30 November 2010

Stereotype Alert! My Indian Name Should be "Pees On Sticks"

If it wasn't harrowing enough to have to commit urine to a couple of pregnancy tests each month (for the last 18 or so) while crossing my fingers for a positive result, now I'm doing it on a daily basis with OPKs--ovulation predictor kits.  At first glance, they look just like your standard pregnancy tests with their slender white sheaths and pastel plastic caps.  Yet they are unique in that instead of measuring for HCG (human chorionic gonadrotopin) to indicate pregnancy, OPKs test for LH (Luteinizing Hormone), the hormone that indicates that your ovaries finally came to their senses and spat out a much-needed egg.

I started using an OPK after news came down the pipeline from my NP.  She disappointedly told me that I had not ovulated by the time they took my last blood sample, which led me to believe that I was incapable of ovulation.  This, of course, didn't make sense because I was being sentenced to the torture chamber that is also known as my period, and you can't go through that kind of hell unless you ovulate beforehand.  Scratching my head, I asked the NP to explain the test results in greater detail.  Her conclusion was not that I wasn't ovulating but rather that I was ovulating later in my cycle as compared to other women.  She suggested I try another month of Clomid at the same dosage,  but she would test for my progesterone levels later in my cycle than she did during the last two.  In the meantime, the goal of the OPKs would be to pinpoint ovulation before any such blood tests so I would know when to woo my husband to our bedchamber.  Like a man needs wooing…

It took trips to a couple of different stores to find an OPK that wasn't under the pharmacy's lock and key  alongside the condoms and nicotine patches.  I mean, come on--if I was in need of condoms, I wouldn't need the dang kit.  Kroger ended up being the winner.  No keys or special permission for their kits, though I did opt for the store-brand.  The pharmacist swiped my Kroger card and charged me $15.88 for the blue box with a picture of a smiling baby.  Maybe it's just me, but the picture just adds insult to injury.

So on Day 10 of my cycle, I began my very first ovulation kit.  Pee.  Cap the test.  Wait.  Stare.  Screw watched pots and all that mess.  I wanted to know if the variable (being my hormones…or lack thereof) would create a darker pink band than the control band.  A darker pink band would mean ovulatory success.  Watching the urine wick across the test window reminded me of the thin layer chromatography trials from my high school science fair project.  Even though I wasn't trying to measure the retention factor of colors components on a chromatography slide, I was waiting for those pink bands to give me an answer.  After 3 agonizing minutes and practically going cross-eyed, the variable showed up lighter than the control band.  The insert told me that means the test was negative.  No LH.  No ovulation.  I used a Sharpie to document the event on the sheath.  Day 10 -

And no LH for the next 5 days…

This morning, with only 2 tests left from my kit, I was starting to lose hope.  Was I going to fail my first ovulation kit?  Would I have to go out and plunk down $15.88 for another blue box with the baby mocking me?

Pee.  Cap the test.  Wait.  Stare.  Blink.  Holy crap, is that variable showing up darker than the control?  Wait again.  Look away.  Look back.  Affirmative.  The variable IS darker.

With my Sharpie, I documented my first plus sign: Day 15 +

My first ovulation kit, all lined up in a row.  Ovulation has been confirmed.

1 comment:

TURBOchic said...

This is good news! My ovulation tests came out negative the whole time.


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