getting pregnant

Stop Torturing Yourself By Taking Your Pregnancy Tests Too Early

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pregnancy-testTrying to conceive for nearly five years does something to a person; I admittedly became a woman obsessed. It’s hard to describe the mental gymnastics you go through when you want something so badly and it’s just not happening. Being a control freak and being completely not in control of that situation made me fixate on one element I could control: the frequency with which I took a pregnancy test. I basically drove myself crazy and wasted a lot of money.

It really doesn’t help that Mother Nature plays this really sick joke on you every month you are trying to conceive. Did you know that PMS symptoms and pregnancy symptoms are oddly similar? The headaches, the nausea, the fatigue – these are all things you can easily convince yourself month after month are sure signs of pregnancy. So of course you should have a stock of pregnancy tests “just in case, right?” I did! And because I refused to identify as one of “those women” who buys cheap pregnancy tests in bulk (that would be obsessive!) I, month after month, bought a pack or two of EPTs. Those were roughly $13 for a box of three at my local Target. I don’t think a month passed that I didn’t buy one. Well, except the months I was able to briefly hold onto a pregnancy before I miscarried.

There is a thing women who are trying to conceive are very familiar with; the two week wait. There’s even a website dedicated to women obsessing over it. It’s the window between ovulation and when you can effectively test for a pregnancy. With pregnancy tests claiming to be able to detect a pregnancy earlier and earlier, it’s really easy to convince yourself you don’t have to wait until you’ve missed a period to do it. This does nothing but make you literally piss your money away and torture yourself. In some cases, it may even cause you the heartbreak of what your doctor will call a “chemical pregnancy.” This is basically a very early miscarriage, in which the egg is fertilized but does not implant in the uterine wall.

The first of the three miscarriages I had was one of these. I tested two days before my period was due, and got that positive I had been waiting on for months. Then I began bleeding heavily about five days later. What could have just been a heavy period, was now a miscarriage – with all of the horrible baggage that brings. I wanted a pregnancy so bad, even knowing that I had one for a few days was a difficult thing to let go of.

I didn’t learn my lesson of course. I kept testing early. Month after month I went through this ritual. Month after month I tried to convince myself and my partner that I saw a line. That second pink line on a pregnancy test to a woman trying to conceive is the equivalent of a desert oasis to someone who’s dying of thirst – It’s there! I see it!

I’m not sharing this anecdote to try to make you stop – like the headline says. I’m sharing it so you know you are not crazy. It’s hard not to obsess over the things we want so badly. If you are month after month searching for that second line, I really hope you see it soon.

But learn from my mistakes – buy the cheap tests in bulk.

(photo: Nikita Starichenko/ Shutterstock)

44 Comments

  1. Momma425

    July 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I did this all last month. My period was 8 days late. I basically was taking a test 2 times a day for the last 4 of those days, stressing out. No pink line. 🙁
    My husband cut me off and hid all my pregnancy tests this month. I’m due for a period at the end of the month…my body has this nice way of completely fucking with me.

  2. Henrysmama

    July 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    There is SOME benefit to testing early. I caught two chemical pregnancies by testing early. Based on those, my doctor sent me in for a multiple loss panel of tests. Turns out, I had hypothyroidism. Once I got on medication for that, my latest pregnancy stuck. Had I not tested early, I would’ve just thought it was taking a really long time to conceive. I just bought the super cheap tests in bulk off of amazon like a psycho.

    • Rodiansinger

      July 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Hypothyroidism can stop you from conceiving? I wish I’d known that six months ago.

    • JenH1986

      July 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      I have been trying for 6 months to get mine under control so we can conceive. Who knew right?

    • Henrysmama

      July 9, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      It doesn’t stop you from conceiving, but it can cause very early miscarriages. That’s why it’s one of the things they test for on a recurrent loss panel.

    • JenH1986

      July 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      My levels mess up my prolactin levels. Preventing me from conceiving.

    • Carolyn Joseph

      July 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      my&nbspclassmate’s&nbspaunt&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­67/hr&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­τ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ρ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspunemployed&nbspfor&nbsp10&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspρ­­­­­­а­­­­У&nbspcheck&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­19047&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­τ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ρ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspthis&nbsplink,..&nbsphtt&#x70://CashConvertmark&#x32&#48&#x31&#52setkb2TdA5M…

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      July 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm

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    • kim

      July 9, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Absolutely it can. A bad thyroid effects the whole body, conception included.

    • jendra_berri

      July 10, 2014 at 1:01 am

      Yeah, my cousin had that issue. Got it treated, got pregnant and her son is now 10 months.

