Very early miscarriage?… or “just late”?

Pardon the TMI (too much information), but I’m going to get personal here, and also a bit introspective. If this makes you uncomfortable, feel free to move on to the next post.🙂

This past cycle was the second time since I’ve been married that I went 31 days — it’s usually 29 days, give or take a day; once it was 27 days. I was a virgin when I got married, so I never really paid too much attention to how regular I was, and never worried if I seemed to be late. So I can’t remember if I ever had any very long cycles like this before then. The first time I had a long cycle was several months before my first son was conceived. Of course, I wondered if I was pregnant, as I did this cycle.

When I was actually pregnant (on accident — miscounted my days in using “natural family planning” — don’t like taking fake hormones), I realized very early on my mistake, so was thinking for at least two weeks that I might be pregnant, then every other hour trying to convince myself that although I had some very early pregnancy signs and symptoms, that it was all in my head because I knew there was such a strong possibility that I was pregnant, and I was just making myself think that — kind of “pregnancy hypochondria” or something. When I was pregnant with Keith in those very early stages, I felt different from how I did these other two times. I “felt pregnant” that one time, and didn’t “feel pregnant” the other two times when I was late. However, when I was pregnant with my other son, I didn’t “feel pregnant” then — my early-pregnancy symptoms were so totally different from what they were with Keith that I wondered if I was pregnant at all. I chalked up the difference to the fact that I was still nursing Keith. But I don’t know if that had anything to do with it.

But still I wonder — was it a “chemical pregnancy” — the pregnancies that scientists say happen so frequently and are passed off as normal periods? There is no way to know for sure, so I’m not going to dwell on it — I’m using this post as the way of “getting it out of my system.” From what I’ve read, doctors took blood from several sexually-active women at various points throughout their cycle, and discovered that in many of them, there was a rise in hCG (the pregnancy hormone) but not enough to sustain a pregnancy and her period started, usually on time. (I’m assuming they must have also taken blood from women who were not sexually active, as a control, but can’t remember now). Had the woman not been part of the research project, no one would have known that conception had occurred. Other research has indicated that at least half of the zygotes that are conceived but don’t survive have some sort of genetic problem which keeps them from developing normally.

With the advent of very early pregnancy tests available over the counter, more and more women are finding out that they have had a chemical pregnancy, when the extremely sensitive test indicates X level of hCG, and then several days later their periods start anyway. If the scientists are accurate in their conclusions, and there is a high level of conception without pregnancy, then that would be enough to keep me from taking one such test, and make myself wait until my period started. As nerve-wracking as it would be to wait those several days longer than necessary, somehow I think it would be better than getting a positive and then starting my period. Because then I would know. I would know I had conceived, and ought to have been pregnant.

Even though I was not planning on becoming pregnant, and am not sorry that I am not pregnant, and am not planning on getting pregnant any time soon, part of me is sad at the thought that I might have conceived this time or the other time. (Part of that is my belief that conception is when a new life begins, so I picture that I might have two children that I’ll never know.) So I can only imagine what I would feel like if I knew that I had conceived, yet did not bear a child. Yet I know that thousands of women go through this every month — they know that they have many fertilized eggs implanted into their uterus, yet most don’t have a baby — either the zygotes don’t implant, or they have a miscarriage or some other problem.

Well, now that I’m thoroughly down and introspective, I think I’ll stop writing and just “let it go.” Sorry if this post got you down too. I try to “think positive” but sometimes I’ve just got to be “real” instead.

9 Responses

  1. Know exactly what you’re talking about – have been through the same thing several times (such as today, for one!). It’s always very confusing and nebulous in the early days, and sometimes one just doesn’t know if one is late or having an early miscarriage. Thanks for posting! D.

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  3. One of the ways you can “know” if you have conceived or not is to chart your cycles. Once you see the temperature rise that signals ovulation, you will see a sustained rise lasting 10-14 days if no pregnancy occurs. If the high temperatures persist for 16-19 days, you can absolutely conclude that pregnancy has occured. The only other circumstance in which this might happen is with a functional cyst on the ovary which can cause the corpus luteum ( the part of the egg that remains throughout the luteal phase of the cycle, meaning those 10-14 days after ovulation, and produces progersterone; it stays functional through the first 3 months of pregnancy to maintain the hormone levels, then dies away ) to stick around longer than it would during a normal cycle. As a rule, a “luteal phase” that lasts 18 days, causing 18 days of sustained, high basal temperature, indicates pregnancy. I’ve charted my cycles throughout the last 30 years and I’ve found this to be astonishingly accurate. As a Midwife, I recommend it highly as a very basic and wonderful way for women to get to know their bodies.

    • Thanks for this further information! I keep track of my cycle by a combination of the calendar (I’m fairly regular) and cervical mucus (because I’m not completely “like clockwork!). I don’t take my temperature, though, so I wouldn’t have known, but this is very interesting to know!

  4. Thanks for sharing. My husband and I are trying to conceive. This past month my period was late so I took a home pregnancy test and it came back positive- we were ecstatic! 3 days later I got my period. I didn’t realize how prevalent “chemical pregnancies”/ very early miscarriages are. I feel very disappointed right now, knowing that there was a conception. I agree with the posts above that I would rather not know than get a positive early detection test followed by a late period. I will definitely wait longer after a missed period to take a home pregnancy test next time.

  5. Is it possible for a physician to test to see if you had a late period or a miscarriage? I’m never late, and I was just late by 18 days. I was pretty convinced I was pregnant……felt woozie and generally “hot” and flu-ish, but took 3 hpts that came back negative. So, I decided to wait to see if Flo would come next month and she did, but about 10 days early. Can my doc do any tests to see if I was pregnant, or will testing now just show that I’m not?

    • Doctors may be able to tell if your uterus is still slightly enlarged from having been pregnant. There may be other signs or tests, but I don’t know of any.

      I’ve heard of women having negative pregnancy tests but actually being pregnant (the most recent one said that even blood tests came back negative, until she was about 5 months along), so even though your tests came back negative, that’s not a 100% indication that you were not pregnant.

      An HPT works by testing for HCG (the pregnancy hormone) in your urine, and it can detect the elevated levels due to a pregnancy. However, if you have lower levels in your urine (either due to not being pregnant; having drunk too much water and your urine is diluted, and with it, the HCG levels; or being one of the rare women who has negative pregnancy tests even though pregnant), it might come back negative even if you are actually pregnant. I was a week late, the first time I was pregnant, before the home pregnancy test showed a strong line. I was supposed to have started on a Wednesday or Thursday, and there was a very, very faint line on Sunday morning, after having had two negative tests on Wednesday and Friday; then another test on Monday showed no line; and finally on Wednesday there was a normal/strong “positive” line.

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  7. Hey, I know this is a really old post but I just searched for “symptoms of early miscarriage” and this came up. You remind me a lot of myself. I also was a virgin when I got married and I use natural family planning. This month my period was 6 days late. I usually have it on day 28 or 29 and this month it was on day 35. I literally had peed in cup and had the pregnancy test in hand when my period started. It is so weird that God stopped me from taking that test. If it was a miscarriage, He didn’t want me to know for sure, so I guess that is how it will stay. I hope you have a blessed life.
    Summer

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