We’d been trying to get pregnant for almost exactly one year. Well, technically, my wife Kara had been trying to get pregnant, but I was pitching in as best I knew how.
As the months passed, I’d empty the trash can in our bathroom and occasionally dump out a used pregnancy test or two, the disappointing results of which Kara had stopped reporting to me long ago. This is how it goes for people who actually want to have a baby. Teenagers can get pregnant just by sharing a sundae with the same spoon.
But just over three months ago, while I was deepening my crater on the couch playing video games, Kara came downstairs and held a pregnancy test in front of me. Sensing that the more important moment was transpiring offscreen, I paused the game.
“Does that line look blue to you?” she asked.
I stared at the plastic stick for a moment, and then looked up at Kara and replied using the same words I’d said to her so many times before: “I have absolutely no idea.”
“I can’t tell, either,” she said.
If you see one blue line, the test is negative. If a second line (the “money line”) shows up, you’re pregnant. But the instructions failed to explain what it means when you see one blue line, and then a few minutes later, a hint of a whiff of a line appears, one that is barely detectable, faintly grayish, perhaps sorta bluish and otherwise nearly invisible.
We decided that the worst thing to do would be to get too excited, only to face another letdown.
“The last one looked like this, too. I’ll take another one in the morning,” Kara said, heading back upstairs and leaving me to a moral dilemma: after the biggest news of your life may or may not have been delivered, how long should you wait before you unpause your game?
The next morning, the money line showed up slightly darker. By the following day, it was ocean blue, which was fitting, because we were headed to the beach.
After a year of trying to get pregnant, it has been our experience that the most effective way to get a bun in the oven, or, perhaps more fittingly for us, a pizza in the microwave, is to book an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, the kind that comes with all the booze you can drink. Two hours after Kara booked our trip, she came downstairs with the fateful pregnancy test that, in its own illegible way, let us know that for the next year or so, I’d be drinking for two.
In the few short months that Kara has been pregnant, we’ve learned so much. For instance, while a pregnant woman feels sick all the time, medicationwise, she gets sent back in time to maybe five years after we stopped treating people with leeches and whiskey. Pepto, aspirin, Ibuprofen and many other common drugs may be over-the-counter, but they’re off the table.
A couple of days after we’d had the results of the home tests confirmed, I found myself in the pharmacy saying, “I need some headache medicine for my wife. She can’t take Advil because she’s pregnant.”
It sounded so funny to say out loud that Kara was pregnant, like how the words “fiancé,” and then the words “my wife” used to sound so strange.
The whole thing was so new and exciting to me, I expected the pharmacist to wheel around and shout, “She’s pregnant? She’s pregnant! Hey everyone, this guy is a giver of life. It’s a miracle!”
Instead, he said, “The Tylenol’s over on Aisle 3, past the Q-tips.”
The pharmacist’s reaction to the news didn’t give me nearly the lump in my throat that our parents’ did.
In any event, something tells me that I’d better beat all my video games while I still have the time.
You can high-five Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.