When we are TTC (that’s “trying to conceive” in pregnancy message board lingo) the irrational part of my brain takes over. Not for all women, I’m sure, but for me?
I gain the ability to bend the laws of time and space with my mind, and convince myself that sure, why not, taking a pregnancy test about 12 days before my period is due isn’t silly at all. Of course it could be positive! You never know! Better pee on a stick just to make sure.
And then as I watch the control line, and nothing but the control line, slowly come into view, a slight sense of embarrassment grows, too. This is ridiculous. I should be smarter than this. I am pretty much peeing on my dollars by testing this early.
So I wait a week, and test again. It’s still SO early, even if I am pregnant, the test couldn’t detect it yet.
Ok FOR REALZ this time, I won’t waste any more tests.
But two days later I find myself getting ready for a trip to Target and think to myself I should get another pair of skinny jeans. Better pee on a stick first, because there’s no point in buying skinny jeans if you’ll grow out of them in a couple months.
As soon as I open the test I realize, once again, how ridiculous I’m being. But it’s my last test, and at least once it’s gone I won’t be tempted anymore.
So I take the test, put it on the sink, set the timer on my phone, and come back to check it in five minutes.
HOLY. SHNIKES. THAT IS A LINE. AND ANOTHER LINE.
Two. Lines. Two lines. TWO LINES. TWO LINES TWOLINESTWOLINES
…and that’s when my brain short-circuited.
One of the most common refrains on TTC message boards is, “a line is a line.” What that means is that pregnancy tests (except in RARE circumstances) do NOT show a false positive. If there’s a line, you’re pregnant. It doesn’t matter how faint or how dark; you’re pregnant.
That being said, I didn’t really believe it. I mean, I DID, because logically I know that is a fact about pregnancy tests, and the line was THERE, no question. But still…it was our first month trying. The timing wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t think it was good enough to result in a pregnancy.
But apparently lightning DOES strike twice, because we were this lucky with Natalie, too. First month, BOOM, pregnant.
I was prepared for it to take a while. I know secondary infertility is a Thing That Happens Sometimes, and even if your first pregnancy happens super quickly, it can take a loooong time for the second. And even with perfect timing, there’s only a 25% chance of pregnancy. (Did you know that? If not, you really should watch The Great Sperm Race. This is the kind of stuff they should be teaching in high school health classes.) Or it could be the average 3-4 months. Who knows! Babies: being inconvenient before they’re even conceived.
I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand that I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around, so, in the time-honored tradition of all incredulous pregnant ladies before me, I went to Target and bought more pregnancy tests. And no skinny jeans.
I bought a digital test, the one that says very clearly “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” because I wanted something definitive (as if the other test was not!) that I could show to Will when he got home that evening.
….and the digital was negative.
Here’s another fun TTC fact for you: pregnancy tests work by detecting the level of hCG, but different tests have different sensitivities. First Response tests (the ones with pink dye and two parallel lines, as opposed to a blue dye test which shows a plus sign) are considered the gold standard of pregnancy tests because they’re extremely sensitive and extremely reliable. Digital tests are not as sensitive, so even if you are pregnant, it could still show you the dreaded “NOT PREGNANT” if the levels are not yet high enough for the test to read them.
At this point I hadn’t even missed my period; it was still at least 3-4 days away. Typically you should not be as impatient as me with a digital test and wait until you have, you know, actually missed your period. Do as I say, not as I do.
So naturally I went out and bought more First Response tests and took one as soon as I got home. Positive! Of course it was.
Score: pregnant, 2; not pregnant, 1
I wanted to do something fun and creative and adorable and sentimental to tell Will that I was pregnant, but rather than a Pinterest-worthy reveal, I made him close his eyes while I shoved the positive pee sticks in his hands. How romantic!
His response while looking at the tests, and I quote: “You’re pregnant! Wait, no, you’re telling me you’re…not pregnant?”
It wasn’t his fault. The light was dim and the lines were faint, so you could barely see them in our cave-like living room. When I brought them into brighter light and repeated my “a line is a line” spiel, it was obvious they were both positive.
I still took another First Response test the next morning. You know, just to be sure. Positive!
Pregnant, 3; not pregnant, 1
I was going to wait until Sunday to take the last digital test (since at that point my hCG levels should have been high enough for the test to show me that one magic word), but I got too excited and caved a day early. The result popped up PREGNANT after about a minute and a half, like the test was saying, “bish please, you don’t need me to tell you what you already know.”
So now I have 4 positive pregnancy tests and I’m officially out of things to pee on.
I think this is really happening.