When I went home that night, I took out my picture of the blastocytes, which I had affectionately nicknamed ‘the ‘cytes’. They were just a clump of little blebs. And yet, they were something more. And I wondered what it would be like if it actually came down to actually ‘reducing’ the number. How would we choose between A,B,C and D? Or more precisely, how would they choose? It seemed so backwards, so wasteful, to go through so much to create life only to turn around and terminate it. Though I suppose ‘reduce’ is the more polite term for it. I wondered what this child’s life would be like with Cynthia as his/her mom. It would probably be boarding schools and nannies and non fat ice cream. A part of me actually hoped that the baby wouldn’t be an only child. Otherwise it seemed apparent that its life would be lonely. I lay awake for a long time before I finally fell asleep that night, my mind very troubled.
The Moment of Truth
The bad thing about waiting to find out if you’re pregnant or not is that everything suddenly becomes construed as a possible symptom of pregnancy. For example, yesterday morning I went to the bathroom three times. And then I thought “I must be pregnant”. But then I remembered that I had two glasses of water and two cups of decaf tea. And then at lunch, Constance heated up her curry, and the smell was just bloody awful. I honestly thought for a minute that I might be sick. But then I realized that I never really did care for the smell of it. Perhaps it had always been like this but I never really noticed. All afternoon my breasts ached. I alternated between thinking that I was pregnant and that I was simply premenstrual. Honestly, it was to the point where I began to think I was obsessive.
So while we waited for the results I, myself, was quite relieved that I was getting an answer. Whatever it was I would deal with it. Cynthia, however, did not seem so relieved. She was anxious, chain smoking in her office. At lunch time she stepped out and went to have a manicure. She said she needed to ‘decompress’. I guess she’d gotten compressed again since coming home from France. One wouldn’t expect a person to compress that quickly, but I guess in Cynthia’s case it happens rather fast. Especially in light of all the stress of the pregnancy test, although she wasn’t the one with the bruise on her arm from the lab tech who seemed like she was still in training and battling Parkinsons at the same time. I’m the one who needs to decompress, I thought. At least she can drink coffee. Although, to be honest, I have on a few occasions snuck one when she was out on business. I really don’t see what harm a little caffeine could do. And besides, what is she going to do? Test my urine?
Oh shit. I never thought of that. What if she does test my urine? Can they do tests for that? I’ll have to find out. I add ‘find out if they can test urine for caffiene’ to my ‘to do’ list. I momentarily feel better. But then I start to worry that she’ll come across the list and find out that I’ve been drinking coffee. So I shred the piece of paper up into tiny bits. My coworker glance at me strangely, but say nothing.
As the day dragged slowly on, my calm resolve began to crack. I was checking the clock every five minutes. In some cases three. Walking around aimlessly, too agitated to sit at my desk. It was driving me crazy. How long could it take to do a simple pregnancy test? This wasn’t like a jury deliberation where 12 lab techs sequester themselves in a room and debate the facts. "The blood evidence is quite clear, but everything else is purely circumstancial." It was a simple plus or minus sign. What was the hold up?
Constance was worried about me. I heard her muttering to Nancy that I still wasn’t quite right ever since my bout with the bird flu. I simply pretended not to hear that. And then I saw Horrace coming down the hall.
Carrying a bouquet of yellow roses. But even without the flowers, the expression on his face said it all. He was walking with a big, stupid grin. My heart began to beat faster as he drew closer. I couldn’t believe it. I walked out of the office and met him in the corridor, not wanting my coworkers to hear the exchange. He drew me into a tight embrace.
“Thank you so much,” he said, and I wondered if he was actually crying.
“I take it the test was positive?” I asked, bewildered by the outpouring of emotion.
“Of course,” he says with a puzzled expression. “We got the news hours ago. I just wanted to thank you personally.” He shoved the roses into my arms. “I have to go. Cynthia’s waiting on me for celebratory drinks, but I wanted to thank you personally.”
And he was gone.