

I had a hysterical pregnancy.

I've known my whole life that I want to be a mom. I'm pretty sure my biological clock started ticking when I was twelve. The older I got, the more sure I became that I was put on this world to be a mother. I was blessed that when I met Tom, he wanted a family as badly as I did. Most guys in their early twenties aren't really interested in having kids any time soon, but Tom's known for awhile that he wants a family. Some people think we may be too young, and we are young, but we know what our goals are and want to go after them. Having children young is common in both our families, so it never really seemed odd to us. If I got pregnant today, I would be 24 when I had a baby. My sister, who had just turned 25 when she had my niece, is the only person in my family who would have had their first child any later in life.
I hadn't thought that I could get pregnant, because I was fairly certain that I wasn't ovulating. My menstrual cycles were out of whack because of the two cycles of Depo-Provera I had taken, and it had been months since I had a period. Over the summer, I had what I called my “fake pregnancy” (ironic, no?), where for a week, seemingly instead of a period, I would have pregnancy symptoms (like morning sickness and swollen, tender breasts). I took tests whenever it would happen, but they always came up negative. I was devastated every time, but it ended up stopping for a couple of months. All around me, friends, family members and acquaintances were getting pregnant. My Facebook feed was full of sonograms and baby bump pictures. I spent most of my spare time making nursery spreadsheets (spreadsheets are kind of my thing). I was consumed by how badly I wanted a baby.

In September, when I started feeling nauseous, I didn't really think anything of it. I figured I just ate something bad. Tom and I watched the X-Factor auditions, and I just kept crying hysterically over the contestants' stories. Although I am quite emotional (ridiculously so, even), the way I was acting was a bit over the top, even for me. So the next night, I brought home some pregnancy tests after work. When I went in to check on the first test, I saw something I had never seen before: a second line. It was faint, but it was there. I called Tom in to see if he saw it. He did.

We were beyond ecstatic. We just kept staring at the test, then at each other, then at the test again. It finally registered, and I finally said “We're going to be parents.” We were just so excited, although it was still such a crazy thought. I will never forget how I felt when I saw that line; I think it was the purest form of happiness I have ever felt.

I took another test in the morning. It not only showed up, it showed up pretty much immediately. It was still somewhat faint, but it was most definitely a noticeable line. I took yet another that night (I like to be thorough), and it was also positive. I took a digital test, and it was negative, but they aren't as sensitive and can't pick up pregnancy hormone as early, so I wasn't worried. We knew it would make sense to wait to tell everyone, but we were JUST SO EXCITED. Tom made an announcement on Twitter, and the next day I made one on Facebook (most people already knew, because he had told everyone on Facebook to check his Twitter...he's a dork like that).

We went to the doctor a couple of days later, when I had a day off. The urine test was negative. They told me to come back in two weeks for another. I was a little worried, but I was remaining optimistic. It's not unheard of to have a negative test at the doctor's. There were some people who knew about the situation who chose to be really negative about the whole situation (in hindsight, they were right, but I try to be a positive, optimistic person instead of an unhappy downer, so I do not regret my attitude). When we went back for the second test, it was negative as well. They scheduled a consult for me with a doctor that specialized in birth control to have some blood work done.

When I went for the consult, they had me take another urine test, which, of course, was negative. It didn't make sense to me...I had three positive home pregnancy tests, and my symptoms were worse than ever (including that all I seemed to want to eat was stuffing). I was fully convinced I was pregnant. Even Archie had been acting different...he would lay in my lap all night and smack Tom if he tried to touch me, and behavior like that is common in animals when their owner is pregnant. A friend of mine had gone through similar issues (17 negative urine tests and two negative blood tests before they finally got a positive...she's pregnant with a baby girl due in March), and she really helped keep my spirits up. I was convinced that we must have had kindred uteruses or something, both doomed to be difficult in the beginning stages of pregnancy.

