Better Late than Never – A Mother’s Day Retrospective
Five days late.
I was checking my email when I realized my period hadn’t shown up. The last time it was this late had been three or four months prior. I’d taken a pregnancy test then. I’d waited for the result while tapping my nails on the laminated bathroom counter, a staccato that punctuated my thoughts as I stared at the stick.
We weren’t ready for a baby.
How would we manage?
Oh God, I can’t be pregnant.
Three minutes of forever later, there was still only one line in the window of the pregnancy test — no baby.
I should have been celebrating but strangely my shoulders drooped and my heart felt heavy.
I wasn’t even sure I could get pregnant easily. I have an adenoma on my pituitary gland. It’s a tiny benign tumor that causes my pituitary gland to secrete too much of the hormone, prolactin. Prolactin is what causes lactation so for years my body thought I was a breastfeeding mother. If that meant I only had to deal with the occasional wet shirt then it wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, the adenoma also put my body into what my endocrinologist referred to as “menopause.”
That word alone is what finally motivated me into doing something about the adenoma. So I went on medication and my prolactin levels returned to normal. I even started ovulating.
But now I was in a new city without a new endocrinologist and I’d taken the last batch of my medication several months before. I decided to be serious about trying to conceive and I got a referral to a new endocrinologist but my appointment was weeks away.
Now my period was late again.
I got a pregnancy test out of my nightstand drawer. I’d been buying them two-to-a-pack and I was down to my last one. I had started to get a rhythm going over the previous two or three months.
1. Calculate possible ovulation dates
2. Try to conceive
3. Pee on a stick
4. Get negative result
5. Get period soon after
Rinse, lather, repeat…
I had no reason to think this time would be different. After all, the hubby and I had been kind of lazy about trying to conceive over the last month. My period was probably late because my prolactin levels were rising again — a consequence of having not taking my meds in a long time. I imagined my old endocrinologist peering at me over the rims of his glasses, head slightly cocked and the words “I told you so,” dancing on his lips.
So I peed on the stick. Then, ever so carefully, I started to lay it down flat on the bathroom counter while pondering if I should go make myself busy for the next three to five minutes. The plus sign was dark before the stick even touched the counter.
“Holy Shit! Holy Shit! Holy Shit!” I grabbed the bathroom counter for support as I repeated this litany for the next minute.
I was pregnant.
Lightheaded, I floated around my apartment searching for my car keys. I needed more tests — more tests to verify what I already knew. I was going to be someone’s mother.