You Never Forget Your First
Sometimes, purchasing a test causes more anxiety than the actual thought of having a baby. "I felt like I was openly confessing to having sex when I was paying for them at the checkout counter," admits South Carolinian Crystel Riggs.
"I was embarrassed to be so old and purchasing a pregnancy test. I even thought I should purchase a baby shower card so I could pretend that I was giving it as a joke gift," says Ann, who was 39 at the time.
Tami Krueger, a grocery store checker, was bagging for her co-worker, Jim, when a woman came through the line and handed Jim an empty pregnancy box and asked him to throw it away. "He started to throw it out, and the lady said, 'No, ring it first. I was so eager to know that I couldn't wait until I got home,'" Krueger reports. Let's hope she at least held off to use the restroom.
Even though they couldn't imagine life without their babies, some moms were caught a bit off-guard by their pregnancies. These moms usually adopt the "just to make sure" approach to testing, forking out $10 or $15 to ease their worried minds, convinced that conception was impossible.
Take Californian Mary Vasquez. Already the single mom of three kids, baby number four was the farthest thing from her mind. "At first, I didn't even consider the possibility of pregnancy," she says -- famous last words.
After digging an old pregnancy test out of a bathroom drawer and waiting two minutes, she had her answer. "I couldn't believe it," she says. "I yelled, 'Oh my God!' and my kids were convinced that the toilet had overflowed again." Vasquez immediately phoned the number listed on the box and got a nurse on the line.
She tried to convince the nurse that the test was old, that it couldn't possibly have been accurate. The nurse was adamant, though. "The nurse told me that, sometimes, the test will say someone is not pregnant when they really are, but rarely does the test say you're pregnant when you're not," Vasquez says. When the nurse said that there are a few medical conditions that could cause a false positive, Vasquez saw her chance. "I was shouting into the phone, 'Well, maybe I have one of those diseases!'"
At that point, the nurse suggested she see a doctor. "I don't think she wanted to deal with a hysterical woman in denial anymore," laughs Vasquez. She did as suggested and, she says, "The rest is history -- in the form of an adorable red-headed little girl named Megan."
Try, try again
Then there are those moms who aren't satisfied with one test; they have to test every test on the shelf, sometimes coming home with two, three or more.
"With my first baby, I purchased at least a half dozen tests, ranging in price and brand name," says Riggs.
Most moms do end up buying at least two tests. "I always bought the double pack, mostly because the darned things are so expensive," Carrie Smith says.
Include Doretta Thompson of Canada among the doubters. "I had a really hard time believing them, even though they were right four times out of four," she admits. "The first time, I refused to believe it was positive, so I bought another one that afternoon and did it again the next morning... and again the morning after that." Even that wasn't good enough; Doretta made a doctor's appointment and insisted she do another one, she recalls. Finally, she was convinced that she was, indeed, pregnant.
Dad's the word
Convincing yourself is one thing; persuading your husband can be another ballgame. And that project of persuasion can be complicated by the most unexpected challenges, as Julie Scott found out.
"For my first pregnancy, I took one of the white or pink tests. It turned a very light shade of pink," Scott reports. It was enough to convince her of her impending parenthood, but her husband was unswayed. "My husband is colorblind and would not believe it," she says. "So I got a blue test... [He] still couldn't see it!"
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Scott returned to the store once more. "I got one of the plus sign tests," she relates. "He finally saw the second line." Good thing, too; otherwise, she might have had to wait nine months to show him the indisputable proof that he was, indeed, a daddy.
Riggs doesn't have this problem. In fact, her husband seems to know when his wife is with child, even before she does. "He is the first to get morning sickness, then he starts craving salads... at every meal," Riggs says. "It is almost as if he knows I am pregnant from the moment it happens. He has these same symptoms dependably each time I am pregnant, and always before I know."
While all women expect our mates to share the same level of excitement and anticipation, this might be carrying things a bit too fa... especially since Riggs reports that her husband has sympathy pains and morning sickness. "He has even suspected he's having contractions," she laughs.
Many moms report having trouble parting with the first sweet sign of their baby's existence. I hear that I'm not the only fruitcake who has saved the positive pregnancy test and placed it in a scrapbook or other special spot. "My very first positive test I saved -- stuck it right in an envelope and kept it in the top drawer of my dresser," says Smith. "OK," she admits, "I probably carried it around in my purse for a while first."
Mothers-to-be also find that the test itself can be a great way to tell their spouses about their pregnancies. "One of the times, I packed the positive test in with my husband's lunch," recalls Smith. "Kind of gross, now that I think of it!"
Whether you take one test or 10, and whether your partner jumps for joy or keels over in shock, savor the experience. Store it away in a corner of your mind, even if you toss the test after it has proved its point. After all, it's one more tiny tile in the beautiful mosaic that is the portrait of your pregnancy -- and your child.