Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The Great OPK Adventure

I call the clinic, because I have one stick left in my box of five, and I'm guessing that since my life is never straightforward and uncomplicated, I'm going to have to buy another box of ovulation predictor kits. The nurse confirms that yes, I'll have to buy another kit if my surge isn't detected on the last stick.

So I'm feeling a lot of pressure as I pee on the last of the sticks, and lo and behold, there is a line - a really faint, turn it just so, let's try looking at it under the window type of line. I haul out the package insert with the directions on it yet again, and look from my used test to the sample diagrams and back, and while I am happy there is in fact a line, there is no denying the "this is not a positive" nature of this particular spent stick. I'm about to resign myself to forking out another $50 on a box of OPKs when Belvoed says, "But what about that box of tests that's been under the sink since we moved?"

I rifle through the cupboard, and sure enough, I do have four fifths of a box of OPKs from our IUIs, back in, um, 2001. I check the expiration date on the box - November 2002. (Insert Homer-Simpsonesque "it's still good!" here.) I actually call the toll free number, and to the credit of the person with the lovely Louisiana drawl who patiently answers my enquiry, she doesn't laugh out loud when I ask whether three and a half years past its expiration date is too late to get a decent reading from a test. Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. Way too late.

I'm almost resigned to going back to Shoppers Drug Mart when I remember what you said about buying online. Hmm, I need a stick in the next 24 hours... what do you think the odds are of me ordering one, and receiving it, in time to pee on by 5 pm tomorrow. Yah. But then I remember what Anna said, about a place here in town with cheap OPKs, and I tell Beloved to take over making dinner while I do a little Googling. Because all of this has transpired in the 20 minutes since I've gotten home from work, when I should maybe be making dinner for my family.

I find the site for the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe online with relative ease, and I'm astonished to see they carry a five pack of OPKs for EIGHT DOLLARS! That's more than an 80 per cent discount off the drug store price. And they have an actual store, right here in town. I find the hours of operation, and they are open today and tomorrow from 1 to 5 pm (it's a mom-based business, and they work when they can around their kids' schedules. How cool is that?) so I look at the clock and it is - no joke - 5:01 pm. But I pick up the phone anyway, and call, hoping someone is still stacking diapers or counting cash tapes and waiting for the last customer to leave. Alas, there is no answer, so I leave a babbled message about needing an OPK and hoping to drop by the store tomorrow and could you please confirm if you have any in stock before I take the bus over there on my lunch break.

And I promptly forget about it, until about half an hour later during dinner, when the shop owner actually calls me back. She is on her way home right now, and the store won't be open tomorrow because it's her daughter's graduation from senior kindergarden and she can't find anybody to cover for her. I'm thinking, 'It figures.", but she keeps talking, and asks me where I live and when I tell her, she says if I don't mind the drive, I can come out to her place tonight and pick some up.

Let's pause for a moment and think about this interaction. I am brokering some sort of deal for discount ovulation predictor kits on the phone with a stranger I met through the Internet while my kids eat crackers and peanut butter for dinner and my husband watches me with growing alarm over what he hears from my end of the conversation. This doesn't happen to normal people, does it?

So I get her address, and pack the boys into the car after dinner, and we set off on a quest for cheap OPKs. It's a 42 km round trip through pastoral farmland from my suburb to hers and back again, and the whole way we flirt with black, vicious storm clouds that threaten a mother of a storm. In my head, I'm writing this post with poetic terms like pathetic fallacy, and snickering because the last thing Beloved said to me as we left the house was an accusation that I get myself into these things simply because they make good blog fodder, and he is probably right.

I arrive in her driveway at the exact moment she does, and I pull enough money to cover the kits and the tax out of my skirt pocket. We stand between our collective preschooler-filled Ford Foci station wagons (two cars and four preschoolers between us) and I feel like some sort of suburban addict, handing over my cash for five loose OPKs.

We race the storm home, and arrive ahead of a torrent of biblical proportions that spends itself in the fifteen minutes it takes to get the boys ready for bed. I am absurdly pleased with my newly acquired, cheap OPKs, and decide to celebrate my frugality (five tests for less than the price of one!) by splurging and taking a random test. With a surfeit of tests, I can afford to indulge myself. Oh, the excitement of my suburban life!

I tear open a package, remove the strip inside, and stand holding the alien thing for a panicked moment - there are no directions!! Please join me one more time in a rousing chorus of, "On Internet, how I love thee." A bit of googling later, and I figure it out. I test, and the surge line is stronger. Recklessly, I decide to test not only earlier in the day, but many times tomorow. I have four tests left - I could test at breakfast, lunch and dinner and still have one to spare. I am positively giddy with my own spendthriftedness. (Sorry, Kerry - just try not to think about what may or may not be in my cube today.)

And the most exciting part of the whole evening? While doing my illicit suburban driveway purchase of bulk OPKs, the amazing woman from the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe, where you should all go for any future baby-related purchases, reached into her car and said, "Here's a complimentary pregnancy test, too."

That thing is going to haunt me in about four weeks' time.

Labels: ,