Eli's Corner

ten tips for surviving the two week wait

34 Comments

Today I’m officially past the halfway point of my Two Week Wait. (For the uninitiated, this is the time between ovulation and being able to tell if you got pregnant during said ovulation). It is a time of great neurosis for women dealing with infertility. I have spent precisely half of the last two years of my life in a Two Week Wait, and I am not a fan. It was particularly awful in the early days – obsessing about potential pregnancy symptoms and using up pee sticks like they were going out of style – but after the passage of months, then years, I now kind of mostly assume I’m not pregnant and try not to torture myself. I try not to drink, but, as drinking is a gray area during this time, I usually drink and then have guilt. Otherwise, business as usual.

The Two Week Wait after a major fertility procedure, however, is an entirely different story. These are the Waits in which you’ve invested a large sum of money, a good deal of time – and worse – a significant measure of hope. You’ve surrendered your flesh to be needled and probed and inflated with dye and have bid adieu to your dignity and modesty all in hopes that this time – this time it might work.

Launching into my second Superovulation IUI Two Week Wait, I googled how to cope with it and found much of the advice to be profoundly unhelpful. Stuff like, “Don’t think about it,” and other impossible suggestions. So I’ve decided to share my own coping techniques with you. These are not doctor-approved or possibly even psychologically sound, but they are the best I’ve got.

1. Make a paper chain advent calendar thingy. Every year as a child on December 1st I would make a chain with twenty-four alternating red and green links and one yellow (gold) link at the end. I’d break off one link everyday until it was *gasp* Christmas! (I was not good with waits even as a child.) At the beginning of my last IUI Wait I decided to try to see it time as a time of anticipation. Something to be fully experienced and even celebrated. In that spirit I made myself a paper chain. I didn’t go with red and green this time, but I did put pink and blue stripes on the last link. (And then the next day I drew black line through it to symbolize uncertainty because otherwise the pink and blue looked cheeky.)

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Every morning, I broke off a link and sat and prayed and asked for something to hold onto that day. A true thing, a beautiful thing, or, on more difficult days, a cry for help to carry with me and anchor me throughout the day. I wrote each day’s anchor on its broken link. I kept them all and would look them over when it got rough.

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It actually was a pretty special time, and it was exactly what I needed. This round, however – perhaps partly owing to the fact that I got my plus sign and had my special moment and then had a bunch of really really sad moments after and might be a little disillusioned – I’ve made a quality decision to be distracted…um, rather than present. Which somehow sounds very wrong.  At any rate, here’s my best advice so far from this round…

2. Go paddleboarding. If possible, here:

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And if possible, sit on your board in the middle of the cove with your legs dangling in the water next to someone who will grab your paddle and pull you in for a kiss.

3. Do acupuncture and guided meditation. I was raised among rednecks. Acupuncture was not something we’d heard about (but it would have given us all a real hoot if we had). People who meditated were crazy and also going directly to hell. So when I lie on a massage table with needles in all my meridians and Circle and Bloom’s guided meditations pulsing through my ears, I feel the judgment of my six-year-old self. But the acupuncture does help. And I love the way the guided meditations correspond to the exact day of your cycle and tell you precisely what your body is doing and say good things over your body. It’s good to have life spoken over your body, especially when so many bad things are being pronounced over it all the time.

4. Zumba it out. Preferably with friends. Preferable still are friends who can laugh at themselves.  A word to the wise though – the ads make Zumba look like this,

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but in real life it perspires more, is less attractive and has far less abdominal definition.  It is essentially a place to go sweat your face off, make a fool of yourself (if you share my level of athleticism) and laugh it off.  I recommend it.

5. Start an exclusive, smarty-pants book club. A friend and I are reading Isabel Allende’s Casa de los Espiritus in Spanish and discussing themes of matriarchy and machismo over tea on Saturday mornings. It makes us feel cultured and cerebral.  Ok, she is cultured and cerebral.  It makes me feel cultured and cerebral.

6. Do a major hair change.  It will (hopefully) make you feel fabulous, and it will give you and everybody else something to talk about.  It’s amazing how much people are willing to fixate on a haircut, which makes it a very useful diversion.  Incidentally, today I went from quotidian blonde to saucy redhead.  (My husband was not keen on the idea of me going red, so when I got home from the salon I made sure he didn’t see me until I came into his office half naked and bearing chocolate chip cookies – to provide a positive mental association with the new haircolor.  It totally worked.)

