Trick or Treat Yo Self

Coping with a negative pregnancy test, or a “monthly visit” is one of the trickiest parts of trying to conceive.  Originally, I was in “treat yo self” mode when it came to starting another cycle.


My BFNs were complemented with empty-uterus wine, flat-stomach jeans, and no-baby surgery (okay, this one is a stretch, but I did finally get my nose cauterised after Month 4 – had to stop the bleeding from somewhere, amiright?!)  I should probably apologize for that last joke, but I just couldn’t help myself!  Basically, instead of eating my feelings – I was drinking them, or buying them new booties.  This was all my attempt to have something to look forward to if I was facing another negative – at least my pant size is going to stay the same!  When we all really know that we’d trade all the margaritas and skinny jeans in the world to be pregnant (just don’t take away my carbs)!  There are plenty of other ways to cope with the loss of another month though, and there’s one that particularly caught my interest.

One woman mentioned that for every month that she’s not pregnant, she buys a new item for her unconceived baby.  That way, when she does get pregnant and eventually give birth, she’ll have all these adorable little gifts to give them.  She feeds her hope.  Doesn’t that seem healthier than having vices fill your void?  The idea of buying something baby-related with each negative does sound sweet, until you think about the possibility of devoting an entire linen closet to items for an imaginary baby.  A few months ago I read a book that centered around a woman who lived in Chicago (okay…) and wasn’t able to have anymore children (yikes…) so she kept a box of baby clothes for the child she would never have (hmm…) which eventually drove her to kidnap someone else’s baby to raise as her own (a decent plan, but even from where I’m sitting I can see some flaws in it).  I’m not saying that’ll be my future if I start hoarding wubbanubs (trust me, we want our own baby free and clear), I’m just trying to point out that, for my own sanity, this might not be the best route for me.  Plus, there’s the fact that styles change and maybe I’ll find an even cuter headband for a newborn girl once we’re actually, possibly, pregnant.  

My own question has been answered by myself, but it’s not the answer I want.  I wish I could be that woman who was able to find positivity at the end of each month and feel hopeful with the accumulation of impossibly small socks – instead, I find comfort in new clothes and boozy dinners and manicures.  Not sure what that says about me.  Selfish, perhaps?  I just can’t crush the thought that each onesie bought would continue to fill up my jinx jar (still regretting making that last spontaneous onesie purchase during my TWW months ago).  My husband had the same thought when I pitched this idea to him over dinner – I’m slowly bringing him over to the dark side!  Sure, there’s always the option to regift the items to family or donate them if we aren’t able to conceive, but that would still mean I’d have to face an extremely difficult situation of not only giving up, but giving up my box (or tub) of remaining hope.  Clearly I’m getting ahead of myself, but I didn’t get this far in life by just taking things one day at a time!

Curious to hear other BFN coping mechanisms out there (for research purposes, of course – I know I still have FIVE weeks to go).  I think for now, the only place that I’ll be storing my baby-ware is on Pinterest.

24 Hours

That’s how long I knew I was pregnant for.  I hate to spoil the ending for you all but: it’s not a happy one.  And it all started with a twinge in my right ovary.

The Day Before: I didn’t ovulate.  At least, that’s what I kept telling myself throughout my seventeen long days of light-heavy spotting.  It was a simple solution for my body freaking out – I figured we were both equally confused about what was going on, but I still wanted answers.  I was Google-hungry and spent my evenings self-diagnosing and searching for similar situations.  I wanted to find out that this was normal, expected, and most importantly: would end soon.  Nothing gave me any clarity.  I had resigned myself to just waiting it out (I refused to make a doctor appointment for fear that they’d tell me that exact same thing for a lot more money), when my ovary gave me an I’m-working-over-here pain.  Was I somehow ovulating through all this?  There was a new box of ovulation strips sitting in my apartment, screaming to be used.  No time like the present, right?  Except at the moment I was sitting at work, so I made a mental note to test once I got home.

Suddenly, mid-Bachelor In Paradise episode, I jumped off the couch and told my husband that I needed to take an ovulation test immediately.  He seemed wary at the idea of it showing I was ovulating, but let me entertain myself regardless.  It was BLAZING positive.  I assumed I was reading it wrong since this was my first time using the strips rather than a digital, but the results were staring me in the face.  I was…ovulating?  My husband and I looked at each other, debating if we wanted to try.  I still didn’t have any ovulation symptoms, so in the end we chalked it up to my body being wonky.  Another urge began to form inside me though – I wanted to find out what other hormones might be flaring up, so a plan unfolded.  A very basic plan that involved me taking a pregnancy test the next morning.  

