I was so pathetic and so broke and so fucking confused I went to Wal-Mart to get it. I bought a goddam “Equate”-brand, Wal-Mart-generic-brand piss-on-a-stick pregnancy test. And then at the low of my low, uncertain who I could even possibly tell if I was pregnant, ashamed to be a girl and a statistic and just feeling like a cunt, some guy tried to pick me up in his big red Chevy halfway down the parking lot, asking how far I had left to my car. Asshole, you know what I’ve got in this bag that I’m clutching so close? Hiding it behind this great big sweater I’m hiding everything else behind, too? No thanks, asshole. No thanks, sir. Don’t you know you’re pretending to be protecting me from people just like you?

And I thought I was so fucking careful.

I pissed on a stick to find out if I was pregnant. A stick made by slave-labor in some fucking no-personal-freedom civil-war Amnesty-International-brand nation in southeast Asia, and how could I trust a Wal-Mart pregnancy test even if there was only one line and thank God thank God thank God not two pink-purple urine streak lines, anyway? But it told me what I wanted to hear, so I believed its corporate-tainted bullshit reading irregardless. I pissed on the stick and waited five minutes, all the time watching the pink patches creeping, watching one line (ONLY ONE LINE!!!) appearing, unable to believe until the full ten minutes were up. And who should call? Some girl who wanted to find out if she could do an article about me for my honor society. What kind of honor, if you knew???

It’s negative it’s negative it’s negative I can’t believe it’s negative. After the way I psyched myself out and chewed my hand and It’s negative it’s negative it’s negative barely ate and kept on checking my panties swearing every time I sneezed it must be blood It’s negative it’s negative it’s negative it almost let me down, but no. This is good.

What in the world would I have done?

Why did he have to say he didn’t believe those things work when he found out I wasn’t on the pill? Only after we fucked, only after we fucked did he know. Not that he asked me if I was, but this is my fault all the same. Always my fault. Do not come close this bitch will bite you. Do not come close. Do not try to touch me. Do not come close. How could I ever fuck again?

So now I’ve got a stick that smells like piss in my room, and I still haven’t thrown it away, too amazed, looking at the one pink line. Wondering if I should go buy another, and get the real one this time. Or wait and hope I bleed Am I anemic? or will I forget what this was like, and do it all (ALL) again.

It happens every month, the fear that this time is the time, the time my bragging bravado fails me. Even when I was on the pill for four years straight, I feared every month. In the four years off the pill, I feared just as badly. It isn't the fear of getting pregnant, it's the undelightful decision that will immediately follow, a decision I've made years ago when all this "being a woman" shit started. Now I'm on the pill again, and I should be getting my, you know, like yesterday.

As if I don't have enough drama in my life, as though I need a pinnacle up and down moment every 4 weeks, even though I'm the safety girl, all there has to be is one time to be mistaken. Don't mistake me. There is only one choice I would make. You likely already know which one it is.

I've been having regular, American sex since I was 17. I was sadly deflowered at 13. Now I'm 25 and for the first time ever, I bought a pregnancy test. I walked up and down the aisles of Walgreen's, trying to find one other purchase to compensate for the test, something that would distract the box from being seen. The Walgreen's where I shop is in a border neighborhood. All around it are shops painted bright pink, selling pig's feet and seafood, or pawn shops selling whatever came from the neighborhood down the street, who knows. No one knows me here, but still I'm hiding my test under a box of Russell Stover Dark Chocolates. Maybe the cashier will think I'm buying it for my friend who's too embarrassed to buy it herself. Maybe my gay lover, but wait....never mind.

I can imagine the stories the cashiers at Walgreen's have seen without audible words being spoken. Or what this lady in front of me, with her yellow painted nails and pocked face, this thin black woman behind a blue smock, is thinking of me. It was likely my imagination, but I swore I heard her whisper "good luck," as if that would help me now.

I was up all night earlier thinking about this moment. Yesterday was Carson's first night in his new apartment, and I was there with him. We spent all day cleaning, waiting for his parents to get there with all his furniture they'd had of his in storage. He'd been living with me for the last 3 months and while I'll miss him, it's nice to have my space again. The furniture fit perfectly into his small efficiency, and I was glad to help him out. His mother had brought all those things you buy for someone who's moving into his first apartment. It reminded me of how that was for me, with my first house and my first boyfriend. His parents showered us with domestic items, perhaps grinning a little too broadly at the potential carbon copies of themselves they saw before them. Now that he's in his own place and not living with me, Carson can tell his parents that I'm not just his friend. That, like this, comes with time.

