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Nov 16 2012

Confessions of an Obsessive Fertility Tracker

By at 12:22 pm

I have some OCD tendencies. I try to embrace them and not drive my husband crazy, but I enjoy only moderate success on that front.

My OCD tendencies extend to stockpiling (please God dont let me end up on Hoarders in 20 years), organizing stuff, and fertility tracking. Unbeknownst to me when I started tracking my fertility (and trying desperately to have a second child), there is a whole community of people who obsess over every detail of their cycles too! We have a whole online support group with fertility tracking tools, message boards, and even our own jargon. My favorite is POASaholic for people who cant stop peeing on a stick. People like me. 

You actually need two types of sticks: ovulatory predictor kits (OPKs) and pregnancy tests. But these are expensive, even when you buy them in bulk (I should know). So, in an attempt to satisfy my uncontrollable urge to test my pee while not driving us into bankruptcy, I took to the internet. Online, I found ovulation predictor and pregnancy test strips that were more sensitive than store-bought versions–for bargain basement prices to boot: around 100 strips for $25. A couple clicks and two never-ending days of waiting later, mission accomplished. I was finally able to pee all I wanted and my dear husband could stop Chapter 11 proceedings.

Around 10 days after my period starts, I begin measuring my temperature every morning and peeing on the ovulation predictor strips. Usually nothing shows up until about 15 days into my cycle, but I start early, just in case my ovary cooks up an egg early and drops it like its hot. As each day passes, I cover my desk in neatly arranged test strips so I can obsess over the progression of the barely there line or bemoan the lack thereof.

Since I have OCD tendencies, contrary to all logic I start testing about 6 DPO (days past ovulation) to see if I am pregnant. I know it is too early, but I do it anyway. And then, around 8 DPO, I take out the big guns. The store-bought pregnancy tests. Because maybe, even though I know theyre actually rated worse than the cheapie internet strips, theyll magically perform better because I paid more money for them. I hide these from my husband so he wont get upset at all the money Im pissing away, and since hes the recycling and composting police I even have to be careful in how I dispose of them.

My store-bought tests get labeled in my secret code and lined up in a drawer covered by junk mail: 8 DPO, 6 AM, FMU (first morning urine); 8 DPO, 10 a.m., 2 hr. hold; and so on and so on. Because of my obsessive testing, I became aware of half a dozen chemical pregnancies in the last 18 months. For most people, these go unnoticed; people just think their period is late. But since I am hyper-aware, I knew that I was pregnant and my hopes faded along with the faint pink line after two or three days.

I have been running on this crazy treadmill for months because I got it into my head that I wanted to give my son a sibling by the time he turned 2. Several months ago it became obvious from simple math that it wasnt going to happen in time and I had to just hope it would happen at all. And so I kept testing…and testing…and testing.

The day before Aivens second birthday, I went to the bathroom, yet again, to pee on a stick. Actually, I peed on three. And wouldnt you know it, a pink line appeared. God gave me exactly what I wished for, albeit not the way I expected. Aiven is going to be a big brother after all! And it happened before he turned 2.


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