Thursday, April 26, 2007


The one where I'm not pregnant

I peed on a stick yesterday morning. One line. Sigh.

I’m not terribly surprised. I knew I had ovulated fairly late in my cycle, if at all. (Funny, I spent all of our infertile years being mystified by my body, using a microscope to read its inscrutable signs. Now it sends me fertility signals in 72-point font, and yet I still can’t force it to succumb to my will. I am truly my own worst enemy.) I would have been expecting day one last Friday given an ordinary cycle, but I might have ovulated up to five days or a week late, so I really shouldn’t have been expecting my period any time before this weekend.

I got sucked in by hope, though. Damn optimism. There was nothing I could put my finger on, but I simply felt like I might be pregnant. Part of that might have been the absence of the injustices my body usually offers in the week before my period arrives either. I’ll save you the gory details, but we’re mostly talking about minor mood swings, bloat, and an inability to stop eating – especially eating junk food.

By Monday, pregnancy watch had officially commenced with the scrutinizing of the toilet paper. You know how it is, where you begin wondering if you are peeing all the time because you are pregnant, or because you just want the chance to check the toilet paper again to stave off doubt and denial. And there’s that brief suspended moment just before you examine the tissue where you are braced for the tell-tale smudge of blood, but holding out hope for a pristine smudge-free wipe.

While making dinner Tuesday, I had begun thinking about home pregnancy tests and when I might be able to test without feeling foolishly premature. I’d been idly thinking about a possible leftover (unused!) test from last summer, and when I rooted through the bathroom cupboard and found one, it seemed like a postcard from fate. It was a freebie; I could test and be sure of the answer and stop what had become a near-constant cacophony of “what-ifs” in my mind with one quick trip to the bathroom.

To test or not to test. This is the question of women the world over. So much hope, so much fear, so much possibility, so much dread, all imbued into one little chemical strip. There is widespread agreement in the infertility community that "pee sticks" are evil. Assuming you are trying to conceive, the positive test is the best possible outcome. However, the negative test doesn't allow much closure. We've all heard the stories of people who have negative hpts and go on to have lovely babies nine months later.

I've had a rocky relationship with the pee sticks myself. Three positives, one of which was Simon (I never got that far in to the two week wait with Tristan; I had a positive blood test when I started showing signs of OHSS nine days after the embryo transfer.) I can't even count how many negative ones. Dozens, probably.

So in the gloaming of an early morning, before anybody else in the house is awake, I pee on a stick. Every single time I've taken a pregnancy test, I am swept up by the swell of possiblity and the suspension of disbelief in that breathless moment where the urine surges up the little stick. I'm almost afraid to look, afraid to give up the hope of speculation to the harsh reality of fact. The moment seems endless, my optimism champing at the bit, my mind already formulating announcements and due dates and nursery colour schemes.

One line. With an exhalation of breath, I take an embarrassed moment to reign in my rampant optimism. Of course it wasn't positive. How silly of me to think so. I never really thought I was pregnant. I was just, you know, making sure.

Later that afternoon, I can't help myself. I pull the test back out of its nest of tissues in the bathroom garbage bin. I peer carefully at the used test, trying by sheer force of will to conjure a ghostly pink line in the hopelessly blank space beside ruby-red test line. I step to the window and turn the test back and forth, squinting at the test from various angles until I am nearly cross-eyed. Despite my best efforts, the test remains stubbornly negative. I move to toss it back into the waste bin, but stop and lay it carefully on the counter. I'll check one more time, later.

You never know. Hope springs eternal.

Labels: ,