Holding the test stick by the Thumb Grip with the Absorbant Tip pointing downward and the Result Window facing away from your body, place the Absorbant Tip in your urine stream for 5 seconds only. (Bolds directly from instructions)

I don't have a urine stream for 5 seconds. I've been peeing every chance I get to see if there's blood, the sight of which brings football cheers from the bathroom. I'm not subtle. At work on Friday I held my hands up and then brought them to my mid-section and yelled, "I want to see BLOOD!!" When anyone sympathizes with me for being hunched over with cramps I tell them no, really, I'm thankful for this. And I am. Maybe it's the Catholic in me.

Just last night I was deliberating with Carson on the issues women I know make of tampons (this prompted by a Vagisil commercial that came on at that moment; we're not that open without provocation), how they all say how uncomfortable they are. I said, "As though dripping on a wad of cotton is somehow more appealing. I mean, we women have dicks inside us that are hopefully wider in circumference. What's a wad of cotton with a tail?" I could tell Carson was not all that into my argument, but I had to joke about something. Afterwards, we christened his new apartment. I figured, if I'm pregnant now, why worry.

I know. That's irresponsible. But I knew, even then, that I would end up at the Walgreen's the next day, that even though I'm not late yet and being on the pill will have likely altered my cycle and there's no need for worry, I couldn't take the suspense any longer.

Coming out of Walgreen's, I was only slightly queasy. Of all the times I screwed around, why would this come up when I'm with someone I love? I'm not going to put him through this. A co-worker of mine uses the same OBGYN that I do, and he's a really cool guy. She said he'll prescribe me RU-486 if I am able to take it. Whether I can or not, I cannot keep this pregnancy. I mean, no woman whose boyfriend is getting an apartment on his own for the first time should be pregnant. It means both of them are too young, even though I've had my own place for the last 5 years. All around me, women are getting pregnant, and now it's their second or third. I'm afraid of what the husbands would say if I asked them what they thought of the situation, but all the same, I respect them for hanging around.

I get a mug and head to the bathroom. Minutes later, I'm dipping a wide wick into the mug, following the instructions as closely as you would to diffuse a bomb. I told God last night, and every night before I was proven wrong, that I would not keep a baby. I told God, that's a laugh. I can't tell God anything He doesn't already know, but I keep thinking if I tell him that, He'll cover me, He'll prevent me from making a choice I'm sure neither of us wants me to make. Like I said, I'm well aware of how psychologically scarring aborting a baby is supposed to do to a woman, but I simply refuse to believe that that is how it always has to be, that having an abortion is this horrible scarring experience that makes women time bombs of repressed emotions. In light of that, I make the 3 minutes I wait for the test seem like nothing, because, to a degree, it's not that scary for me. If I am pregnant, I won't be for long; I haven't even missed an actual period yet. I'm already seeing one pink line.

And one pink line is all I will see, and according to this one pink line, I am not pregnant. There are two to a pack, so when the instructions say that if I don't get my period within 7 days to take the test again, I pay attention. But for the moment my pointless paranoia is confirmed. It's a beautiful day out there, and now I get one more hour of it. I think I'll go to the park and roller blade.

Over the counter home pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone released by the placenta right after the embryo begins implanting in the uterus. The hormone is released in a pregnant woman's urine.

A doctor may test for hCG in urine, or in the blood.

All tests currently available to test for the situation of being pregnant or not depend on testing for the presence of beta HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood or urine.

This hormone is only released by trophoblastic tissue, which usually is a growing foetus and its associated placenta or, rarely, from a choriocarcinoma or some other germ cell tumours.

False negative readings (from home kits) can result from the sensitivity of the test being lower than the current concentration of the HCG in the woman's urine. This can occur quite commonly before the 6th week of pregnancy (defined as 6 weeks from the last menstrual period) - beta HCG levels rise exponentially in the first two months or so of pregnancy so the earlier the test is performed, the higher the chance of a false negative result.

False positive results can result from weird things like choriocarcinomas. Truly rare.


Doctors can also perform quantitative serum beta HCG levels (as a glorified pregnancy test) to gauge the level of this stuff in the woman's blood.

This is commonly done in cases of suspected abortion, where a reading that is lower than the expected range of readings based on the patient's stated last menstrual period would be highly suggestive of a miscarriage.

