How I would have loved a VIP lane to sweep me through those torturous 14 days of the two week wait (or 2ww). Anyone who has been through it knows this living hell. These are the heady days between your pregnancy attempt and your pregnancy test. Emotions are raw. You second guess every feeling, every symptom. Time moves like treacle. Never has two weeks been so over analysed and so often wrong. For so many of us there are 6 common phases to go through to get to the nirvana of a positive pregnancy test. Here’s the go:
Phase 1. ‘Resigned Optimism’. The start is always positive. You feel hopeful but maybe a bit guarded (particularly if this isn’t your first cycle). You know that you’ve done everything that you can to make it happen, and now you just have to wait it out. It’s going to be OK, let’s just get into it. This lasts maybe a day, two days max…
Phase 2. ‘Holy shit I know I AM pregnant’. You just feel it. And importantly you look for ways to confirm it – ‘my boobs feel bigger’ (I must be pregnant), ‘my stomach feels bloated’ (I must be pregnant), ‘I feel a little bit nauseous’ (I must be pregnant). You feel buoyant and positive, you just know that drinking your smoothies, taking your vits, doing yoga and meditation, acupuncture and herbs has finally payed off. Woohoo. Sadly this positivity lasts maybe 3 days and then doubt takes over.
Phase 3. ‘I’m definitely NOT pregnant’. You don’t feel anything is working. It’s all wrong. You feel that you should be able to tell if it’s working and instinctively you don’t. You don’t see the signs, your boobs don’t feel as sore. Nothing is happening, you’re cross with yourself for getting your hopes up (‘what was I thinking saying that I’m pregnant, of course I’m not’.) Depression sinks in.
Phase 4. ‘Seethe & Stew’. These are the middle yawning days of the 2ww. A savannah of mind numbingly slow hours and minutes. There are lots of tears, anxiety, and much chocolate. You try and keep busy but in the back of your mind you have this little voice saying ‘it’s working / it’s not working’ and the voice goes round in your head like a mechanical monkey over and over driving you mad. You turn to instagram community and lean on the support of your TTC friends. You ask their advice – you get ‘eat more pineapple’, or ‘get your hubby to hold your legs in the air and jiggle them up and down – it worked for me!’. You spend hours on google looking at ‘signs that show you are pregnant in your 2ww’ but nothing is clear.
Phase 5. ‘Screw Waiting’. At about day 10 when madness has truly kicked in you decide now is the perfect time to buy a pregnancy test (in bulk if necessary). You just need to know. You heard about a friends friends cousin who did a test day 8 and found out they were pregnant, so it must work this early (even if you’ve been categorically been told not to do this by your doctor).
Phase 6. is ‘Total Exhaustion’. You’ve turned into a complete nutter. You don’t know if you’re coming or going. You disregard everything that you’ve ever felt about yourself. You know that even if you say it’s OK if it hasn’t worked, it’s not. Jacked up on hormones and deep emotion you feel that now is the ideal time to start analysing your fertility future. It’s a bit like working heavy machinery while drunk, just not a good idea. You start to think about your next cycle, how quickly you can start again on the seemingly never ending roller coaster ride that is your fertility journey.*
(Can you relate to this? Did I miss any craziness? Would love to hear! Please share comments below).
*I’m not going to tell you that the 2ww is great. It’s not. But one thing I know from first hand experience. You just can’t second guess it. I’ve had 2ww’s where I got my period day 8, other 2ww’s where I didn’t get my period and on day 14 thought I was pregnant and I wasn’t. When I was finally told that I was pregnant I didn’t believe it. I didn’t feel anything, no nausea, nothing, and I went on to have my healthy twin boys. The thing is that you just don’t know. All you can do is try and keep open and trust that all will be well.
One thing that really helped was practicing my breathing techniques, and I did that religiously. When I practiced I felt so much calmer and more able to cope. Slowing down and taking time – with my breath, but also how I lived my life over those 14 days. Being conscious of how I was thinking and when I started to get negative trying to catch myself and then breathing out that tension and letting go. I also tried to find slivers of lightness amidst the dark times. Consciously looking for a happy moment, a non baby making chat with a friend, a laugh with my husband. Trying to find these small points to normalise this crazy situation we found ourselves in was also hugely helpful.
Over the years I’ve had many conversations with women who have gone through the 2ww and found out that it hasn’t worked. Very often the next step is to start planning how soon you can get into the next cycle. If you’ve been here (and I know I have) I cannot advise you enough to do the opposite. Now is the time not to keep pushing, but to pull back. This might sound counter intuitive, but when you’re high on hormones and deeply emotional this is not the time to start analysing and planning for future conception. If you can, pause. If you can, take a break and let yourself come back into balance. You will be in a better state and your body in a more receptive place to take the next steps towards baby making. ‘But what about getting older?’ I hear your shout. ‘I’ve been told I’ve got old eggs, I haven’t much time!’ We’ve all heard these stories or been told them ourselves, but I really believe the benefits you gain from finding calm and some equilibrium again will serve you better for your next cycle. Time and again I have seen success come because of this more caring, softer, gentle approach. If this resonates with you, listen to that inner wisdom. Act on it.
(Do you have any advice on what kept you sane during your 2ww? Please share in comments below).
Love Mel x