Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"The IF line stare" ... and a question for you.

Our girl soapchick (may be private blog, i'm not sure) is 6dp3dt transfer today and I was just typing to her about poas. (which my comment is translating into a post, so excuse the repeats if you happened to read my comment there.) (I speak parenthetical too much. (but i'm a programmer and it's my nature (so nested comments are normal to me)) I know.)

Which brought up so many memories and most of all, how my very last cycle, C39, made me change quite a few views about POAS.

Two big views have changed...

1. digital hpts suck.

~ Okay, digitals still suck in the fact I can't do the "if line stare", which I will speak to in just a few moments. But I used to think digitals didn't pick up hcg until later, like, um, 50 (and hell, online girls say 100), but it said "pregnant" with a beta of 15. The beta was taken 2 hours after my bfp on the clear blue easy digital. So those suckers are SENSITIVE.

2. 12dpo (or 9dp3dt / 7dp5dt ~ish. IVF dpos don't translate exactly) are indicative of a BFN.

~ If someone got a BFN at or after that time, I wouldn't do the "maybe it's just too early" dance with them. I would support them, but no false hope. Or as I used to call it, no stuffing puppydogs and rainbows up their butts. Although I knew 'late implantation' was possible, it was just too rare to even make it a part of your calculation. Sure, it isn't over until AF sings, but in 95% of cases (yes, I'm making that number up), it was over with a 12dpo bfn.

~ And then I got a bfp at 11dp3dt (14~ish dpo) when I had gotten a clearly bfn at 10dp3dt (13~ish dpo). Was I the statistical rarity? Or was I the proof it happened more often than I thought? I'll never know. The numbers were right, I know that. I ~did~ have late, super fucking late, implantation. The nurse at my clinic even has my rising beta chart taped above her desk with the words "miracles do happen". I know we beat lots of odds, but maybe it happens enough to work this kind of hope into the calculation of the "maybe it's just early" debate.

POAS early and often.

I've always poas early. I had two very simple reasons.

1. I could possibly get an early BFP.
~ Instead of obsessing all day and waiting for days, I wanted to know immediately. I wanted to celebrate immediately. Even if things went wrong, as I always knew they could, I wanted to celebrate being pregnant for as long as I could. Although I got a late bfp with karl, I got a 10dpo bfp with allison. or maybe it was 11dpo.) That was 2-3 days more of celebration. 2-3 days less obsessing.

2. It helped ease the blow of the "real" BFN.
~ I'd start poas ridiculously early. Like too early to ever get a bfp. I'm talking 8dpo here. So that first bfn was never hard on my heart, it was expected. Then everyday, as my chances went up a tiny bit, the same amount of hope faded. So it was like getting the heartbreak in little bites instead of it being shoved in your face. I've had 36 BFNs, as there was never a cycle I didn't poas, so for me, this worked. Let me show you mathematically. (and I'm making up the numbers here, but it'll work for my explanation)

Let's say at 8dpo, if cycle worked, I'd have a 1% chance of an hpt coming up bfp and 99% of it showing bfn. So when I got that bfn, 1% of my hope would also be gone with it.
8dpo minus 1% of hope = 99% chance of hope left.
9dpo minus 25% of hope = 75% chance of hope left.
10dpo minus 40% of hope = 60% chance of hope left.
11dpo minus 75% of hope = 25% chance of hope left.
12dpo minus 95% of hope = 5% chance of hope left.
13dpo minus 98% of hope = 2% chance of hope left.
14dpo minus 99+% of hope = less than 1% chance of hope left.

You see how everyday my hope would go down by chunks? For me that was MUCH easier for me than to get all my hope squashed on one day.

And something to note - my chart never worked backwards. Well, in a sense, it did. Let me explain. If I waited until 14dpo because AF hadn't started, I'd actually feel like I had a 99% chance of it being a BFP. My hope would go higher and higher and higher each day, feeling like the whole waiting thing actually had something to do with the results. Like the whole "if pregnant" part didn't compute anymore - waiting somehow increased the actual aspect of getting pregnant. I would have a huge failure and it broke my heart.