The Day Of: I quietly slid open the linen closet door, as if the mere sound of the wood creaking would cause my husband to run out of the bedroom and exclaim, “Are you taking a pregnancy test?!”  I felt ridiculous sneaking around my own apartment as I pulled out the thin pink package.  “So, we’re just going to pretend it wasn’t severely negative when you tested the day you expected your period to be?  Okay…”  I called myself ridiculous and warned about the disappointment I was about to experience while gazing at the slightly-fogged strip.  Was it faulty?  Did that even matter?  It was going to be negative after all.  Once I dipped it and the fog began moving across the strip, I nodded to myself when a second line didn’t pop up.  See, you mad woman, you’re still not pregnant.  

But then the three minutes were up and….there was another line.  I muttered out loud, “Wait.  But, that’s not supposed to be there.”  Now I was imagining lines on pregnancy tests?!  Confusion and excitement and fear hit me all at once as I tried to make sense of what was surely a false positive.


I mentally ran through all the symptoms (or lack thereof) that I had experienced, along with the neverending spotting, and couldn’t make sense of what was happening.  But I didn’t ovulate!!  I was so sure I had an anovulatory cycle (which, when I later brought this up to my doctor, she said, “You mean an ovulatory cycle?” which blew my mind and I still can’t figure out if I’ve been either pronouncing it wrong or if I somehow completely made up that term).  During several of my internet-perusing sessions I had read that, eventually, your body will try to ovulate again – had I just missed it and unknowingly became pregnant?  And then…if I was pregnant, why was the second line so light?  My next mental checklist ran through everything I had done the past few weeks: Ambien. Wine. Xanax. Advil. Advil. Advil. (I had been experiencing back pain almost the entire time that I had been spotting – yes, I realize that was probably a sign that I had thoroughly ignored, but you forget that I believed I didn’t ovulate) I ate deli meat and did everything that you shouldn’t do while pregnant, short of riding on a rollercoaster (not including the emotional rollercoaster I was currently on).  I had been treating my body like a tomb, not a temple, and feared that my possible unborn child was facing the consequences of my actions.

Where is my husband during all this, you ask?  Just living in blissful ignorance as I didn’t want him to witness what was surely a mental breakdown – besides, this wasn’t how I had planned to announce to him (number one lesson learned while TTC: life doesn’t care about your plans).  I threw out the test and told myself I’d check with a First Response the next morning.  Before even leaving for work I decided I’d test again in the evening, or…should I just put a test in my bag to check later today?  I managed to convince myself that I have some form of self control and went to work pregnancy test-less.  

I made it through an hour and a half at work before I decided I needed to call my doctor’s office – surely they’d tell me that this wasn’t real and that they know the trying to conceive process can be difficult but that I needed to stop pretending I was pregnant.  I stood in the hallway outside my office and attempted to discreetly describe the faint (I over-enunciated the word) positive I saw today, what my spotting was like, and that my last confirmed period was in July, waiting for them to say, “But, didn’t you not ovulate?”  Instead, they asked me to come in that afternoon for an ultrasound and blood test.  I began to mumble about insurance and not being totally sure and again, faint line, and must’ve sounded so erratic that the nurse eventually asked, “Was this a planned pregnancy?”  Planned, sure.  Expected?  Absolutely not.  

The call ended with me booking an appointment for the next day at 8:00 AM, but not before I confirmed that I could cancel it if I took another test and it was negative, and also without incurring the “late cancellation” fee.  Priorities.  

Are you angry with me yet?  Can you believe I waited those seventeen (now eighteen) days and wasn’t rushing over to get checked out?  It all seemed so surreal – I’m still struggling to mentally digest everything that happened.  What I do know is that if I had made an appointment that same day, I would’ve gone alone, and I don’t think I would have been able to emotionally process everything without my husband by my side.

A new plan.  I needed confirmation and I needed it now.  Digital results don’t lie and I needed the comfort of words spelling out exactly what was going on with me.  So, I ended up buying a test during my lunch hour to end things once and for all.  Doesn’t every woman dream of finding out she’s pregnant while in the bathroom stall at work?  No?  Not the ideal situation for me either.  It didn’t matter though – I had started to see the bright red spotting that they warn you about (apparently spotting can be totally normal, albeit confusing and scary when you’re pregnant, as long as it’s not pink/red) and convinced myself that my morning test had been wrong and I wasn’t pregnant.  

