I laid on my friend’s bed watching her count the days it’d been since she’d had drunk sex with one of our mates. To calm her down I asked the reassuring questions such as, did you use protection, did he pull out, did you pee straight afterwards? She answers no to each of these questions, so I’m forced to ask if she was trying to get pregnant on purpose. This is not funny. She’s not ready for jokes yet, 9 days late means NO JOKES are allowed.
Laying in the foetal position, she listed all the reasons why she cannot be tied to the hypothetical father for life. I offered that their children would probably be adorable. I get, “No jokes yet,” this time in serious tone. But we both know that humour is needed at a time like this so I pocketed a few gems to pull out later.
We drove to a chemist 7 suburbs away to limit the chance of running into anyone as she was in no state to muster up small talk. She wasn’t crying but her eyes were bloodshot. On the drive I asked her if we should google top ten baby names for the year. She ignored me and lit a cigarette. We arrived at the chemist and I had to do a sport-like pep talk just to get her out of the car. We couldn’t find the tests in the store. I think they are hidden on purpose so we are forced to ask for them. Continuing my role of ‘lightening the situation so we can ignore the possible reality of the situation’ I found the repellent section held up the inspect repellent ‘rid’ and asked if that was it. I finally got a smile.
Chemists and female clothing stores are the only stores that are annoyingly quick with their customer service. I always have to force myself to hold back a, “I’m fine, just let me look by myself!!!!!!!!!” Having worked in retail I understand that you have to treat every person like a mystery shopper, but I think we need to re-evaluate the line between customer service and normal people skills. Sure enough a customer service representative slithers out of nowhere and asks if she can help in that annoyingly polite auto-pilot tone. Silence. No one moved. “I need a pregnancy test,” I eventually said as my friend remained mute. She ushered me to the section and rattles off the different versions I could purchase. “I would like the least complicated one please, your simplest stick to pee on.” I paid on my card so there would be no evidence, no record, no memory of this moment for her, not even on her bank statement.
We walked out of the chemist on the hunt for location 2, a bathroom or very large tree. I see a pub. She stops dead in her tracks and refuses for that to be her story, “I cannot find out I’m pregnant in a pub toilet surrounded my 60 year old men betting on horses and dogs at 2 in the afternoon.” So we jumped in our chariot once more to find the perfect place. We pulled up at the public toilets of an ocean pool a 30 minute drive from Wollongong. I offered that the waves could be a lovely metaphor for new life or a celebratory winter swim.
We set up our little experiment and started the clock. Any fun that existed was sucked out of the room as if Dementors were present. “What do you want me to do?” I asked. With her head in her hands she said, “Talk, just talk to me.” To this day, I still have no idea what I said. I just rambled any random fact I could think of to fill the 5 minutes as she sat there and cried. The alarm buzzed a sound that made me want to vomit. I looked at the stick. One line! Not pregnant. I was informed we were not allowed to celebrate yet. We stared at her pee covered stick for another 15 minutes to ensure no extra devil line formed. We held our phone lights up to really examine whether there was the slightest hint of a second line. On our drive home she smoked 4 cigarettes in a row and we both vowed to always be responsible sexually active adults.
That was the closest I ever got to a pregnancy scare. There was also one time a friend asked me to get the morning after pill for her because she had to go to work but this was not nearly as stressful. Also, I rather enjoyed coming up with fake answers to the Pharmacist’s questions about my night of romantic sex with a non-existent beautiful French man.
But sure enough 2 years later it was my turn to take at least 6 years off my life from the stress that pregnancy scares cause. I am never late and I was 8 days by the time I decided to take the test. Let me take you through what happens each day you’re late.
This is fine
Stomach totally looks bloated, it’ll be here today. This is fine.
Not as fine as yesterday.
Why do I see pregnant women everywhere?
I’m just going to make sure my calculations are accurate by looking through emails from last month to check the exact date I told a friend I got my period. It’s a cause for celebration each month.
Google reasons for periods being late and convince myself I am a suitable candidate for at least 4 of them.
Seriously, are the pregnant women following me? Do they know???? Oh my god, I am pregnant.
Work has been super quiet to allow me to think about my potential pregnancy for about 70% of the day. Yay!! The 99% protection/rationality of condoms has taken an extended vacation in my brain and I am chilling out with the 1% crazy lady part of my brain that is all like “Hey, you’re pregnant.” On my lunch break I walk to pick up sushi, as I walk past the 2nd pregnant woman on my 300m walk I pick up my phone and call the same friend from her fateful day. I asked her if she’d like to come on a trip to a public toilet with me. This is what I love about friendship, I didn’t need to say anything else and she knew what I meant. She replied, “I’ll meet you at your house after work.”
She arrived and promptly stepped into a supportive but retaliatory role. We drove to Broadway shopping centre in peak hour traffic. I swore as we got stuck in gridlock traffic in the stupid multi-storey car park that makes no sense. She rattled off what her nannying rates would be. “IT’S NOT FUNNY”. We found the pregnancy tests easily at a supermarket but to my horror they were trapped in a plastic case that meant you had to go through an actual register with an actual person to unlock the baby test. Why? Why do this to people? I wish to discreetly buy this like I do condoms. But also, fuck condoms I no longer trust you.
Lining up at the register the girl in front of me buying tampons (lucky bitch) sees what I am purchasing and gives me the look. I know this look, I’ve given it before. It is the ‘good luck with that but thank fuck it’s not me’ look. The 15 year old kid at the register asks if I would like a bag, before I can answer my lovely supportive friend pipes up with “She’d like it double bagged, like she should have.” All 3 of us laugh at this. I hand him my card and I can see that my hand is shaking.
We drove through the suburbs of Sydney wondering where would be the most poetic place to do the test. Going home would be way too rational for us. We thought the Bay Walk would be nice; surely there are public toilets there. A word or two to the wise, if you are planning to do a pregnancy test near there do it early in the day because they lock their toilets at around 6. This meant we had to resort to the public toilets at Birken Head shopping centre. My lovely supportive friend suggested we could easily buy a nice pair of baby booties 50% off whilst we were there. Still not funny. Instead, I opted for a bottle of wine declaring that “If it’s 1 line we drink and if it’s 2 lines we drink and never mention we did that until the thing’s 21st birthday.”
Walking to the toilets I wondered if I’d be able to produce any pee. There I was, sitting there shaking, eyes blood shot, peeing half on a stick half on my hand. I came out pants still undone and set the timer. I asked her to talk to me. I attempted to listen but reality set in. Everything feels fun and jokey and light until you are on the verge of knowing. Every possible scenario flashes into your brain. I was convinced it was positive, I began to picture the prospect of my entire life changing. Or the possibility of making one of the toughest decisions a woman can make, I didn’t even know where to go or who to talk to if I decided to do that. I look in the mirror and realise I am crying. It is the longest 5 minutes you will ever experience.
The dreaded alarm, I braced myself by clutching onto the basin. I was alerted of my baby free womb by the following being shouted at me “Oh thank fuck. I had no idea what to do if you were pregnant. You’re not. You’re not, it’s negative. Oh my god I have never seen you so stressed. Fuck, I’ve never been so stressed, oh fuck me!” She opened our cleanskin red wine and took a swig. I sat on the floor of that filthy public toilet bathroom, my will to stand up had left me and I drank that nasty cheap ass wine as we both laughed.
Gets me thinking, does anyone actually get pregnant on purpose?