I had no idea there was a term for this funny thing I have developed about obsessively taking pregnancy tests. But after taking three today, I had to wonder if there was something a little off.
I am almost 40 and trying to get pregnant, after all, so in a way it makes sense. But in another way, it’s a bit obsessive;)
You see, 10 years ago, when I was 29, I was walking down the streets of San Francisco with a good friend talking about how awesome our lives were, and how we were pretty sure we didn’t want kids – at least not anytime soon. We went climbing in Yosemite almost every weekend and took epic lipstick roadtrips to Joshua Tree, and had wonderful adventures, all over the world. We were studying at the graduate schools of our choice, and we felt young, sexy, smart, and fucking badass.
As we reflected on our blessings, my friend said to me, “If I ever talk about getting pregnant, kick me.” I laughed. I think I even said, “Totally!”
I am less prone to saying words like “never,” so in this case I leaned more towards a gentler, “I can go either way, but I’m not going to stress about getting pregnant or make any decisions based on it” – like being with men just because I really, really wanted to have a baby, which so many of my friends were doing. And I definitely wasn’t going to lasso a guy into getting me pregnant because I lied about being on birth control. The idea of that scared me – I couldn’t believe people would sneak someone into fatherhood!
At that time, I was totally OCD about not missing one pill of my birth control. I did not want to have an abortion if I got pregnant at that time, and I did not want to have a kid at that time. I simply did everything in my power to not get pregnant – except to not have sex. That was not an option I was willing to entertain;)
As I got older, when I dated men who said they wanted to have a family with me, I found myself starting to think about what creating a family might be like. I discovered I would miss a few pills here and there. I wondered about what I’d do if I accidentally got pregnant.
I even stayed in a way-less-than-ideal relationship for too long, and I am pretty sure it was because he wanted to have kids with me and I rather fancied the idea. The idea. At least of me being pregnant. Not of him being the father.
I even found myself being secretly pissed as a midwife when I would need to care for women who were pregnant but didn’t want to be. It was a very interesting, and surprising, experience after being used to so effortlessly give my love and care and compassion.
Still, in the end, I knew I didn’t want to have a child unless I was with a man with whom I felt the journey of parenting would be an utter adventure and joy. I didn’t meet anyone like that for a long time. I was even married once and I knew I didn’t want to have kids with him, because he was not the partner with whom it would be an utter adventure and joy.
Then, over a decade later, Thai (my fiancée) and I allowed ourselves to love one another the way we always had, and the love of my life blossomed.
And I wanted to have kids. NOW.
He and I reunited when I was 38. While we wanted to, we couldn’t try to get pregnant them because of our trips to Africa and having to take anti-malarials, which cause birth defects. And when we returned from our recent Africa trip in December of 2012, I took three more weeks of the anti-malarials and then came off of birth control for the first time in 23 years. 23 years!
Let the games begin!
In hindsight, I still think I made a good decision by delaying pregnancy. If I had gotten pregnant before I was with my fiancée, I would have had a very different life. I’d have less flexibility to consider closing shop in the lower 48 and moving to a different state to live out of a yurt through Alaskan winters, for example.
I think about my exes and, while generally really good guys, one in particular makes me want to vomit when I think of what it would have been like to have to co-parent with him, because we would definitely not have stayed together despite having a kid. It would have royally sucked.
Part of me wishes I hadn’t taken anti-malarials and just tried to get pregnant ASAP. But malaria would have sucked too, and we were in places where it wasn’t a question of IF you get malaria, but WHEN. I went with statistics. I was WAY more likely to get malaria than to get pregnant at that time!
So here I am, about to turn 40 this summer, and so very much wanting to have a baby with my soul mate. It makes me cry just writing this. I never had the feeling of wanting to create a baby before this, and it is really, really beautiful.
Right now, it seems it’s not so much about being pregnant, per se. Rather, it’s about having a baby with Thai. And if I wasn’t with him, I don’t think I would want to have a kid. I decided long ago that being a single mother was a challenge I would choose to pass on. If I wasn’t going to rock the family thing with my soul mate, I had plenty to keep me busy and fulfilled.
But now…I want it really, really badly now. My moon is 5 days late and I’ve been testing every day since 10 days after I thought I’d have ovulated. I’ve mastered the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and I have my Woman Calendar App downloaded onto my iPhone. I sleep with my basal temp thermometer by my bedside, and I have months worth of LH strips from Amazon that would allow me to test for ovulation every day for months (read: WAY more than necessary). Along with the LH strips came 20 pregnancy tests and I have only 6 left (read: way too few).
Then there’s the worry. I know its normal for my cycles to be irregular after having come off the pills. I broke my rib right before I was supposed to ovulate, so I know that can throw things off too. But still – I can’t help but wish I am late because I am pregnant. I know I am not supposed to stress or worry about it. I know I know I know. Trust me. I know.
But I do.
I had one negative test today and re-read the instructions for this particular test and it said to use plastic or glass cups. I had been using metal. After two Master’s degrees, I figured I might have just slept through the part about how freakin’ important glass and plastic is to accuracy, so I took out another pregnancy test. It had a faulty absorbent area that was falling off but I used it anyway. Negative. Then I did another one because maybe it was negative because the absorbent part was messed up. Negative.
It’s a good thing these strips were cheap on Amazon.
I read the reviews for them because there was a weird line in the wrong place on one of them and I was looking for comments. I found out people were saying things like, “These strips are great for pee stick addicts! They’re so cheap!” There’s a blog for pee stick addicts. And an acronym POAS Addict (Pee On A Stick Addict). And a group POASAA – Pee On A Stick Addicts Anonymous. For realz.
A pee stick addict. Who’dve thunk it.
Alas, it’s a name I am willing to accept. I’m coming out;)
Wish me luck, tribespeople. I’ve had lots of good vibes from the Universe telling me not to worry, like the woman that cut my hair telling me she had her first baby at 40, unassisted, and now she was pregnant again, unassisted. It was one of those annoying, “I got pregnant right away once I came off pills!” stories, but still, it was cool that she was 42 and six month pregnant, and looking and feeling great.
In the meantime?
I’ve decided that for every month I am not pregnant, I am going to do something that I wouldn’t do if I were pregnant. Recently I dyed my hair for the first time in over 17 years. I know it is theoretically safe to dye your hair when pregnant. But I wouldn’t do it. So I got a Baliage highlight thing done. It’s fun;)
The previous month, I signed on for a Grand Canyon trip, which I’ll cancel if I’m really pregnant, so either way life is good. Next month – well, I won’t start focusing on what I don’t want. I teach the exact opposite here at Freedom Junkie – focus on what you DO want – because I know it works.
Now I have a new mantra to add to my repertoire: “I am pregnant with a perfectly healthy, happy baby.” Aho.