Hi, everybody. This is the Mastering Motherhood Podcast. And I'm your host, Nicoll. This show is made by a mom, me, for moms. Covering pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood topics as we go through this motherhood journey together. Today I'm gonna tell you about my experiences with pregnancy tests giving me false negatives. When my husband and I decided that we were ready for kids, I stopped taking birth control and I started tracking my cycle. The first month after I stopped taking my pills, I waited 28 days for my cycle to start again and it didn't come. 29 days, 30 days. And I'm thinking to myself, "Holy hell, that was really fast, right? Like, am I pregnant? There's no way." So I take a pregnancy test. Negative. 31 days pass, no period. At 32 days it came. Pretty normal. I just continued on with my life. It was also my first period post-birth control, so it wasn't a surprise to me that it was a little wonky. I had always had really regular periods with or without birth control. I wait the 28 days again and no period when it comes to my second cycle. 29 days. And I'm just like, "Well, I guess my cycle's just longer now." And the app I was using, Clue (I'll put a link to Clue in the show notes), kind of takes that into account and makes predictions about when you're ovulating and when your cycle will be. Based on my previous period, it didn't have me scheduled to get the next period for a few more days. I was at work the next day. It was a Friday, and I was in a meeting right before lunch, thinking about this dream I had the night before. It was wild. I was on this cruise ship, but was drowning. Like, Titanic-style. I was thinking about the dream because it felt so real. I literally woke up thankful for my life because I thought for sure I had drowned and died on this dream cruise ship. And I was thinking about this dream. And then suddenly I remembered my best friend had told me about her crazy pregnancy dreams. So at this point, she had three kids. Or maybe she had two. I can't remember. Anyway, uh, that was how she knew that she was pregnant with the third ,was because of a crazy dream that she had. And so soon as I remembered her telling me that I was like, "Could it be? No way. People have crazy dreams all the time, right? It doesn't mean that they're pregnant." But I couldn't stop thinking about it. So as soon as this meeting was over, I ran to the local grocery store and bought a pregnancy test. One of those boxes that comes with two tests. I was all discreet about it because the grocery store was right next to my office and there were always coworkers there. How awkward, right? So I put a bunch of other things in my basket that I didn't need just to hide the tests, just in case I ran into one of my coworkers over there. And then it was a grocery store that didn't have one of those self checkout deals at the time, so I actually had to see a cashier to check out. And I hate that, especially when it's a grocery store that you go to all the time, so you know the cashiers. Oh, the worst. I may have even said something awkward when the guy was ringing me up like, "Oh, this is for a friend." Right? Oldest line in the book. As soon as I pay for this thing, I run to the bathroom and ripped the box open. Run into one of the stalls and take this pregnancy test. I'm sure you're all familiar with how pregnancy tests work, but in case you're not, there are two potential lines that you'll see when you take the test. One of them is the test line. This one always turns pink. It's how you know the test works. The other one may or may not show up. And if it does, you're pregnant. If it doesn't, you're not. That simple. So I pee on this stick in the grocery store bathroom next to my office and I wait and I wait and I wait. Nothing, literally nothing. Not even the test line comes up. I'm like, "What the H?" But at this point, I have to go back to work, and I've also exhausted all of my pee. So it's not like I can just take the other test. Well, all the nerves and excitement got into my head so I didn't have to go again for hours after taking that first test. Work gets out and I go home to make some Korean food, which I had been seriously jonesing for at this point. And while I was out getting the ingredients, I passed by the liquor store, and I'm like, "I should definitely get some wine." Wine is a staple in my house. A little part of me was like, "Should you get some wine? You could be pregnant." But I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. So I went ahead and bought that bottle of red because a house with no wine in it does not make a home. I go home and make my Korean food. And again, I'm wondering if I should open that bottle of wine. So after thinking about it and deliberating, I ultimately decide that I should. So I drink a glass because somehow in my mind, I reasoned that I wasn't officially pregnant until a test confirmed it. So wine first, then test. Plus, I still didn't have to go pee at this point. My husband was at a baseball game for all of this with his uncle, so I hadn't even told him anything. Finally, I feel the urge to pee. I quickly find the second pregnancy tests that came in the box and go to the bathroom. Success. This one works. The tests line immediately shows up, and I'm sitting there waiting for the verdict. Waiting, waiting. And for those of you who have taken a pregnancy test before, the five minutes or whatever it is that you're supposed to wait, are like the longest five minutes of your life. No matter what you want the result to be. So I'm sitting there and finally, five minutes pass and I don't see anything. I only see the one pink line. Or do I? I couldn't tell. Maybe I do see two pink lines. My bathroom was kind of dim, so I take the test out into my kitchen. I'm holding this test at like 20 different angles. Holding it up to the light, and I still just see the faintest shadow of a second line. It was so faint that I honestly wasn't sure if it was my eyes deceiving me or just the spot where the dye was, but like, hadn't turned pink. Still inconclusive. So I take the test outside because at this point it's still daylight. And for the life of me, I cannot tell if there is a faint second line on this test or not. I had no idea what to do or even how to feel. Am I happy? Am I panicking? Am I overreacting and there's not a second line there? Am I hoping to see a second line? I had no choice. I had to take another test. So I go back to the grocery store and buy like six more tests, just in case. Like all different brands, and a card for my husband. Again, just in case I needed to announce to him