A (Pre) Baby Story: Is she or isn’t she?


The truth is, I may have taken 5 pregnancy tests in the last month. I really thought I was more patient than this. Um. I’m not. Any stray nausea or cramps, and I was convinced the bean had started sprouting.

After an embarrassing number of used tests showed up in the trash can, and after five too many indignant looks from my husband, I swore I was going to wait until there was a legitimate reason to take another test.

But then I woke up today and had a feelin’. You know, just a sneaking suspicion. And that last remaining linear prego predictor beckoned me from its already-opened box: “Pee on me, Natalie! You know you have to pee anyway, what’s it going to hurt?”

Nothing, I figured. So I did. I peed on another stupid stick. And four minutes later, that singular, heavy, solid pink line was glaring back at me, just like every other time. But next to it, if I tilted my head just so and finagled the stick into the perfect lighting, a whisper of a hint of a shadow of another pink line became visible.

Am I making this up? Am I certifiable? My fake baby is being born to a crazy lady!

So, I stopped breathing, obvi. Then regained consciousness. And then I hen-pecked something onto a Word document to finish whatever writing project was on the screen (not my best work, clearly), walked around my apartment in hazy circles putting Bryson up and getting the essentials, forgot what I was looking for about seven times, and finally made it out the door. There’s a chance it was left wide open. I can’t even tell you at this point.

I made it to CVS in search of a confirmation pregnancy test and realized I wasn’t wearing my wedding rings. This strangely made me sad, like I was taking Clayton out of this experience, and like I needed to come up with a great line to tell the cashier that would unmistakably indicate my marital status.

“Boy, is my HUSBAND going to freak!”

“Want to join the due date pool my HUSBAND started?”

“My HUSBAND is going to need a new drinking partner. What are you doing later?”

I also could not bring myself to purchase only pregnancy tests. So I wandered around the cards section, picked up two thank you cards that I would later force Clayton to send to potential employers as a nice suck up gesture, casually swiped a digital pee test and got out of there without a word uttered. Though I did get lost in pretending to read the “People” magazine while my mind darted in and out of the next 18 years of our lives, and the cashier had to verbally snap her fingers in front of my face a few times.

On the way out, the world’s slowest senior citizen was trying to navigate the curb directly in the path to my car. I hesitated for half a thousandth of a second and took my spry, lithe limbs up on the median and dodged her like a champ. I then narrowly missed her as I floored it out of the parking lot. What? Knowing if there is or is not a mildly-formed alien in your uterus justifies potential manslaughter. I read it. In a book.

I rush home, barely able to contain my heartbeat, palm sweat or anticipatory urine stream.

I tear open the box, thank God there are big, hand-drawn instructions to accompany all that fine print I will read later, and get on with it.

Then I wait. The world rotates six times around the sun, and then it’s time to check.

As clear as my well-hydrated urine, the results seem to mock me:

Not Pregnant

Okay, what the hell, pee sticks? I’m done trusting you with this life-altering moment. So I made an appointment with the highly respected Dr. Google Search. And man, do women (*neon arrow pointing at my head*) go cuh-razy over those tiny little foil-wrapped sticks. Forum after forum and paragraph of TMI after paragraph of TMI later, I discovered those little buggers can be all kinds of screwy.

You can be pregnant and they say you’re not. You can be not pregnant and they say you are with phantom ghost lines. Lines can pop up and redefine your life, change their mind, and run away. You can see ampersands and a treble clef, but no plus sign.

What is the deal?!

At this point, I still don’t know my deal. The more I realize how BIG of a deal this afternoon could have been, the less I am obsessed with knowing for sure. Maybe that sounds like the opposite of what I should feel, but it’s all I have to keep me slightly calmer and a little less likely to enforce a Why-Weren’t-You-Here-For-All-This-Crazy? strangle hold on my husband when he comes home.  

And maybe I’ll save the peeing on yet another stick for tomorrow or the day after.

One thought on “A (Pre) Baby Story: Is she or isn’t she?

  1. OMG! Your writing is awesome! Even though I already now you are with child. I couldn’t help but hold my breath in anticipation as you we recalling the feeling of waiting to see what the test said. Then I felt a little sad reading it was false after your excitement. I had to quickly remind myself that all is well she has the bun in the oven! Can’t wait to read the next one!!!

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