“Come in here! Quick!”
I look at the test in my hand, turning it this way and that. Is that a second line? Very faint, right there. I think it is. I show him. “Look! It’s a line!”
“I don’t see anything,” he says.
“Look closer. Right there, see? A line is a line. That means I’m pregnant.”
I am pregnant. Wow.
Am I ready for this? For a third baby? I look down at the test again. The line is slightly darker now. He still isn’t sure it’s a line, but what does he know?
I test again this morning. There it is. The line is darker today. Even he can see it! He holds me, touches my belly tenderly, and kisses the top of my head. We’re lean on each other, quiet for a minute as we let it soak in. We are going to have another baby. A baby!
Tonight we look up midwives in our area. I know they fill up fast so we’ll have to make an appointment very soon. We talk about when we should tell our other children. We discuss buying a new car. Things will change so much, but I think I am ready for this.
I check a due date calculator. I am due next May. What a wonderful time to be born! I will be in my third trimester before the summer heat hits, and May is perfect weather for an outdoor birthday party when this baby is older. Warm and sunny, but not so late that the school year is over and everyone is away on vacation. A May baby.
I lie awake in bed wondering boy or girl? I decide it doesn’t matter. I will be happy with either. I think about having a newborn again. The late nights, the spit up, the crying. And then I think about sweet milky breath, tiny starfish hands, and the feeling of a baby asleep in my arms. I put my hands on my stomach and imagine the tiny baby growing in my womb.
I take another test to be sure. I loved seeing that line get nice and dark with my other pregnancies, and I want to see it now.
I notice this one seems to be taking a long time to appear. The control line shows up right away, but the second line is still not there yet. I check the instructions and decide to wait the full five minutes. I wash my hands and put on mascara before looking again. I see it now, but why is it so light? Shouldn’t this line be darker than yesterday’s?
I Google “pregnancy test line getting lighter”, and soon find the phrase “chemical pregnancy”.
“A chemical pregnancy is a term used to describe a very early miscarriage. It usually occurs before the fifth week of gestation, or less than a week after your first missed period and positive pregnancy test.”
I take another test. The line is still there. Maybe my hormone levels are just slow to rise. Maybe there’s something wrong with the tests I’ve been using. I send my husband to the drug store to buy a different brand. There are two in the box. Good.
I wait until evening to test with the new brand. It’s slow to show up, but there’s the plus sign, clear as day. That’s good, right? It’s too late to make a doctor’s appointment. I will call in the morning and ask for a blood test.
This morning I use the second test from the new brand. Today’s plus sign is barely there. I check again using the old brand, and I cannot see a line anymore. I don’t bother making a doctor’s appointment. There is no point.
I get the kids ready for school. I work. I make dinner. I do not talk about babies.
I wake up bleeding. I am not pregnant. There will be no sweet milky breath and no starfish hands. I will never hold this baby in my arms.