My Dollar Tree Pregnancy Tests



It was her perfume that made me wonder, not because I could tell she was wearing it; it was that if pressed I could identify the floral notes and the vanilla finish. I could almost taste it. And her hair spray, too. It was fruity.

The next morning, I rifle through the cabinet under the sink to take a monthly test, the tests I stock up on at the Dollar Tree, the tests I take even though we’re “careful”.

It was her perfume that made me open the box this time. Another month it might have been a peculiar sensation in my gut, or an aversion to my morning coffee, or the tilt of the earth or the barometric pressure. I’ve been pregnant five times. Everything feels like a symptom if my period is 32 seconds late.

I’m so silly with these tests. My friends laugh at me. My husband rolls his eyes. The Dollar Tree employees fist pump the air when I walk in. I should stop this.

But I open the box and read the instructions. I don’t need to read them. They’re always the same. If I’m ever stranded in a Spanish-speaking country, I can recite the pregnancy test instructions by heart but probably not order lunch…except queso and agua.

Dollar Tree pregnancy tests are weird because there is a cup involved, which is always awkward, and a little dropper that makes me feel like a science experiment. I am, I guess.

I notice I need to drink more water as I fill the plastic dropper and squeeze it onto the test window: the only real Magic Eight Ball with insight into the future.

I should put the test on the sink and walk away, but I never do. I’m not patient about anything, really: standing in line, boiling water, taking pregnancy tests.

With the test in my hands, I watch the wet travel from one window to the next, and I realize that I’m waiting for my future while I’m perched on the toilet. I’ve gotten some of the very best news with my cheeks pressed against the cold porcelain seat probably leaving a red impression on the back of my thighs like a brand.

The wet enters the test zone.

I need to clean the bathroom again, I think. From the looks of area around the seat, a 7yo boy peeing is the equivalent of a fireman turning on the hose and stepping away. There’s no telling where the stream might go. It just goes. I might have to use Clorox.

Sylvie starts knocking on the door. I’ve been in the bathroom for 47 seconds.

“I’ll be right out, babe!”

“Mommmeeeeee! I need you!”

She probably wants me to change her clothes because she’s been wearing the same outfit for 15 minutes. Or maybe her Anna doll’s arm is stuck in her dress.

“I’ll be right out, okay? Mommy’s using the bathroom.” Bad answer.

And then it’s Chloe.


They’re both right outside the door and if Noah weren’t at school, he’d probably need a snack.

The test is still in my hand. My rear is still on the seat. A cup of my urine is staring at me from the sink. My girls are knocking.

So I look at the test.

The girls keep knocking. I’ve only been in the bathroom for a minute, but now we’re probably late for a play date with a new friend. We should be in the car right this second. But we’re not. I’m in here. Our snack bags are on the counter instead of in the car. I need to get out of the bathroom.

Two bright pink lines.

Two bright pink lines tell me life is going to be so very different and also the same. They tell me that I shouldn’t have sold so many of our baby clothes at the community yard sale. They tell me that it wasn’t the best idea to get rid of the crib.

Suddenly it feels like someone opened the emergency exit on an airplane. I can’t catch my breath. I’m out of air.

Sylvie is yelling for me.

And I wonder how this happened: two pink lines.

My husband is working in the basement, but I can’t tell him. I don’t have the words. I’m not sure when they’ll come. In nine months?

We need to go back to middle school sex ed with cartoon pictures of how this all works.

Chloe is back.

“I’ll be out in a second,” I tell them, but I’m not sure it’s true because I don’t really know how to be.

I can’t stay in the bathroom.

I wrap the test in paper and tuck it into the box. I put the box under the sink and close the cabinet door.

I flush. And then look at my face in the mirror, but I can’t really see it because I only see two pink lines.

I don’t hear the girls anymore.

I open the door and call for them, “Let’s go! We’re late!”

I’m feeling every emotion all at once, and it makes my ears buzz and my eyes fuzzy. When they’re all finished assaulting my insides, I hope that in the end…

Love wins.

“Sylvie! Chloe! It’s time to go!”

It always has.


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  1. Breanna says

    I find the day you find out you’re pregnant with a third or subsequent child to be supper surreal. Because you know exactly what is in store for you: the happiness, the love, the excitement, sure, but also the sheer lack of unknown, if that makes sense. I KNOW what its going to be like in so many aspects so I have to find new things to be afraid of. Will my 4 year old handle a new sibling well? How am I going to fit that many car seats in my car? Crap, guess we’re putting off Disneyland for another couple years. And that weekend vacation I wanted to take for my birthday. Wow Christmas will be spendy this year… and it goes on .

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    • says

      All of that. Yes. When I saw the pink lines, I knew so much would change for our family and yet, so much would be the same as it’s been. The anticipation and happiness are winning now though, for me. My husband is still numb.

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    • says

      So true. I have forgotten most of the aches and pains of pregnancy…the 9 months that felt so slow at the time are but a quick blip in my life’s experience, yet my memory of the moment those two lines appeared is still so very potent. I’ll never forget it.

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  2. Jamie says

    This article made my heart ache a little bit. My 3rd child, our rainbow baby after 3 losses before her, was born 4 weeks early in december of 2012. I had the pregnancy from hell, and 2 years of infertility hell before that so after they pulled her out via c-section they also tied my tubes. I have 3 beautiful, smart, wonderful children but i have regretted the decision to have the tubal from the day we brought her home. I’ll never have that feeling again, of the surprise pregnancy test that shows up positive. Amazing and scary at the same time. Congrats to you on making another miracle <3

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    • says

      What a journey you and your family have been on. I’m sure it’s been an emotional overload. Thank you for sharing it.

      The results of this most-recent test were amazing and scary. I’m trying to enjoy this pregnancy, the kicks and the growing bump and the miracle of it all, because I know this will be our last little one. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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