The time period between undergoing a fertility treatment and the subsequent pregnancy test is full of uncertainty, nail-biting anxiety, and obsession. If you have ever had difficulty getting pregnant, you will know exactly what this feels like. Known as the two week wait (TWW), this time period is the radio silence after treatment when you wait to see if the medicated cycle, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF) was successful and if you are indeed pregnant. Whether you have endured a handful of these waits, or twenty, you need ideas on how to survive this time period. Here are 10 tips on how you can get through this two-week wait in one piece.
1. Limit the Number of People You Tell
No one wants to find out they aren’t pregnant after undergoing fertility treatment. This is especially true you now need to go back and tell people you told about undergoing treatment that the pregnancy test was negative. Consider only disclosing your two week wait to a few trusted individuals whose support you will need most when you discover your test results.
2. Reconsider Gatherings with Pregnant Friends
The two-week wait is a whirlwind of often very intense emotions. You could also be on several hormone treatments and that alone is enough to make anyone more sensitive than usual. You may be frustrated with your body and its diminished fertility. That last thing you want to do is be around other women who are currently pregnant. Seeing others who have had success when you yourself are in the midst of so much uncertainty can be difficult to deal with. Allow yourself the grace to politely decline invitations out where you know there will be other pregnant women around. (Read: 8 Ways to Deal with Fertile Myrtle Jealousy)
3. Take a Pregnancy Test…or Not
There are some women that can’t stand the thought of not knowing, especially if the wait comes after an IUI or IVF treatment and the pregnancy results will be delivered over the phone by a clinic nurse. To some, it’s better to find out on their own, without an outside party being involved - especially if the results are negative. But to others, the thought of testing on their own brings on anxiety. There is also such a thing as testing too early, when a false positive or negative can show and that needs to be taken into consideration. Whatever you choose to do, it’s OK.
4. Stay Off of Google
How many of us have used the Internet to look up aspects of infertility that only made us more distressed? The Web is full of horror stories and things that are just plain inaccurate. Do yourself a favor and resist that urge to Google “pregnancy symptoms six days after transfer.” Any questions you have should be directed to your doctor for the most accurate information.
5. Distract Yourself to Keep from Going Crazy
Nothing will drive you more nuts during your two week wait than, well, thinking about your two week wait. Distraction not only passes the time (which could seem endless otherwise), but helps to keep your mind off the impending pregnancy test. Go out on a date with your significant other, grab dinner with a friend, or work on a project you’ve been meaning to finish. Stay busy and you will have less time to think.
6. Practice Relaxation Exercises
Light a candle and watch the flame as you clear all thoughts out of your head. Use lotion to massage your hands and breathe in the scent. Visualize your embryo coming to rest in your uterus and then implanting itself, snuggling in deep. Doing these techniques can lower your stress and increase blood flow to your muscles, including your uterus.
7. Keep a Journal
Record your thoughts and observations about this cycle. Write down how you are feeling. At best, it will be the beginning of your baby book and if nothing else, it is a memoir of your infertility journey. Someday, you may want to look back on it. If writing isn’t your thing, try drawing out your emotions.
8. Don’t Over-Analyze
Was that a twinge? If you suddenly hate Doritos, could that be a sign you’re pregnant? Could that spotting be implantation or signs of an impending miscarriage? It’s easy to let your imagination go wild when you desperately are waiting for something. The irritating thing about pregnancy symptoms is that they also mimic symptoms from fertility treatments. There is no way to tell if you are really pregnant until you take an official test. Though it may seem impossible at times, try to not think too much about your symptoms, or lack of.
9. Stay Active
The two-week wait is certainly not a time to suddenly take up vigorous exercise, but most doctors agree that light to moderate exercise is beneficial during treatments. Go for a walk every day, if you can. Not only will it take your mind off things, but it will help you sleep better and feel better mentally.
10. Treat Yourself
Take naps, color, watch funny movies and laugh until your sides hurt. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Continue to drink a cup of coffee a day. The point during the two-week wait is to do what makes you happy. There is no point in changing up your diet, unless you have a medical need to do so. Whatever you can do during this time that causes the least amount of stress will help in the long run.
The two-week wait can bring on different levels of anxiety. Some women will be fine passing time using only a few of these tips, while others will struggle daily and will need to employ all of them. Waiting for a pregnancy test after enduring fertility treatments is tough, but with the right support and lots of distraction, the wait can be a little bit easier to handle.