Positive pregnancy tests should come with a warning.
Instead of two pink lines, the stick should say: Welcome to limbo.
In other words, welcome to the agonizing waiting game that is the first trimester.
If those two lines could speak, they might say something like this: Congrats! You’re pregnant!
You are probably elated, over-the-moon excited. You feel like you could climb mountains and swim across oceans.
You are also shocked, deer-in-headlights terrified. You feel like you might never leave your bed again. Over the next three to nine months, you will feel sick in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the middle of the night.
Or you won’t feel sick at all, and you will worry that because everyone says you should feel sick, something must be wrong. You will hope that you get sick—just once.
You will most likely feel like you have the worst three-month hangover of your life, but without the funny stories and random texts from the night before.
You will want to shout from the mountaintops: I am pregnant. Omigosh, I am pregnant!
But you won’t tell anyone—except your parents. You will tell your parents, and your sister, and your three best friends, and the neighbor in the apartment down the hall (but that was only because she saw you throwing up in the garbage shoot), and your co-workers (but that was whispered in the bathroom when you overheard the gossipy intern wondering aloud if you might be “eating too many salty foods” lately because you “looked a little bloated”).
You will stare at your belly profile in the mirror every morning wondering if you are starting to show. One day you will be convinced you are starting to show and everyone knows you are pregnant. The next day you will be convinced that you aren’t pregnant and, fuck, what if you aren’t pregnant and just don’t know it yet.
You will say fuck a lot.
You will look forward to each OB appointment, counting down the hours until that goopy wand is swiped over your still-not-showing belly. And then there will be the agonizing moments when you wait for the doctor to find the heartbeat and tears will actually pool in your eyes because…what if…what if…what if.
And then you will hear the thrum-thrum-thrum heartbeat, and the tears will pour down your cheeks.
You might sit on the doctor’s table at your 13-week appointment, your legs in stirrups and the goopy wand still on your belly, with tears pouring down your cheeks. Your doctor might ask you if everything is all right. She will ask again if everything is really alright. And you will nod and hiccup and say that yes, yes, yes, everything is fine. You will tell her that you are just so happy and overwhelmed. You will tell her that after all the waiting—holy shit, the waiting!—and the miscarriages and the wondering if you would ever have a baby that you didn’t think you would ever get here, to this point.
And then you will wipe your tears and put on your clothes, calmer and lighter than you’ve been in months. You made it out of this anxious, terrifying, thrilling limbo. The agonizing wait of the first trimester is over. Only seven weeks and two days until your 20-week ultrasound appointment.
Welcome to limbo. But since all of that would never fit on that little square on the stick, two lines will have to do.