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Monday, July 10, 2006

The Siren Song of the Pee Stick

There are Stirrup Queens out there who bitterly add up the money they spent on birth control pills and other contraceptives back when they were trying not to get pregnant. Hmmm...little did I know that I didn't need to be quite so careful. But I'm not sad about the money I spent on birth control--after all, it did its job. I never got pregnant. I see it in the same way as insurance--you spend all that money on it whether or not you need it.

The money I would like back are from those damn pee sticks.

There are many urban legends--some true, some false--concerning how cigarette manufacturers place chemicals in their cigarettes to make them more addictive. Though not yet proven, I believe that pregnancy test manufacturers somehow imbue their pee sticks with siren songs that call out to hormone-crazed women as they near the middle of the two-week-wait. My older sister once told me that all grates in Washington, D.C. were programmed to break when I stepped on them--somehow they were constantly updated with my exact weight, height, walking stride. Therefore, being the trusting little sister, I avoided stepping on any grate. I believe that pee stick manufacturers have somehow figured out a way to set their siren songs to only be sung when a woman with certain hormones and hopes coursing through her body steps within a few feet of that bathroom cabinet where the aforementioned pee stick is residing. Unlikely, you say? Well, I never stepped on a grate so I'm not sure if my sister was correct about how I would fall to my death. But I have walked near that cabinet when brushing my teeth and I have heard the siren song...

And I have peed.

Even when it was NOT the first urine of the day.

Yes, I would try to wait, but I sometimes I couldn't. There was a particularly terrible evening when we were having dinner at a friend's house and I was being very mindful of First Response's Early Detection's (affectionately referred to as FRED in our house) rule about evening pee needing to be held for four hours in order to contain enough hcG to tip the test. I drank sips of water, telling myself that I would not be able to urinate until I got home. I am ready to go, my bladder bursting, determined not to pee until I had my pee stick in hand. And then the friend suggests a walk. And my husband agrees!--agrees even though he knows about that siren song (when it is particularly loud, he can hear it too) because he can't figure out a way to tell this friend why we have to go home (next time, sweetheart, just try the "we're tired, but thank you dinner" excuse). I am walking through his neighbourhood, my knees clenched together, pausing on corners while I mentally willed messages back to the pee stick at home. Wait for me. I'm coming. Give me a positive message.

All that bladder pain and the damn test was negative.

I have tested even when I KNEW I was getting my period that day. Even when I was having a beta later that day and would have the results in hand by the afternoon. Why did I waste this money? Because of those evil pee stick manufacturers who forced me to take their tests. Made them addictive to hormone-stressed women.

I once flew out to Detroit to visit my other lady-when-waiting. I did not bring a pee stick with me, but became certain at 5 a.m. that I was pregnant. Only I couldn't go out to get the pee stick because I had to pee so badly. My lady-when-waiting walked to CVS (bless her heart) and bought one for me. She then sat on the bathroom floor and watched the second line not appear. So much for intuition. And, yes, I am well aware that this trip to CVS goes well beyond the normal bounds of friendship.

At $8 a pop (that was about the average based on the numerous brands I tried), with 7 used during the first cycle and 1 or 2 used in each additional cycle, I figured out that I spent about $328 on pee sticks. This does not count the numerous ovulation predictor kits I also purchased (with often came with a free pee stick--one more piece of evidence that the manufactuers WANT us to be addicted. That's like throwing in an ounce of cocaine with the purchase of some chocolate chips!).

And that's probably a low figure.

Add it up and then write and tell us what you would do if you could have your pee stick money back. I would be currently spending it on a roundtrip ticket to the Bahamas. Thanks, First Reponse, for robbing me of my Caribbean vacation.


C said...

I'm probably at the low end of the HPT money spectrum. I'd estimate that I've only spent between $100-$125 on them, mostly because my body has the nasty little habit of starting to spot every cycle around 8 dpo. I don't think I've even used an HPT in the last 3-4 months because I figure that if I'm spotting, I'm not pregnant. BUT, I am addicted to the CBEFM and its insanely expensive sticks, so I'm going to round my total pee stick spending up to $225.

What would I do if I had that money back? I'd probably buy a hella nice purse or maybe some shoes that cost too much to ever actually wear outside the house. Something foolish and unnecessary, just like all of those sticks I peed on..

Anonymous said...

I started to add up the cost of my pee stick addiction, then started to add too it the wine that was purchased to "celebrate" the endless negative tests and I'm pretty sure that I could not only go to the Caribbean, but I might be able to buy myself a small secluded island in the Caribbean. It's depressing.

The good news is that after years of money down the drain, I found the perfect answer to my addiction...cheapie internet tests. At 25 cents a pop, I could test every day of my cycle...and I did until I finally got my bfp (and then the next 10 days, just for good measure). God bless!