that we're having a baby. And I also buy some Sunny Delight because, you know, Juno. So I'm chugging the Sunny D and waiting until I need to go again. Luckily, the grocery store had one last box of the pregnancy tests with a digital display that just tells you pregnant or not pregnant. So I decided to buy that one as well, even though it's more expensive. I also want to note that this grocery store did have a self checkout, so I did not have to go through the awkward conversation of running into a cashier that I know and pretending that I'm buying pregnancy tests for my friend. So I go to the bathroom when I get home. I take the test, the one that says pregnant or not pregnant. Like, literally, just the words in a digital display. And it just has this hourglass that's flashing forever. It was so long, you guys, and I'm just thinking, "Great. Another faulty test." And after ages and ages, it finally has a result. And it says, pregnant. I couldn't believe it. I cried. I was so happy. I wanted kids. And much like many women, I was convinced that I would never be able to have them. Like, there was no scientific basis around that or anything. It was just this paranoia and fear that I had. I told my husband the next day, but that's a whole different story. I am a very anxious person, and I thought for sure that if I wasn't very careful, this baby would just like fall out without me knowing or something, or thought that maybe I had dreamed the whole thing up or that the test gave a false positive, which is not a thing. By the way, when I called my doctor, they were like, "K, you had a positive test. You're pregnant. Have you had any bleeding?" I'm like, "No." They're like, "Okay, then you're pregnant." But I still took a pregnancy test about every other day just to make sure. I didn't feel pregnant, I felt great. I had no morning sickness, nothing. I didn't look pregnant, obviously, it was so early. Eventually, the pink lines on my tests became very obvious, which I was so thankful for. I'm like, "Oh, cool. Maybe I am pregnant." I quickly realized how costly, though, it was becoming for me to be taking multiple pregnancy tests every day. And I convinced myself that I was, in fact pregnant and that everything was gonna be okay, and I needed to just calm down. So I laid off the tests for a few weeks. Then, a couple of days before my first prenatal appointment, I decided that I should take another test, just in case. In my last episode of this podcast, you heard me talk about the pregnancy Facebook group that I joined, and there were a few moms in there at this point who had experienced problems with their pregnancies. So I was on high alert and very paranoid. So I go into the bathroom and I take the test and it was negative. I kid you not. One pink line. So I proceeded to lose it. I was crying, calling my doctor freaking out. I just did not understand how I could be pregnant one day and then a week or two later, not be. It was, like my biggest fear coming to fruition where like, the pregnancy just fell out and I was completely unaware of it. So I called the doctor who proceeds to ask me the same set of questions. "Did you have a positive test?" I'm like, "Yeah, but that was a few weeks ago." "Have you had any bleeding?" "No." "Okay, then you're still pregnant," and I'm like," but the test was negative1" And I'll never forget this. The doctor tells me, "You're going to spend the next nine months worrying about your baby. And then another 18 years after that. Just relax." So obviously, I did not relax, but I did feel a little better that the doctor wasn't concerned. My prenatal appointment was two days later, and at this point I had convinced myself that something had gone terribly wrong because there was just no other possible explanation for the test being negative. I go back in the exam room and my husband was able to join me after a little bit for the actual ultrasound, the doctor pulls out the ultrasound machine and I am just a wreck. At this point I am 100% prepared for the doctor to tell me my pregnancy isn't viable or I was never pregnant to begin with. And then I see it, this tiny, flickering blob and I have done enough research at this point to know before she even told me that was a heartbeat. I can't tell you how emotional that moment was for me. I cried and felt so much relief and fear and love. Like how was I possibly going to be a good enough mother? How was I going to protect this baby well enough? I already loved him or her so much. And let me tell you, that doctor I spoke to on the phone was right. The worry never went away. It just changed. They told me what the heart rate was and said it was perfect. I can't even remember how many beats per minute anymore. But as soon as I left the office, I immediately googled what the heart rate should be. And, of course, Google's answer was faster than what my baby's heart rate was. So I was freaking out about that for the next month until the next appointment. And every appointment I found a new reason to start worrying. It never stopped. If you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about. After he was born, the worry has just gotten worse because I love him so much. He's six months old and I still check on him multiple times a night to make sure he's breathing. Is that normal? I have no idea. Could be postpartum anxiety, or it could just be that I care so much about that baby boy that I spend every second of the day and night making sure he's safe and happy. That's motherhood. So why did that test come up negative? I still have no idea. There are a few theories. Maybe I took the test too late in the day and my HCG levels were too low. Maybe I drank too much water and my urine was diluted. Others have told me that if you have too much hCG the test will like, freak out and won't work. It's called the Hook effect. I don't know if that's based in reality. I really have no explanation. But I have met other women who have had similar experiences and even met one woman who has never had a pregnancy test give her a positive result, even though she's had multiple healthy babies. The moral of the story is this. You know your body. Don't ever hesitate to call your doctor if anything is going on, regardless of what a test says. Have you had similar experiences with a pregnancy test giving you a false negative? Let me know. Thanks for listening today. For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit MasteringMotherhoodPodcast.com and subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a topic that you'd like to hear, shoot me an email at MasteringMotherhoodPodcast@gmail.com. Thanks.