A New Level of Ditsyness

One of the things I miss most about home when I’m overseas or in a very, small, very godforsaken South African town, is skinny cappuccinos. So when we got back to Jozi in early Jan, I set about grabbing one whenever I was out. Slowly but surely, however, I realised that they were making me feel sick.

After a coffee meeting with The Princess and a friend at Tashas, one morning, I was having my hair trimmed with a new hairdresser in my local centre. At one point when he was mid-sentence, I felt so nauseous that, without even thinking to apologize, I dug in my handbag for some remaining bits of crackerbread I’d been carrying around for The Princess. I then caught a glimpse of the hairdresser in the mirror. He was looking at me somewhat strangely.

I suppose it’s not every day he sees women foraging in their handbags for Snackbread crumbs. Plus I had told him that I was on a mission to lose 10kg. He probably thought I’d been starving myself for days and finally gave in to the urge to devour dry crackers.

I did put him out of his misery and explained that I suspected the strong coffee in cappuccinos was making me nauseous. He said many of his colleagues had been experiencing similar symptons and they also suspected it was the coffee.

The next day, I had an attack of morning hunger unlike any I’d ever experienced – at least that’s what it felt like. Despite really, really wanting to stick to my Weight Watchers points, at about 10:30am, after a proper, wholesome, balanced breakfast, I had to race downstairs to shovel food into my mouth. Weight Watchers went out of the window as I devoured a carb-rich sandwich replete with cheese, ham, mayo and mustard. Mmmmm.

The next morning The Princess and I were up at some ungodly hour. The kind of hour when you REALLY need coffee. And within half an hour I was lying on the couch, trying to keep an eye on The Princess but overwhelmed with nausea.

I wanted camaraderie and sympathy so I sms’ed my friend Mandy, whose little boy is 2 months older than The Princess. She’d empathise with not being able to drink coffee at 5 in the morning. And it wouldn’t be rude to sms her at 6 in the morning as she’d almost certainly be awake.

As soon as I hit “send”, I realised she’d immediately suspect that I was pregnant. I smiled to myself. There was no way. I was on the Pill and I’d used it for years and years as a very successful method of birth control. I honestly believed that the 5% failure rate was for ditsy chicks who popped The Pill sporadically and expected it to work. That was not me.

By 8am, The Princess was down for her morning nap and I was in the bathroom washing my face when I suddenly felt so ravenous I thought I might actually kill for food. That’s when I thought that maybe, just maybe, I should take a pregnancy test. I’d seen one in the cupboard a few weeks ago that I’d bought when I suspected I was pregnant with The Princess. And so, I duly removed it from the cupboard and re-read the instructions before putting it to use.

Oh my God! Two red lines appeared before I had even replaced the cap, whereas the instructions said to replace the cap and wait FIVE MINUTES. This hadn’t even been five seconds. I then replaced the cap and stared at this stick for what felt like hours.


No change.

Still two red lines.

I remembered this to be the positive result we’d had when we’d found out I was pregnant with The Princess but I checked the instructions anyway. Yip – two red lines equals “preggers”.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Someone had once told me that these home tests can give false negatives but they can’t give false positives. I realised this person wasn’t a medical professional and that it could be B.S but still… I was convinced I must be pregnant. Nausea from the same coffee ritual I’d been on for SO long, being ravenous in the morning… it all made sense.

But I was on the frigging pill! What the hell? Okay, yes, perhaps I was a bit more scatty about taking it than I had been before I became a mother – one just has SO much more time when you only have to really look after yourself. And there had been those overnight flights to the Seychelles where I’d forgotten to take it until 2 days later… Jeez. This was all way too scary.

Plus there was no reaching The Husband who was out on an epic cycle training session. (To give you an indication, I think I reached him after 11 missed calls and three hours.) So I had to go through my full blown panic alone.

I started calculating the age gap. If I was two weeks pregnant, then I had another 38 weeks to go which meant the baby would be here around early October. And Margie, our night nurse was starting with Nicky’s second baby at the beginning of June… last time they had her for four months… June, July, August, September… okay, Margie MIGHT just be free for the new baby.


Should I call her now? No, wait, let me confirm. Phone our GP. Phone goes to voicemail – it’s obviously not his Saturday on duty. Phone the practice. Only opening at 9:30. That’s nearly 90 minutes. I can’t wait that long to confirm. Phone Lancet’s 24 hour lab at the Morningside Clinic. How long for the results of a pregnancy test? 30 minutes. Perfect. Natalie, get to Lancet asap.



