Obsessive Pee-Sticking: Women Addicted to Home Pregnancy Tests

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HASTY RETROACTIVE DISCLAIMER: It has been brought to my attention that people struggling with infertility might feel like they are being mocked by this post. Please note that this was the FURTHEST thing from my mind when writing this. As someone who went through four years of infertility, two IVF cycles and two frozen cycles to have her first baby I would never mock anyone dealing with this shitty stuff. It is meant to be a lighthearted piece about how the biological urge to procreate can take a bizarre hold on you and make you obsess in some pretty weird ways. If you are not in the right headspace for this, please click out now – but not before you take one of my super-rare internet hugs before you go. I sincerely hope that things work out for you and I apologise to anyone reading who I may have upset. I may be a smart ass, but I’m not an asshole (not deliberately, anyway) x

****

Consumers of pregnancy tests generally fall into three distinct categories:

CATEGORY 1: The Reluctant User

Oh SHIT, I had unprotected sex. I think I might be pregnant.

*vomits in own mouth*

CATEGORY 2: The Casual User

It’s been two days since my period was due and we are trying for a baby. I think I might be pregnant.

*rubs belly in hopeful anticipation*

CATEGORY 3: The Obsessive User

It’s been two hours since I did my last pregnancy test, 14 days since I ovulated from my left ovary and 13.5 days since I had approximately 8 minutes of unprotected sex with the father of my future baby. Please be pregnant, please be pregnant, please be pregnant. SHIT. Is that a LINE!? That’s a line. PLEASE be a line! It’s TOTALLY a line.

*glares at inconclusive pee stick for 10 minutes before sending a series of time-stamped photos to every single female on their contacts list in order to get a second opinion*

Right. I’ll do another one in two hours.

*repeat ad nauseam for the next 72 hours*

****

Today’s post concerns users that fall into Category 3.

Women who are trying to get pregnant can be some of the most intensely single-minded people you are ever likely to meet, and I myself am no stranger to this unusual phenomenon. Obsessive pee-sticking is one of those totally bizarre pregnancy rituals that makes absolutely zero sense until YOU are the one at the pointy pissy end of the stick.

Exhibit A: I counted 83 pregnancy tests in this picture.

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Obsessive pee-sticking goes further than one woman squatting over a plastic test stick in a solitary toilet cubicle. There are entire communities and online forums devoted to the pursuit of pregnancy, and they all have their own rules, rituals and terminology.

An entire language of mysterious acronyms has formed around the act of conception, and obsessive women in forums all over the world have developed their own linguistic code in order to talk about sex, ovulation, vaginal discharge and urinating on plastic sticks.

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Cracking the “Pregzilla Code”: what does it all mean?

OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) help couples who are TTC (trying to conceive) determine when it is the optimal time to BD (baby dance) or DTD (do the deed), which is what otherwise mature adults refer to as “having sex”: because using the term “baby dance” in the boudoir is a sure-fire way to kill your husband’s hard-on 4EVA.

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Most sensible women will wait until around 10 DPO (days past ovulation) to POAS (pee on a stick), when HPTs (home pregnancy tests) start to detect HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), the hormone which indicates PG (pregnancy).

The colour and elasticity of a woman’s EWCM (egg white cervical mucus) determines fertility levels, and is a common topic of discussion. I have personally seen someone post a photo of their own VAGINAL FLUIDS on scrunched up toilet paper, kickstarting a lively debate as to whether the sticky smear of rust-coloured vag goop was implantation spotting or poo. TMI.

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Hardcore pee-stickers will know that FMU (first morning urine) is the gold-standard piss for sticks, because hormones are at their most concentrated levels. If the test fails to show a second line you have a BFN (big fat negative). If the test shows a second line you have a BFP (big fat positive) and are officially UTD (up the duff). OMG. GTFO!

Some women do scores of these tests, multiple times a day for weeks on end. They meticulously inscribe the time and date on each stick: lining them up in strict chronological order, posting them on baby forums and pleading with internet randoms to validate their obsession.

You can also vote: your options are “yes”, “no”, “not sure”  or “get a fucking life”.