Anonymous Infertile said...

My name is Kelly and I am a POAS addict... I could really use a POAS intervention.
I tend to order a couple of boxes of hpts and opks from every couple of months. This is in addition to the cheapo hpt test strips from Those I use but then 2nd guess them b/c they were so cheap and end up using one of the more expensive ones anyway.
I can't even fathom the amount of money that I have spent on this cr*p over the past two years but I am pretty certain that with the amount of money that I have spent I could have bought that Shetland Pony that I always wanted.... and another year or so of this and I will be able to buy the monkey to ride it.

The Town Criers said...

I am having wonderful visions of monkeys riding Shetland ponies while wearing ridiculously expensive shoes...

Piccinigirl said...

I am not even on the money sprectrum, I have been trying for close to 3 years , I have taken 2 HPT tests. I NEVER test, never, never..not even when my dr wants me to. I think in my warped way that when I do get PG, I will "know" and will not have to look at a stark white HPT. I just don't take them. (I know I am an exception, I just can't put myself through that too..I mean AF , cramps etc showing up is bad enough, I don't need the test to tell me how bad. )

OPK's: I've spent a fortune...but they are worth it because every month they give me a +. :)


aah0424 said...

I've been TTC for almost 17 months now and when I began this journey I made a vow that I wouldn't test until I was actually late. I've saved a lot of stress (and money) by sticking to this rule.

Well, 2 cycles ago I was finally LATE and I got to test (even though I had a feeling I was going to start)! Then last cycle despite the fact I knew I wasn't pregnant that damn unused test was calling my name. I'm 12DPO right now and have terrible anxiety because I WANT to test so bad and don't have any! That is my saving grace because I WILL NOT let myself go to any store that has them until at least tomorrow!

The Town Criers said...

I am telling you, those manufacturers put something in those pee sticks to make them addictive. How else do you explain aah0424's story? Tries it once and then has to try it again. And now she's jonesing for a pee stick and she's trying to keep herself from the store! I'm just kidding. But as a pee stick addict, I completely understand. It's hard to know that there's something out there that might tell you information you want to hear. To not listen to it is torture.

serenity said...

I'm with Carolyn and Kir... I think I've spent less than $100 on pee sticks - because unmedicated I spot and my assisted cycles I'm mostly too chicken to get a BFN unless I'm really really REALLY prepared for it.

Plus every time I POAS I end up getting AF that very day. So not only do they make pee sticks addicting, but they put something on them that makes you get your period too.

Evil voodoo sticks.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was alone! The First Response test is my worst enemy, because you can take it before your period is late. I don't have a regular cycle so I don't really know for sure if I'm late or not. I spend so much time with a calendar, its little red dots scattered about proving my irregular cycle, trying calculate whether it's 4 days before AF should show up or not.
I do POAS, and it's negative. I then figure I've calculated wrong and have to wait; not I'm not pregnant, but that my calculations are off. Magical Thinking I'm sure. Just minutes later I walk past the bathroom cabinet and have to stick my hands in my pockets to keep from reaching for the next stick.
I shudder to think how much I've spent on those little sticks. I'm beginning to think my husband hears the Stick Siren. Not that he wants to pee on them, but that he knows when there is one in the cabinet, its siren song blaring. He'll call from work to ask if I've tested yet, or to suggest I should try again in case the first stick was a dud. Good thing that there are only two in a box I could spend every morning poas!

Aerk said...

Thanks to certain community bulletin board website, I found out that one of my favorite stores, The Dollar Tree, has tests that are pretty reliable for $1. How dare them sell those test for $1. Don't they know that it makes you crazy knowing you can test for a mere $1? Anyway, I unfortunately have had several evaporation lines, so I have restricted myself from going anywhere near a Dollar Tree unless I have a specific list of items needed (like last weekend I need party favors for my son's b-day party). I avoid the isle with the pee sticks like the plague. However, I have had tremendous success with the OPKs from there. As another poster stated...they always give me a positive. Another funny story about peeing on a stick. When I found out very unexpectantly that I was pg in August, I had not bought a test in months. I refused to have one in the house. I even told friends, "The next time I pee on a stick it will be positive." So, with an elevated temp on Day 30+ of my cycle, I drove to the nearest Rite Aid with bladder about to pop. Ran into my house like a bat out of He** and peed on that stick that instantly turned +. Maybe that's the trick. Abstain from buying them and then almost pee on yourself to get them to turn +. (Unfortunately the magical thinking ended 14 weeks later with my very unexpected m/c). said...

Hey everyone, you think you got it bad? Check out peeonastick dot com, for lots of fun and games with pee sticks! (And what does it say about me that I know that site like a favored friend?).]