It’s time. The symptoms are getting clearer: my breasts ache. I am irrationally anxious. My last period was barely noticeable. My stomach is a little fluttery.

Of course, it could be the beginning of early menopause.

Or I could be pregnant at 43.

My boys are at a friend’s house, and I have to pick up a prescription for antibiotics for one of them, so I have to go the pharmacy anyway. And I need to know…

I walk in; it’s crowded. Drop off the script. Leave and take some things to the op-shop next door. Return and skulk the aisles, looking for the tests. I plan to locate them, and quietly grab one when they call that my script is ready.

And there he is: the father of my sons’ friend. A neighbour who lives in the next street. A little merry, dropping by to pick up something after a work lunch. He stops for a chat, my name is called, and he walks to the counter with me. Opportunity missed.

I drive to a pharmacy in the next suburb. In some strange kind of downplaying of buying the pregnancy test, I grab some head lice treatment, which we don’t actually need. May as well be embarrassed on two fronts. I also pick up some Betadine, perhaps to appear more responsible.

A customer is having a chat about her various health issues, and leaves the store throwing this gem over her shoulder, “Well I had to do something about it. I couldn’t be walking down the street scratching my bum all the time, could I?”

I don’t feel so embarrassed.

I have to collect the kids straight away, so the test sits in a paper packet in my handbag, waiting. Smouldering.

The next morning, I wake and I KNOW. I send the boys on an errand to the shop up the road. It’s lucky we’re out of milk.

I casually tell my partner, I think I might go pee on a stick. It’s the first he’s heard of my suspicions.

I sit on the toilet, so nervous it takes a little while to get any action. But when I finally make contact, the test is so bloody eager to tell me I’m knocked up, it starts colouring the “positive” section faster than a dividing zygote.

I walk out and hold the pee-soaked stick in front of my partner. He’s smiling, the bastard.