I’m not sure what part of this process was harder—the infertility treatments, or the brutal two week wait each time. I think anyone trying to conceive for an extended period of time, naturally or not, probably starts to go nuts during that period between ovulation (or an IUI or embryo transfer) and the pregnancy test. I never went through any of this waiting with Preston so I was blissfully unaware of how difficult trying to conceive actually is.
This time was an entirely different story for me obviously. It often feels like I’ve been pregnant for two years, because the cruel thing about infertility is, the effects of a lot of the drugs you take mimic pregnancy symptoms. Each month or cycle—no matter how much I told myself not to get my hopes up—I over-obsessed during the two week wait period about each cramp and craving. Am I craving more fruit than usual? Are those implantation cramps? Is that spotting? It totally screws with your head, no matter how sane you normally are.
Thankfully there are sites like twoweekwait.com so people like me can indulge our obsessions. I spent a lot of time on that site, reading every story that somehow related to my own.
“What is the two week wait, you ask? It's that seemingly interminable time period after you ovulate and before you can take a pregnancy test. Yes, it's a tough time, but rest assured, you're not alone!”
You can find a section devoted to women like you—for me that was the section called: “BFP by IVF/ICSI/FET.” You start to make yourself crazy comparing your symptoms—but what else are you going to do when you can’t sleep at 2 in the morning?
Each time I did a frozen embryo transfer I felt the same way afterward: bloated, nauseated, moody, anxious, sensitive to smells (or so I thought). I was even getting up to pee in the middle of the night (thanks to those pesky fertility drugs). I never caved early though—I always waited for the blood test at the clinic rather than taking a home pregnancy test, even when I knew I’d get a reading. I might be crazy, but I'm not a masochist—I knew either way a reading could be false. (Admittedly, I needed to be talked out of it a couple of times.)
The day I went in for my pregnancy test at the clinic this last time was terribly nerve-wracking. There was a little more at stake this time around—for one, this was our fourth embryo transfer. We’d come to the decision that if this one didn’t work, we might have to consider doing another IVF, which terrified me since I had gotten so sick last year. Also, insurance was no longer covering these procedures, so it was all coming out of our pocket now. I was even starting to consider changing clinics and calling Dr. Schoolcraft at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, whom I’d interviewed for an article on the leading causes of infertility for Parenting earlier this year. I told him when we spoke that I might be calling him some day, but trekking out to Colorado for IVF was an absolute last resort for us. (He’s the best, but he’s expensive.)
To make myself even more nuts leading up to the blood test, I’d play these little games with myself and look for signs. Every time I caught the clock at 11:11 (or 2:22, etc.) I’d repeat over and over in my head, “I hope I get a positive pregnancy test this time. I hope the baby is healthy. I hope I’m healthy. I hope everyone I know is healthy...” I wouldn’t let myself look away till the clock turned.
I’m not the only one who does this—right?
For previous pregnancy tests, I always made sure to work from home that day so when I got the call with the results I’d be able to take it in privacy. That news has always been very hard—the last place you want to be for that call is at work. But I couldn’t take the day off this time, and neither could my husband since he was starting a new job that same day. So I had the fertility clinic leave the message on my home voicemail—our plan was to retrieve the news together after work. It was one of the longest days of my life.
Once we were both home, we weren’t prepared to pick up the message yet. We wanted to wait till Preston was sleeping, so if the results were negative he didn’t have to see Mommy cry. (There is nothing more heartbreaking than your kid seeing you sad.) It wasn’t until about 9 p.m. that night that we held our breath and played the message, while I braced myself for bad news again.
My RE’s nurse left the message on my voicemail—it was surreal hearing her say, “Sarah, good news!” We were both completely shocked, our mouths dropped open almost simultaneously. I started crying of course—happy or sad, I always cry. (Thank you, hormones.) It took a little while for it to really sink in. Then I decided to take an HPT anyway, because I still wanted the thrill of seeing those two pink lines. After a couple of minutes, I texted a photo of my pee stick to my parents with the note: “Guess who’s pregnant?” My mom called right away—she had been a nervous wreck all night waiting to hear from us. It’s easy to forget what a big toll this takes on your family too.
How was your two week wait? What did you do to pass the time, other than bury yourself in message boards? Tell me in the comments.