There’s little I haven’t done on my quest to get pregnant. Multiple rounds of IVF, FETs, IUIs, at-home inseminations — seriously, you name it. (If you want to know more about my wild and sometimes backwards fertility journey, you can check it all out here.)
I know my cycle so well at this point, that I could actually calculate the exact day a year from now that I’ll get my period. And I’m a faithful 14th-day ovulator. Without fail. At least, that’s what the ovulation predictor kits tell me.
You know, the “pee sticks.” Test your first-morning urine or a later-day concentrated urine by peeing on a stick. I first started with the expensive digital kits. But then I found a bulk deal online for simple paper strips that do the same thing — for way cheaper.
But peeing in a cup or on a stick every day for roughly a week or more month after month can be annoying. Really annoying. And messy.
So when I heard about a brand new product used to track ovulation — one that doesn’t require pee — I was all over it. But it does require a different bodily fluid: saliva.
KNOWHEN is this little lipstick-type tube with a magnifying lens that “tells” you whether you’re ovulating or not based on your saliva. More specifically, based on the levels of salt in your saliva, which increase when your estrogen levels rise at the time of ovulation. It comes with an informational DVD, a fertility “diary card,” a lens cloth, and a nifty carry case. It sells for $50, and considering it pretty much lasts forever (you will have to buy a small replacement battery at some point for the microscope’s mini light bulb), that’s one heck of a great price — especially compared to traditional ovulation predictor kits.
The product works like this: place a drop of spit on the lens, wait for it to dry, and view it through the scope. If what you see is just a bunch of dark dots, you’re not ovulating. If what you see has a fern-like pattern, you are.
At first, I was all I sucked at science in school, can I really do this? Would I really be able to see a difference in the pattern?
Not knowing whether I was cut out to use KNOWHEN (or if it even worked), I decided I’d first try it in conjunction with my usual pee sticks. Just in case.
My biggest challenge was getting just one small drop of spit on the lens. A single drop of spit is tiny, and the lens is tiny. So perfectly connecting the two was not easy. And while the instructions say to wait 5-20 minutes for the saliva to dry, mine always took close to an hour. But unlike the results of the pee sticks, which have to be read at 5 minutes, but not longer than 5 minutes, the results of KNOWHEN can be looked at anytime after the spit dries — so you don’t necessarily need to be available the minute it’s ready, nor do you have to worry about missing the right results. Dried spit is dried spit.
The first few days I used it, I saw nothing but dots. But on my 14th day, my pee stick, AND my magic lens revealed the same result. Hello, Ovulation!
I was amazed how “fern like” the fern-like pattern actually looked. There was no mistaking it for the ordinary dots I’d been seeing, that’s for sure. I turned the little dial to better focus what I was looking at, and — my, oh my — fern central!
I was definitely impressed.
We called up our sperm donor, and it was on. We inseminated three times this cycle, starting the day I got my positive results, and I’ll know soon if I’m pregnant. It could very well turn out like so many times before, but one thing is for sure: I’ve got ferns in my spit, and a great new ovulation predictor.