Other uses of a quantitative beta HCG reading are in evaluation of ectopic pregnancy and in trophoblastic and other germ cell tumors.


For the first time in my life, I want to have a child. Sure, I’m a dyke, but all people have at least one good male friend, and that’s all you need.

This has to have been the longest month in my entire life…the last time I had to take a home pregnancy test, I was scared shitless, waiting to see two little pink lines, always having been told one line good, two lines bad...and now I am dying to see them. Aww, look, sweetie, look at all the pretty irony

My fiancé ran out to get a test for me and brought back one called “First Response.” The tests advertises all over the box in 36 sized font that it is so sensitive, it can detect enough hormone in the urine stream to give a positive reading 3 days before your period. Well, I tried it out, and after 3 tests, it’s still coming up negative, and me due for my period in a day or two, with more morning sickness than I know what to do with. Then I read the brochure, depression about my non-pregnant self having set in, and then I notice what it says. And I quote:

“The FIRST RESPONSE Early Pregnancy Test detects in urine the hormone your body makes during pregnancy: hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). The FIRST RESPONSE Test is so sensitive that most women have enough hCG to be detected as early as three days before the expected period. The amount of pregnancy hormone increases as pregnancy progresses. In clinical testing, FIRST RESPONSE detected the hormone levels in 52% of women 3 days before their expected period, in 69% of women 2 days before, and in 86% of women 1 day before their expected period.”

Translation:

“Yeah, sure we can do it…but only on days that start with T and have an H in them.”

Right…I’ll just wait and see if I get my period in 2 days, thank you very much.

_________________________________________

PharmaPlus®

Uni-Ball V/F Blac  	1	 3.99	    3.99 GP
CB Preg Test 1 15.29 15.29 GP

_________________________________________


 

When you are ready to test, remove the Test
Stick from the foil wrapper, and take off the
blue cap. Use the Test Stick straight away.

"I don't care how super-fertile you are, no three drops of pre-come are going to knock a girl up."

Hold the Colour Change Tip pointing downwards
in either your urine stream or in a sample of
your urine collected in a clean, dry container,
as shown, for five seconds only.

"It's been two months."

The Colour Change Tip will quickly turn pink,
showing that urine is being absorbed. You must
continue to hold the Colour Change Tip in the
urine for the full five seconds.

 

They don't have the tests at the convenience store, don't even have condoms. I loiter by the rack of beef jerky for a few minutes, searching the shelves once and twice more, but nope, nothing, and I leave. They don't have them at the grocery store, either, although they do have diapers, little jars of baby food, and I pass very quickly through that aisle, keeping my eyes on the ground.

Keep the Colour Change Tip pointing downwards
or lie the Test Stick flat until the line has appeared
in the Contol Window. You may wish to replace the cap.

On the way to the pharmacy, a group of women meets behind me for their morning walk. There are five of them, bright and young, all pushing strollers in front of them. The wind whips my hair into my face as I walk, and I feel as if I am leading some absurd parade, hugging my arms to my chest as the five baby carriages follow me in a slow procession.

Wait two minutes. A blue line in the Control
Window shows that the test has worked. Do not
read your result until this blue line appears.

 

In the pharmacy, I pick out a pen, too, thinking that if I buy something else it will seem less frightening, more routine. "Milk, eggs, loaf of bread, pregnancy test."

If no blue line appears in the Conrol Window,
within ten minutes the test has not worked.

At home, I drink the soda quickly while he tries to distract me with stories from his creative writing workshop. "How does the priest know their codenames?" I ask. "They didn't say them in front of him. And a real secret agent wouldn't pull a gun like that, not in front of the whole congregation. This story makes no sense."

IMPORTANT! Read your result within 10 minutes
of doing a test. Disregard any changes after this time.

In the next story, a man who has raped his brother's girlfriend apologizes and they share a moment of fraternal bonding as they repair a broken vase. "These stories," I complain, "are terrible. And I have to go to the bathroom now, anyway."

You may now read your result in the Result Window.

I stare down between my legs and watch the stick turn pink. Finished, I cap it and head back to my bedroom. I place it carefully on the desk in front of me, face down, and wait. When the two minutes are up, I flip it over and look at the result window. "What does it say?" he asks.

If you are still unsure of your result, you should wait
three days before testing again, taking care to
follow instructions.

I look at the little blue minus sign. I start to breathe again.

"Oh, fuck, thank God."

 

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