1st Trimester

The hook effect

Trigger warning- mentions miscarriage. Also, long post warning.

I’ve never resorted to a forum like this, but I am desperate for answers of other women who have experienced something similar. My last regular period was may 23rd. I was due to start again on June 19th- The day of I had a couple streak of bright red blood when I wiped one time. Then it was just spotting on and off that day but no period. I also had some pink tinted snot like mucus when I wiped on and off the next few days (sorry tmi but that has never happened before). Last night (July 9th), I began spotting again but it has since stopped.

This is where it gets weird- starting on the day of my missed period I had a faint( but strong enough to see without squinting) on a FRER. The next day was the same, but a little lighter. And moving forward completely negative. I thought perhaps I was miscarrying or that it was just a strong evap, but I never bled and I continued feeling symptoms of pregnancy. Nausea really began kicking in about a week ago and with the symptoms still getting strong and still no period and negative tests, I started researching and came across something called the ‘hook effect’. This is essentially when the hcg in the body is so high that it goes beyond the threshold of what a pregnancy test can pick up and it essentially causes a false negative. So the way to counteract it is by diluting the urine so that it falls within a normal threshold.

So I purchased a pack of cheap Amazon strips and began to dilute my urine while testing and checking to see if a line developed that way. And it eventually did! The first time I did this, I got a faint positive at 1 part urine/ 55 parts water. A few days later I tried again and got a strong positive at 1pt urine/75 parts water( I’ll include a pic below). Sounds crazy right?! Especially when most people who experience this only have to dilute their urine 1:2 or 1:5.

This is where I am conflicted though and wondering if this is all just a big coincidence and I’m maybe going crazy. I went and requested a quantitative blood test from my doctor that came back negative! For anyone not familiar, there are 2 types of blood tests: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative is very similar to a urine test- it simply detects the presence of the hormone and gives a yes or no answer. Quantitative actually detects the amount of the hormone present though and my result can back as less than 2. 🙃

I normally would never question bloodwork, but this is just blowing my mind. So here is my main question- can a QUANTITATIVE blood test have a false negative caused by the hook effect as well? Logically I don’t see how that would be possible, but hcg and pregnancy tests are way more complex that I’ve realized as I’ve started looking into it more. I’ve looked it up online and it says both blood and urine tests can be affected, but it doesn’t specify if it’s both qualitative and quantitative or just one or the other.

Another question would be: is it possible to get a false positive several times with DILUTED urine? I can assure you there is nothing water in my water causing a positive- I even tried it on pure water just to be sure.

Since I missed my first period, I’m technically due for another next week. If I don’t start again that will be 2 months without a period (and I’m normally very regular/ every 28 days), and I will go see my dr again. As of today I am still experiencing waves of nausea, sore nipples, twinges of movement in my tummy, I’ve gained 5 pounds in the last 4 weeks (totally not normal for me. my weight barely ever fluctuates. I’m always at 125. The only time my weight fluctuates is while pregnant), way more tired than normal, hungry beyond belief and having cravings. I’ve had two children previously so I know how it feels- and EVERYTHING feels the same as with my other two around 7 weeks pregnant- just missing a positive blood test to confirm if there is in fact a baby in my tummy or not.

Anyway, I feel like a crazy person and I’m just looking for people who may have experienced this same thing. Please help and share your stories!
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