By this point in our infertility journey I should be able to consider Matt and myself experts in practicing patience. After all, we have waited and waited and waited. We have waited in doctor’s offices and our local hospital. We have waited in labs and pharmacies. We have waited for phone calls and test results. We have waited each month to find out if I’m pregnant. We have waited for our child for over two years.
But even with all of that practice, the two week wait gets me every time. The two week wait is the two weeks we have to wait after ovulation to find out if this is finally our lucky month, and it’s agonizing. I end up anxious and preoccupied. I fluctuate between thinking of the next month’s treatment and how the dates will affect our schedules, and thinking of what my baby’s due date would be and how I’ll share the news with my family. I lose sleep, even though I’m exhausted from treatment. I become annoying and pester Matt with silly questions. I’m excited and fearful at the same time. The wait is difficult and practice has not made it easier… if anything, it just keeps getting harder.
Right now you might be thinking that pregnancy tests are so sensitive that I should just take one of those “six days before your expected period” varieties to end the agony. And you would be correct that they exist, but I’ve learned that those tests are not for me…
When we first started trying I was buying pregnancy tests every month, taking tests early and anxiously awaiting that desired double line. One problem with that is that the cost of these add up. Another is that these tests are not *that* accurate that early. I would read the statistics over and over trying to decide which percentage of accuracy I wanted so that I could pick the perfect day to satisfy my need to know while being fairly confident in the result. But this always failed me. The test would display one line every single time and even when the accuracy was high I would tell myself, “I might be in the 5%! I might still be pregnant! This test is garbage.” It was a waste and it made me crazy. I knew the test was probably telling the truth, but I still didn’t want to believe it. I actually got to the point where I stopped taking tests completely and just waited for my period to start. It seemed to eliminate some of the anxiety.
However, at this point, I can’t even test early because I have been receiving HCG trigger shots during my recent treatments — HCG is the hormone pregnancy tests measure — and the trigger shot delivers enough HCG for me to test positive on a pregnancy test for up to 12 days after the injection. So I truly can’t test early. I have to sit out the wait. Which is probably better… I’m not spending money on multiple tests each month, I’m not agonizing over how early to start testing, and I’m not telling myself over and over that the test *must* be wrong.
So I’m left with the full two week wait.
The two weeks before finding out if I’m pregnant is much harder than the first two weeks of the cycle, but it’s not just because it’s closer to finding out. In the first two weeks I’m having appointments at the office and the lab. I’m taking medications, receiving injections, and having IUIs. Sure, I’m feeling miserable all the time from the side effects, but at least I feel like I’m *doing something for the cause*. I feel useful even though the medications render me mostly useless. But the second two weeks aren’t like that. I do need that time to recover from the treatments and procedures, but I’m just waiting. Aside from taking care of myself, there’s not much I can do. The rest is out of my control.
While I wait my mind and body play games with me. The medications I’m on give me pretty much every early pregnancy symptom in the book… so when my girlfriends ask me if I feel different, I just don’t have a good response. Sure, I feel different from before I was treated with fertility medications, but otherwise no, the medications give me basically the same side effects every time. Even when I was pregnant, I didn’t feel more or less pregnant than any other month of treatment — that’s how powerful the side effects are for me. But even knowing that the medications give me the side effects, every month I fall victim to the belief that perhaps this month it is the real thing! And then I tell myself that I should know better and to stop getting so excited. But it could be! … it’s a vicious circle of overanalyzing every sensation in my body and every change, getting excited, and then telling myself to STOP. I try hard to moderate my expectations.
During the wait I try to keep myself busy and I try to stay calm, peaceful, and rested. When I’m not working or volunteering, I might read, go to the gym, take a walk, or watch an episode of Friends or the Gilmore Girls. I try to do something that might make me laugh. I make plans with friends. Matt and I go on date nights and try to plan fun activities for the couple days leading up to *the big day*. I repeat affirmations to stay positive. I practice mindful breathing, meditation, and prayer. I send love to myself, Matt, and our baby. I practice gratitude. I also practice napping pretty much every day… during the two week wait I’m so tired; the more medications they have added to my treatment, the more tired I have become. And while I lie there falling asleep I wonder if my baby is snuggling down in my uterus with me… the wondering never ends. Some things distract me better than others, some things calm my mind better than others… but at the end of the day I’m still left waiting and wondering and wishing for our child.
The two week wait tests Matt’s patience with me. My anxiety spills out nearly every day and I’ll ask him, “Do you think I’m pregnant?” He has answered this question so many times for months and months. Usually he’s quite patient… “I hope so,” he’ll reply and give me a squeeze. On really optimistic months, he’ll tell me, “Yes. I think you are!” When I’ve asked too many times, he’ll reply with something completely random and off topic as if I asked him a completely different question. I guess I don’t blame him… but I know he doesn’t really blame me for asking either. We’ve been waiting and waiting for our child.
The two week wait is so hard. I’ve sat here and written lots of words about it, but I’m not sure that I have managed to properly articulate how very hard it is to wait, and guess, and constantly be wondering what my body is up to and where our path is headed in the next month. Will we be scheduling a six week ultrasound to hear our baby’s heartbeat? Will we be sharing happy news with our families and friends? Or will we be scheduling an appointment to outline the next treatment plan? We’re just not sure yet. We have to wait to find out, but I’m tired of waiting… so please excuse me while I go ask Matt if he thinks I’m pregnant. I’m *sure* he knows the real answer this time.