So much for saying I wasn’t going to bother doing a test, let alone an early one. After all, they cost a fortune. I’m all about the pound shop tests £1 for three tests that work as good as any expensive brand, what’s there not to love about them? Yet somehow, exactly one week since the IUI, I find myself popping out of the office to pick up an early detection pregnancy test.
The one I picked up apparently has a 79% accuracy rate six days before your period is due. That means I can test in a couple of days [I got the two pack too just to be certain, if the first is negative then I’ll try again a day or two later. After that, I’ll be on to the cheapie tests if there’s no period and and no positive result.] That day my breasts were feeling sensitive so I was back to thinking I might be in with a chance after all. More importantly though I started to feel slightly less stressed about the whole thing. The anxiety subsided to just about bearable levels. Sure, I want it to be positive and I’ll be sad if it’s not, but it no longer feels like the end of the world if I end up not being pregnant. I’d got through the first week, I was halfway to knowing for certain and I felt more relaxed and accepting of whatever the outcome was. I had a miscarriage before my son. It was devastating. However, my son would not be here if that awful event hadn’t occurred. Whatever happens this month I will keep trying; I am having a baby, even if it means bankrupting my bank and my heart in the meantime.
That night I went to bed with slightly sore boobs and I couldn’t have been happier. I awoke the next morning and they were no longer swollen or sensitive. I knew I wasn’t pregnant and that feeling of acceptance that I’d been so sure I’d reached only yesterday, was gone. I only accepted the idea of not being pregnant because I was sure I was. Pregnancy hormones don’t ebb and flow like my emotions. There was only one way they go – up. If my boobs weren’t getting more painful by the day then this thing wasn’t happening.
My son was lying beside me in bed, he woke and climbed on top of me and rested his head on my (painfree) chest. I cuddled up and tried to focus on him – live in the moment as they say. I tried to soak him in, but from a small corner of my mind the hope began to rise again. My legs were achy last night, surely that was a sign even if my boobs weren’t sensitive? I wanted to get a baseball bat and smash the hope to smithereens. I wanted to scream at it to “fuck off and leave me alone”. Let me be with my son, let me enjoy him, stop trying to pull me into some parallel life. The very thought that something more could exist, the very thought that after three years of hell (paired with lots of good times) I could end up in a happier place, was so overwhelming I just couldn’t cope being stuck in limbo between the possibility that it might and the likelihood that it wouldn’t. I wanted to know for sure that I wasn’t pregnant, that way the hope would be crushed and I could continue to live my life as normal.
When I decided I was going to do this thing, everything changed. I was happier, calmer and more content than I had been in years. My dad, who knew nothing about my plans, noticed it and asked my mum what was going on. My CBT counsellor recognised it. The homeopathy person I was seeing mentioned it. Friends said it. It was clear to everyone. Some of these people thought they had been the cause of this improvement and sometime they had helped, but the thing that made all the difference was the idea that within a year I’d have a new baby to love and to hold. That was looking less and less likely and I just wanted to curl back into my cave of depression and stay there. As I walked downstairs to get breakfast, the empty box from the tests that I’d put into my bathroom cabinet all ready for their grand unveiling in just two days time, mocked me.
On test day I woke early. I was about to roll over and fall back to sleep when I remembered that I could test today. I jumped up. There was no way I’d relax now, I had to do this. I went into the toilet. As I held the tip of the test in my wee and counted to 20 I honestly thought I might vomit. My anxiety was through the roof. I left the room for the allotted three minutes, I couldn’t bear to actually sit there and wait. I already felt disheartened. My boobs were soft and pain free – this was going to be negative, I just knew. As I walked up the stairs ready to check the result a small part of my brain was still screaming, trying to be heard over the sad thoughts – “you never know, it still might be positive”. I hardly dared to pick it up. Once I saw it, the hope would be gone. As painful as that hope was, I wanted to believe in it so badly.
I stared at the blank test. It didn’t matter how I tilted it or squinted at it, there was no faint line anywhere to be seen. The absence of something had never felt so painful. I crawled back to bed. Less than a week later my period arrived. I was most definitely not pregnant.