On Pee(r) Pressure

If there is one thing that dominates conversations in every TTC (trying to conceive) and IVF chat group I have ever been in, it’s pee.

Did you POAS (pee on a stick – referring to a home pregnancy test)? Should I POAS? When are you POASing (yes, a verb too!)? Is it too early to pee? I peed and I’m (insert adjective). I’m 3/4/5/6/7/8/9dpt (days past transfer) and BFN (big fat negative). When did you get your BFP? Did anyone get a BFP (big fat positive) only after 5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12dpt Do you see this vvvvf (very very very very faint) line? First response vs regular vs digital tests? Lines becoming darker. Lines not becoming darker. Lines becoming lighter. False positives. False negatives. Trigger shots and peeing. BFP!!!! BFN 😦

There is also the peeing before the peeing – ovulation test kits that allow you to warm up by peeing on sticks several days in a row to identify your magical fertile window.

No surprise, then, that this recently-released report estimates that the global fertility test market (which includes both sets of products) is expected to reach USD 583.1 million by 2023 from USD 411.8 million in 2018 (it is attributed to “increasing first-time pregnancy age, launch of advanced, easy-to-use fertility monitors with high accuracy, and increasing awareness about fertility testing”).

That’s a lot of very valuable pee, a significant portion of which I believe has been contributed by me and other IVFers. I, for one, have peed on enough sticks in my lifetime to warrant some kind of professional certification (perhaps a Six Sigma Green [gold??] Belt in smooth test opening, perfect aim, non-spillage, and knowing the exact number of minutes to spend making tea while waiting for a digital test to stop blinking).

It is why, last year, I had a firm chat with myself and decided I NEEDED TO STOP TESTING SO EARLY. I had several reasons: Peeing is expensive (I live in a country with no “cheapies”) and it can be misleading (false negatives/false positives are common enough that my doctor tells me to simply not test till the beta hCG blood test). My bladder would threaten a strike if it sensed I was planning to simply pee into a bowl.

Still, the pressure is high, especially since the question of To Pee or Not to Pee among women staring at an unopened home pregnancy test (HPT) remains a divisive one. POAS resistance is not a popular position. I’ve received some pretty pissed off responses to my decision not test early and, worse, any suggestion that anyone else should consider waiting. The retorts come quicker than a control line on a test: There’s nothing wrong with it, sticks are cheap (in some parts), and if you’re lucky, you have something to grin about early on. Everyone else is doing it anyway. Look, a vvvvf line – as early as 4dpt! Plus, you can brace yourself for bad news.

All fair points.

There is also the compulsion to find something to DO during the “two week wait” post-transfer, which actually feels like 3 years. In slow motion. You go batshit crazy symptom spotting (was that a good cramp? A bad one? Is that a bad nipple pain or a good one? Is my eye twitching for a reason??). Peeing on something breaks down the time into more manageable 24/12 hour blocks (if you’re neurotic enough to be testing in the am/pm). You find a ready community ready to validate even the faintest of lines.

But because every single cycle is different (and the implantation window can be quite wide), there is also actually no right day to test, really. I spend a lot of time in some of these groups typing just two words on repeat, across multiple posts: “too early”. It is my vain attempt to give hope to a woman who’s devastated because she doesn’t see a “squinter” 4 or 5 days after a transfer, or who draws a blank on 8 days past transfer and gives up all hope. In cycle 2, I didn’t get a positive HPT until after my positive beta, I tell them.

At least for me, testing early has also resulted in raised hopes, which makes it even more devastating when a positive result is callously snatched away. The last cycle, I finally caved at 10dpt (10 days past my 5-day transfer), a reasonable amount of time, I thought. I got my BFP and positive beta, but my beta was low, didn’t rise as expected, and eventually fell. Logic suggests that if a cycle worked, you will still be pregnant at or around beta, so just test then.

I guess it’s early days yet for this cycle, but I wonder if I will (well, if we have a successful transfer) remain content to flush away any early morning hints at success – at least for the first 10-12 days. I guess it will be more than a wee test of willpower.

CW

5 thoughts on “On Pee(r) Pressure

  1. This was hard for my to deal with when I started trying (I’m not IVF though). Now I just … don’t. At least until my period is a few days late or something. (Not that I have the opportunity right now because I’m post-miscarriage, tests need to be run, therefore no trying for a while. I guess ‘now’ means ‘before the last pregnancy/miscarriage’).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure I would have the willpower to not test at all till I was late… and I totally here you on “now”. I feel like time over the last few years has been redefined according to “pre-cycle”, “cycle”, “waiting to wait again”… ❤ Hope all the tests go well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t have had the willpower when I started. That I do now is mostly due to emotional fatigue, I think. Thank you. I also hope the tests go well (I have to wait a couple of months to find out, unfortunately).

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      2. You know, I feel you there. I’m on cycle 6 now and the shots, drugs etc, it’s like nothing fazes me. The biggest problem – failure fazes me the least. I’m so used to things going wrong and just picking myself up, I’ll prob crumple if anything actually goes on to work. Emotional fatigue is prob the right word.

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