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Friday, September 23, 2011

10 Tips for Taking an Accurate Home Pregnancy Test

This post is part of my series, My Infertility Journey. I wrote about my first IUI, the agonizing two week wait (2ww for us Stirrup Queens!) and now, some advice about the quickest and most accurate way to find out if you got that BFP you’ve been hoping for!

(c) Mommy Needs Vodka

Why It’s Different For IF TTC’ers

Let’s face it. Most people can get knocked up pretty easily. A nice roll in the sack with your hubby and BAM, next thing you know, baby on the way. There is no 2WW for these people, even for “natural” tryers—because there’s not as much riding on the outcome. What have you lost if you get a BFN by trying naturally? Zip. You’ve spent nothing but a few moments having sex, and maybe $15 on a pee stick.

But for those of us who have just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on fertility treatments for a single cycle, the stakes are pretty damn high. You want to know asap if you just flushed hundreds of dollars down the toilet, subjected yourself to shots, ultrasounds, and emotional distress for no reason. Because going through all of that is hell on earth, and behind it of course the fear that if this cycle failed, maybe all of them will—maybe I will never have a baby. It’s especially tough, I think, if you’re trying for your first child.

I’m writing this from experience and to hopefully help others avoid a false positive or a false negative. Keep in mind these are only suggestions from my personal experiences.

Tips For Taking an Accurate Home Pregnancy Test

  1. Don’t Test Early. If you’re on injectibles, HCG, the pregnancy hormone, is in you for several days. This is the hormone in pregnant women which causes that pink line to appear on the pee stick; it’s also the hormone that can make you have morning sickness. HCG is used in the Trigger Shot to release the eggs for timing an IUI or retrieval (or good old fashioned sex). If you test too early, you could get a false positive. So, what is “early”? Anything prior to 14 days DPO (Days Past Ovulation). Even if you wait until the HCG is gone from your system, you could easily get a false negative. That still doesn’t stop us from sneaking in a pee stick at like day 11. Take it from someone who was carrying TWINS and got a false negative at 12dpo, you don’t wanna go through that emotional torture.
  2. Don’t Mistake a Missed Period for a BFP. If you’re doing IF treatments, you’re likely on progesterone, either the shots, or the vag suppositories. This will not allow you to get your period. Continue taking your progesterone until you have allowed 15dpo to pass with a snow-white pee stick.
  3. Don’t Test First Thing in the Morning. I’m going against convention here, I realize. But, the reason you’re told to POAS (Pee On A Stick) with morning urine is because it is essential that you test with a concentrated urine sample. However, this isn’t necessarily the first urine of the day, especially if you get up to pee in the night—something that will happen pretty often if you are in fact pregnant. For me, as soon as the embryos touched my uterine wall, I was peeing all the time.

    For the best urine sample, I recommend this: 1) drink only water the morning of your test—no caffeine, nothing but water, 2) Don’t drink much water and don’t have any salt in the morning either, otherwise you might get thirsty, 3) take your last sip of water at noon, 4) Wait 6 hours without peeing.

    Here’s why I didn’t like to take a first-thing-in-the-morning-test, and preferred to find out at 6pm: Either result will be an emotional one. I didn’t want to deal with that initial reaction all day at work. If you test at 5 or 6pm, after work and after the bulk of the day is past but with a few hours of down-time left, this gives you time to deal with the result in private. I also recommend not telling people when you’ll test—it will take the pressure off this ordeal.
  4. Pee in a Cup, NOT on the stick. It’s nerve-wracking to take a pregnancy test. If you’ve gone through all the trouble of getting that perfect sample, don’t risk wasting it by trying to coordinate the stick with the urine! Most importantly, the sample in the cup can be used for more than one test.
  5. Use Two Sticks of Different Brands. I can’t tell you how many times women have posted photos of their pee sticks on the online fertility board I belong to, asking if we can see a hint of pink next to the control line.
  6. Buy a Brand That Detects a Sensitive Low Level of HCG. Check the packaging when you make your purchase! Get one that detects 25 mIU or less. 25mIU is fairly typical, but there are many brands that require 50 or even 100 mIU. Obviously, if you are testing this early in the game, you will need a test that will be accurate with a low level of HCG in your system. I’m not going to refer you to the many tables that can be found online, many contradicting one another, all stating what brands detect what level. The only way to find out for sure is to read the fine print on the package. Note: “First Response” is a gimmick—I had a much lighter reading with this test for my BFP, than I did with Answer. Also Note: The price of the pregnancy test does not typically correlate to more or less accurate results. Only the sensitivity level matters.
  7. Dip the First Stick in the Cup as Directed, Set it Down, and Leave the Room! Do not—I repeat—do not stay there in the bathroom watching the test and your timer. Don’t even look at your stick after you’ve set it on the counter. You will start to see things, like pink line mirages, “Pregnant” digital letters on the walls. You’ll lose your mind. So leave the room, dammit! Go watch 4 minutes of TV, or nuke your dinner. Don’t wait MORE than the allotted time, but DO wait the allotted time looking at something other than your pregnancy test. Seriously.
  8. Don’t Compare Your Line to the Control Line. Control Lines are so dark that not even Octomom could have had a line that dark. If you have a pink line at all, it’s a BFP. You shouldn’t have to squint to see it, though. You shouldn’t have to take a picture of it and post it to fertility boards begging people to tell you that yes, there is a slight HINT of what could be something that isn’t snow white. Your line should be there, your digital reading should be clear, but it’s not going to be the control line. Ever. Unless maybe you’re 8 months along with quads. Even then, the control line will be darker.
  9. If You Got a BFP, Use the Second Stick. Repeat Step #7. If you get a pink line or digital reading with the second stick, this will erase any doubts of a BFN. The second stick should also be as detection-sensitive as the first.
  10. If you Got a BFN, Wait 24 Hours and Re-Test. Right now you’re probably going, yeah, right, in 24 hours it’s just going through the motions, and you have a BFN, period. I’m living proof that this is not true! I was just as filled with despair on my BFP cycle, after getting a snow white BFN when I tested the first time. I waited the 24 hours and voila! A BFP.
BEST OF LUCK TO ALL YOU TTC’ers, especially those of you going through IF Treatments. Comment here and let me know if any of this is/was helpful for you, and I certainly welcome any additions or suggestions from you ladies in-the-know!
 

7 comments:

  1. ALWAYS buy two tests. Unless you are a relentlessly optimistic person or a happily naive person, one test will not be enough.

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  2. I wish you the very best in your journey. I know (through friends) how it can take a toll physically and emotionally, and I wish you strength and peace!

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  3. My journey is done, actually. This is part of an ongoing "My Fertility Journey" relating how I became a mom with the use of fert treatments. But yes it did take a tremendous toll, and was a rough time. I'm glad that is over.

    Celia, yes, ALWAYS two, I agree!

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  4. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

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  5. Me too^^! Its a good tips though...and yeah I did all she had mentioned:(
    But not for this time;) wish me luck~ ttc

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  6. This is exactly what I needed today! You are freaking awesome! =)

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  7. This is just what I need. Thank you for a nice post. The tww is driving me nuts and I have my beta on wednesday. I am crossing my fingers that I will get the BFP.

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