Instead, the digital test told me that I was wrong about being wrong.  Well, actually, it just said: Pregnant


Pregnant?  Pregnant.  PREGNANT?!  

Dread rushed through me.  Something wasn’t right.

A half hour later, I was back on the phone with my doctor’s office.  “I just confirmed with a digital – should I come in today after all?  I’m now spotting red.  This is all a very bad sign, yes?  Is there anything I can even do right now if there is something wrong?”  The nurse calmly explained that at this point, I wouldn’t get all of my results back until tomorrow regardless, so it was best to keep my appointment the next morning and to “just relax”.  

The hours that followed were anything but relaxing – they were filled with internal questions (Am I losing this baby?  Is it all my fault?  How could I be so wrong about everything?) and the cruel hope that this little bean would be safe.  Once we were both at home, I finally told my husband.  I simply said, “You know how I’ve been really confused about what’s been going on with me?  Well, things just got a lot more confusing” as I showed him the digital test (which is now forever sealed in my nightstand – at least until I’m sure the battery has run out so that I don’t have to see the word ‘pregnant’).  I used words like possibly and maybe and this isn’t for sure, but his eyes still shone with happy tears and he couldn’t stop smiling.  His happiness was contagious and I asked, “How did we even pull this off?!” as we laughed and hugged and tried to remain cautiously optimistic.  I was as honest as I possibly could have been about everything that I was going through, and how I was more sure that it could be a chemical pregnancy if anything, but he’s impossible to strip of hope so I let him hang onto the thought that maybe we were going to have a baby.  

Sleep was impossible as I thought about the next day’s appointment.  Were we going to see our baby for the first time?  Was it going to have a heartbeat?  Were they going to give me creams or medicines to help me to thicken my uterine lining or increase progesterone or anything to help this little bean stick?

It wasn’t a chemical pregnancy though.  It turned out to be, in my mind, something much worse.

One Pink Line

I woke up on Test Day like a kid on Christmas morning – that is, a kid who doesn’t want Santa to visit, but hopes they still manage to get everything on their list.  I imitated self control by going to the kitchen instead of running to the bathroom when I woke up…no such luck avoiding the topic: my husband was literally making buns in the oven.  I didn’t have any, mostly because he used old almond milk in the batter, but partially out of principle  as well – we didn’t even know if my oven was bunless or not!  So insensitive.  After a week of pregnancy dreams and telling myself I’m not  symptom spotting (but really, why else would I be so emotional and irritable?!) test day was finally here.  And I couldn’t ignore it anymore because the reality was, I really had to pee.

You ladies know the drill: open the test, drop the pants, count to five, set a timer and pretend that you’re not going to look at the test until it goes off.

Well: my timer went off.

Bone white.  Stark white.  White-out white.  It was white.  Like any sensible woman I rotated the test around in the light and squinted to try to make one line split into two, but it wouldn’t turn positive for me.  My husband, the eternal optimist, managed to say, “There’s still a chance!” after his face fell at the news.  He makes optimism look so easy.  I, at least, managed to not cry until we went to the Burger Festival (a sentence I never quite expected to say).  I couldn’t blink without seeing a baby or a woman with an adorable bump, and eventually found myself standing off to the side silently crying behind my sunglasses (like an adult) as the band played a crappy version of “Hallelujah”.  All I could see was the image of the one-lined test flashing in my head.

But then – the days passed and…nothing happened.  Hope crept in slowly and cautiously and invaded my mind when I wasn’t paying attention.  I didn’t say a word to my husband because, you know, jinxing. I fell into the trap of thinking about when would I test again, would I announce to him right before work, how am I going to avoid drinking at that Bachelorette party?!  I broke my own rules and continuously searched “negative test at 11 DPO, positive days later” and ignored everything that says you should be able to see a positive on a First Response by that time.  I chugged camomile tea and thought wistfully of Xanax while trying to pretend this wasn’t a huge deal (as a part of my mind kept whispering but the negative test…). Turns out, it was all a cruel joke where my body simply wanted to remind me who was in charge.

When I found out for the second time in one week that I wasn’t pregnant, I greeted my husband with a friendly, “You know what sucks?”  I stood in the doorway and told him all about my “one day late” emotions while he insisted that he had to go to the bathroom, as if there was anything more important than discussing my cycle at 7:30 in the morning.  The conversation was over, we had already been defeated.  I’ve tried to convince myself that the only thing holding me together was that negative test, that it was a good thing.  If I hadn’t tested, I would’ve been ecstatic at the thought of being late, only to be crushed the very next morning.  But if testing early was such a good thing, then why am I still radiating disappointment?