Tromp l’oeil*

The last time I used an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) was in April, and damn if these little buggers aren’t hard to read. I know they make the ones that make a smiley face when they are positive, but I am too cheap to buy those ($39.95 for 7 tests = $5.70 each). Instead, I buy a ton of internet OPKs (about $1.00 each) and squint, stare, and nitpick myself into a state of near-blindness.

I think my pee-stick turned positive because the two lines are almost the same color, but I have finally determined that I just can’t tell. I also remembered, too late this time, that when you take B-vitamins in the morning, it turns your afternoon pee fluorescent highlighter yellow, which makes reading the little pink lines even more difficult because the test, of course, sucks up the bright yellow coloring. My pee-stick looks like it has jaundice.

How many little sticks, OPKs and HPTs, have I stared intently at over the past year or so, trying to see something that perhaps wasn’t there? HPTs have more innate drama — “YOU ARE PREGNANT” or “YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT” is a lot more interesting that a surge of luteinizing hormone — but you really are only looking for that second line. I have been led astray by evaporation lines, but only when I used the tests from Otherwise, my negative HPTs have always been blindingly white. OPKs, however, are a different kind of evil. I always feel like I am at the eye doctor: “Which line is darker, the one on the right or the one on the left?” “Uh, um, the right, no, wait, um, left. Yes, left it is. Or is it the right one? I can’t tell. Could they be the same?”

Maybe I should just buy the smiley face sticks after all. The sun just shifted from behind a cloud, and in pure sunlight, the stupid OPK looks slightly less positive. (Or does it? Yeah, this time I really think it is negative-ish.)

Update: My husband, who will be Mr. MC until I think of something wittier, confirmed that the OPK is indeed negative. Apparently pee-stick induced blindness is a female-only problem.

Update Part Deux: Like manna from heaven, there are now internet OPKs that now produce just one line to indicate a positive result. They are available from Once I use up all my other OPKs, I will buy some of these and, of course, write a product review.

Update Part Trois: I took another OPK this evening and it was very obviously negative. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of “As the Luteinizing Hormone Rises.”

*Tromp l’oeil, for those of you that don’t speak French, means “trick of the eye.”


August 15, 2007. Trying Again.


  1. DD replied:

    I would more prefer a stick that shows a frowny (yes, I’m sure that’s a word) face when it’s negative. It would fit my mood.

    This is why I have been looking at the high tech crap with the watch and monitor. I had to have a professional tell me I’m infertile, why can’t I have an relatively inexpensive do-dad tell me when I’m fertile?

  2. missedconceptions replied:

    I am quite sure in line-language, my sticks give me the middle finger.

    I love the idea of the monitor, but I know as soon as I plunk down that much money, I will either get pregnant that month and not get my money’s worth (but I will be pregnant so will I care??) or it will then take 2 years and I will go broke buying the sticks.

    I can get pregnant, so I guess I really need a pee-stick that tells you if the pregnancy is healthy.

  3. Ashley Bass replied:

    I know the feeling. I had the same struggle with my OPK this past cycle… It is usually easy for me to see when they turn positive, but not this past time. It was like the test line was almost as dark as the control line…which ended up being a positive result this cycle because I ovulated like the next day! Anyway…usually the test line is way darker than the control line for me and it is an obvious positive. Oh well…it just screwed me out of a cycle. :\ Now I have to wait until next cycle…

  4. babystep replied:

    I gave up on the pee sticks for ovulation prediction. There were so many cycles where I never got a darker line. It is possible that my surge is so quick that I miss it altogether. It got to the point that I was testing 4 times a day, which is ludicrous. Now I just try the EOD sex plan (every other day) from the day my period stops, for 2 weeks (when my husband is in town, that is). This has proven ineffective, however, since we have recently (again) gotten the confirmation that my husband’s sperm is blind, two headed, three tailed (or tail-less?) and immobile. Hmmm. It would be the kicker if the reason my OPKs are “silent” is that I don’t actually ovulate. What a pair we make.

  5. Artblog replied:

    I’m with DD 🙂 Just to be different, of course!

    Very good, ton French! That’s called Frenglish, I do it all the time, its when you mix “french avec anglais”, get it! makes people larf usually 😉


  6. Ms. Planner replied:

    OPKs suck. But I still use them.

    I once found this awesome website posted my another IF-er who totally researched and dissected the science behind OPKs. Little known fact: if that second line is dark blue/pink on one side and faded on the other (vertically), it is positive. As long as any section of the line is the same color as the control line, there is a surge. Will try to re-find the site and post a link for you.

  7. missedconceptions replied:

    Ms. Planner,

    Ah, yes. I am sure it is She is the guru of pee-stick technology.

    I find it fascinating that something so inexpensive actually works, even if I have to squint to see the result.


  8. Sarah replied:

    I can’t even deal with the OPK limbo. I tried. It made me crazy. Crazy! I stick with the chart and the CM, much more sanity friendly here.

    But I second the commenter that wishes they had a frowny face one…that would rule.

    (oh and de-lurking! My blog isn’t m/c even though I had one, and a chemical, and have been trying 10+ months now… I’ve been ‘stalking’ your blog :))

  9. missedconceptions replied:


    Thanks for de-lurking! Nice to “meet” you!


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