For the last year or so, each month has been roughly divided into two parts. Part A, in which we work on getting pregnant, and Part B, in which we wait with bated breath for the results of our efforts.
As everyone in this infertility boat knows, Part B sucks. That two week wait is horrendous. You hope for the best. You try to manage your expectations. You Google every twinge and yawn. You dream of getting good news, and what you might do with that joy. You count down the days. You’re filled with dread. You’re giddy with excitement. You are waiting, with a capital W.
If you look up “ways to survive the two week wait” online, there’s a popular list that involves ideas like: Look up the meanings of your favorite baby names. Take a walk and plan your stroller route. Clean out your closet so your new maternity clothes have room.
Oof. For someone that’s suffered through almost two years of two week waits and negative news, that’s a tiiiiiiny bit too much of positive thinking for me.
There are also some super sweet ideas about making gratitude daisy chains or a 2WW advent calendar. Those kinds of ideas didn’t appeal to me, though – I think because I was looking for distractions instead of dwelling on the waiting time.
Here are some things I did end up doing while on this IVF 2WW (really more like Tuesday to the following Friday, 10 days).
- Read a lot of historical romance novels… yep I said it.
- Binge watched a ton of movies and tv shows (Supergirl and Suits – THANK YOU for taking up countless hours of my waiting time)
- Listened to a lot of podcasts, especially true crime podcasts… My Favorite Murder made me laugh even on my lowest days
- Made up random plans with non-pregnant friends for random days of the week, so I always had something to look forward to
- Planned out some fun things to do for the weekend of my first beta test… so if I was pregnant, we could celebrate, and if not, I’d have something to take my mind of off the sadness
- (not really cool add) Work… my work has been crazy, so I spent a lot of the 2WW stressed out and anxious about work… at some points work anxiety was eclipsing the 2WW anxiety. I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad!
I think I did pretty well with the 2WW right up until the very end. By the last couple of days, I was tearing my hear out at work, so stressed out about the beta, and just completely out of my mind. But the days passed by, and finally it was Friday – the day of my beta test. Pregnant: YEA OR NAY?
Somewhere in the middle of the 2WW for my 3rd IUI, Joe and I were in the car together when I tearfully turned to him and said, “I’ve decided something. If this current IUI doesn’t work, I don’t think I’m ready for IVF. I’m young, we have a lot of time to have children, and I don’t think I’m ready to subject my body to the invasiveness of an IVF treatment cycle at this point.” I was having a bad day. But I did somewhat mean it.
A few days later, I got my period. Failed IUI, #3. I wasn’t so surprised… but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt in every way. It was harder than ever not to know what was “wrong,” after so many tries. Still unexplained, this infertility. Was it timing? Was it an undiscovered medical condition? What. Was. The. Problem?!
Back in the 2nd IUI cycle, we had a catch-up meeting with Dr. Fogle to talk through next options past IUI and so I had a general understanding of the physical and financial commitments of IVF, as well as the 6-week time commitment required. I can’t remember the moment I changed my mind and decided to move forward, but our reasons for jumping into IVF were pretty practical:
- We weren’t getting any younger, at 32 and 31. Egg reserve and health only diminish with time.
- Perhaps the IVF process would help us understand why our bodies hadn’t been working to produce a baby over the last year and a half.
- We had already met our insurance deductible for the year, and it was to our benefit to continue with IVF treatment in the same calendar year.
- We had also been saving money for a new car, and had money in the bank to write the upfront checks that IVF treatment required (insurance only covered about 70% of costs in our case).
- We were ready to see this adventure through…and ready to be parents! We’d come this far… so, we asked ourselves, why not? We didn’t want to live with the regret that we didn’t do all we could.
So, in mid-September, I started back on birth control pills for the first time in almost two years… the beginning of our next adventure.
How DO you measure a year in the life?
For the past year, I’ve measured life in cycles. 12 a year, give or take. 12 cycles, 12 chances. 12. 12!!! Until we started trying for a baby and struggling with infertility, I never truly stopped to think about how fast a year zooms by. A year of trying, where each 28-day cycle begins with huge hope, and ends with terrible disappointment. It’s a brutal rollercoaster ride we can’t escape. It’s literally life, one period at a time.
Every day, I feel like I’m running out of days. I’m hyper-aware of time passing. I get anxious when the calendar pages turn to new months. I often wish that we had started trying sooner. As soon as we were married. Heck, before!
Of course, everything’s clearer in the rearview. For now, I’m figuring out how to slow my mind down, if not my body. How to breathe. How to appreciate the present… and be thankful for the tough times as well as the good. I’m working on it.
Ugh, life is hard. Here’s some Rent to slow us down and cheer us up: