Testing…1, 2, 3…

This might be a TMI-type post for some of you, but I feel compelled to start at the beginning of what it is like to be pregnant as a non-native in Kazakhstan. That means, getting a positive or negative pregnancy test. After suspecting for a few weeks I was pregnant, I estimated I was finally far enough along that I could take a test and likely get accurate results. But first, I had to get the test…somehow.

With a local friend’s recommendation of which brand to ask for and a quick Google Translate to find out the word for “pregnancy test,” I headed to the pharmacy. Unlike pharmacies in the U.S., you have to ask for most things. Over the counter is quite rare and pharmacists make sure you actually need particular medications and talk to you about the side effects; actually, this seems to be the norm for the rest of the world, we really like and want easy access to our drugs in the States. And really, having to ask a pharmacist for a pregnancy test, even in another language, is fun because they look excited and hopeful for you!

Tests are super cheap here! Under $4! I’ve never taken one before, but I seem to recall hearing they can be almost $30 in the States…? Anyway, I was relieved to know that if I messed it up, I could afford to take another one. (Yes, I bought two to be safe, which was very confusing for the pharmacist).

Getting home and examining the box more closely, my first surprise came when I realized that despite the package saying, “HCG Urine Pregnancy Test” in English, that was the end of it; everything else was in Russian or Kazakh. As if taking a pregnancy test isn’t stressful enough, imagine having to translate it to know how to use it and what you are looking at? I opted to do the translation first. Two lines was the magic symbol.

My second surprise came when I opened the package. I was shocked at how tiny the test strip was (two inches would be a generous estimate)! And how small my target area was (I’m talking maybe a centimeter)! My friend advised me to dip the strip in a cup, which was definitely the key to success. Really, those of you taking a test in the States with those giant wand-like things are super lucky, you have no idea!

Following the instructions, I had my third surprise, but really more of a confirmation of my suspicions, within 30 seconds of taking the test – a pair of lines! Now the fun could begin!


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