The infamous two-week wait (TWW) following an embryo transfer or iui feels more like a two-year wait; as such, most women and couples find it a bit excruciating.
It is not easy to handle the conflicting emotions that ensue – feeling excited and hopeful while trying not to get too excited and hopeful. For couples who have experienced failed IVF cycles in the past, the desire to remain calm and detached is even stronger, and even more challenging to manage.
Remaining Sane During the TWW
After decades of helping infertile individuals and couples start their families, we’ve learned a handful of things that help our patients remain sane during the TWW.
1. Make time for venting and emoting as needed
Trying to “keep calm and carry on,” or to “not think about it,” is virtually impossible for 14 of the longest days of your life. Instead, we’ve seen that women who allow themselves some time to be less controlled have a better time of it.
Giving yourself 15 minutes once or twice a day (longer if need be) to vent, emote, and obsess about your situation s a smart idea. Scream curses at the universe, punch a pillow, cry and wail, or jot all the negative things you feel into a journal to relieve the pressure cooker and clear the air. Then you can get back to the business of “keeping calm and carrying on…”
2. Don’t take time off if it’s not good for you
Typically, women take a day or two off after their embryo transfer to relax and process their experience. Some prefer to take the full two weeks off work – or a decent portion of it – because they fear they’ll be too distracted to work. For others, however, keeping busy is the best way to pass the time and make the days go by faster. Knowing which type of person you are can help you create a better balance between busyness and time off.
3. Go on a date night
You know something we’ve never heard in our office? “Wow, all these fertility medications, scheduled intercourse, and the ups and downs of the infertility journey have really boosted our romance and sex life.”
The great news after the embryo(s) is transferred is that for the first time, in potentially a long time, there is nothing for you to do to increase your chances of getting pregnant. You have two full weeks to luxuriate in being you, and we highly recommend spending some of that time rekindling the connection, intimacy, fun, and romance in your relationship.
4. Take yourself outside for walks, hikes, bike rides, swims, etc.
While high-impact sports and extreme physical exercise is off the table at this point, gentle and moderate exercise is recommended – even during IVF treatments. Get yourself active for at least 30-minutes each day. If the weather is decent and you can get outdoors, even better. Studies show that exercise and nature work wonders for reducing stress, improving moods, and helping you get a better night’s sleep.
5. Start enlisting the extra support you need
Those who are newer to the fertility treatment journey don’t always realize how important it is to have outside support. As we mentioned in our post outlining Infertility Support in Northern California, “Infertility support comes in many forms.”
For some, it means enlisting help from a licensed therapist or counselor specializing in infertility. Other patients find it immensely helpful to read infertility blogs or to join a local support group. There are even online infertility support groups for those who feel less comfortable meeting in person.
While you may tend to go more inward during this time (and that’s fine!), do start to consider what mode(s) of support you may need along the way as you journey through the inevitable ups and downs of fertility treatments and early parenthood.
Ultimately, there has never been a better time for you to practice self-care. Be kind, gentle, and nourishing to your body, mind, and spirit. The team here at the Northern California Fertility Medical Center wishes you the very best TWW.