Pregnancy Wait and See Days
The dreaded two week wait is no longer that.
With in vitro fertilization (IVF), it used to be that there were two weeks after the transfer of embryos to just wait and see about the outcome. In other words, two weeks to hope, notice every single little twinge in your body, receive more baby announcements and generally try to carry on with your life before a reliable pregnancy test could be done to say yes or no to a successful fertility treatment cycle.
These days, with embryos being transferred more commonly at day 5, there are really only ten days that you have to wait to find out about pregnancy.
To be honest, I’m not even quite sure of the math here. I know that embryos are being transferred to the woman’s uterus later, with the embryo older. I know because of this that the wait for the pregnancy test is a shorter time. If you need a more clinical or scientific description, please let me know and I’ll ask one of our fertility doctors. It’s not exactly the point of this blog; still I don’t want to confuse anyone out there.
Counting Down While Trying to Conceive
Whether it's two weeks or ten days, it can feel like forever when you are waiting and hoping, trying to conceive. It feels like time has slowed way down. While everything else is at normal speed, minutes can pass and feel like hours. You look at the clock and it can’t possibly be that time. It must be later. Yet it’s not.
Productivity can be way off during this waiting time. Your focus can be off or it can be micro-directed. It’s pretty typical to feel distracted and off-kilter. It may be the first time you’re wondering what is happening in your body.
You know that embryos that were dividing and “growing” were transferred back into your body. Are they still? It’s hard not to wonder. Perhaps you say a prayer or blessing for the embryo to continue to divide. Perhaps you just try to ignore the whole thing.
There is no one right way to get through this time period. I’ve written blogs before on suggestions on what to do while waiting that include funny movies, bad books, etc. Here you can find my pep talk on waiting, waiting, and more waiting! and many more here on the two week wait as well as a bounty of weekend ideas.
Some of us dive into it, some of us swim as fast as we can in the other direction.
A New Vision for the Two Week Wait
Here’s a new vision for the two week wait, inspired by a loved one and a blog he wrote from India on Buddhism and Facebook. Quite the combination, hmm?
My vision. Floating on my back in water that is neither too cold nor too warm. Comfortable and satisfying. Effortlessly floating with my arms soft by my sides, palms up. Eyes closed, looking softly inward, not for answers, just content to breathe into my own inner landscape. A soft sun on my face, the light coming in through my closed eyelids, brightening my every cell. The quiet movement of the water in harmony with my breath. I float, no more striving or doing or resisting.
I don’t wait. Or distract. I simply float.
If that’s not possible for you as you wait, then please picture me floating. Perhaps reach out a tentative hand. I will hold on. I am waiting with you.
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Enduring the Two Week Wait During Fertility Treatments
wait·ing [wey-ting] noun
1. a period of waiting; pause, interval, or delay.
What’s harder, action or inaction?
Infertility medications or none?
Fertility treatments and all that they entail or that pause of anticipation until finding out about a pregnancy result?
The verdict is in.
At least with a lot of our patients.
Waiting is so much harder.
Inaction is much more frustrating than action.
Effort is easier than lack of effort.
One would think it would be the other way around.
And sometimes it is.
Think about baking a cake. You assemble the ingredients and then put them together in the correct order. You measure, sift, blend, oil and prepare. You preheat the oven and in your concoction goes. You set the timer.
The work is over and now you wait. The hard part is over.
There is the clean up; putting away the unused ingredients and washing up the measuring spoons and cups and bowls.
Me, I usually have a cup of tea and sit on my back porch at that point.
Now, granted, I rarely bake anymore. But I do cook, very frequently, every day in fact.
And the waiting after all the work is usually not only relaxing, it’s also gratifying for a job finished.
Cooking, Baking and Infertility Treatment: A Different Patience
The difference between cooking, baking and infertility treatment?
There’s almost a guaranteed outcome.
I know if I do certain things, in a particular order, with a specific amount of ingredients that my cooking will come out a typical way. That at the end of the time I will have a cake or a meal.
There is not a guaranteed outcome with IUI’s or IVF.
That’s what makes the wait so unbearable so often.
All that preparation, time, money, effort and no guaranteed outcome.
We set the timer for the two week wait and we don’t know if at the end of the time we will have what we have worked for.
Maybe we will. And maybe we will not.
Nothing relaxing there.
The anticipation overwhelms all the other aspects of our lives during that time.
We wait. We endure the time and focus on the moment that we will have an answer. And we wish time would fly by so we would have an answer.
And very often, as we get closer to the pregnancy test, we all of a sudden want time to slow down, even as we had just wanted it to speed up a moment ago.
Because for now, we can still hope that we are pregnant. We can still dream of our babies. So we ask for time to slow down again because we don’t want the disappointment of finding out the test is negative and there won’t be a pregnancy this month.
A pause. A delay.
We know how hard this wait is; we are waiting with you.
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How do you reconcile all those years of birth control with now having infertility
? Was it just a big colossal waste or an even bigger joke? Have you missed your opportunity to become pregnant or parent a child because you were picky about the timing? Is this something you are beating yourself over the head with?
Those are some of the questions that we all ask ourselves. Here are a few thoughts that run through our heads as well; we waited for the right partner, we waited for the right moment, we waited for the right career step, we waited for the right home. Did we simply wait too long?
There's no question that there's a biological clock that ticks more and more loudly for us women as we get older. How do we factor that into things as we prepare to become parents? Do we push becoming a mother to the head of the list, even when we are not ready because there is no partner, no reliable career, no home?
Do we really want young women to get the message that they should have babies before they feel emotionally or financially ready? Isn't that going backwards in time where having babies was one of the few things that was part of the formula for being an adult woman?
Please don't expect to get the answers to these questions here, today. They are complicated, multi-layered questions and social issues that run deeply throughout our society. They are personal questions as well, not just political questions; questions that need to be answered as a society and as an individual.
What I do know is that education is the key. What I do know is that when we make choices, we want to know that we are making them, not find out later that we did so inadvertently. We need to know when fertility starts to decline, we need to know when our fertility drops precipitously, and we need to know when it will be next to impossible to have a biological child of our own. We need to know to protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases to avoid them coming back to haunt us when we want to have a baby.
And we may need to know that waiting for all the pieces to be in place will mean landing in a reproductive endocrinologist's office for some help becoming pregnant. This isn't me politicizing becoming pregnant before we're ready, this is me telling a simple truth. We have a biological clock and it ticks. Make sure that you have the information about what it means to make choices in your reproductive life, the same way that you do with your education or your career.