The Two Week Wait Pin Image

The Waiting Game

Author: Jane

Hi I’m Jane and for those of you who don’t know me from my time over on RMF here’s a tiny intro. Last year my husband was diagnosed with non-obstructive azoospermia because of a childhood illness which unfortunately left him with zero sperm. To our relief, in August 2017 a semen sample revealed my husband did actually have a sperm count and as a result we embarked on our first IVF cycle last year which sadly resulted in a very early miscarriage at 5 weeks. 

We’ve made the decision to throw ourselves in to another cycle, this time funded from our own pockets.  I’m pleased that the first experience  was very straightforward and has left me unfazed by the injections or the discomfort following egg collection. My main fear is how to approach the ‘two-week wait’  – This is the time after my embryo transfer up to the point I officially take a pregnancy test and determine if several weeks of treatment have been successful. 

Last time I underestimated the mental anguish I would experience in this limbo period. We had been trying to conceive for a year or so, so I felt the wait would be similar to the one we had faced countless times before. But those previous times I hadn’t been heavily pumped with hormones, bloated and tender from procedures and quite frankly shattered from temporary insomnia. Previously I hadn’t been given a photo of an embryo placed safely in my uterus and I hadn’t left a clinic labelled with the status of ‘Pregnant until proved otherwise’ There was so much more at stake this time! The wait was excruciating!

I know I am not alone, in fact so many people have said that the hope and the positivity they experienced on the day of the transfer soon dwindled and instead was replaced with torment and concern.To get me in the right frame of mind I’ve decided to write a list of the things I will continue to do, and the things I would like to do differently and asked the Rock My team if they thought it might make a useful post.

What I’ll Do Again

  • Eat well, keeping up the high protein diet with lots of fruit and veg
  • Drink loads of room temperature or warm water 
  • Get my kindle loaded with books and build a list of boxsets to keep me occupied. I tried to watch a lot of comedies and feel-good films last time and started to re-read a lot of my favourite childhood books for escapism
  • Hug my husband after transfer! My acupuncturist explained that hugging releases endorphins which will replicate the chemicals released if we were able to conceive naturally which will hopefully encourage implantation. 
  • Remind myself that its ok not to feel positive all the time. I shall remember it’s important to stay hopeful but simply banding around the mantra to stay positive is actually quite counter productive when all you want to do is have a good cry!

Changes

  • When we do start we’ve decided to keep far fewer people informed than we did last time. It was wonderful to have a huge amount of support from our friends and family but the requests for update left us exhausted and made telling the news of our lost little one so much harder. 
  • A pregnant friend contacted me recently who I haven’t seem in a long time suggesting we meet in the next couple of months. She’s not aware of any part of our situation and after a lot of consideration I’ve decided to postpone seeing her until after the two week wait. While it’s really important for me to keep my social life going and live alongside IVF rather than in it, I see this as a necessary step to protect myself and her too. 
  • I’m going to make a list of daily activities I’d like to focus on to keep my mind busy ranging from some decorating updates and cinema dates with my friends.
  • I’ve decided not to do any visualisation this time. In the beginning I found Zita West’s daily meditation really helpful but in the two week wait I struggled to visualise the embryo sat safely in my womb. All I could imagine was a lost little seed floating around which wasn’t helpful as I was trying to drift off to sleep and caused me a lot of anguish. Instead I’m going to do breathing exercises this time and I’m hoping to sleep better. 
  • It’s impossible not to symptom spot even though the side-effects of progesterone pessaries and PMS are very similar to that of early pregnancy so I’m going to try my best not to google my symptoms. Those forums can get your mind racing!


I would welcome any advice to keeping focused and hopeful during the two week wait. I know there were several RMF readers who had to go through an unsettling time after having treatment so I would be very thankful if you have any wisdom to share.

I realise this is a fairly niche topic to cover in RMS’s new family area but I am very open to discussing infertility and the IVF process if anybody has any questions to ask. I hope this might also be helpful to others going through an unsettling time waiting for other forms of news. 

{Contributors}

Image by Little Beanies

Author
Author: Jane
A cautious optimist sharing her experience of IVF and ICSI. Making the most of the unexpected.

21 thoughts on “The Waiting Game

  1. I really hope for you and your husband – I can completely understand your situation – we finally fell lucky having had 2 unsuccessful rounds of IVF and you definately sound like you’re in a really good place.
    I read a book by Gerad Kite that I found so useful and I also had hypnotherapy sessions too – I really believe the hypnotherapy played a huge part in me falling pregnant as I was so unhappy and extrenely anxious and just totally exhausted by it all. In the end I ws signed off work which I also believe played a vital role.
    Fingers and toes crossed for you, good luck and lots of love and best wishes. XXX

    1. Great point about the frame of mind! I’m a teacher and it’s funny how I, plus two other teachers, all fell pregnant right at the end of the summer term, just when we’re starting to relax for the summer break!

    2. Thank you Emma. I always love hearing the happy endings.
      I’ve never thought of having hypnotherapy so I’ll be reading up on this and taking a look at Gerad Kite’s book too. Jx

  2. Jane, I totally know what you’re going through, I really do: 3 ICSI cycles, one aborted IVF cycle, two full cycles of IVF and four embryos transferred separately, one early miscarriage. It is exhausting, it really is. And yes, the hormones make it even harder! I didn’t realise how tough it was on me till I wasn’t caught up in it anymore and realised how different I felt (as yes, we were lucky enough to have a happy ending). I think your approach to the TWW is brilliant and only wish I’d had this article as inspiration when I was going through those numerous TWWs.

    I’ve got to admit, I have always loved an early pregnancy test. If it’s negative, you just tell yourself it’s too early to tell but you might get a positive early on – I found out our final cycle had worked just 9 days after the embryo was transferred. It’s not for everyone, I know – money ‘wasted’ on expensive tests and the issues around chemical pregnancies and whether it’s best not to know – but it was what I needed.

