I often see the “two week wait” referred to as the most torturous time of IVF. While I agree that it can be a highly stressful time… I must disagree about it being the MOST torturous time…
For those not familiar with IVF terminology, the “two week wait” is the time from when an embryo is transferred into your uterus until the time you return to the doctors office for a blood test to check your HCG level, which determines if the procedure worked or not—in layman’s terms: if you’re pregnant.
Keep in mind this is no simple pregnancy test… this test comes as the culmination of (often times) months of intramuscular injections, medications, doctor visits and ultrasounds, blood draws… and usually previous negative results. You literally feel the gravity of so much riding on this one result.
I have endured a total of NINE “two week waits” if you count the three rounds of IUIs we did prior to IVF. The first five “two week waits” I would say were pretty sufferable, but after that I learned how to control my mind and really figured out how to minimize the stress of waiting the two weeks to find out if it worked or not.
However, as I said, the most torturous time is not the “two week wait,” but instead the time from when the blood gets drawn in the morning until whenever they call you with the result. That one hour or several hours wait is much more stressful than any “two week wait” because you know that the time for the moment of truth has come. All the work has been done and there’s nothing left to do, no more time to delay or forget that you’re waiting for something… now you’re just waiting for the phone call that will give you that one simple answer.
I remember each of the phone calls for all six IVF cycle results…
The first call came when I was in a cafe and had just ordered lunch. Tamer was with me and had been just as anxious as I was waiting for the call. It was our first IVF cycle and we were overly and naïvely optimistic. I felt a lump in my throat as the nurse told me the negative result and I could barely manage to shake my head as Tamer stood looking so hopeful in front of me.
The second one was not even a call… it was an email, that for some reason felt worse than a phone call. We were on vacation in Honolulu and it was the day after Christmas… I read the email while I sat on the bed and looked out the sliding patio door to a thunder and lightening storm outside. As the rain poured completely sideways and made the view of the ocean impossible to see, a lone seagull sat huddled against the glass on the patio floor and somehow I knew that poor creature was not nearly as miserable as I was in that moment.
The third call came when I was at home, and as I stood at the kitchen counter holding my breath felt an explosion of relief, joy and triumph as I received the good news that I was finally pregnant with the embryo that became Enzo.
The fourth call came about an hour after I left the doctors office and as I was standing inside of an In-n-Out waiting to pick up my order. Dr. Anderson himself called me that time and he was so happy to tell me that I was pregnant; that embryo became Vincent.
The fifth call came late in the afternoon while I was at Lowe’s. There’s really nothing like receiving a negative result over the phone while you’re in a public place. You’re not free to feel your emotions or yield a true response… instead you just bottle it up and push it down so nobody around you sees it, and then go about whatever you were doing before the call came.
The sixth call has not come yet… and so we wait some more with the same resolve and perseverance as when we first began.