Pregnancy Test Addiction

August 23, 1992, was the day my husband and I decided to transform ourselves from a mere married couple into a Family. (Please notice the capital F. We were very serious.) We were so excited to begin building our Family, we started working on it that day.

We were diligent.

Somewhere around August 30th, I felt a twinge and bought my first pregnancy test. I can comprehend what I read but for some reason, I thought the instruction on the box to “take the first day you miss a period” didn’t apply to me. If I was pregnant, even if the little sperm had just that instant broken through my egg — what else would that twinge be after all? — surely this magical little test would know. It was, after all, scientific.

Just look at the medical personnel in their crisp, white coats on the commercials. They know how accurate these tests are — ninety-nine percent! And for Pete’s sake, what does the “E” in EPT stand for, anyway? Early! Well, it was early, and I had to know. At least if I knew it was negative, I could concentrate on things other than every little twinge in my body — or could I?

Looking back, I now realize that had I bought stock in EPT that August, I would be a rich woman today and could live off my fortune. I had no idea that those alluring and seductive little white sticks with the absorbent tips and magical windows would have so much power over me.

At first, my husband shared my excitement. He would sit outside the bathroom door and wait while I took the test. Our routine was to sit together and stare at the test window for the full three minutes without saying a word. Time and time again we saw one line — disappointment. A few times we ran into each other digging through the bathroom trash can. We didn’t speak, but each knew what the other was thinking: Maybe that was just a slow test.

Sometime in October, almost two months and hundreds of dollars later, my husband read the fine print on one of the boxes. “Hey, did you know this only works after you’re already late?” he asked, trusting that I hadn’t thrown away all that money on purpose.

“I read that,” I answered, trying to think of a way to make my oh-so-scientific husband understand my obsession. “The E does stand for early,” I said. Even I knew I sounded pathetic.

He took the remaining test from my two pack and said, “You wait here.” Did he know something I didn’t? Could he take the test and somehow find out the news I had been so eager to know? He came back, and I looked up at him expectantly. I couldn’t bring myself to ask him. I knew, deep inside, that the test didn’t work like that, but something in me, although admittedly irrational, wanted it to.

“I’ll get it out for you once you’re a day late,” he said.

Was he serious? Had he actually hidden my test? My test? He had. He was staging his own private little intervention. How could he understand? He doesn’t have to feel all of those twinges down there and wonder all day. It’s not surprising he can be so calm, so patient. His body isn’t constantly working against his ability to concentrate on anything and everything else.

I admit that while I was home alone, I spent many hours that month searching for my test. It at least gave me something to do other than sitting around waiting for telling twinges. I couldn’t go out to the store and buy another one when there was a perfectly good test in the house, somewhere. Besides, our bank account was running pretty low by that time and I was sure to find it any minute!

I never did. True to his word, though, he faithfully brought out the test the first day I was late, just before Thanksgiving. I took the test alone in the bathroom, and before I could even wash my hands, there they were — two lines, at last!

I came out of the bathroom and told him the good news. We were completely and totally happy for a moment. Then a feeling of doubt crept into my mind. Ninety-nine percent accurate means one percent inaccurate. “Do you think I should go to the store and get another test, just to be sure?”

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