Thursday, June 15, 2006


The one with too much information

I’m standing in the ‘family planning’ aisle of the drug store, ostensibly to buy my ovulation predictor kit, except I’m distracted by – did you know they make condoms with little disposable vibrating rings on them? God bless technology.

I shake myself from a bit of a daydream, the details of which I decline at this moment to share with the Interweb, and go back to scanning the shelves for my OPK. Nope, don’t need a vibrating condom (or do we?), don’t need a pregnancy test (yet), don’t need any gel or foam or sponges. Oh, here they are. HOLY CRAP! $55.99 for a box of five pieces of plastic that I’m going to urinate on and throw in the garbage? That’s $11 a piss!

I see that there is a generic brand, and for a minute my inherently cheap nature (Dutch-Scottish roots) battles with my diva complex (even when choosing things to urinate on, I deserve only the best). What if I buy the generic one but it’s not as good, and somehow I screw up the date of my ovulation? There is a $13 price difference, and since this is only a mock cycle and I still haven’t entirely overcome my ambivalence about this whole ‘getting pregnant and bearing a third child’ thing anyway, I suck it up and pick up the generic box.

I’m still muttering to myself about the price, none of which can be claimed or deducted or in any way reimbursed, when I get to the cash register. I make a comment to the cashier about it being friggin’ expensive, and too bad it’s not a 20x points day (I am a junkie for loyalty programs. Canadian Tire money, Air Miles, HBC points, Esso points… I love ‘em all.) The cashier brightly informs me that Saturday is a 20x points day, if I would like to hold off. I pause, considering various schemes that would allow me to pay for something on Saturday that I must start peeing on by Thursday, but can’t come up with anything. The cashier notes my expression, and says, “You could come back and get a refund and then re-buy it on Saturday.” I try to imagine a conversation that would convince a clerk to refund a half-used ovulation kit, and decide that the points, which would probably only be worth a grand total of $1.17 or so anyway, are probably not worth the stress.

Stress is what you feel when you try to figure out exactly when you are going to pee on the sticks, because the directions tell you that you must pee on the sticks at roughly the same time every day, preferably between 10 am and 8 pm, but not with first morning urine. (Their bold, not mine.) And yes, I did read the entire package insert. Twice. Because even though I’ve used these infernal things before, I’m just like that. I read the entire sheet of directions and cautions in the tampon box every couple of years, too.

So back to my scheduling dilemma. I have to start peeing on the stick on Thursday, and probably for the five days subsequent. That’s two work days, two weekend days, and another work day. There is no reliable routine anywhere that I can follow. I’m strongly drawn to peeing on the sticks in the morning, simply because I can then call the clinic early in the day when my LH surges. Except that means peeing on the stick at work.

The directions (yep, not only did I read them, but I’ve pretty much committed them to memory) say that I have to leave the peed-on stick horizontal, little windows facing up, for three to ten minutes before reading the results. So do I sit there in the public stall, test balanced on my knee, waiting for the results? Ten minutes is an awfully. long. time. to be sitting in a stall at work. They may send in a search party. Or should I wrap it in paper and carefully bring it back to my cube, leaving it on my desk until I am ready to read the results? Will my colleagues, who read this blog, ever come into my cube again? Would you borrow a pen from, or drop by for a consult with, or have coffee with a co-worker if you knew she had at any time brought urinated-on objects into her cubicle?

Fun though it is to speculate, my colleagues will be relieved to know this is all a moot point, because I have in fact forgotten to bring with me a test on which to pee. (Oh, how I cringe at the google traffic this post is going to attract.) So at home it is. By default, I now have to remember to find some time during the arsenic hours between 5 and 8 pm to remember to take the damn test for the next five days.

You think this dithering is painful? Wait until we get to the whole “Is this a line?” frenzy of indecision. I remember the first time I used an OPK, during our (ultimately unsuccessful) intrauterine inseminations. After dozens (that felt like hundreds) of negative pregnancy tests, at least seeing a little line appear felt like a victory. “Hooray, my pee too can make a line appear!” (Aha, maybe this is why guys pee in the snow?)

Excuse me, all this talk of bodily functions has triggered a need to make some water. I'd best pee now, while the peeing is good, because starting at noon I’m going to be holding it to make sure I have a good reservoir built up to pee on that stick by 5 pm. It’s going to be a long day…

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