    • mommystired

      July 9, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Yes to this! I had two chemicals, two early miscarriages and we found out my Hashimotos diagnosis from it. We blamed my clotting disorder for first two and I was on thinners pre-conception, but after showing my clotting time was perfect and levels were good, I still had 2 more m/c. I bought tests 50 at a time. On meds now and hoping to TTC again soon.

    • kim

      July 9, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      I was going to comment something similar. If you have hashimotos (like me) you *should* test early. You need to know ASAP once you are pregnant so you can get your levels checked again to see if you need meds. You also need to make sure and get all your levels checked before TTC.

    • roxannegbryant

      July 10, 2014 at 3:36 am

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      July 10, 2014 at 3:36 am

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    • Rachel Sea

      July 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      But if you’ve already been tested for every cause of infertility short of egg harvesting, there’s not much point.

  3. Katie L.

    July 9, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Pregnancy tests sucked up my money last month. I was 5 days late (and I’m never late) so I was convinced I was pregnant. Kept getting a negative, obsessively googled “late period, negative pregnancy test”, and then finally my period showed. Now I’m very preoccupied with the contents of my uterus. I had forgotten how much this sucks.

    • Surly Canuck

      July 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Oh dear, I wasted so much time on that Google search. Turns out I just has PCOS.

  4. brebay

    July 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah, I did too, but I couldn’t not. I can’t ever not peek at Christmas presents either, even though they’re generally disappointing.

  5. Dcford

    July 9, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    The super cheap test are the way to go! You can’t beat $12 for like 50 tests. Even if you get pregnant the first month, you already got your money’s worth!

  6. My2bits

    July 9, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    $1 store pregnancy tests!! You can buy them one at a time, but I usually bought 4 because WTH, they’re only $1.

    • RW

      July 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      This! These are what I used for all my tests. Fully endorsed by my OB-GYN (who also used them to test her pregnancies). They look for the exact same hormones as the ones that cost literally 15 times the price, and even if you’re skeptical you can take 5 at a time and still come out ahead!

    • Jessifer

      July 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Yup! I used the dollar store ones so that I could test early, and then once I got a couple of positive results, I went to the pharmacy and splurged on a more “expensive” one just to double-check.

    • Brandy

      July 10, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Dollar store tests FTW. I won’t even buy the $5 tests at discount stores because it’s highway robbery, don’t ya know?

  7. valcl

    July 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    I was the queen of testing and testing and testing (and, of course, in secret, so my husband wouldn’t think I was obsessing!). Once, I was actually about 5 days late, and got my period WHILE peeing on the test. To top it off.. the test was positive (very light, but positive). Sigh…

  8. Harriet Meadow

    July 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    With all three of my pregnancies, I didn’t get a line until *at least* the day after my period was due. But nada until after Aunt Flo was due. The second one didn’t show up until almost a week after, and that one ended up not sticking (which is probably why the hormone levels were too low to show up for a while), but the other two were fine. Still, I don’t know if I would be capable of NOT testing early. I’m ridiculously impatient.

  9. Katherine Handcock

    July 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I also had the “early miscarriage that would have been a period” experience, but with my second. With Ben, we were almost exactly 2 years to the day since we had started trying to conceive; I’d already done a variety of workups that were completely clear, and the doctor had put me on a three-month course of Clomid. Those early read tests are practically addictive, and between that and not having any REASON I shouldn’t be conceiving, it was bad. I ended up setting myself a limit that I couldn’t test before the day I expected my period.

    In fact, I went in to take the positive one snarling that I would just take the damn test and it would be negative and then we’d start finding out about the expensive fertility interventions we wouldn’t be able to do…I nearly fell over when I saw the positive result.

  10. Kitsune

    July 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Early testing is how I caught my chemical miscarriage too. After that I made my husband hide them till I was at least late since I still have no willpower and didn’t want to get my hopes up.

  11. mommystired

    July 9, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    It is like you crawled all up in my brain. Really, TTC is just awful. Always. And it seems worse since we have a 3 year old and NO ONE SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND TO JUST QUIT ASKING WHEN WE ARE HAVING ANOTHER. Having multiple early miscarriages just adds to the mind-fuck. I actually take my tests (ordered in bulk on Amazon) and would tape them to a piece of paper and mark off the date, looking for line progression. I have looked at tests in natural light, bathroom light, with a freakin’ MAGNIFYING GLASS that I stole from my daughter…I wish I could stop.