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THIS is what the single-minded pursuit of pregnancy does to a woman – it makes ridiculous rituals seem utterly reasonable. Sharing photos of crotch juice. Squatting over pee sticks several times a day. Speaking about sex in twee acronyms. Stretching cervical mucus between your fingers.

Even more bizarrely, some women actually keep their positive pregnancy tests as mementos; stinky, urine-stained sticks mouldering away in a drawer somewhere, kept as a lasting reminder of the pregnancy.

I kept lasting reminders of my pregnancies too. I call them “children”.

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69 thoughts on “Obsessive Pee-Sticking: Women Addicted to Home Pregnancy Tests

  1. Oh dear. I suppose I should count myself lucky that I never had to try terribly hard to fall pregnant. One pee stick max for each pregnancy! I’m sure checking 50 times a day just adds to your stress levels though if you’re desperately keen for 2 lines. I don’t think I ever want to know quite that much about Gold Standard pee!

  2. Hahaha! Keep the winners?! Why would anyone wanna do that?!! Hahaha! I gotta go now….. Right! I’m back, where were we? Oh I remember the first double line win. I was home alone (18 months trying with peeps around us looking at each other and falling pregnant – harsh) and after chatting to myself in the mirror to calm down, I then made myself a nice rum and coke to ponder the news!!!

  3. Ok so I’m in 2 minds about this post….

    As a person who’s been TTC {had to use the acronym lol} for 10 months now the second time round I find it a bit sad that people would think its fun to laugh at people for acting that way. People only act that way because they want a baby and I don’t think it warrants other people making fun of them.

    On the other hand I get most of the points. I do find the women who POAS every 5 mins or even every day are waaaay over the top. Plus I found the acronyms totally confusing when I first joined forums the first time around. I’ve never used an ovulation test and have only used I think 3 pregnancy tests in the last 10 months combined. Plus when I did get pregnant last time I only pee’d on 2 sticks total {and threw them in the bin}. So yes infertility can drive us to be incredibly single minded and do some probably crazy shit, but its for a good cause. I’m personally not getting caught up in all that crap this time around because I find it just adds to the stress and anxiety. This time I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants and hoping for the best.

    • Dude, my first kid took four years to conceive (and only then after two cycles of IVF). That’s a lot of failed cycles. I would never mock anyone’s infertility struggles and that is not what this post is about. Nor was it even remotely implied.

  4. Well, I kept all my pregnancy sticks (one for each of my 5) and presented them at their 21st birthday party. (Two still in storage). I am very weird I know. My sister keeps asking me where I hide the umbilical cords. I did the pregnancy test for my last born in the Australia Fair shopping centre toilets on the Gold Coast because I couldn’t figure out why I was getting so car sick. Some people in this world just dance to a different beat. You must be one of them, Hugzy.

  5. Confession: I was a POAS obsessive. I was. Because I was a- on a forum in all the TTC threads, B- not immediately pregnant and C- buying bulk tests. I’m talking a 40 pack for like $5 on eBay. I did not post pictures of crotch juice or any other gross stuff. It’s amazing how all-consuming it becomes.

  6. “Vag goop”. That is literary gold my friend.
    First time ’round I only took a test because I was quite keen to get stuck into a nice bottle of red I’d received from work. Despite being quite pleased about the pregnancy, I was bloody disappointed to not get to drink the wine.

  7. Never obsessive about testing over here but then baby number one was a very big surprise and as I was on hardcore epilepsy medication at the time I was quietly shitting myself when I found out. I was lucky enough to never have fertility issues (I was the complete opposite in fact – hello two babies in 18 months!) so I’m completely unfamiliar with all this terminology. I just hope I don’t dream about vaginal discharge and mouldy pregancy tests tonight…

  8. I can’t believe other people keep their wee sticks. I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME. I found mine when we were packing to move, and NEARLY threw them out, but couldn’t, so packed them with the tweezers and the earplugs.

    Pregnancy – and trying to get pregnant – and trying to stay pregnant – sends us all a bit doolally. Me included. Me ESPECIALLY.

    And Hugzilla? You couldn’t offend anyone if you tried. Well maybe if you tried, but I don’t think you’d ever try. Unless they were a massive cunt.