7. Don’t tell people you did the procedure. Unless you want to update them all along and tell them right away if you’re pregnant or not. Rookie mistake.

8. If you’re a person who prays, pray.  Even if you’re not, consider it.  I had forgotten until recently how utterly humanizing it is to take a moment to sit in a presence that knows you infinitely and loves you without any edits.  Even if it’s just a moment out of a day, sit and ask to be loved.  It’s something I’ve foolishly taken for granted, but it’s one of the great marvels of existence.

9. Find a really wonderful therapist.  After hitting a really low point in January I realized that I was going to have to change some things (many of the activities listed above are a result of that realization, as was swallowing my pride and asking around about counselors).  A friend recommended someone to me who has turned out to be amazing, and I am so thankful to have her in my corner.  I realize this is not easily done or attainable for everybody, but if you can, do.

10. Have a back-up plan.  I’m already researching cocktail lounges for my epic bender in the event of a negative test result.

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Author: eli

I'm trying to become a mom. I write about that and other things here. Welcome to my little corner of the web.

34 thoughts on “ten tips for surviving the two week wait

  1. Just found out H2 is planning on competing in a triathlon if the test result is negative. I’ll perhaps not mention my backup plan.

  2. I like the epic bender idea. I HATE the two week wait. It makes you bananas.

  3. These are great, thanks. I’ve already been doing a few of these (and had my epic bender last weekend – i can’t even think about tequila right now…) but i’d love to try acupuncture and i might even make a paper chain X

    • I’m so glad to hear from people who also go on end-of-wait benders…makes me feel better. I recommend the chain. I’ve decided I was less of a mess when I was doing that. I think there’s got to be a balance of grounding and distraction. Distraction alone doesn’t cut it, I’m discovering.

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  5. *anxiously reaching for paper and scissors to form loopy chain of fertility countdown madness* I’m the rookie. I’ve already mucked this up to some extent. I took a HPT way too soon because the uncertainty was driving me nuts. One minute I think I am, then I think I’m not. I think I want anyone to talk to about this…..anyone who understands of course but I’m terrified of finding one of those online boards. Thank you for your honest post. It found me at the right time. I feel less alone in this. And you seem pretty normal about the craziness….

    • Welcome to the club, my dear! I’m so sorry you had to join, and I hope you can trade in your membership card for some diapers in a few days! If there’s any silver lining to any of this, it’s feeling like as a result of going through it you’re able to make somebody else feel a little less alone in it, so thanks for taking a moment to say what you said. Consider me one of the people you can talk to. I can’t promise I’m normal – but I’m a listening ear if you want to drop me a line :) Sending up a prayer for you and hoping your wait ends soon!

  6. I love the idea of the paper chain! I’m definitely going to do it on my future 2 week waits. My first ever 2 week wait with treatment is over in approximately 36 hours and it has been the most brutal experience. I think the paper chain will really help me have something to focus on.

    • Hi Rachel – how did your 2 week wait end? I hope you had some good news! These waits are brutal. I hope you don’t have another wait ahead of you, but if you do, I hope the paper chain helps. I find it’s good to have an anchor to return to throughout the day. xo

  7. Love this!!! I’m a week into the 2ww. We have a trip planned to visit my bro-in-law in Sydney, Australia during my 40th birthday. I am guessing that is the only thing keeping me calm right now. If it didn’t work this time around, at least I’ll be partying with all the Aussies on the beach!! ;) Most definitely going to do the paper chain if this round is a bust!! xo

  8. I’m at day 7 post IUI. I’m totally, completely, 100% sure I’m not pregnant. Except that I have a headache and that’s supposed to be a symptom, so maybe I am. Except that my boobs feel normal, so I’m not. Except that I’m exhausted, so maybe I am. Except that I’m taking hormones and all those things are side effects, so probably not. Except that my sister and mother each had a dream that I was. Except that other people’s dreams don’t actually mean anything, so maybe not.

    I used to be a rational, focused person with good career potential. Now I surf the web every 10 minutes googling some variant of “early pregnancy symptoms” in the middle of the day at work. This cannot hold.

    Thanks for your tips and for writing well.

    • THANK YOU, Amy, for stating exactly what I am going through. This is our 5th IUI, and I am 4 DPO. This IUI was different in that I had to take 100 mg of Clomid daily and then had to give myself a trigger shot. Our doctor also had us do a back-to-back IUI. Needless to say, this is like the longest two weeks ever and I feel like a complete nut job.

