The Two Week Wait

Erin Bulcao

IVF Warrior Mom, and Infertility Advocate @mybeautifulblunder

This is by far the hardest wait time in the history of waiting. I’ve gone through 9 of these and all have been through either IVF or an IUI, meaning I’m FULLY aware of every little thing going on in my body when everything should ultimately be happening.

My entire infertility journey, as so many can attest to, is filled with waiting. We wait for our cycle to start so that we can start medications, we wait for our ovaries to respond, we wait for the results from an egg extraction, we wait to see if we have viable embryos and we wait for our bodies to go back to “normal’ so that we can start hormones again to transfer one of these little guys (that’s if everything goes as planned of course). But then we have to wait again. This is one no one warns you about. No one tells you how incredibly stressful and emotional this TWW is. No one tells you that you will not be able to think about anything other than what’s hopefully going on inside your uterus. No one tells you that you will be emotional and not be able to do much else with sanity. No one tells you that your body is also reacting to the added hormones administered during an IVF transfer which confuse your body and makes you think you’re pregnant because all the signs are there. Nope, no one tells you anything other than “We will draw your blood in 2 weeks to see if you’re pregnant”. Great.

Every TWW was different but the same for me. I always started off so hopeful and excited. I knew the first three days not much could happen so I rested and felt pregnant in my mind (since they call you “pregnant until proven otherwise” or “PUPO”). BUT then the reality sets in. You’re on day 4/5 and you think you should be feeling this implantation, you should get cramps and feel something! And then you do and you get so excited. But then you wonder if it’s the medications messing with your mind again. You have a good cry and plow through because you don’t want to test too early at home and pee on a stick and end up with a false negative or a false positive. So you continue being pregnant for now.

You start changing your routine and you plan for the next few months as if you are pregnant. You change your diet, your plans and your routine to fit this new chapter of your life. Only to realize that it could all come crumbling down in a few days. But nonetheless how can you not pretend to be pregnant? How can you not get excited?

You start to squeeze your breasts because if they’re sore it could mean you’re pregnant. If they hurt at all this could be a sign. You start to feel bloated and heavy in your uterus and think this could be it. You’re exhausted, mentally and physically so you must be pregnant. You are so excited again! You have only a few days left and you feel so confident.

But if you’re like me, if you have a bad relationship with pregnancy tests, you don’t even come near them. You don’t test at home because every test you’ve ever taken has been negative. You don’t want to face bad news just yet, you’re trying to hang on to hope. So you start to cry, you worry and are filled with anxiety because beta day is approaching and truthfully you have no idea what to expect. You’ve been here before, with all the symptoms and the signs because estrogen and progesterone are being given to you in such high dosages. Your butt hurts from the shots and your body aches from all the changes it’s gone through for the past weeks, months and years.

But you’re reminded that it doesn’t matter how you feel right now, it won’t change the outcome. So you wipe your tears, get back up and pretend that you’re not thinking about this 24/7. You go out to dinner (pre covid) and try to have a normal conversation that doesn’t include what you’re sitting in. You try to go on walks, read, get things “done,” but it doesn’t help. Nothing takes away the battle that you have going on in your head during this time.

Beta day is here. It’s the worst day. For me it was anyway. The amount of anxiety I felt waking up that day is indescribable. You could throw up, smile and have the constant shakes because you’re so nervous, excited but mostly scared. You know this little test could change your life. But it could also mean you have to start over. You might have to have another egg retrieval, you might not be able to do that, you might have to face another transfer or IUI. All of the what if’s start to arise. You go in for your bloodwork. This could be it.

You wait. Out of the entire TWW these few hours are the longest. You sit on your couch because what else could you possibly do. You stare at your phone and analyze why you haven’t gotten a call. Is it negative because they haven’t called yet? Are they waiting to call everyone at one time? Your phone vibrates, texts come in, other phone calls come in but you have to ignore them.

And then you get the call. You answer without willingness. You don’t want this bubble to end. You close your eyes because you know how the nurse sounds if it’s bad news. You’re hoping she sounds different this time. You wait.

“Hi Erin, unfortunately the test was negative. You’re not pregnant. Please stop all medications and we will see you for your follow up appointment.” Your world collapses. WTF is all you can think, how will I ever do this again.

But in my case you just do. I just did. Over and over again until I finally got the call, the one I had dreamed of. “ERIN!! You’re pregnant!” It took 3 years, 7 transfers, one miscarriage and one IUI to get this rainbow baby. It took so many TWWs, but that call finally allowed me to stop waiting after so many years of feeling like I would always be in the waiting zone.