    • Ashie

      July 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

      It’s addicting isn’t it? I literally stare at the stick in hopes of making that line appear. TTC is sucky, and it’s sucky when people don’t understand how hard to can be sometimes.

    • mommystired

      July 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Yes…I’m like maybe if I carry this stick outside and look at in the sun…NOPE. I’m here for ya, sister.

    • Surly Canuck

      July 10, 2014 at 9:51 am

      I’m so sorry you are going through that. It’s really tough. After our loss and during our long infertility drought, my SIL very helpfully would say that we were “running out of time and really had to get on that kid thing”. I was 28 for heaven sakes. And her other gem was “I’m ready for my second and you haven’t even had your first yet.” We didn’t tell her specifically we were having problems, but everyone knew we were trying at that point. I’m not sure why people have to be dicks about it.

    • mommystired

      July 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      People are DICKS. Seriously…I’m not even a very overly-sensitive person. (I’m throwing a friend a baby shower and her baby has the same due date as the baby I lost!!..so I’m tough) But I just can’t imagine why people prod and pressure like they do. Your SIL sounds like a jerk. When we are dealing with loss and infertility it is a daily struggle in our heads to stay happy and sane…and then someone comes along and says something like that…it’s just infuriating.

    • Surly Canuck

      July 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Woah that is pretty tough! Good for you. I don’t know if I could’ve done that at the time.
      I like to think people aren’t trying to be insensitive, they’re just… oblivious? As for my SIL, she was a bit of a mommy martyr and there we were going on trips, spontaneously seeing movies, eating at kid-unfriendly restaurants, etc. It probably never occurred to her that we desperately wanted kids (because infertiles just wallow in their self-pity all day, right?). We were just a selfish, childfree couple who didn’t know what Real Love™ was. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to get through the 2 times a year we see each other. =P

    • Surly Canuck

      July 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      And I should add that she does have her good side. When we told her we were pregnant, no one could’ve been happier for us. She burst into tears and sent us a ton of baby stuff. So part of her attitude beforehand was probably due to how much she wanted to be an aunt.

  12. BexleyS

    July 10, 2014 at 12:57 am

    I always bought the clear blue digital (which are about £15 for 2 here!!!) I wasted an awful lot of money (probably about £50 a month). I drove myself insane, I’m just thankful I got pregnant in about 6 months because my brain and bank balance couldn’t take much more!

  13. shorty_RN

    July 10, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Real talk: Doctors offices use those super cheap dollar store tests. Don’t waste your money on the expensive ones!

  14. Ashie

    July 10, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I have been doing this for the past 2 years and its exhausting. I just want a damn positive on that stupid little stick that controls my life. And once it is positive, I really hope it finally decides to stick.

  15. Surly Canuck

    July 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I blame the Babcenter people for my testing early. There was always that one person bragging about testing at 8DPOs and getting a positive. Now of course, I just assume she got her dates wrong/O’d early. I don’t need your outlier, lady. It’s messing with my sanity!

  16. Jem

    July 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’m currently wasting money even more than this. How? By convincing myself that I am pregnant even after I got my period. You know “oh that was SO light. Was that even a period? Let me just google if it’s possible to still be pregnant after getting a ‘period’. OMG this person on Baby center said it is!!!” It’s exhausting and I always feel stupid after I get the negative because DUH I GOT MY PERIOD.

    • mommystired

      July 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Jem, I know it’s not funny, but this made me laugh…because I have done this! I mean, seriously!! BabyCenter will tell you all kinds of lies.

    • Jem

      July 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Haha it’s ok. I think it’s funny too. It doesn’t help either that my sister in law didn’t find out she was pregnant until 29 weeks, swears she had her period the whole time and had many negative pregnancy tests. She was doing tons of tests for abdominal discomfort before an ultra sound caught it. I’m fairly sure she’s a medical anomaly and not the rule but I keep thinking “maybe me too!!!!”

  17. kiki

    July 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I have a history of an ectopic pregnancy. If we ever decide to try again, I have to know early so I can schedule an ultrasound to make sure it’s in the right place. I know I can’t get excited about it until it’s confirmed OK, but I need to know for my own health and safety. There are several really cheap packs of tests, Amazon has some and EarlyPregnancyTests.com has some, that you can use.

  18. Rachel Sea

    July 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I bought one pair of pregnancy tests after my first insemination, and then never again. The odds of an accurate positive before your period are so low that I could not conscience spending the money. If I had ever missed my period, I would have gone to my hospital’s lab for a beta anyway, so why torture myself with a home test?

  19. Julia

    July 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

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