Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pros and Cons of My Chinese Home Pregnancy Test
(Yes, we are having a baby!)

Cheap (less than $2)
Easy to use
Fast results
Easy to read results

If you don’t read Chinese, matching the results to the enclosure still doesn’t tell you if you are pregnant or not.

In early May I decided to take a home pregnancy test. I was feeling tired, a bit nauseous, and just not quite right. I figured that either I was pregnant or something was wrong with me and I needed medical attention. In the drugstore I found a home pregnancy test. There were probably a few different kinds, but the packaging was pretty plain and I decided to go with a “David pregnancy test” because it said pregnancy test so I knew for sure that it was indeed a pregnancy test.

I’m guessing that the test was pretty much the same as most are. I hadn’t ever taken a pregnancy test before so I really had nothing to compare it to. By the time I had flushed the toilet and washed my hands, the results were clear in the little window. I definitely had a blue asterisk between two light pink lines. Looking at the insert, which was the third of four results which meant… Well, this meant a lot more to someone who could read Chinese. Four result choices? How can there be four results? I decided to try to look up some of the characters in my mini Chinese-English dictionary. Success! I was able to match two of the characters from my result. It meant pregnant! Oops! All four results have the characters for pregnant in them. Could this be a gag pregnancy test? What is the point of a test when all possible results have the word pregnant in them?

Rob took the paper in to work to have someone translate for us. After hearing what each of the four results meant, I decided to paraphrase in my own words.

You are not pregnant.
It is possible you are pregnant. Test again in a couple of days.
You are pregnant.
Girlfriend, haven’t you noticed that your belly is as big as China and someone seems to be kicking on the inside of you? You are so pregnant you are going to pop!

So the journey began. I am due on December 30th. We will see if the baby decides to cut us a break with a tax deduction for the year or if s/he hangs in there until January. It didn’t take long for the morning (and afternoon, evening, and night) sickness to begin. Who would have thought that becoming pregnant can help you lose 10 pounds without even trying? My puke bowl and the toilet became my best friends. If I stayed in bed very very still, I could reduce the vomiting. How do people work or take care of kids feeling like that? Moving made my ears ring and I would see lots of little black dots dancing before me. Everything seemed to smell bad. I have always found China to have an interesting odor, but now the smell made me a prisoner in my own home. To step outside meant puke-a-rama.

Now I am just starting my 13th week. Time and medication (needed medication for the nausea because I couldn’t keep enough fluids down) seem to be helping. I mean, are OBVIOUSLY helping. I still feel nauseous and have to move slowly to keep the vomit down. I am tired and don’t have the energy I would like. I am no longer lying on the bathroom floor crying and wishing for a quick death.

My mom kept asking me if I was keeping a journal. I kept saying no. Sure there were some interesting and amusing things, but I didn’t have the strength to write. I was lucky if I showered once a week. The most exercise I got was from bed to the bathroom and back. From bed I did type a few e-mails, so perhaps I will be able to assemble those. All in all I think it is best if I forget as much as possible about the first trimester. If I have details to revisit, this baby will not have any siblings. I can always look back on my calendar where I tracked the number of times I threw up each day and how much weight I was losing. I will try to find the e-mail that tells of my trip to Beijing for my ultrasound. For those who have not heard it, it may be worth a read.

Now I am hoping to feel a little better everyday. We move this week, so I better be feeling well enough that I don’t get packed up with the bedding. I don’t look pregnant yet unless I am naked. Definitely starting to have that pregnant shape and noticing that my jeans don’t button! I am a couple of pounds light of my pre-morning sickness weight and think I will start putting on the pounds now that I can eat again.