Do you have any pregnancy symptoms?
I had some cramping and light spotting, but nothing lately, unless you count a sore throat and urine that smells like asparagus when you haven’t eaten asparagus.
Are those pregnancy symptoms?
Anything can be a pregnancy symptom if you search long enough on Google, I said.
Yes, anything. I once discovered a swollen left groin lymph node was a pregnancy symptom.
Why were you searching for THAT?
Don’t ask. I was in Hawaii. I was drinking something called a Maui Wowie. I started Googling at the bar.
Is that like drinking and dialing?
Yes, but crazier. Everything is happening in your head. You sit at the bar, you smile at your husband and tell him you are texting a friend — but you’re really Googling — “swollen left groin lymph node and pregnancy symptom.” Of course, I found someone who said it was.
Absolutely. Never drink and Google.
Yesterday I went to see Silver Linings Playbook with my friend Lori, so she was on my mind and in my dream. This conversation was with her and when I awoke the reality set in. Today was testing day. I was either in the jaws of victory or once again, I was going to experience the agony of defeat. C’mon jaws of victory.
Whatever it was, I decided to get dressed up for the occasion in my $30 Whole Foods outfit. I had been dressing up for everything so far. I was sticking with it.
Overall, I felt good. I had never felt this good on test day. I thought I might even let them do a urine test on site. Ever since the ectopic, I had avoided it. I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone.
The weekend had not gone particularly well. After I hit publish on the final update on Friday where I wrote, I am not going to call my doctor. Well, I didn’t call him, but eventually I did email him and it went something like this:
My Email: I think I am starting my period. I have had dull cramping intermittently since about 2-3 day past the transfer. Yesterday while I was out to lunch I had some pretty strong cramping and then came home to brown spotting which subsided and went away. Today the cramping is minimal, but I am still spotting, so I am thinking it’s my period.
I don’t even know why I am emailing you this because I know there is nothing to do but wait until Monday. I just don’t want to tell Jonathan or my parents and bum everyone out again. I’m trying to stay off the internet and stay positive. I wish someone could sedate me until Monday.
Doctor Response: I know it is hard, but I would like you to try and withhold judgement until the test on Monday. If you like, you can come in tomorrow morning and we can do a blood test then. If there is HCG being produced, we will be able to detect it tomorrow. I won’t be there, but I will get the result in the afternoon. Further, even if you weren’t pregnant, you shouldn’t be getting your period yet because of the progesterone, so hopefully this is what we refer to as implantation bleeding.
My Response: I am just going to wait until Monday morning. It has all stopped and now I feel like I am having hot flashes. It just must be all the hormones playing with my mind. I’ve got a good book, I’m going to take Ellen’s restorative class tomorrow and try to get through Sunday at the Arclight. I can do it. Maybe it will be okay.
Doctor Response: It will be okay : )
And after I received the final response I cried on and off for an hour in bed while watching The Virginian and hugging Boomer. The spotting had basically vanished, but the paranoia and fear and not. I tried to just breathe. I cried to God. I cried to all of my grandparents. I cried to those babies I hoped were growing in my belly. I kept blubbering on about how I promised we were great parents, among other things. It was an ugly cry. Possibly pathetic.
I finally had cried myself out and relaxed when an episode of The Virginian guest starring Robert Redford started. I love Robert Redford. It was a nice distraction.
The offer to come in early for testing was tempting, but I decided to wait until Monday. Every time my doctor was not there when I tested it was negative. It was small, but significant enough for me to wait it out until he was there. In my mind, he had to be there.
After his final email I determined that reproductive endocrinologists and ObGyns are saints — or should I say MY reproductive endocrinologist is a saint (so many people have sent me horror stories, so I feel so blessed!). They have to deal with overly hormonal women all day long. I guess they must know that on some level and enjoy the challenge. No wonder my doctor does yoga.
I got dressed slowly. Very slowly. Fear was pulsing through my veins as I put on my leggings, my dress, applied my make-up and put my hair back. I kissed my husband — who was sick in bed — and walked out believing I was ready for whatever it was.
I did not go to the bathroom before I left. I decided I was all in this time. I was letting the urine test happen. I was going to know something when I came home to Jonathan one way or the other.
As I drove down the 101, Florida Georgia Line’s Get Your Shine On came on the radio. Even though I had no idea what I was about to walk into, I felt like my shine was on. I felt the wind at my back. The only thing I had to go on was a little cramping, spotting, my first sore throat in two years and asparagus-smelling-urine without eating asparagus — but for some reason I liked my odds. And no, I did not cheat. I did not even buy a pregnancy test. I wanted to walk into each moment fully present for whatever it was.
Taking a test would have ruined that, so I didn’t. Plus, I have been saying for weeks I wanted to be surprised. SURPRISE ME!
As I walked back for the blood test, she asked if I could do a urine test. I said yes, as my heart pounded out of my chest. I was shaking inside.
I flashed back to all the other times I did this walk. It was always more dread than fear. Something in your body just knows these things, I think. At least it always felt that way for me. This time I thought I knew, but I did not yet trust the knowing.
How can you trust something you have never known before?
I handed the nurse my urine sample. I rolled up my dress sleeve and got ready for the blood draw. I was suddenly eerily calm.
My doctor came in. I could tell after our email exchange, he was a little nervous, too. The nurse started the urine test strip; my doctor sat and watched it. He gave nothing away on his face so I started to worry as she stuck the needle in my arm.
Did you cheat?
Well, you’re pregnant. It’s a strong line. It’s good. He smiled. I could tell he was relieved.
Then he proceeded to tell me how my email had worried him all weekend.
I was in complete shock. No I had not cheated. No I had not tested.
My intuition was right. For once it was right for the better.
The nurse wanted me to put pressure on the cotton ball as she removed the needle. I was slow. Everything was slow. My doctor told me they would call later with the blood number and for me to come back on Wednesday. I burst into tears when he left.
I cried all the way home. Tears of absolute joy. I wanted to remember this moment. I couldn’t drive to Jonathan fast enough. I cried again when I told him. He wanted to put me in bed right away. I laughed. I hugged Boomer. He purred.
Then the calls started. My Mom. My mother-in-law. My Dad. Family and Friends. I started a phone tree of sorts. I told people they could tell as long as there was nothing posted on my Facebook wall. I had a blog post to write.
I had been building up to this post. I am so grateful for this ending. I had thought about having to write the other ending. Thinking was as far as I ever got. I’m feeling blessed thinking was all I ever had to do.
As I type this I realize, yes, the end is just another beginning. HCG levels rising appropriately. The first ultrasound. The heartbeat. Testing. Getting here safely. Keeping them safe. Not screwing them up. I think as a parent you will always be looking at START after you break one finish line. That’s just part of it.
Suddenly, hopefully we will become full members of the club that knows the overwhelming joy of parenthood and the never ending worry that accompanies it.
As I walk my Road Full of Promise, I can’t wait to break the next ribbon.