From a Cryptic Pregnancy to a Phantom Pregnancy – Cristal’s Story

Cristal's Phantom Pregnancy Story

One afternoon (according to my journal it was Jan 30th, 2016), I was dancing with my toddler and 6-month-old when I was overcome by a sudden dizzy, nauseous, weak sensation all over my entire body. I distinctly remember that the feeling of weakness was so intense that the rest of the day I felt completely out of it and continued to feel nauseous and very dizzy. This was very hard to deal with as I was a stay-at-home-mom of 2 under 2 with little help. I remember thinking that I was only 6 months postpartum and still exclusively breastfeeding my youngest son, so I had yet to start my first postpartum period.

    I decided that because I felt so odd and out of the ordinary, I looked at my fertility app where I had been keeping track of the times my husband and I were intimate. Although, I didn’t have any data for bleeding or spotting logged into the app I knew I had logged a day where my husband and I had not been as careful as hoped. So, I investigated and came to realize that the day I felt weak, nauseous, and dizzy was exactly 14 days after my husband and I had our “accident”. This sent me into a state of panic. I was overwhelmed with anxiety thinking about what if I was pregnant. Was this coincidence or fate?

    Just a little back story for you… Only 36 days prior, I felt weak, nauseous, and dizzy. Me, my husband, and both my sons were in a rollover accident in the snow. My husband, my oldest son, and I were all fine, but my son Sawyer was somehow ejected from his car seat and was found underneath the rear side passenger window buried in the snow. After being flown to the nearest Children’s Hospital (a 40-minute flight) and thoroughly examined by 3 doctors, by the grace of God, it was found he only had a very small hairline fracture in his left femur. The stress, anxiety, and fear a parent feels when almost losing a child is traumatic, to say the least. Saying this experience was disturbing feels like an understatement.

    I explain this back story because it is important to understand that I was still coping and accepting what had happened only 5 weeks before. The amount of adrenaline that continued to pump through my system was intense.

    After the day I felt weak, nauseous, and dizzy I began to take notice of increasing symptoms, as well as the progression of the symptoms I had been experiencing before. After researching hCG, and the accuracy of pregnancy tests, as well as how some women don’t test positive until later into the pregnancy, I decided to take a total of 3 pregnancy tests throughout February, which all came back with a negative result. After more searches for “testing negative but still pregnant” or “pregnant with negative tests” I came across and became very active in the Cryptic Pregnancy Community.

Not pregnant

    In March, after I continued experiencing the same symptoms as well as began developing new symptoms such as tender breasts, stiff back, bloating, increased sense of smell, more acne, and belly growth, I began the exciting journey of documenting my experience on YouTube in the hopes of getting the word out about this strange pregnancy experience. At the very end of March, I began feeling flutters, pokes, and rolls which I thought was around the beginning of the second trimester. These sensations started sporadically and then progressed to become more frequent, regular, and varied in duration. As the phantom pregnancy progressed into the final months these movements and feelings even responded to sound, light, and sugary foods.

    At the end of April after contacting some of the Cryptic Pregnancy Leaders and Administrators directly and being told I was, in fact, pregnant, I even became 100% convinced that it could be twins. Starting my YouTube Channel connected me to other women who also felt they were pregnant but couldn’t prove it. I began direct correspondence with a few of them, sharing stories, hopes for the pregnancy, and validation of pregnancy symptoms and experiences.

    By this time, May was around the corner, and my belly was measuring to be around the right size for the gestation I estimated my unborn baby/babies to be. It was very round, firm, and noticeable. I had found a heartbeat or what I had interpreted as a Fetal heartbeat using an at home Doppler. I was starting to feel regular round ligament pains, stretching, and pulling. My uterus felt very heavy and full.

    I had about 3 months of research under my belt on how a Cryptic Pregnancy can happen and does happen. I had more than a dozen stories from real women who had shared their past or present Cryptic Pregnancy Experience with me personally. I knew this is what was happening to me but most of all I knew this is exactly what was happening to my baby or babies, without any doubt!

    No one knows my body better than me, therefore, no one could tell me I was NOT pregnant.

