Have you ever prayed to a little white stick?
Have you ever slumped over the toilet at work, depressed that your panties were as pristine as when you first put them on that morning?
Have you ever been late, significantly late, and prayed to God that it was cancer and not that? Pleased baby Jesus, not that.
Most of us girls have.
Most of us girls have at one point paced the sweatiest aisle in the pharmacy: on one end you've got darty-eyed boys trying to inconspicuously palm a box of magnum condoms, on the other end you've got peaky-looking girls trying to bury their box of feminine-itch cream deep in their basket of nail polishes and loofahs they don't need, and smack dab in the middle you've got us twitchy girls, usually with some friend offering moral support with a side of I-told-you-so, trying to decide between "requires 25% less urine!", "the pink giraffe means you're pregnant, the purple pulled pork means you're not, the pinkish-purpley asteroid belt means drink two Redbulls and try again later", and "free celebration condom inside!".
Generally speaking, today's pregnancy tests are pretty much fool-proof.
And generally speaking, the wild surge of emotions that comes with buying a home pregnancy test makes fools, or worse, of us all. So whether you're frantically unbuttoning your jeans praying nonono or yesyesyes, the chances are that you're shaky, you're nervous, and you're going to fuck it up.
Let's, for the sake of argument, assume that I have recently made such a trip to such a store with a girlfriend recently, and that she was in the nonono category.
Now, I have been fairly lucky so far in my life, but I do know some of what she's going through, so I've promised to hold her hand through this ordeal, and hell, I'm such a good friend, I'll even hold the stick she's just peed on if it makes her feel better. She asks me to take a sympathy pregnancy test instead. We buy matching tests (and peanut butter cups, and some laundry detergent, because whether her life is "ruined" or not, she still needs clean khakis for Monday)and start holding our breath together.
The experts recommend that you using your first morning's urine for the purposes of a pregnancy test - they even have a fancy acronym for it: FMU. But fuck that. At this point, it's fair to say that she's already spent 2 weeks or more freaking out, eating salty foods, doing extra jumping jacks, and trying to will her uterus to evacuate. She's felt the push-and-pull of wanting to know and not wanting to know, hoping for good news and avoiding the bad news, being worried, being very worried, being very, very worried, and above all, being in denial. So the fact that she's finally gathered enough courage to buy the stupid test and is now power-walking home with a glint of mad determination in her eye probably means that she's not going to calmly set the test down on her bathroom vanity, make dinner as if there's no possibility whatsoever of another tiny human being living inside her belly, and then head to bed for a night full of easy rest without any tossing and\or turning wondering if there will be protesters at the abortion clinic or if she should start saving the astronomical cost of what tuition in 2026 will most likely be, and then wake up the next day with a full bladder just brimming with potential. No, she's going to race home, think about vomiting, put some Madonna on the stereo, brace herself with a peanut butter cup and goddammit, she's going to use her late-evening-4-cups-of-coffee-and-a-shot-of-whiskey urine. It'll just have to do.
So, you pull down your pants with a last-minute wish that you'll find that Aunt Flo, against all odds, has finally decided to visit, and finding that she hasn't (that bitch), you pee on the stick. Or, you attempt to pee on the stick. But come on, we're girls. There is no aiming the pee. The best you can do shove the thing between your legs and hope not to get splashed. Fun times.
Now, once you've peed on the stick, you realize you should have read the instructions first. Because now you're holding a drippy stick, shaking with the injustice of it all, wondering what the bastard who did this to you is doing right now, probably playing Guitar Hero obliviously or something, trying to read the squinty print on the side of a soggy box. Why is the writing so small? Don't they know that impending doom renders the best of us illiterate?
And then there's the wait.
Now, I've had some long waits in my life.
The time between IV goes in and tumor comes out? Long wait.
The day and a half between Katie's water breaking and Janie's head crowning? Long wait.
Those few seconds between seeing the oncoming car and it smashing into us? Long wait.
Watching for either a pink plus or a blue negative to appear on a magic wand? Longest. Wait. Ever.