One year ago this week, I was in the two-week wait after my second frozen embryo transfer. My first one had failed, so the stakes were high and I was beside myself with fear. I hadn’t done genetic testing of my embryos, so I had no idea why my first one hadn’t stuck. Not only that, I was only 28 years old, and “IVF is supposed to work for everyone, right?” If this transfer wasn’t successful, would I ever be a mom?
On the other side of the spectrum, I had transferred two embryos this time around, which I knew in my heart was what I was supposed to do. I was hopeful that one, if not two, babies were in my future. Still, part of me convinced myself that my transfer was unsuccessful to protect myself from being devastated, just in case.
These are just some of the emotions that went through my head during the long 9 days between my frozen embryo transfer and my pregnancy test. I was no stranger to the two-week wait, but that didn’t make it any easier. The reality is, people can tell you to be positive a million times over, but after several failed cycles part of you is convinced that you may never get the good news you are hoping for.
Although I will never be the one to tell you that you need to be positive let-alone-rational during the two-week wait, (because let’s be real, who can actually do that?), I will offer a few tips for getting through that difficult time:
1. Don’t Google!
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Please, try not to Google every single phantom pregnancy symptom you have during the two-week wait! I had zero symptoms when I got my positive pregnancy test with my twins. In fact, I actually had light cramping that felt like period cramps leading up to my beta pregnancy test, which had me convinced that my transfer had failed. Unfortunately, since early pregnancy symptoms can be very similar to PMS symptoms, Googling will probably only make you even more frustrated and confused. Take it from me, and try to refrain from doing it altogether.
2. Avoid taking home pregnancy tests prior to your beta.
As tempting as it might be, try not to jump the gun and test before your beta. First of all, home pregnancy tests aren’t always accurate. If you get a negative result, it could be that it’s still too early for the test to pick up any HCG in your urine, resulting in unnecessary disappointment. If you get a positive result and did an HCG trigger shot prior to your IUI or embryo transfer, it could produce a false positive. There’s a reason your fertility doctor makes you wait a full two weeks before testing, so please try to trust them on this!
3. Distract, distract, distract.
Although it’s pretty impossible to avoid thinking about whether or not you are pregnant during the two-week wait, try to focus on other things you enjoy during this time. Take a yoga class, go to acupuncture, meditate, get a massage, go to the movies, eat some ice cream, call your best girlfriend. Basically, do anything besides speculating back and forth over whether or not you are pregnant. At the very least, you will be more relaxed, which could lead to a more favorable outcome!
4. Try to consider yourself PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise).
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I know firsthand how easy it can be to convince yourself that things didn’t go in your favor in order to protect yourself from being devastated. However, if there is a negative result at the end of the two-week wait, you are going to be disappointed regardless, so you might as well consider yourself PUPO until you know for sure. Stop consuming alcohol during this time, eat healthier, take your prenatal vitamins. Basically, treat your body as if you are already pregnant and maybe the power of positivity will tip the scales in your favor! At the very least, if the cycle doesn’t end up the way you want it to, you will have no regrets knowing you did everything in your power to give yourself the best possible odds.
5. Come up with a contingency plan with your doctor.
In order for me to stay sane throughout the fertility process, I always needed to know that I had a contingency plan in case I had yet another failed cycle. After my first frozen embryo transfer failed, I decided that if I had another unsuccessful transfer I was going to genetically test the rest of my embryos to avoid the possibility of that happening again. Having a plan for moving forward after a negative pregnancy test can help you get over the difficult reality of having to continue on in your fertility journey. Your doctors are experienced professionals, and every single cycle they learn more about your body and what will and will not work for you, so trust them to come up with a plan that will have a better chance of working for you the next time around and put your faith in that.
Although I can’t actually say that I practiced what I preach in this blog post during my agonizing two-week wait this time last year, in hindsight I wish I had. The biggest lesson I learned during my battle with infertility is that there are certain things in life that are simply out of our control. Unfortunately, when it comes to trying to conceive no amount of Googling or driving ourselves crazy speculating will change the outcome. So, to maintain your mental health & sanity, spend your two-week wait focusing on self-care. Go for a manicure/pedicure, grab dinner with a girlfriend, watch a funny movie, and relax, because girl, you are Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!