That was until I laid waiting on the table in the ultrasound room exactly 28 days later…

    This is from an email I sent to someone else who believed herself to be Cryptically Pregnant. She stopped correspondence before she updated me about the birth of her potential baby, so I don’t know what happened to her, which makes me sad. I hope she is well.

    This email was written on May 20th, 2016, six days before I had an ultrasound, and seven days after a negative blood pregnancy test.

“Hello ____________!

Believe in YOURSELF! You know what is right for you. Trust your body!

So, I will be 20 (18) weeks tomorrow! Can you believe it? We have been in correspondence for a little over two months now! I will be starting pregnancy yoga on Monday, so I can deeply connect spiritually with these two little beings in my belly. I still think it is twins for a handful of reasons but the two major ones are: 1.) I feel distinct movement down low and high at the same time for about 4 weeks now and I am pretty sure the baby is not big enough then or now to be doing it alone. 2.) I found a heartbeat and hear movement with the Doppler on my left side (left lower quadrant) and on the right side (right upper quadrant)”

Something keeps telling me I’m having twins (boy girl twins) just like something was telling me that I was pregnant when I was trying to figure it all out. I also have this feeling it is a boy and a girl. We shall see!!!”

    Six days later, I went in for my very, very, very anticipated vaginal ultrasound. The tech had me drink 32oz of water, strip from the waist down, and climb on the table. First, she used the abdominal probe to look at my entire abdomen and measure all my organs. After this, she proceeded with the pelvic examination and she inserted the vaginal probe. This is what I was waiting for with such anticipation. FINALLY, VALIDATION! I stared at the monitor beyond excited and nervous to see my babies on the screen! I couldn’t wait to tell my husband and the world that I was right!

    After about 3 minutes I realized I didn’t see anything even close to resembling a baby. I didn’t see anything I had seen on the screen with my other babies! The tech said nothing except “your uterus looks normal” and she continued measuring my teeny tiny normal sized non-fluid filled baby lacking uterus. I felt so embarrassed. Defeated. Ashamed. Guilty. Vulnerable. Used. Wronged.

    I hated that I was so sure that I was pregnant. I hated that I was wrong. So wrong. I hated that my body had betrayed me, tricked me, played a cruel joke on me.

    I was sent into a state of panic! I left the hospital and went straight to my doctor’s office. I couldn’t wait one more second! I needed test results interpreted NOW! My doctor had assured me that she had in fact requested the ultrasound technician to look for a baby or any signs of pregnancy. I was sent on my way to cope and interpret my experience all by myself. After extensive research, I had found very limited resources for Phantom Pregnancy, and this is something I hope to change with the development of a website and my continued platform on YouTube and Facebook.

    After I decided to share my personal story and ultrasound results with other women in the Cryptic Pregnancy Community I was ridiculed, slandered, and blocked from these groups and profiles. One of the leaders tried to convince me that I was, in fact, pregnant, but I had lost the baby at some point in time before I had my ultrasound. She told me that the baby had dissolved and was absorbed by my body, which is why I didn’t bleed, and the baby didn’t show up during the scan. I was quickly shunned from the community that so eagerly validated my pregnancy suspicions but once I didn’t think or believe I was pregnant anymore these women who claimed to be just helping and supportive dropped me like a rotten potato about to infect the entire last crop!

    So, I again took to social media after a few months of figuring it out and trying to cope with the news, and share my story via Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

I began educating, spreading awareness, providing support and most importantly investigating the claims these women pass around as the ultimate truth in the Cryptic Pregnancy Community. I feel many women or people in general can relate to my story or experience, not only with falsely believing that you are pregnant but also having to admit that you were wrong to a few hundred followers, as well as, being misled and deceived by someone or in my case an entire community of men and women, who for one reason or another believe themselves to be pregnant and who have an extreme desire in wanting you to believe that you are pregnant too.
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Cristal Lujan DrivingHawk (1 Posts)

Cristal Mari Lujan DrivingHawk is an independent writer. She has been an educator and advocate for every and all kinds of pregnancy, motherhood, and parenting experience for over two years. She also provides coaching, health, and nutritional services. Her educational background in Nursing, Counseling, and Human Services mixed with being highly accessible through social media has given her a personal base from which to approach many topics. She enjoys research, spending time with her family, photography, reading, and helping others.