October 21st, two years ago. It was a Sunday. I got home, looked around for my roommate, deduced she was at the gym, and walked into the bathroom.
It said to wait three minutes before reading the result.
One minute. It was positive .
The first thing I did was curse. Something probably starting with an S or an F. I cursed First Response, for being so accurate and actually telling me 6 days before my missed period. And I cursed my mother for being right. (The women in my family can sense it—it’s our super power—we know when someone is pregnant. My sense didn’t kick in until this year. My mom’s sense for pregnancy, very strong after having two of her own, knew I was pregnant before the test would have even registered it.)
Rewind to the previous week: I had been quite sick. October 15th. It started on Monday, with a migraine. Sometimes migraines make me nauseous. So when I woke up and threw up the next morning, I didn’t think anything of it. I had this fullness, this tight discomfort in my gut, and I was certain it was the stomach flu. Nothing sounded good to eat, and I couldn’t handle the smell of food at all.
October 19th. By Friday, I was feeling a bit better. My mom and I were shopping with my sister, and in Forever 21 my sister pulled me aside and quietly asked if there was any possibility I could be pregnant but was not telling mom. I vehemently said no, and even if there was, a test wouldn’t even give a result yet, I still had 8 days before I was even supposed to start my period.
October 20th. On Saturday, I went to my boyfriend’s place. I was still sick; I don’t remember if we had plans, I just remember all I wanted to do was take a hot bath, something I like to do when I’m sick. We discussed the next weekend, we were going to see our favorite band on Friday.
“Are you excited to see Timeflies?”
“Yeah… but that’s the day I’m supposed to start. So I’ll probably take a test that day.”
“You’re not pregnant.”
“What if I am?”
“I know. But I’ll take a test every other day until then, and I’ll know on Friday if I don’t start.”
October 21st. Sunday. The morning after that conversation. I should’ve just taken the test at his place, but I didn’t. I wasn’t exactly a stranger to a pregnancy test, so I knew to take it in the morning—first morning urine would have the highest concentration of the pregnancy hormone. I knew that if you are pregnant, the hormone level doubles every 48 hours, which is why I had planned to take a test every other day. Sunday, 6 days before my missed period. Tuesday, Thursday, and then if I didn’t start on Friday, the test on Saturday would definitely pick up the hormone… if I was indeed pregnant.
Turns out I didn’t need my arsenal of tests. Even though I wasn’t ready to know, I knew. Two pink lines. I had been so unprepared for the result. I was alone, in my apartment, looking at the test and the two lines and the timer hadn’t even gone off yet.
Immediately, I wanted to call First Response and complain. I didn’t want to know yet! Then I thought to call my mom and tell her she was right. My brain was racing, my heart too. I got a couple paces away, almost to the bathroom door, turned around and went back to the test on the bathroom counter and checked and that the two lines were still there. They were. In fact, they were getting clearer. I had a brief moment of wanting to just go out and sit on the couch and watch TV and eat breakfast like nothing was different at all. All these thoughts happened in the short span of a few seconds, and I realized quickly that what I really needed was for someone else to see it. To verify it for me. Yes, it’s two lines. Yes, judging by the key next to the result window, two lines indicates pregnancy. I hadn’t even let myself think it yet. It wasn’t real yet.
The only person who was nearby was my roommate. I shoved the test up my sleeve, and marched to the apartment gym to find her. I knocked on the door, and she timidly came over and opened it. (Apparently, I looked like I was upset… and since we only had one key to the gym, and she had it, she had to let me in, and I guess the look on my face was enough to make her question whether she should open the door or not.) Standing in the gym doorway, I took the test out of my sleeve and showed it to her.
“What does this mean?” she asked me.
“It means I’m pregnant.”
For a couple minutes she went back to the elliptical, and I sat on one of the exercise bikes because I didn’t want to go back to the apartment and be alone again. She tried, but there was no way to get back into her work out after my interruption. We walked back to the apartment. I called my boyfriend. Asked if he would come over, please.
Later, when I asked him what he thought was going to happen when I called him over, he said he thought I needed him to move something heavy, or get something down from a high shelf.
The telling was unceremonious. We sat on the couch. I showed him the positive test. Cue his turn to curse.
Two years later. I see commercials where the wife cutely tells the husband, or I find out about a friend’s pregnancy, and I see their excitement about the test being positive. How thrilled they are. I didn’t have that. I don’t know what that would be like. Everything surrounding my entire pregnancy was tinged with this sense of ‘this isn’t supposed to be happening’. There was never excitement. Even after I decided (7 months later), to keep the baby, there wasn’t an excitement. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be excited. Because he wasn’t planned. We weren’t married. By the second trimester, we weren’t even together anymore. We were still in school. We weren’t ready. We were too young. We wouldn’t know what we were doing.
There was so much negative. The only positive thing was the test.
I write this blog for two reasons:
2. to help other women
Many pregnancies—even those occurring within marriages—are unplanned. It can be scary; it can be downright terrifying. Mix that with the sudden overwhelming responsibility, add feeling sick every day, and you have yourself a woman who needs a friend. I want to be that friend. I want to tell you what it’s really like. I want to tell you my story and listen while you tell me yours. I want you to know, it’s okay to feel all these things. I didn’t have anyone close to me who was going through what I was. All the pregnant women I saw were happy the test turned positive. They had been trying. Their husbands were elated to be dads.
This is the Steph You Should Know: it’s okay not to be excited. A pregnancy is a really big deal. October 21st, 2012, is the day the entire trajectory of my life changed forever. I was taking 20 credits, preparing to apply to medical school by the next year, I didn’t want to get married for several years, and I didn’t want to have kids until I was well out of medical school and had established myself as a doctor.
And then, where there should have been just one line, there were two. In another life, on another path, I am currently applying to medical school. I am planning to move to whatever school I get in to. I have the time to work, and I can work the job of my choosing, not the job that works around my baby sitter’s schedule. In another life, I don’t have a “baby daddy”.
But in that other life, on that other path, I don’t have a son, either.
And from the October 21st two years ago, to the one today, I can tell you one thing very, very confidently: I would not change one thing.
When I told Baby Daddy I was writing about the day the test turned positive he said, “best worst day of my life”.
Thanks Baby Daddy, that sums it up perfectly.