Catherine, the writer and creator of Making Babies in Brooklyn, a blog not only about her personal experience going through IVF, but one that tries to shed some light on an often opaque and confusing process.
The two week wait following fertility treatment typically is a period filled with hope and fear, optimism and dread. The first week is sometimes easier, but by day 23, it is difficult to resist not buying that pregnancy test. I am often told by women that they are afraid to feel hopeful in the two week wait. I completely understand. It's an emotional roller-coaster.
All of us who are trying to conceive have entered the two week. Whether you are trying naturally, doing IUIs or IVF, the waiting period can be agonizing. Relaxing and staying positive is much easier said than done when time is at a stand-still and the hope of a positive beta test is the only thing on your mind.
I recently went through my second two week wait (2ww) and want to share some things with you that helped me.
“The only organization more fascist than the FDA is the IRS.” So says one of the fertility doctors who I saw prior to my egg retrieval and embryo transfer last week. While it is great that the Food and Drug Administration looks out for the safety of what we put into our bodies, just how stringent they are with approval of new drugs comes at a cost. Literally. When there is only one drug on the market for a particular condition, the price can be whatever the company would like to charge, and we are forced to pay that amount.
I remember when I was naive. Before we were diagnosed and every month I was sure "THIS IS IT". Our timing was always perfect and I would wait, knowing this would be the month I got pregnant. That wait was torture, with every twinge and cramp being overanalyzed. Little did I know, that was nothing. Eventually, we WERE diagnosed and started cycling. That dreaded "two week wait" between ovulation and your period showing up developed a whole new meaning for me.
No matter how many times you have been here, the two- week wait (luteal phase) is hard. I sometimes get that IVF veteran cockiness and think “Hey, this is nothing — I have been here countless times before." But the reality is, veteran or not, there is no easy way through it.
Most of us spend that wait analyzing (and over-analyzing) every hiccup, dream, and stomach twitch wondering: Was that my baby?
We can’t help it. After investing so much into the effort of getting pregnant, all we want to know is if it worked. And we want to know as soon as humanly possible. But that beta is typically scheduled a cruel 14 days out from transfer, and as you walk out the door, your doctors will warn you not to test at home. They will tell you that the date of beta is the soonest a pregnancy could possibly show up.
If the fertility treatment was successful, your body will already be going through changes — some noticeable, others imperceptible. What’s happening inside the uterus is impossible to literally feel, but can set off all sorts of palpable symptoms, both emotional and physical.
Infertility treatment cycles are often and accurately compared to roller coasters because they are filled with so many ups and downs. Moments of hope, excitement and determination can quickly become exhaustion, disappointment and sadness. It’s enough to make even the strongest of us feel like we are spinning out of control.
About halfway through my treatment I realized that my pattern of ups and downs was sapping my strength and making my cycles much harder than they had to be.
I was always excited to start a new treatment cycle but, when it came time to begin fertility meds, my little car sped downhill pretty quickly. After that first dip I pulled myself back up during the hopeful process of stimulation, only to fall back down again as I worried about fertilization and implantation.
Infertility has intense and surprising emotional consequences and the two-week wait for a pregnancy test following treatment is one of the most stressful challenges of the entire infertility process. During this time, patients experience feelings much like those of being on an emotional roller coaster. Feelings can fluctuate from total confidence to intense worry, consuming sadness to complete elation on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour basis. Having no control over your body, your emotions or your future can lead to tremendous stress and anxiety.