An acquaintance of mine just underwent a Frozen Embryo Transfer – her third attempt at IVF using the last of her available embryos. I happened to call her on the day of the transfer and when she mentioned that she was in fact in the waiting room of the doctor’s office at that very moment I was instantly reminded of the emotions and fears associated with my IVF cycle. As much as I realized at that moment, though, that I would not want to be back in that position I also reflected on my opinion that transfer day or even retrieval (which I found to be a painful recovery despite what some said) was by no means the worst part of IVF. To me, the dreaded “Two Week Wait” is the hardest part of the whole IVF process.
The two week wait (or 2WW) is what the time after the transfer procedure (or any fertility treatment really) and before the beta or hcg test, is called. Some are not required to wait an entire two weeks, but typically doctors want you to wait 14 days after ovulation (or your treatment procedure) to test for pregnancy. I was scheduled for my first beta test ten days after my day five transfer – and they were the longest 10 days of my life! The anxiety, excitement, and fear experienced during the wait time is indescribable. The wide range of emotions are so overwhelming and I personally could think about nothing else other than whether or not it had worked. I spent virtually every hour of every day during my two week wait alternately poking at my breasts to see if they were sore and crying because I was certain that it didn’t work.
Even more so than before (which I never would have thought possible), I began to search out information on early pregnancy symptoms, stories of successful first time attempts at IVF, and did lots of message board research on how what I was feeling compared to others. I spent way too much time in the bathroom trying to determine if I was urinating more frequently and analyzing the toilet paper searching for any signs of spotting and praying that I didn’t see red. Eventually, I did have spotting – when my husband and I were out for the evening trying to take our mind off of the only thing we could think about – IVF. I was devastated and even though my husband and I had agreed that we would not test early, it seemed that it didn’t work so we decided to take an early pregnancy test to confirm what we thought we knew. The test ended up positive two days before my scheduled beta and I was initially happy, but then of course I convinced myself that it had actually worked but that the spotting indicated that I was losing it or that I was having another ectopic.
You would think that I would be happy that my 2WW had been cut short, but without the certainty of the beta test (which my doctor would not let me take until 15 days past ovulation) it was still just a nerve-wracking wait and see. I wish I had lots of advice for making the wait easier, and there are some things that do help, but I honestly believe that no matter what, the time between the treatment procedure and the day of the results is consuming and overwhelming and just 14 days that you really wish you could sleep right through. Things like concentrating on a hobby, spending time with your partner, writing a journal, or anything else that might distract you even for a brief moment are great ways to try to take your mind off of the wait. If I had to say one thing that helped me most in the wait it was probably someone’s advice to enjoy being “PUPO.” I learned that “PUPO” was an abbreviation for Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise and that sentiment did help to shape a new opinion on the two week wait. For that two weeks, at least, I was pregnant and I could use the time to “practice” eating healthy, staying away from alcohol and caffeine for the sake of the “baby” and finally enjoy being pregnant, even if it was only for two weeks.