Thursday, October 23, 2008

The HPT, Friend or Foe?

Ok, I was catching up on the helpful WebMD ITSG Board this morning. I am technically not receiving an "infertility treatment," I prefer that board to others, because the girls there tend to know what they are doing. I feel really bad for girls to come to the boards for the first time and don't know anything about their problems and let their Ob/gyns give them scripts for drugs that they don't understand (and the ob/gyns don't bother to educate them). Anyhow, I love to try to help these girls and point them in the right direction. And for that reason I love the ITSG Board, cause reading their posts helps me to decide what direction I should head in.

But today, someone posted about seeing a faint positive on a e.p.t. +/- HPT. I have had some experience with HPTs and I simply had to tell my story there and I will repeat it here (unabridged version, sorry).

First, if you have never been to the wonderful website you should check it out and read every little bit on info on it.

My first experience buying a HPT: I had been married for while, still on the pill, and trying to make a decision whether to take a job or not. I was in grad school and had to decide whether to continue or take the job (I hated grad school). Well, AF was running about 3 days late which never happens to me on the pill (my "no-pill" week was almost over). I stopped by the drug store and wanting to idiot proof the process I bought a digital test. I also bought the brand name test thinking that would be reliable for some reason too.

Well, get home. Open the test. There is something on the screen already. I couldn't figure out if that was abnormal or not, so I peed on it anyhow. And I waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Turns out, if there is some symbol on the test before you take it or something (found it in the directions eventually) you have a bad test. I think I had a mild panic attack. I didn't want DH to know I was worried about this and therefore couldn't head back into town to get another one without raising suspicion. So I called the help number, crying, cause I knew if I was PG I would have to take this job cause my grad stipend would not be able to support us with a baby. And while I'm on the phone talking with the help girl, sobbing, I started to pull the test apart, and there they were, multiple lines. I didn't really know what this meant since this was my first test, but I thought it must mean something. The customer service rep assured me that the mere presence of multiple lines didn't mean anything and she took my info to send me a refund for the test. Anyhow. Well, I think my period came sometime the next day because I don't remember buying anymore pg tests back then.

So the moral of this story is to always have a back up test.

My miss adventure with +/- PG tests was recently. After going off the pill this last time, I thought it might take some time for my period to come, but just to be sure I bought a test after about 5 weeks. At this point I didn't know what an OPK was and I hadn't bothered checking my BBT. No, instead, I was just going to POAS when ever it bothered me enough to check (great plan right!). So I bought a +/- HPT. I think this time I went cheap and just bought the Walgreens brand or something.

Ok, so I followed directions and waited the appropriate amount of time. And there was a good line in the control box and a good horizontal line, and a faint vertical line. Yes, it looked slightly positive. I stared in disbelief. I knew I wasn't PG. I was just taking the test cause I'm impatient and couldn't just sit there and not do anything. But I threw it in the trash and cursed the test. I knew if I was PG, then I should have been PG enough to get a stronger response than that washed out line.

That's when I started getting serious about this TTC stuff and found the POAS website and started reading books and sucking up everything I could on the internet. Turns out that +/- tests are notorious for giving false positives. The POAS website does not recommend them and I will never buy one again.

I now buy the Dollar Tee $1 tests and I buy lots of them just to keep around... It's fun walking up to the counter and asking for a dozen tests. They are cheap enough that I don't feel like I'm being wasteful if I just feel like POAS and I always have extras so that I will never have to worry whether I have a defective test again or if I'm really pg. That's peace of mind.

Bonus: You want to know about the most fun HPT I ever took? Sure you do. I have gallbladder problems and had to get an endoscopic ultrasound this summer. I had been diligently taking my pills (I took Yasmin and would take 9 weeks of active pills in a row and then stop for week for 10 week cycles). While they were hooking me up to everything and sticking me and attaching my iv and such, the nurse asked me when my last period was. It had been something like 7 weeks ago. She kept insisting that I take a pg test and I kept explaining to her that that was normal because of how I take my pills. Then I had to explain that I had PCOS and I probably couldn't get PG anyhow. Well she wouldn't let it go and told me I was going to have to pee. And, I was all strapped in and asked "Here?" thinking I would have to have someone help me pee in the bed. Well, it wasn't that bad. They unstrapped me and let me use the bathroom. I had to try to conjure up some urine while some old lady in the hall kept knocking on the door. Then I didn't have a way to hide/disguise my pee so I had to walk through the hall with my backless gown on and a big bowl of pee. How embarrassing. Hey, guess what. I wasn't pregnant! And after all the commotion the nurse said they wouldn't have done anything different even if I had been pregnant.

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