Ah, the first time I bought way too many pregnancy tests. I wanted to be pregnant so badly. After 4 years of marriage, I knew it was time. Babies were blossoming up around me, and I knew I wanted to be next. Me. Me. Me.
Who knows what the grand total was. I bought them all the time. The microsecond my period was late, I reached for a test. I took them at my house, on vacation, at my mom's house. I took them alone. I hid my secret. As the months passed, as announcements of pregnancy turned to annoucements of babies, I still tested. Testing had become an obsession.
And every month, the emotions. The joyful trying, the eager anticipation, the impatient waiting -- the blood. The last time I tested as a non-pregnant woman, I was finally worn down. I peed on the stick, just like always. As I wiped myself, front to back, there, on the white paper was b-l-o-o-d. I cried. What insult to my already injured heart! That is what stopped it. Surely, I will feel different, right? I will never take another one until I feel different. And I was as good as my word.
Months later, I was at a friend's house. She had also failed to get pregnant. We would often commiserate. While I clung to hope, she and her husband had adopted three young siblings, the youngest 3 months old. We would talk about not getting pregnant. I would imagine kid-napping her baby and skipping the country. How could I persuade my husband? What would I tell my family? More and more I thought about adoption. Did I want to be pregnant? Or did I want to be a mother?
Then came the switch: I found myself thinking more about adoption than about getting pregnant.
As we prepared paperwork and researched adoption programs, I was finally feeling good, productive. While waiting for phone calls, papers, meetings, I found myself waiting for something else: My period.
I took a borrowed test from my friend, as she had not let them go yet. I was with her as we watched those faint lines come to life. She was just as excited as I was, and even though I had day-dreamed about abducting her baby, she was truly a friend to me.
One word to describe me? Overjoyed.
The next time I took a pregnancy test, my Jacob was 17 months old. We had laid down to take a nap. I awoke with a fierce hunger in my belly like I hadn't eaten protein in a week, and the smell of Pine-Sol from the kitchen where my husband was mopping practically choked me as I ran to the bathroom.
Where was I in my cycle? Am I late? My breasts were more tender with my nursling, too, I remembered. The next day I bought a test: Two pink lines. With what we went through trying to get pregnant with Jacob, I had even toyed with the idea of not using birth control after his birth. What if we had another journey like that ahead of us? Instead, after just 2 months of not being careful, we found ourselves in an expectant state.
One word to describe me? Relieved.
The third time, I am ashamed to say, was not as ideal. In fact, the third time, I could have skipped the test, I already knew the answer.
My last period was February 20, 2005. Since Isaac's arrival I had successfully used Fertility Awareness Method as a means of preventing pregnancy. During the three+ years since his birth, I have easily kept track of my cycles sans a calendar, even.
First week, period.
Next week, safe.
Next week, not safe, wait until cervical mucus goes away.
Once dry, safe, wait for period to start.
But I got mixed up, once, and apparently once is all it took.
Blame it on my birthday. Blame it on Isaac getting the stomach flu. Blame it on whatever, but I conceived March 7th, still thinking I had a period the prior week. Even though 2 days prior I sat on the toilet thinking, "Why am I so mucusy? I just had my period last week?" And a day before conception, "Why am I twingy? I just had my period last week?" The actual dawn of the missing week did not hit me until after we had communed together. I did not even use the toilet first, I sat stark up in bed and said, "Wait a minute..." as I scrambled to the kitchen calendar.
The missing week feel out between February 20th and March th -- somewhere, maybe not even on the pages between the numbers, but somewhere in my mind, it had vanished -- poof -- gone, to reappear only after the army of billions had been released to the One.
I knew it, I knew it immediately, even before contact had been made to spark a universe of changes inside my body: I knew it.
That's why I waited exactly two weeks after my period was supposed to show up to test. By that time I had all the symptoms, I could have used the money to put gas in the car or dinner on the table. But no, I bought exactly: a pregnancy test, a Hallmark Card, Dryer's Vanilla Ice Cream, and a package of Easter Peeps -- something for all of us!
I pulled my husband into the bathroom. For the first time ever, we were going to test together, but I knew this time I could not face it alone. I peed, we watched. Before the liquid even seemed to pass through the window the first line magically appeared. "I knew it," I told him, somberly. "Sorry I knocked you up," he said, smiling, gently.
It will be okay. There are worse things, afterall, than being happily married and pregnant. It just was not my timing, and that is what I am coming to terms with.
Word to describe this? I can't do it it one. Guilt, for not being simply elated. Sadness, at putting some things aside for a while. Fear, that something may happen. Ache, for that spot between my chin and my shoulder that throbs when I think of nestling a tiny baby there. Peace, the place I want to be.