The Princess is still sleeping.

Waiting for her to wake up is torture.

Mind racing.

So how old will she be when her sibling arrives in October 2012? 18 months. Gulp. Better than Glamour Girl’s 16 month gap but still…

Jeez, how could this happen to me? I am SUCH a planner. I’d taken heed of all those cautionary tales of women going off the Pill in preparation for a pregnancy in 6-12 months time and then falling pregnant that night or whatever.

Not me. No ways. I never did that. I waited and waited and procrastinated and did tests and checks and did so many “last” overseas trips before I eventually went off The Pill, knowing that it could happen immediately, you could just never know for sure. When the breastfeeding consultant tried to tell me that I needn’t use contraception if breastfeeding exclusively, I had no idea I’d never get anywhere close to exclusive breastfeeding but I totally ignored her advice. I was back on The Pill asap. I wanted to at least be able to plan a minimum gap.

Finally, finally, The Princess wakes up and we get to Lancet. There is the longest queue in the world – obviously. I’ve now passed from hyperventilation to decorating the new nursery… I can’t believe this has happened but perhaps it’s meant to be and I at least have 38 weeks to prepare myself. I’m sort of coping with the idea.

The Husband calls. He’s talking in code because he doesn’t want his cycling partner to get wind of the possibility that I might be expecting. I don’t tell him that in my state of absolute hysteria Mandy called and I blurted out everything to her. Plus I had to tell The Best Friend who was up from Cape Town that we wouldn’t make our coffee date at 10 because I was checking if I was pregnant. She completely understood and encouraged me to “get clarity” immediately but added that if the home test was positive, I was definitely pregnant. Thanks, Doc.

After what seemed like hours, but possibly only half an hour later, I was called to get blood taken. I then had to wait another 40 minutes or so for the results. The “what if it isn’t positive?” question did cross my mind but I decided it was totally impossible.

Imagine my surprise then when the dude handed me the result and it was… negative. I was completely thrown. I thought it was a mistake. There was, of course, a disclaimer stating that in very early pregnancy an erroneous negative result was possible. I thought the test must be wrong, but if I didn’t trust a blood test, what could I trust?

I’d spent the morning devouring endless slices of toast caked in butter and cheese, safe in the knowledge that there was a perfectly normal physiological explanation for my ostensible hunger and resultant feeding frenzy.

I’d gone from not being pregnant at 6am to be shockingly and surprisingly pregnant at 8am to being shockingly and surprisingly not actually pregnant at 10am.

It was all too much for my stress levels and I spent the rest of the day wanting to knock back pizza, sushi and wine, but, at the same time, trying not to.

I was still somewhat convinced I was pregnant, but my rational side knew that it was very unlikely to be the case. Obviously I was just looking for an excuse to eat more. Cr*p!

Just to be sure, I got The Husband to buy some more home pregnancy tests. I did one on Sunday morning and it came up negative.


Something wasn’t adding up…

Perhaps the “positive” test was expired. The instructions said to check the “use by” date on the foil packaging. I couldn’t remember any foil packaging but then again, I was in a bit of a state when it suddenly dawned on me that I should take a pregnancy test. I’d probably thrown it away in a rush.

A search of the bathroom bin revealed no foil packaging. I hadn’t emptied the bin that weekend, nor had The Husband.

Double hmmm.

By Monday morning I realised I most certainly wasn’t pregnant and that was when the truth slowly started to dawn on me…

When I was wondering whether I could be pregnant with The Princess in 2010, I was pretty sure I had bought only two pregnancy tests: the first hadn’t give any result at all and I’d had to bin it and then there’d been the second one – the positive one announcing The Princess’ arrival. And the “current” positive test did look rather faded. Those lines weren’t quite the same rich reddish-pink hue they had been a year and a half ago…

Moral of the story: don’t keep positive pregnancy tests in your bathroom cupboard as souvenirs.

The good news: I can still try to plan the ideal gap between The Princess and her sibling. The bad news: I have reached a new level of ditsy-ness I really didn’t think I was capable of. They say you get preggy brain when you’re expecting but then you give birth to your brain 9 months later. Maybe I should’ve had a caesar. Maybe they would’ve found it because sometimes I think my brain is still stuck in the birth canal.

But phew – back to normal. Now to eat as much seared tuna and sushi as I can stomach just before I really am pregnant with Number Two.