On Finding Out

I’ve been feeling the urge to write about my pregnancy. All the while I was pregnant, I kept telling myself to write down what I was thinking, experiencing, feeling. But, as it happens, I could only bring myself to actually do it a handful of times. (Look at the previous handful of posts to see the number of times I was able to write anything down.) I think it’s hard to write about the thing while you are still experiencing it. Some people can do it. Sometimes I can do it. But this wasn’t one of those times. The feelings were complex and extreme. Gratitude, guilt, happiness, sorrow, anxiety, grace — all of it, all the time. Really, when it comes down to it, I think I was afraid to jinx it. Like, if I write it down, it somehow makes it more real. Which, in turn, makes it all the more painful if it doesn’t pan out. 

But, also, I think time can do a lot for a story. It can offer perspective, insight, history. So while the details might be lost, the meaning is illuminated.

(I wonder if I’ll ever feel the urge to write about this time after we are through this. I wonder what kind of perspective, insight, history will be unveiled after time does what it does to this story.)

Today, I want to write about the very first day I learned that Theo was a bigger possibility than he ever had been before.

I remember waking up early. It was still dark outside, and in late May that means early. I had been feeling cramps that weekend and had told myself I would wait a few more days to test. I had tested the Thursday prior (the day my reproductive endocrinologist told me to test), but the test was faulty — meaning the control line didn’t even show. I was so accustomed to negative tests that I was worried about wasting a test needlessly. I thought, if I wait a week, my period will show up and I won’t need to waste another test. There’s only two in a box after all. And we were expecting at least one more round of IUI.

But I didn’t wait a full week. For some reason, that early Memorial Day morning, I decided to go ahead and test. 

I stumbled into the bathroom. Prepared the test. Turned on the faucet for Frankie to have a drink of water. Noted what sounded like our neighbors doing something wink-wink-nod-nod in their tub upstairs.

After taking care of my business, I set the test on the counter to “cure.” I washed my hands. Usually I try to be sure I don’t look at the test until the requisite three minutes has passed. If a watched pot never boils, surely a watched pregnancy test never comes out positive, right? 

But for some reason, I glanced down at the test.

And there it was.

A second line.

I picked up the test.

“What?”

I actually said it out loud.

I remember thinking how unceremonious the moment was. Frankie drinking water from the faucet, my neighbors having sex in their tub upstairs, me holding a stick I peed on.

(It turns out that there would be a lot about pregnancy that was unceremonious. But more on that some other time.)

I covered my mouth in shock. “What?!” I almost laughed it this time.

I hurried my way back to the bedroom. “Jeff, wake up. Jeff, my love.” Jeff startled awake. He looked at me the way you look at someone when you’re half concerned and half still dreaming. I turned on the lamp. “Look.”

I held up the test for him to see. I covered my mouth again as I looked at him. “Really?” He said. “Are you serious?”

As we stared at the test, with darkness still shrouding us, we assured each other that it was real. It was serious. 

But just to be absolutely certain, we decided we should go grab another test. Let’s splurge on a digital one. Haven’t done that in several years.

Off we drove to Walgreens. It was rainy. I remember having an umbrella. We bought a box of digital tests and came back home. I took the tests (you know, I peed on all the sticks), they were all positive.

This was the very first time we’d seen a positive pregnancy test in person. For seven years, they’d been such a disappointment. And there were several years I stopped taking the tests altogether. It just wasn’t worth it to waste the money and the hope.

The rest of the day we were in disbelief. Do we tell people? If we do, who do we tell? Everyone knew we were trying. They’d been praying and fasting for us. It’s difficult to keep a secret when you’re on the infertility treatment train. 

We had to wait to call the doctor, because, of course, it was a holiday.

So it was just our little secret that day. Before we even said the words out loud to our doctor. I remember we walked around Liberty Park. The world was so the same, but everything was different. 

Seven years of trying unsuccessfully. 

And then after all that darkness, a glimmer of hope. 

On a pee stick.