My appointment with the private GP was this morning at 11.30. I'm lucky it's a benefit work provides with no cost to me. They can almost always see you the same day, and it's two minutes' walk from my office, which is just so much more convenient than my NHS GP; in order to make an appointment with him, I have to phone a premium rate phone number (I kid you not), hold for at least 10 minutes, and am then almost always told to call back the next day. It's Kafka-esque in the extreme.
It was blowing a gale down by the Thames as I made the short journey to the doctors from my office. I was thinking what bloody awful weather and how freezing cold the wind was.
I was half-expecting my period to start this morning (almost inevitably any symptom I might have will stop about three hours before my GP appointment), but still nothing - and I was still crampy.
I thought about what advice I'd give myself in the doctor's position, after another - undoubtedly negative - pregnancy test was administered: "Give it a week, if you still don't have a period, come back and see me."
I waited for about five minutes in the waiting room before being called through.
"What can I do for you?" asked the doctor.
"Where to start, really!" I blustered. "My husband and I have started trying for a baby - which is lovely. And my period is late, actually, but I've done several pregnancy tests and they're all negative. Plus I keep having really strong period pains and I just wanted your advice."
"OK," he said. "We'll do a pregnancy test first just to be sure." He handed me the little pot and pointed me in the direction of the bathroom.
I had made sure to drink plenty of water and not go to the bathroom that morning, so I was absolutely ready to relieve myself. I genuinely believe that there's something about doctors' bathrooms that completely takes away your ability to urinate. I squatted there, holding a pot underneath my lady bits for about five minutes, coaxing enough urine into the pot for the test. The second I took the pot away, my body went, "ahh", and released the motherload.
Hey ho. Back into the doctor's room. He took out his pregnancy test and talked to me whilst it was brewing. "There is a chance it could be an ectopic pregnancy - that might be why your hormone levels are low and you're having cramping. Far and away most likely is either pregnancy or just a hormonal blip."
I was fully expecting the "hormonal blip" - I knew that's what it was. I was just concerned about a) what was causing it and b) how long it would take to un-blip itself.
The doctor removed the test from the urine and put the cap back on it. He passed it over to me. "This test is positive. You're pregnant," he said.
"Oh. Oh! Are you sure? This is the first month we've been trying!"
"100%. Sometimes depending on the test, they don't pick up the hormone levels, but you're definitely pregnant. Make an appointment with your NHS GP." (Easier said than done.)
"And what about the period pains?" I asked.
"Not period pains," he said. "Implantation cramps. Very common."
And that was it. I found myself back outside with a dazed smile on my face. I walked back towards the office, no longer noticing the howling gale, but rather thinking how refreshing the breeze was.
Then I found a quiet place to phone my husband and tell him the news.