Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Two Week Wait (2WW)

I have to write this post today as it is two weeks tomorrow that I wrote about my first attempt at pregnancy. In real life it takes two eternal weeks before you can find out if you are pregnant - it would seem, dear readers, that you are going to have to suffer the wait in real time.  

The 2WW - which looks something like the Second World War and is only slightly more traumatic - is not a phenomenon exclusive to women undertaking fertility treatment. Of course everyone who is trying to get pregnant (or trying not to) has to wait about two weeks to find out the success or failure of their efforts. The thing about fetility treatment, and especially IVF, is that you cannot simply try again next month. Apart from having to wait at least a couple of months for the drugs to wear off and your hormones to settle down (both chemically and emotionally), there is also the cost involved. All in all, the amount you put in - effort, emotion, money - is directly correlated to the level of pressure to succeed and the disappointment if you don't.

If you look up IVF websites there are pages of message boards featuring women going crazy over the 2WW. Every feeling, every twinge, every dream, smell, desire to eat something unusual, is examined. The most frequent, desperate question is: I don't feel anything, does that mean I'm definitely not pregnant? This is usually followed by half a dozen replies along the lines of: Don't worry, I didn't feel a thing either and I'm now in my sixth month!

Other questions relate to bleeding (Don't worry, etc, etc... and I'm now in my seventh month), how much you can exert yourself (Don't worry, I accidently picked up a sack of potatoes and I'm now in my eighth month), and women just trying to get throught the wait and looking for general support. Scroll down a few pages and the supportees become the supporters, whilst simultaneously becoming novices on the confirmed pregnant board (Don't worry, etc, etc... and now I have beautiful twin boys!)

The first week wasn't so bad as the blood-test seems so far away that you might as well forget about it. I told three or four friends. The second week is much harder, not least because you expect to start feeling something. I went to a friend for lunch and there was another single woman there whom I'd known for years and we used to be quite close. I pulled her outside to the garden and told her excitedly that I might be pregnant.

Instant fertility education lesson 1: Be careful what you say to your single or childless friends as there may be a whole lorry-load of emotions parked somewhere inside them. One word on the subject from a prematurely excited possibly pregnant person is like taking off the handbrake and sending that lorry down a ski-jump. Everyone's reaction is different. This friend, in her late 40s, launched into a speech about how she had never wanted children herself. I was shocked. All I had expected was a, "Good luck, I hope it works."

I played along, "yes I know that's never been your thing..." I had no concept of a woman never wanting a child but I needed her to stop. I realised that, in my eagerness to share, I had been insensitive and I wanted to stop her discomfort but I also resented slightly that I had to be apologetic about something so patently wonderful. Why did my decision have to be a negation of all her life choices? I now know that at 47 she still had time to become a mother (with ovum donation and IVF, or adoption) had she wanted to. But back then I thought she had missed the boat and I was kicking myself for opening my big mouth.

Over the next week I still felt nothing. At the back of my mind was the memory of sitting for over an hour clutching my little vial of sperm whilst waiting for a treatment room and a doctor to become available for my IUI. However, I found myself encouraged by the 2WW cheerleaders on the website and I told a few more friends. Maybe talking about would make it happen? Everyone you ask says that positive thinking is a great help. I was nothing if not positive in my thinking at least.


  1. :-), I know exactly what the 2ww is like even though I wasn't supposed to be getting pregnant. My OH didn't want any more kids but I just knew when something happened around the end of March that this could possibly be the start of it.
    BTW are you going to have any more?

  2. No more for me - see my post called: An Only Child. Thanks for commenting Em.

  3. I know the 2ww as we were TTC'ing for over two years. Luckily for me it is no longer an issue as our family is now complete but I do feel for you and anyone else going through that wait.
    Fingers crossed for you

  4. Thanks Mari but I didn't make myself clear. This all happened in 2005. I now have a beautiful two year old daughter. I am writing my story - along with regular blog posts - in instalments. I'm glad you had a happy outcome.