    Also, remember that as far as you know, your eggs and body are perfectly healthy and ready for a baby, and the ‘issue’ with your husband has been fixed essentially via the IVF process, so your odds are hopefully better than the typical IVF couple :o)

    Wishing you all the very best. My fingers and toes are crossed for you xx

    1. Thank you Sarah. I’m tempted to get a bunch of the cheaper pregnancy tests if only to confirm the trigger shot is out of my system. When I got my first positive last time around I was convinced it must still be the hcG even though it was over two weeks after!
      Finding out about our chemical pregnancy has altered my suggested protocol for a second round too so in the long run I personally think it’s better to know.
      Thanks also for being reassuring over the odds too. I very much hope that’s the case 🙂 Jx

      1. Ooh, yes – I’d forgotten about the trigger shot thing! Yes, you definitely don’t want to be wondering if that’s causing a positive. It’s funny how intense the whole thing is at the time but how much I’ve forgotten about the details of it.

        I also had my protocol adjusted – that was after the cycle where they didn’t even take the eggs out as could see the chemicals in my body just weren’t right. I really like how, with IVF, they can learn from a cycle to make adjustments for the next.

        Good luck wishes xx

  3. I feel your pain… I’m just waiting to do a frozen thaw cycle – I was at the hospital this morning and my lining isn’t thick enough (in fact it hasn’t changed since last week – so frustrating). We had a successful cycle Christmas 2016 but sadly I miscarried too and then we had a failed attempt in summer.

    I’m in a weird place – neither hopeful nor … what’s the opposite of hopeful? After everything we’ve been through (we also had a miscarriage 4 years ago after naturally conceiving) I’m just trying to literally take things one step at a time and not think too far ahead.

    I think you’re right not to see your pregnant friend – these things can be so hard. I’m almost numb to the waves of pregnancy announcements.

    I read recently that having sex around time of transfer helps- not sure of the science but hey it can’t hurt. So erm… might give that a go 🙂

    These last few months I’ve been trying to do things I want to do to help my state of mind and be as stress free as I can… Headspace, pilates, a dance class, walks and fresh air and only doing things socially that I want to do.

    Good luck 🙂

    1. I read that about sex too! Though my clinic don’t advocate sex at any point during the cycle. It must be working for some people though!
      Look after yourself and I wish you the very best of luck too.
      Jx

      1. There are such mixed messages about this! I’ve read about the chemicals helping but also about the contractions from an orgasm potentially dislodging an embryo that is just starting to implant! I wonder if no one really knows….

  4. Just wanted to say good luck!! You sound like you are in a great place, very sensible but also positive and accepting. Really hope it works out for you.

  5. It’s lovely to hear from you again Jane, I had wondered a few times how your story might be unfolding. No advice for the TWW I’m afraid, our first cycle was unsuccessful in November and my TWW was cut abruptly short by my period arriving 6 days post transfer, a blessing I suppose as at least I didn’t have that extra week but it didn’t feel that way at the time! I’m now on day 5 of down regulating for my second cycle and I although it’s much harder to have faith in the process it is actually much easier from the point of view of the injections, not googling every side effect etc, I’m finding it much easier to put it all to the back of my mind which is making it less stressful! Wishing you all the best of luck with this next cycle xx

    1. Hello Rachel, it’s lovely to be back. Very sorry to hear about your first cycle and I wish you all the best for the second time around. Jx

  6. It took me 1+ year to get pregnant and during that year that we tried I was so hung up about thinking positiv thoughts, trying to feel positive and when I failed (because I felt stressed and sad) it felt like it played a huge part in me not getting pregnant. Then a friend said to me that if stress and sadness had such a negative impact on women getting pregnant, then no woman would be able to get pregnant in war zones, during rape etc. And in reality they are.
    Why am I telling you this? To take some pressure off you, there are not “right” thoughts and feelings that will keep you pregnant, there are no “wrong” thoughts of feelings that will bring on a miscarriage. This pregnancy is not dependent on your thought and feelings. At least for me, it was something helpful to be reminded of. Try to distract yourself if possible and do fun and interesting stuff. But if you still think intensively about it, that’s ok too. And only natural. Time will tell and hopefully it will all work out. I wish you all the best.

    1. Hello Ellie, Thank you very much for this – you speak wise words and I know those feelings are very natural. Thanks again for the perspective. Jx

  7. I’m glad you’re back and you’ll fit right in at RMS. Your journey speaks to so many women out there! Unfortunately I have no advice for you. However I am impressed by your mind set and your self-reflection. You’re already in the best place mentally that you can be, I believe. I certainly would have done the same re the pregnant friend btw. Wishing you all the kuck in the world for your continued journey to become parents!

  8. I spent a lot of time walking my dog during the two week wait after our IVF cycle and a similar amount of time cuddling her on the sofa. I didn’t feel particularly sociable and just wanted to be at home a lot and whereas I would usually put pressure on myself to say yes to everything, I just did what felt right for me and hibernated with my husband and our dog. Wishing you the best of luck. I have a beautiful 2 year old after our IVF and it was very much worth the wait x

  9. Hi Jane, I hope so much it happens for you. Our first ivf cycle was abandoned due to poor stimulation but our second was successful (I’m due Saturday). We tried for over 3.5 years and the pain during this time was immense but now it’s so foggy and blurred. I remember that during that 2 week wait I bought and planted a rose for the garden to try and visualise the embryo growing inside me. Work was also a distraction (even though I’m a health visitor and surrounded by babies every single day). My thoughts are with you and I very much hope that the next week or so goes quickly and you get wonderful news. Your post has been very meaningful to read x

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