I think that last statement is the reason many girls don't poas early actually. Because they know of that ~huge~ disappointment at the end and thinking that each day's bfn would feel that harsh. Had I only known of that last failure's heartache, I'd never think I'd want to do it daily. But for me, it was so much easier because getting a bfn when I actually expected a statistical bfn wasn't as harsh. I wasn't ever crushed when I did it this way like I was when I waited. It sucked, sure, I'm not going to say it was fun. But getting a little teeny tiny bit of poison put in my pudding everyday was much easier to swallow than drinking an entire cup of poison on the last day.

The IF Line Stare

I'll admit it, I did the IF Line Stare. Oh yes. Let's count the ways ...

~ Making a deal to NOT look at it until the 3 minutes are up
~ Staring at it entire time, not looking away
~ Taking it out of the trash can hours later
~ Taking it out of the trash can outside because I threw it away, telling myself it was the only way I wouldn't fish it out of the trash
~ Hold it up to the light
~ Hold it up to the sunlight
~ Hold it against a whiter background
~ Scan it and invert colors (look at the negative)
~ Save each and every bfn for the entire cycle, comparing bfn to bfn, trying to decipher if one bfn was more or less of a bfn from previous day's (or hour's) bfn.

The question for you ...

Admit your worst case of the IF Line Stare. Come on you poas-ers ... what did you do? Anything more than me? I know I'm one of the 'worst' cases out there (but at least I can admit it, right?)


Soapchick said...

Glad I inspired an entire post on your blog! haha. Yes you were quite the POAS addict, or IF line starer. haha. I will probably wait until Friday only becaues I only have 3 HPTs and I'm too cheap to go buy more.

areyoukiddingme said...

I only had one line stare moment. After that, I bought digitals, because there was just no arguing with "pregnant" or "not pregnant." I like things tidy and definitive.

JennaDee said...

I had to buy digitals... Because the line that was never there was always there because my mind plays tricks!!!

mommybird said...

I'm just as bad as you are. Looking at the test in the trash just to be sure it really was negative.

I got worse with BFPs though. Once I got that first one I continued to poas for days just to be sure I didn't have a fluke, I'd watch the line get darker thinking it might have something to do with the pregnancy actually being a "success" even though I knew it didn't.

Sarah R said...

While I'm not an IFer, I will say that ~you~ inspired me to start testing early. I got THREE BFNs, on 9dpo, 10dpo, and 11dpo before my positive with a different brand (imagine that--Walmart's Equate was better for me than FRER) with later afternoon pee. I thought I had to be out, because of a BFN on 11dpo, but I just KNEW I had to be pregnant. I had two hours of pulsating feelings in my uterus the night before. It turns out I was another one with low betas in the beginning (33 at 13 dpo--that seems low to me--but then it quadrupled to 120 at 15dpo).

Anyway, I have done the stare-down. I always hold those sticks in natural light because it really is the best. I look at them from different angles, look at them from far and close away.

I have spent a ton of money on pee sticks, but I love peeing on them. To me, it is worth it. To have my heart pounding as I wait for the line to show up is some kind of an adrenaline rush. And you always KNOW it'll be so awesome if that line did, indeed, show up.

But yes, with you Nancy, I do think it's funny that you got your positive on that digital with Karl after saying how much you hate them (me too, never have used one because I love obsessing over lines) and THEN you got it late to boot!

:) It was a "see, told you so" that destiny was giving you. Or Karma, or whatever.

Io said...

The worst line stare? POAS *after* I knew we 100% could not get pregnant. I had one lying around and my period was like a day late and I thought - maybe the doctor is wrong and just doesn't know how to feel a man's balls up properly. So I peed and then started at it for five minutes.

calliope said...

my poas line stare confession? I take it to the computer. meaning I would photo almost every test and then plug it into photoshop to REALLY look for a hint of a line. I also get great pleasure in doing that for others.

Amy said...

Even though I have an IUD I was convinced I was pregnant a few weeks ago, so I dragged DD to Target and POAS in the bathroom as DD chewed on the box. It was a BFN (as expected). I tossed the test in the garbage at Target.

I got home and started obsessing that maybe it turned positive after I tossed it in the trash and I kicked myself for not bringing it home with me. I fought off the urge to go back to Target to fish it out of the trash.

