Monday, 10 September 2012

In which I take a test

“Here, you’ll need this, too. It’s just easier.” Into the hand that wasn’t clutching a mug of Earl Grey as if my life depended on it, PolitiGal thrust a ramekin. “Everything’s in the bathroom, along with the instructions.”

It’s been a while (and then some) since I first had sex, and throughout those years rarely a month has passed without my offering up silent supplication to the goddess of effective contraception, and a prayer of heartfelt thanks a week or so later when everything turns out to be crampy and A-OK. Anecdotal evidence suggests I’m not alone: almost every woman I know, no matter how sensible, diligent, or frankly obsessive she’s been about her contraception, has had some post-coital flutter that, maybe, defying the holy trifecta of nature, luck and science, one of the spermy little buggers has snuck its way through.

Which was a situation I found myself in recently, because, despite all rational arguments with myself to the contrary, I’d been having niggly thoughts of the worst for just over a week. They’d started about 10 days previously, when one evening I found myself with a desperate craving for pineapple juice. As someone who rarely gets intense desires for particular foodstuffs (daily hankerings for post-work G&Ts notwithstanding), it set off the quietest of back-of-the mind alarms.

And once that vaguest of notions had taken hold, there was absolutely no shaking it. No matter how many times I told myself that I had just come back from the gym and the craving was probably the result of my being a bit low on blood sugar, I couldn’t help but wonder if it might be the worst. And once one niggle had wormed its way in, it was joined by a host of its friends.

“Your boobs have been a bit tender for days,” they whispered. “That’s not normal, is it? And you’ve been very tired the past week… that’s a symptom too, isn’t it?”

For several days, I fought valiantly in my attempts to banish the evil interlopers, telling myself in no uncertain terms that, biologically speaking, I’d have to be the unluckiest woman since Cassandra; that maybe I just needed a couple of new bras; and that a stressed-out, slightly insomniac other half who’d not slept properly on the other side of the bed for the past week probably had at least something to do with the fatigue.

And then, on Friday morning, following a particularly heavy night out with a client, guest starring more bottles of red wine than is entirely proper and food nowhere in sight, there might have been a moment during which my deeply hungover nausea got the better of me, and the vestiges of the previous evening’s excesses were, er, revisited.

At which point, my inner demons had a field day: “Ah HA! Well, you can’t ignore us now, can you? You’ve got MORNING SICKNESS!”

“Oh, shut up,” I tried to tell them. “It’s just a hangover. It’s nothing that a burrito and a Fat Coke can’t fix. Nothing more than that.”

“But you don’t know that, do you? And with everything else…? Well, you can’t be sure, can you…?”


A little later, clutching the lunchtime burrito in one hand, I texted PolitGal, whose hugely successful career in an inordinately stressful industry has made her entirely unflappable, to tell her that paranoia had well and truly set in. Without judgment or panic, there was a prompt, no-nonsense reply: shall I pop round with a test later on?

Which is how I came, on a Saturday morning in early September, to be sitting on the sofa of one of my best friends, clutching a soon-to-be peed-in ramekin and hoping to all that’s holy for the lack of a line on a little white stick.

A speedily-quaffed half mug of tea; some chat about who we fancy to win this year’s edition of the Great British Bake Off (very possibly Smug James of the Knitwear, although Danny looks dangerously competent); and some (careful) peeing into a ramekin later, I yelled at PG through her bathroom door.


“HURRAH!” She yelled back from the sitting room. “CONGRATULATIONS ON NOT BEING PREGNANT!”

Never in my entire life have I been so happy to fail a test. Or, pass with flying colours – whichever way you want to look at it.


Sprinkled Words (former Miss Milk) said...

Oh dear. Were you even late?! I never think there's much point worrying unless you're late. Then I start going crazy.

Anonymous said...

I've been the 'other half' of this situation recently (ie the half that involves equal amounts of terror but no need to pee on a stick). Without going into details it was also entirely an unfounded fear, but Jesus Christ, it was the scariest fucking wait of my life.

Never has pee held such power.

Blonde said...

Sprinkled Words: No. As I say: utterly ridiculous.

Anon: Wise words - never indeed. Shudder.

Anonymous said...

"entirely unflappable" HA.

Brennig said...


nuttycow said...

Not ridiculous at all. I had those thoughts just the other day. This being despite the fact that it I had been pregnant it would herald the start of the Second Coming.

Anyway, I'm thrilled that you're thrilled with the result. A proper catch up soon please?

Anonymous said...

Pregnancy = terror unless you're prepared for it. Complete sympathies on this.

I've had a coil since I was 25. I'd missed a pill, had to get the morning after pill but couldn't afford to buy it (!) so went to my local walk-in clinic and had the IUD instead. It hurt like buggery, but the wonderful thing is that you get five years blissfully worry-free. Oh, except for STDs obvs - use condoms kids.

Blonde said...

Anon: oh, she is. Or, at least, she makes a bloody good show of it. Awesome woman.

Brennig: Quite.

NC: How is it that entirely rational women are driven to these entirely barking notions, knowing full well that we're probably wrong? Just ludicrous. And sure.

Anon: Total terror. Like the time I saw the Blair Witch Project, just worse. Shudder.

Anonymous said...

I was two weeks late once and made the mistake of "googling symptoms of pregnancy", which pretty much tells you EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING MEANS YOU ARE PREGNANT.

I was also living in Northern Ireland at the time, which meant that if the worst was true, I'd have very few ... options ... as to how I'd deal with it. On top of this, my visa had run out the month before, and I couldn't sign up to a GP without a valid one.

My first test came back negative, but will a very faint line creating the plus symbol. The instructions tell you this is a probably a positive. Massive amounts of tears, two weeks, and twelve other tests later (all negative, but I wasn't convinced)I finally shelled out for one of those super expensive digital ones that tell you how far along you are. Waiting for the little digital hour glass destroyed me, but it finally came up not pregnant.

An hour after this, the cramps set in and sure enough it was confirmed that I was not pregnant. It still irks me that it waited until after I had shelled out £20 for two of those digital pee-sticks.

Ended up peeing on the other one any way, just so it wasn't wasted.

Amy said...

I'd been going out with G for just under a month. My period the previous month had been a week early. I expected that the period this month would also be a week early. It wasn't.

So I waited a week, to see if it would come after four weeks. It didn't.

I start freaking out. I was about to start University — it would have been THE worst time for me to get pregnant. When my friend eventually came round so I could take a test, I had a mini heart-attack when BOTH BOXES filled with colour, which meant I was pregnant. I ran out of the loo crying.

Turns out that both boxes fill with colour before draining away to leave the result. I wasn't pregnant. Scariest thirty seconds of my entire life. I look forward to the day I want that test to come back positive.

Redbookish said...

Dear Blonde, glad it worked out for you. What a relief. How unlike the home life of our current Drama Queen Vicky of Ambridge ... where nary a thought of the future seems to have got into her little head (see, TA is replacing "Friends" for life lessons!) << grin >>

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