I felt queasy during lunch. Light-headed and queasy. Perhaps I am pregnant –though I don’t want to get too excited. Last year, I took a pregnancy test, and it came out positive. I took one the next day. Again, positive. For three days, I was pregnant. And then I went running. On the morning of my run, I went to the bathroom and saw the slightest hint of blood, like a whiff, a flutter. I went running anyway. By the time I got home, there was more blood. And it got heavier as the hours went by. It wasn’t buckets, like in the movie, “Carrie,” but there was no more question. I was bleeding. I must be miscarrying, I thought.
“You shouldn’t have gone running,” my acupuncturist chastised me.
“Take another pregnancy test,” he said. “If it’s positive, still pregnant. If not positive, miscarrying.” And then as an afterthought, “No running!”
I took another test. Positive. And yet I was still bleeding. It just wasn’t right. I hit the internet and searched for some kind of assurance that one can bleed — even get their period — and still be pregnant. My mother said my Aunt Florie bled all the way through one of her pregnancies.
“The whole pregnancy?” I asked.
“She had her period the whole time,” my mother said.
“Which one? Shari? Cory? The whole time?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Caren,” my mother said.
I searched the internet and found half a dozen postings confirming blood doesn’t mean the end of a pregnancy. “My sister-in-law bled all nine months,” said one. “I know a lot of people who bled for the first several months,” said another. “My mother-in-law’s best friend’s daughter…” said a third.
And every comforting posting was usually followed by someone throwing cold water on the idea: “You can’t get your period when you’re pregnant. It’s not physically possible. End of story.” Know-it-all, I thought.
But wishful thinking only lasts so long. The longer I bled, the more convinced I was that I was miscarrying. I started researching the signs of a miscarriage and began seeing warnings about bleeding out. “If the bleeding becomes excessive, and you feel dizzy, get to an emergency room immediately.” I was actually beginning to feel woozy. I became concerned. Pregnant or not, I didn’t want to bleed out. I imagined Bruce coming home and finding me on our bedroom floor in a puddle of blood. I felt so light, I had to grab hold of the door frame to keep my balance. I felt sick.
I walked into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet for a moment to get my bearings. I looked at the empty box from the pregnancy test in the waste basket in front of me and pulled it out and began to read “…and if you see just one bar, the result is negative. If you see two bars, making a ‘Plus’ sign, then the result is positive.” A plus sign?!? Wait a minute. I pulled my spent pregnancy test stick out of the garbage. One bar. I recalled the test from yesterday. It had just one bar. And the one the day before? One bar. I’d been reading the test results wrong. I had confused how to read the results of pregnancy test with the readings one gets on an ovulation test. I had been taking so many of each, every month, it was just one big blur of sticks and urine. I wasn’t pregnant after all. I never was. And all the blood? I wasn’t miscarrying. It was just my period. And with that, my dizzyness and nausea disappeared in an instant.
I no longer trust my body. My mind has too much sway.