Previously on Unintentionally Not Conceiving: yours truly was drooling over smilies on digital OPKs and boasting about my stick aim (humble brag). During Month 7, I wanted to update my TTC Resume with some “internet cheapies” experience (fitting since I’m a cheapie woman, which I now realized is probably something I shouldn’t refer to myself as). Internet cheapies is a generic name for the basic ovulation test strips that you usually find on Amazon – at least, that’s what I use to stock up on most of my TTC necessities (#notanad, I just love to name drop). These are usually dip-strips, and they follow the “if the test line is as dark or darker than the control line, IT’S GAME TIME!” rule.
I had planned to avoid the pee-in-a-cup club considering my schedule was already filled with enough extracurriculars (member of POASA , Ectopic Social Chair, constantly being consumed by own anxiety, etc.), but the possibility of finding my new favorite CHEAP tests was too good to pass up. I went with the easy@home brand because I’d seen that enough women use that brand without any problems AND I was able to get a box that included pregnancy and progesterone tests – combo pack, YEAH! I had already tried out one OPK and HPT during the Ectopic Time, both of which produced positive results and caused me to find out I was supposedly around 7 weeks along with Little Sac, so had a smidgen of faith in them. Still, I thought of my plain OPK strips the same way that I feel about my Xanax – nice to know it’s available, prooobably not going to use it unless I really have to. And yet – didn’t really have to use them, but joined the club anyway because it’s not a true TTC month unless I’m trying something new!
I’ve found the instructions for all OPKs to be pretty straight forward, including when it comes to determining when you should start testing. This time around, I decided to ignore the instructions (poor choice) and started testing earlier since I had an (incorrect) theory that I was ovulating early ever since my body decided to betray me. Per usual, my theory was pure nonsense, and instead of catching an earlier than expected surge, I freaked myself out and entered “AM I NOT EVEN OVULATING?!” mode. Cue more searches on progression lines.
Fun little fact: the picture below is included on Amazon for the easy@home Product Overview.
Are you REALLY trying to tell me that this chick got her Big Fat Positive on 5DPO?! With a cheapie?! I’m in the process of penning a letter of complaint to the company for false advertising. “Excuse me but…no way in hell is this a BFP at 5DPO, AND I did not get pregnant with the use of these strips* so I would like for you to cover all of my potential future fertility treatments. Please and thank you.”
*Disclaimer: The use of OPKS does not guarantee pregnancy. They should be used only to detect a surge in your Luteinizing Hormone which increases around the time of ovulation. If you want to confirm ovulation, you will need to track your BBT or test your progesterone levels 7 days after you get a positive OPK. If you want to get pregnant, you will need to find a different blog to assist you with that, as I have not found a magical way to make this happen.
Anywho. Beyond testing too early, I began to wonder if I was also testing at the wrong time, or if I didn’t have a long enough “hold”. All things that caused the little voice inside my head to repeatedly tell me that I was going to miss my surge, I was never going to get pregnant, and it was all going to be because I just HAD to give in to my frugal side. Enter: testing twice a day.
You know how sometimes you think to yourself, “I’m simply not peeing on enough sticks throughout the day”? That was where I was at. I already nailed down my process of digital testing during the day – the worst part being trying to sneak an applicator into the bathroom, but the whole urine-harvesting with the dip strips was really throwing me off. Before I started wasting my digitals on double testing, I tried to come up with ways that I could use the strips during the day without heading to the bathroom with a Dixie cup in hand. A purse would be the obvious solution (which now makes me wonder how many women who bring their purses to the bathroom are stashing cups and ovulation strips in there), but that’s just not me, and I wanted to keep what I thought was my dignity in tact. Dignity means secretive which equals digitals up my sleeve during the day (hey, it works!) and a cup o’ pee in the evening.
Getting an empty circle in the morning and a light line in the evening didn’t ease my mind (though, to be fair, not much does), BUT I have a little trick up my sleeve (no, it’s not another applicator hiding up there): there’s an aaapp for thaaat! There’s an easy@home app where you can upload pictures of your ovulation strips and it’ll tell you if it’s a low, high, or peak result! I don’t see any reason why you would need to use those specific strips with the app, it should be able to read any of the internet cheapies out there, but I felt more confident in the fact that I was using THE strips for THE app. Plus, by uploading pictures of your tests you avoid the OPK scrapbook! (Okay…I kept the scrapbook too! Who knew the warm and fuzzies you could get from looking back at your line progression taped up all nice-like?!) Looking at my taped up tests, it’s pretty obvious when I was getting close to the peak, and the peak itself was unmistakable, but with being new to the strips it’s easy to wonder what it should look like when you’re about to get your surge. Everyone’s progressions look different though (per usual). I’ve seen some women who have DAYS of positives, or others (like me) who shoot up to peak and then right back down (I count my first ‘low’ result as the day I ovulated, which is what the app says to go with). Check out my comparison pics below!
The best part of all this: I got triple confirmation on peak day!! I easily recognized the positive on the strip (yes, I am counting my own eyes as one form of confirmation), my app screamed “peak!” and (my favorite part of all) my digital gave me my smiley! Since it was a Saturday, I was able to test with my strips and digital at the same time, so I do wonder if my strip peak would’ve looked different in the evening, but that didn’t matter at the time. Instead, I bounced out of the bathroom while waving my tests in my husband’s face saying, “LOOK AT THESE LIIIIIIINES!”
Per my last post on OPKs (and their instructions), you’re really not supposed to look at the lines on the digitals, but that’s like not looking in your tissue when you blow your nose (no? just me? I want to make sure it’s not an infection, guys!) I’ve always noticed the lines getting more prominent when I’m near my peak on the digitals, but I’ve never gotten such beautiful strong blue lines! Course, not wanting to divert from my usual schedule, that did not result in a pregnancy, BUT – the lines!!!!
Here’s where I’m at on the cheapies vs. digital debate: If you’re going to use the digitals, just use the digitals! I’ve now tried out both versions of the Clearblue digital tests and confirmed with cheapies that everything lines up. If you want to save money and don’t mind dipping or (potentially) confusing lines, go with the cheapies! OR – go with the cheapies and the app combo! You can even find cheaper midstream tests where you don’t have to dip or pay the premium for digital results, but I won’t be trying those out – I am doooone with ovulation test experiments, I swear! If price doesn’t matter, I would always use the Clearblue digital advanced just for the added perk of FMU (first morning urine) and it also lines up with your “Fertile Week” if you’re not using an app to help you track those days (I have read reviews where women get too many ‘high’ days, but that wasn’t part of my experience).
OPKs don’t have to add to the confusion and frustration that is TTC – find what works best for you and stick with it (and be sure to follow the instructions, they’re there for a reason)!