They drew my blood (which left a lovely bruise, by the way...I have horrible veins), and tested for diabetes and a thyroid problem too, because that's what they thought was probably wrong with me. I tested negative for everything. The doctor told me that since I had not bled and therefore hadn't had a miscarriage, I had been having a hysterical pregnancy. Basically, I had been so convinced I was pregnant that my body became pregnant...just without a baby inside of it.

Everything fell apart.

The first few days were especially rough. Any time I thought about it, which was often, I started crying (this was especially rough at work since I work in toys...I see dozens of babies and small children daily). The more time that passed, the easier it got to not break down, but it still hurts every day. It's been kind of bad the last few days, because had I actually been pregnant, this would be the first week of my second trimester. It's hard not to think about that.

I feel like I had a miscarriage. I know that might sound odd, not to mention insensitive to women who have had miscarriages, but that baby was REAL to me. I talked to the baby, I sang to the baby...I even made Tom tell the baby bedtime stories (which he was more than happy to do, although the stories had a tendency to be...odd). I thought there was a baby inside of me, and it ripped my heart out to be told that it was just a figment of my imagination.

In some ways, I suppose that it was for the best. A couple of weeks before we had gotten the positive, Tom had lost his job. We had gone from being okay financially to struggling, and that's not the best situation to bring a baby into. It would be better for us to have a little bit of a nest egg before adding someone else to the family. We'll have a little more time to just be newlyweds, and maybe get the chance to take the honeymoon we haven't gotten to take.

It just hurts so much. I didn't know anything could hurt as much as this situation has.

I've been closing myself off a bit, I think. I can't bring myself to hang out with my pregnant friends. I'm terrified of going home for cousin is in her second trimester with her second child, and I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to even handle being in the same room as her. I know that sounds ridiculous, but even a month later, it's all still very raw. As happy as I am for all of them, their growing bellies just kind of rub more salt in the wound. I feel guilty for feeling so sorry for myself and upset over what I lost when they never did anything to me. Nobody got pregnant to rub it in my face.

I know this may seem like an odd/overly personal thing to blog about, but I really think I needed to do this. Getting everything off my chest and out in the open has been cathartic. The truth is kind of embarrassing to me. I've been keeping everything inside, afraid to tell everyone the truth, because I'm afraid of what they'll think; worried that they'll think I'm crazy for making up a baby, immature for not knowing any better and ridiculous for feeling the way I do. I just needed to let it out. I have so much inner strength, but I'm like a pressure cooker; I just take everything in until it gets to be too much, and then I explode. I didn't want all of this to overwhelm me to the point where I become as depressed as I was when I was younger; that's a place I never want to be again.

It is getting easier as time goes by though. Every so often, I find myself participating in a baby-related conversation without crying. I looked at a sonogram last night without feeling sorry for myself. I know it's going to take some time for me to feel okay again, and that's alright. I never expected for everything to be fixed overnight. I have faith that with time, God will heal what has been broken, and I know that when the time is right, we'll be blessed with a baby of our own.

I'm just going to have to learn to be more patient until then.

You Might Also Like


  1. Alex,

    I am so proud of you for writing this. Hysterical pregnancies happen to women all the time and I know you are not the only one in the world feeling like you have lost your mind for loving something that physically was never there. Your frankness and honesty about the situation will bring strength to women who are going through the same thing, and I am so happy you were able to share.

    Thank you

  2. Alex, You are such a strong woman! As someone who is also EXTREMELY emotional, I know this had to be hard to handle, and even more difficult to actually put into words. It will happen when the time is right. I too want to have kids at a young age----I feel like I'm old already----so I understand how you feel in that sense. You and Tom will make great parents and I'm sure it will happen soon enough:)

  3. I love you. I'm so sorry you had to go through that and I wish I could take away some of your pain. You did everything right. I hope babies are in your near future, whatever the timing. Stay strong Al!

  4. Thanks everyone.

    Your support has really been an important part of me actually dealing with this. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement :)



I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I read and respond to each and every one. Thank you so much!