And even though I didn't want a BPF (as many know a BPF + IUD= big trouble), there was still that adrenaline rush that Sarah described. That adrenaline would have instantly turned into dread for sure....but it brought back memories of actually wanting a BFP.

Birdee said...

I POAS last week just for shits and giggles, it may be the last time I get a positive in a very long time.
I was never good at testing early. I loved your reasons and tried myself to be like you in that aspect, but I just couldn’t.
I remember saying I would, and once in a while I would POAS (like at 8dpo) and get a neg, and couldn’t handle getting another one. Often I just waited for AF to show, it was easier for me that way somehow, I hated feeling like I was on "cycle day negative five". I just liked finding out I was not pregnant on CD1.

jenn said...

~ Making a deal to NOT look at it until the 3 minutes are up
~ Staring at it entire time, not looking away
~ Taking it out of the trash can hours later

I did all those. I was especially fond of taking it out of the trash & looking at it hours later- just to be sure. Of course- I was never very good at esting. Out of 20 cycles I probably tested for only 10-11 of them. I never could get it together to test early & often & testing before af was due was too heartbreaking after a while. Now- with the last one I tested every day obsessively until the first beta came back- just to see if the line got darker or came up quicker. I even contemplated testing halfway through the pregnancy just to see a truly dark line, but since I would have had to buy a test I never did!

Jen said...

In all honesty I never stared too long at a BFN trying to detect a line. In fact, if I had just waited a little while longer for a line to come up I might have gotten a BFP at 12 or 13 dpo instead of 14 dpo.

I too won't buy digitals because I hate wasting even more money on BFNs. It's dollar store for me every time. I also pee early once a day, because I prefer the incremental letdown. And given that I didn't get that BFP until 14dpo when I'd given up hope, I know all hope isn't lost. And next time, I'll definitely watch my test for that entire 10 minute window.

Stacie said...

Dude. This week was a totally IF line stare down. I could also add 1) take it over to your husband and make him look for a line to the list, and 2) pee on a stick twice in one day because surely the first negative had to have been wrong. I may have done those a time or two...ahem. :-)

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'm not an IFer, but I did have a long wait to get the BFP for my daughter (14 months, 16 cycles). When I started out TTC I was doing lots of testing and line-staring, and then I realized it was making me crazy. I was the exact opposite of you - if I was testing, I was wound up and stressed. If I just let go and got on with my life and waited for AF, I was much calmer. Got my BFP for DD on cycle 16, at 15 DPO. I had actually forgotten when AF was due for the first time in my TTC journey. It was nice to see that dark, dark positive line!

Kristin said...

Honestly, I never really did a line stare. My problem wasn't getting pregnant, it was staying pregnant.

Mic said...

I love this post! I'm totally with you on your theory that it's better to be let down day by day when you begin the POAS party super-early.

I've just started this way of POAS'ing in the past 6-8mos. It's my little way of slowly killing my BFP dream during the 2ww. I'm also one of those girls who POAS in the morning and then again in the afternoon because I'm just hoping that the a.m. test was wrong (or that there was not enough Hcg in urine or something) -


even after my bfp, i continued poas and obsessing over whether or not they got darker or lighter. if i thought one looked lighter i was convinced i was having a miscarriage. psycho!!!

Krista said...

my line stares always involved taking the test apart so I could see it better, then putting it back together, only to do it all over again 24 hours later.

I hope things start looking up for you with the run you've had of late.

Jennifer said...

haha...I did most of those (stare, not stare, look for the line to appear later, look in the trash, scan in the computer) even though I didn't have near as many cycles...does that make me worse or more "psycho."

I can totally see your side on poas. I try to hold out as long as possible before testing. Every bfn sucks and the fewer the better...I guess. I just hate thinking there's any hope after a bfn, so if it's over, it's over and I want to move on. Testing later is better for that. I'm also cheap and don't want to buy tons of tests.

'Murgdan' said...

How about pulling it out of the trash, disassembling it, holding just the paper strip up to every possible light source in the house (including the orchid grow lights, because, you know, they might make a line appear....


Still never seen the second line.