    • Amy – It’s August ’14 and I just read this blog and your comment. I’m a whopping 1DPO and already googling how to keep myself busy during the 2WW. Your comment made me laugh out loud. I’m not sure how funny you meant to be, but it made me laugh because that’s probably what goes on in all of our heads during the dreaded 2WW. Thanks for the giggle!

    • this is me!!!

  9. Pingback: i’d like to give up infertility for lent this year | Eli's Corner

  10. Thank you for this… It is very thoughtful and helpful. I have stayed away from forums and blogs for the past year in dealing with this ridiculous rollercoaster, but this is so well written and candid. I am glad I came across it. Good luck to you and thanks again.

  11. This is some great advice, the best I’ve seen for the two week wait. I might just try the paper chain because I do well with tangible actions counting down to a date. Thanks for the ideas!

  12. Awesome post! I am starting today the second week of my second IUI and you described so much of what I have gone trough! I will have to read more of your blog and update myself as this already a year old but still useful! :) Thanks for sharing

  13. Eli, thanks for sharing. Your post really touched me. I have 2 days to go on my two week wait and I’ve started to get even more anxious. Good luck to you.

  14. We’ve been TTC for a year and 10 months now. At the 10 month mark last year my period was late and I went into the doctors office feeling happy and excited, thinking that she was going to tell me I was pregnant. Turned out I had an abnormal, potentially cancerous cyst that needed to be surgically removed. I made it through that and thankfully no cancer was found. Then in February 2014 and again in March I had early pregnancy losses. It devastated me. The TWW since then has been especially hard on me.

    Right now I’m on round 4 of clomid and I’ve finally learnt to relax and ignore the TWW for the most part. But after feeling a bunch of symptoms over the past few days I finally gave in today and, despite the fact that my period is only due tomorrow, took a pregnancy test. The result was negative and though I know it’s still a little early, I’m feeling heart broken, disappointed and all around crappy.

    Thank you for your post. Almost all the posts out there and most of my friends resort to the “Just don’t think about it and it will happen” advice. Like I couldn’t have come up with that one myself. Your post is the first one that really spoke to me and the struggle we go through. Keep writing darling… your words help make my heart a little lighter. If this month is a bust I am definitely going to make a paper chain for my next TWW :)

    • It’s such a rocky, pull-you-in-all-directions, exhausting and at times utterly heartbreaking process. I’m so sorry for your losses and that you’re going through all of this. Thanks for writing. I’m glad to hear my rambling was of some help. I’m hoping that this month wasn’t a bust. If so, though, sending a virtual hug and hoping those drinks with girlfriends were good ones. All the best to you!

  15. Oh! And if AF decides to visits this month, I’m going to be ready for her with a plan to go drinking with some girlfriends :)

  16. This post and the endometriosis post helped such a lot. I’m also half way through my ‘2week wait’ of 2nd round of superovulation. After 2years if ttc. Getting disheartened and thinking of distractions and other things to talk to close friends I have confided in. Going to attempt accupuncher next! So thank u so much and fingers crossed.

  17. Eli,
    I am so glad that I came across your post. I am 5 days post IUI and could really relate to your post & all of the comments. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for me through this process…very good days & very bad days. It’s comforting to know that so many other women are going through the same thing. The wait is so tough!

  18. I found this post right on time! I’m about 7 hours away from my very first IUI after a failed IVF 6months ago. Took my Ovitrelle shot yesterday morning. DH has very low count and I recently found out I have a blocked tube. I’m preparing for my two week wait making my list to keep myself busy. Definitely going to make that paper chain now to help ease this 2ww. I’m guessing I will have my blood test due on April 1st. Meanwhile it’s my hubby’s 35th birthday on 23rd March hope I’m calm and in the mood to celebrate and my 30th birthday is on April 4th so obviously there won’t be any drinking on his birthday but whether I will get drunk on my birthday or not depends on the outcome of this cycle. Trying to stay positive and praying hard. Thanks Eli :)

  19. I found this blog just in time…I am nearing the end of the wait (for the 3 rd round) and have experienced this roller coaster ride of emotion. It’s good to giggle, and reading this today gave me just that. I’m ready as someone else had noted earlier..to give up Infertility for Lent this Year!!

  20. Thanks for your blog! It was helpful! I’m going to check out the meditations.

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