  9. I know so many people/couples who find falling pregnant difficult. Luckily I’m not one of them. My Hubs and I basically just clicked our fingers and BOOM … a child was made. With emphasis on the BOOM.
    I know a lot of people in Category 3 though and I have even offered my eggs or my husband’s sperm to help on one occasion. (Not both together though.) They didn’t take us up on our offer, but the offer was there. Luckily after 13+ rounds of IVF and 13 years of trying they now have two gorgeous boys with their own DNA.

    I didn’t keep my home pregnancy tests though. Or did I? (I only ever bought two … and funnily enough I have two kids)

    • Oh I find people like you totally FASCINATING. (fascinating now, infuriating when I was dealing with infertility. LOL) So lovely to hear about your friends. I love hearing stories like that 🙂

  10. Ok, I might be a wee bit obsessive as I have kept ALL of the pregnancy tests for each of our babies (oldest test going back 5 and a bit years now) and have them in zip lock bags in their memory boxes. Yep it’s a little crazy, but each time I realised I was pregnant I was so shocked/scared/excited that I had to repeat the test a couple of times (max 3 tests) and then just couldn’t get rid of them. I’m blaming my crazy on the 3 years/11 IVF cycles we did – just a shame it’s hung around!
    PS. I think this post is great xx

  11. I’ve always thought that posting a photo of pee sticks online is gross. “Hey, like my photo on facebook, I just peed on this!” is all I can think when I see them. I mean, do I pee on anything else and post it on the internet? No!
    Keeping them…just …yuck. Do they stick them in scrapbooks or something? Pee momentos?
    And why can’t adults in pregnancy forums use the word sex? DTD? Are they 15 and in high school?!
    Yet again, one of those areas where I DO NOT understand some women….

  12. Nice disclaimer. Very thoughtful. Conception was so difficult for us, and I don’t think I would have taken your post the wrong way without it, but still worthwhile.
    That said, HAHAHAHA! This post. I’m not going to go into details with my infertility, but let’s just say that taking too many pregnancy tests all the time, every few hours, was NOT something I did.

  13. Dyllan was an oopsie baby so the only pee test I did was in Emergency. I had been sick for weeks and a GP that I saw said it was just an ear infection. Apparently those migrate and turn into fetuses now. When the ED Dr came back with the results he said ‘first off, congratulations’. I just looked at him and said ‘I know those cups are hard to pee in, but I hardly think it’s worth celebrating that I got pee in there’.

  14. aww I feel for those women who obsessively take them, they are probably desperate for a baby and hoping the best, love how you put a lightness on it though 🙂 I was a number 2 pregnancy test taker, first time I took a test it came up positive. I did take another just to be sure but I was a lucky one!

  15. Wow. This was very educative for me. 35 this year and still no urge to procreate. I’ve never actually even peed on a stick! Very informative, if I ever need to know.

  16. OMG! It’s like a WNW (Whole New World) and now I’m even inventing my own acronyms! Even though I fall into the first category, I totes get those who fall into the third, and would embrace it with gusto, had I been of the baby wanting disposition although I draw a line at the mucus. Oversharing is totally a thing. As for preggers reminders, I think you have reminders of the best kind! xx

  17. I loved this post when I read it initially like last week, I tested two days before I was even “late” and my husband ran out of the house with one shoe on and sweating, to get another test to confirm. But more than that, your addition to the top of this post was so heartfelt and I just wanted to throw kudos at you for the way you found the words for that part especially. I, by the grace of everything in the universe, did not have to go through that struggle, but lived in fear that I would. Anyway. Yes morning pee. And the pink lines have to get progressively darker until a). Your first appt or b). Your husband threatens you with therapy.

  18. I am so glad I came across this!!! i was actually googling ovulation advice and came across this page. I had my first BFP this year and the feelings that flooded over me when we had only really planned two months before that to start trying. I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks and the fell pregnant a month later and then miscarried at 4 weeks. I have turned into an obsessive morning stick pee’r and its driving me insane. I so needed to read this and get some perspective. Thank you. I know everyone has a different journey but I think its an easy thing to become anxious and obsessed with.
    cheers for your words. I’m off to check my saliva to see if i’m ferning after eating a dinner of salty silverside (yes I actually did that and got excited) bonkers!!!

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