It seems that our local supermarket doesn't stock pregnancy tests. Or if they do they are behind the counter of the pharmaceutical area. But I couldn't see them there, and decided to be good and not ask the pharmacist. I did walk up and down the 'toiletries' aisle several times just to see if I could spot them, including once after I'd already paid for the rest of the shopping. I decided to take this as a sign, and went home carrying my minimal supper-related shopping. It will be good, I thought, to have another day of not knowing that things are negative.
H sent me to bed early last night as I was knackered after a restless night the night before. On the way to bed I remembered that over a year ago I bought a pack of 'clear blue easy' digital pregnancy tests. I also remember someone else saying that these aren't very sensitive, and, indeed, when I read the instruction leaflet it says that it works from the day that the period is expected. Unhelpful, I think, I'd better not use that as it won't be conclusive and I'll just have another day of wondering. And of course I don't really want to test, do I? I want that extra day of hoping.
I don't remember my dreams, but I do remember tossing and turning for a great deal of the night. At about 0350 I woke up pretty completely as I was feeling cramping again. Not the kind of period cramp that wakes me up with its stomach-churning pain, but cramping nonetheless. I had a little root around but of course it was dark so I couldn't tell what was on my finger, although it didn't feel sticky. In addition the birds were having a party in the trees outside our window, which was somewhat distracting. I lay there, willing myself to go back to sleep, but realising that I had to pee. So I had a debate in my head.
"You won't be able to go back to sleep anyway, you might as well get up and at least make sure you're not bleeding"
"But if I get up I'll definitely have to pee, and that will waste the FMU. So if I am going to test I must test as soon as I get up"
"But you don't really want to test! How will you feel if it's negative?"
"Let me think about that. Hmm. Ok, I'm looking at a positive test, how do I feel? Overjoyed, elated! I'm looking at a negative test, how do I feel? Disappointed, frustrated that the test isn't sensitive enough."
"Let me check. No, not despairing. Not happy or anything, but resigned to wait til tomorrow for the real answer"
"You realise that it's 0415 in the morning don't you?
"Yes, what of it, I'm not sleeping anyway"
"But if you get up that means you have only had 4.5 hours sleep, you'll be a basket case"
"But it's Sunday tomorrow, I can sleep all day if I want to, and anyway, I've tried to go back to sleep and it's not happening."
At that point, I rolled out of bed, collected my water bottle and my book from the side of the bed and crept to the bathroom. Slowly opened the cupboard under the sink so it wouldn't creak too much, and picked up the box. I brought it downstairs. Went to our downstairs bathroom, and turned on the light. Wiped to check on the bleeding. No sign of any blood. I lent on the shelf above the boiler and stared at the pregnancy test box. And stared some more. It stared back, no answers from that particular piece of cardboard.
I decided to seize the moment. Ripped open the box, and the plastic cover to one stick, inserted the stick into the holder and peed away. Trembling, I put the holder down while I went to flush and to wash my hands. When I went to pick up the towel to dry my hands, there it was, looking at me. A sign that says: Pregnant.
I checked carefully to make sure that I wasn't missing a 'not' somewhere. But no, it definitely says 'pregnant'. It's now 0430 and I decide that even so, I am going to wake H. I run back upstairs and gradually wake him. He wants to know why. I tell him. He asks me not to turn the light on, then he says, no do turn the light on, I want to see. We turn on the light and H grabs the test and stares at it, laughing. I'm shaking and nearly crying and holding his hand very tightly. We discuss everything it might mean. H believes the clinic when they say that these things aren't accurate so early. But I point out that it's false negatives rather than false positives that are the problem. False positives are rare. We agree that there are three possibilities:
- I am pregnant
- I am not pregnant and this is the 1 in 100 clear blue easy digitals which is giving a false positive reading
- I am pregnant but the numbers aren't doubling or are fallling and the test tomorrow will be ambiguously low (say, below 50) and they won't be able to give us a definitive positive, and the pregnancy will fail
We agree that later today we will go out and buy another brand of tests just to check on option 2. And we agree that variations of option 3 won't leave us for several weeks, even if the numbers tomorrow are good, I will be anxious til the first scan, and then til the 12 week scan again. But we agree to be cautiously happy for the time being.
After more hugging and nearly-crying and laughing and shaking (mostly me) and smiling and hugging(him) I turn off the light and leave H to go back to sleep and come downstairs again to write this. I'm still bemused. I didn't expect anything so unequivocal. A positive within 30 seconds of finishing peeing. It's a good sign. I don't quite believe it yet, but I am happy. Scared, tired, anxious, elated, petrified, happy.
It's 0513. It's getting light and the birds have chilled out a bit. I'm going to find some old film on the television and see if it will send me to sleep. Not sure that it will work, but it's worth a try. I'm amazed that I am here, at this moment, at our kitchen table with a test that still says: "Pregnant" sitting next to me.