So my period was a day late, my boobs were a little sore, and I was feeling slightly nauseous. Time to take a pregnancy test!
I grabbed the kind that claim you can test up to five days before your period starts, but I made myself wait until my period was actually late before peeing on that stick. I'd wasted enough money on those tests already. (And the "five-day" claims are misleading: once you read the info inside the box, you see that the accuracy of the test is only 50% five days out, gradually increasing in accuracy to the 99% mentioned on the outside of the box once you've actually missed your period.)
When I woke up the morning I'd decided to test, I raced to the bathroom, feeling like I was going to burst. I refused to get up and pee in the middle of the night because I wanted my first-morning urine to be as potent as well-steeped tea. (First morning pee tends to have higher concentrations of the hormone you're testing for.) I locked the door, so my curious son wouldn't burst in on Mom peeing on a plastic stick, did my business, replaced the little plastic cap and oh-so-gently set the test down to wait for the two agonizing minutes before a result would show.
Ever notice how time stretches out unbelievably long when your future hangs in the balance?
I tried to read a magazine. Brush my teeth. Wash my hands and face. The two minutes had to be up by now. I braced myself and looked at the test.
The "control window" had a strong blue line, so I knew I did the test right. But the "results window" had a fainter line: a minus sign instead of a plus. My heart dropped. Then I looked again.
Was there a vertical line there, turning the minus into a plus?
Or was I just wishing there was one there so much that I was seeing things?
I held that stick up to the light, close to my face (ew!), farther away, tilted left, tilted right, shook it, set it down. The minus sign was clear, but I couldn't tell whether there was a tiny, faded blue line there, too, or if it was just a reflection in the plastic.
I came out of the bathroom, and my husband raised his eyebrows, waiting for the results. I sighed. "Here," I said. "What do you see?"
"Oh, too bad. Looks negative to me."
"OK, now look again. Do you see a very faint vertical line? Or am I crazy?"
He gave me a look, so I knew what he thought, but he checked out the test with my pee on it again. "Well, maybe something, but I don't know. I'd say it's negative."
But that was all I needed to hear. Maybe. It wasn't totally in my head: we got a Maybe.
Nobody ever mentioned you could get a Maybe! Isn't it either/or? You're pregnant or you're not? How can it be Maybe?!
The test's instructions recommended waiting three more days before testing again if I got "unexpected results." Three long, agonizing days of anxious underwear-checking (has my period come yet?) and boob-prodding (are they sore from being pregnant or from my poking them?).
Finally, the morning I was supposed to test again, I woke up before dawn with cramps. Oh shit, I thought. But nothing came. I got up, peed into a cup, and went back to bed, unwilling to deal with my disappointment that early (but still saving the precious first-morning pee!).
When it was time to get up, my period still hadn't come and the cramps had stopped. I dunked my last pregnancy test into that cup o' pee. And this time, I got a plus. No maybes about it.