Elana Kahn said...

I've definitely taken them out of the trash can, but not out of the outside trash can. And I've also looked at them under super high light (practiacally burned my retinas). The only times I ever had a real BFP, it was obvious...no extra lights needed.

Geohde said...

I use IC's so I can pee freely,


Shinejil said...

Wow, this is art as well as science. I never could get into POAS; I would just go into deep, deep denial mode for about a week and a half.

Photogrl said...

I was a POAS addict, until 2 losses ago. Both were 2 lines, and I pee'd for days, seeing the lines get lighter and lighter.

Now, I'm honestly scared of POAS'ing...because once I start, I can't stop.

It's like a cruel joke.

Love the post, though!

olive said...

Hi Nancy, This is my first time commenting here but I've been following your blog for a while. This is a great post and I completely agree with the hope "decreasing rate". I had my hopes up 15 days ago w/ my first (digital) BFP ever, after a year of trying:) Sadly, I miscarried yesterday and it's been so hard. But I know this will pass, I have to be strong. Thanks for your posts and sense of humor -- I'm glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

I hate POAS! Mostly becuase all I've ever got are negative ones. For me it's best to just wait to start bleeding so I know it's over, those one liners freak me the hell out!

And my worst POAS story, I was SO sure I had a second line I took the still wet thing apart and laid it out on white bathroom tiles *sigh* Yes I am a looser ;)


Sarah R said...

You know what I have a hard time believing?

When people say they pee on a stick and walk away, forget about it, and come back 10 minutes (or more) later.

Seriously? You just peed on a stick, how can you forget about it?!? The anticipation would KILL me!!

nancy said...

Olive, I am so very sorry about your loss. I wasn't able to access your blog from your link, so hopefully you will see the support here. ~hugs~

Dr. Grumbles said...

I have stashed a neg pee stick in my desk drawer at work and periodically opned the drawer to make sure it was still negative!

and the trash stories? me too, ME TOO

olive said...

Dear Nancy, Thanks for your kind words, yes, you and many of the wonderful girls w/ blogs are helping me a lot with your words, stories and journeys. I don't have a blog, I just set up a page but never used it. But I'll keep commenting and I promise to get better soon. It's just too recent and I'm still in the "Why" phase. But this will pass. Thanks again for your support and posts:)

JamieD said...

I have no idea how many sticks I've dug out of the trash to check 'just one more time.' I do know it was enough to make me start keeping them under my sink to save the time of digging in the trash.

My most memorable IF line stare was in Vegas. I had packed a pregnancy test, progesterone supplements, pads and tampons to cover all my bases. On 14 DPO, I couldn't stand it anymore and was POAS at 3 am while my husband and BIL were sleeping. It was a very, very faint line and I couldn't decide - progesterone or pad? I went with both.

Anonymous said...

I gave up on HPTs for the last couple of years, until I got to the FET that worked. I got a very faint line at, I think, 7dp6dt so certainly outside of your stats.

I continued to POAS for a few months.

~*JaYmE*~ said...

I have done all of those things. I'm a complete POAS addict myself. The only other thing that I can think of that I've done is pee on an already used (BFN) stick. I knew it wouldnt work but I had no others in the house & just had to POAS! WTF is wrong w/me? LOL

Rebeccah said...

I absolutely love this post! I've done all of those things and then some ...I actually was kind of addicted to staring at the sticks and letting my imagination run wild ... I only bought a digital when I had 2 lines on the stick, just to see that lovely "P" word pop up on the screen. (Not that it helped me keep the pregnancy, but that's a whole different topic.)

B said...

I took one HPT apart - like broke the plastic so I could hold it up the light, took pictures and changed the color settings, etc. Obsessed a bit!

I love digi tests, but didn't used to. But at 11dpo when I just barely got a BFP on FRER and then got a "pregnant" on my digi and hour later, I was sold!

ssbean said...

Looked at it under a magnifying glass. And "acted" and tried to convince myself that the OPK was a hpt so I could "see" a positive. And I would lurk around online to see other's positive. After all I really wanted to see a BFP somehow, preferably mine, but you know. And yes, the stare, under lights and hours after looking at it the evap line.