Anyone who has been through infertility treatments will know that by the time the two-week wait comes around you are mostly a headcase. It's the designated black hole between embryo transfer and pregnancy test where you are waiting to see if all your treatment has been worth it and you are in fact pregnant (or not). You also know that there is no shortage of articles on how to manage the two-week wait (for example 10 Ways to Survive the Two Week Wait After Infertility Treatment). After having endured weeks of injections, the roller coaster of emotions and various procedures, you've fought your way bleeding and bruised to this point where the most prevailing advice is to now to relax and chill out. Ha! This is a highly unlikely state of mind based on the four times I have personally waited it out post-treatment. And why? Because the two-week wait is essentially one giant mindf**k (to be technical) and here is why:
1. There is nothing that you can do.
You are not actively working towards your goal. There are myths and old wives tales about helping embryo implantation along, but medically you have done everything you can. Even the professionals cannot tell you why some embryos implant and some do not. This can leave you feeling lost and out of control.
2. You have no idea of what’s going on—if anything actually is.
While you have nothing do besides wait, you have no idea what is going on. From the point of transfer, you do not know if that collection of cells is still alive and dividing or has sadly arrested development. Your brain constantly ricochets between feeling super positive and depressingly despondent. The mental rollercoaster of this two weeks of limbo cannot be underestimated—in some ways this waiting period is the hardest part of the whole treatment cycle and it is a challenge to stay sane when so much is unknown.
3. From a busy schedule of appointments to...nothing.
After weeks of appointments with scans and blood tests and regular meetings with your clinical team, the embryo transfer is usually your last contact before you are let loose on your two-week wait. If I am being honest, this can make you feel a little abandoned.
4. Seeking comfort might not actually be comforting.
You want to connect with people who understand and so you reach out to your fellow infertility warriors but every forum and support group is full of women on their two-week wait discussing each symptom and Googling it all. It will drive you absolutely bonkers if you let it. In fact, it might melt your already fried brain.
5. The progesterone support can mimic early pregnancy symptoms.
If the forums and support groups weren't enough to make you overthink every twinge, the daily intake of progesterone to support your budding embryo also mimics every early pregnancy symptom. The tummy cramps, the backache, the sore chest, the exhaustion. Not only is this not much fun, but also there’s absolutely no way of knowing whether any of these are from your little embryo or the drugs. Talk about mental torture.
6. There’s no clear direction on what you can or can’t do.
There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on just what the ideal post-transfer regiment includes. Some clinics give you a sick note for you to stay off work, others suggest you carry on as normal. Some professionals believe exercise should be avoided, whereas other preach light to moderate exertion. Trying to decipher what you should and shouldn’t do can be a mental minefield and most of all, the pressure to get it right can be all-consuming.
So whilst the aim is to try to remain stress-free and relaxed