The Two Week Wait: A Narrative in Anxiety

When undergoing any kind of infertility treatment, after treatment, you have to wait two weeks to see if the treatment was successful. This is basically torture. Here’s a chronicle of how most of my 5 two week waits after IUIs went.

Day -6: Begin ovulation tests, knowing that this is a waste of time and money, but is required by your fertility doctor.

Day 0: After needing to go to the bathroom for three hours, go and do your ovulation test. You are, of course, at work, so you have to jury rig a way to do it in the tiny bathroom stall and then smuggle it back to your desk drawer for the 5-10 minutes it takes the results to develop. Open your drawer every two minutes. See a faint line.

Call the fertility center and schedule the IUI. The only slot they have open is at noon tomorrow and 9:30 the day after. The center is in metro unaccessible Maryland and is an hour round trip from your office.

Try to decide what excuse you’re going to use with your boss this time, friend from out of town, appointment you forgot to mention, or doctor needs some tests. You decide to go with doctor needing tests and then going over results the next day. Tell your boss. Become convinced she knows you’re trying to conceive.

Day 1: Make the call to thaw your donor… materials… 90 minutes before the appointment. Juuust make it out of the office in time for the wife to pick you up. Get caught up in endless beltway traffic. Call the office at 11:50 to let them know you’re going to be late. Get their lunch time recording, which is supposed to start at noon.

Freak out. Get to the office at 12:05. Sign in. Realize your panic about being late was, as usual, moot, as you wait half an hour for them to call your name. Chat nervously with your wife about nothing. The physician’s assistant you like with the blue eyeshadow takes you to an exam room, where you undress from the waist down. Put the scrub over your lap as you sit, nervous, doing positive visioning, holding your wife’s hand.

The doctor comes in. Awkward small talk as they confirm you are who you say you are and the sample is from the correct individual. Small talk continues as the procedure occurs, and then they leave you alone in a dark room to stare at a mobile for 5 minutes, continuing to do positive visioning, holding your wife’s hand.

She drives you back to the office. You still feel oddly sore and full inside. You have already started to guess whether this procedure works. Your 90 minute doctor’s appointment was just over 2 hours and you still have to eat lunch. You sit at the desk for the rest of the day, tilting your feet up and your pelvis down, just in case.

Day 2: Get up with just enough time to make the call, walk the dog, get dressed and get coffee before heading out the door. Nervous car chatter about nothing. Worry about commuter traffic, but manage to make it in at 9:25 for a 9:30 appointment. Sign in. Wait 20 minutes past appointment time until the physician assistant you don’t like takes you to a different room with a different mobile. Everything else is identical to the time before, except the awkward small talk is different. The wife drives you to work, you come in at 11:15, pretend like you’re on time and try to get back to your job while propping your feet up and tilting your pelvis back, just in case.

Day 3: You’re really starting to feel going down to only one cup of coffee a day and no diet coke. Become convinced that this is a pregnancy symptom. Give your stomach reiki at night as you fall asleep.

Day 4: You’ve already decided whether or not this round was successful and you have decided that this one isn’t. The super hopeful voice reminds you of other success stories where people didn’t think it worked until it did. Tell the hopeful voice that your expectations cannot be high. Hopeful voice tells you about other people with low expectations who were happily surprised. Hopeful voice is an asshole.

Day 5: Nearly fall asleep at your desk from lack of caffeine. Decide that this, too, is a pregnancy symptom.

Get bored at class and do visioning work for a successful pregnancy rather than pay attention.

Day 6: Begin to really, really chafe at the exercise restrictions they have you on. It’s bad enough to leave your weightlifting class for two weeks, but giving up jogging is even crueler. You are so close to finishing the Couch to 5K program and then starting Zombies, Run! You have plans! Console yourself with the fact that if you are pregnant, you can’t do either for 9 months. Find this poor consolation.

Day 7: Remember you are actually still gainfully employed and in grad school and try to do your work. You are only semisuccessful.

Day 8: Listen to the This American Life about how acetaminophen will kill you. Take an acetaminophen for a headache, because ibuprofen is off limits. The acetaminophen, it does nothing.

Day 9: Become obsessed with your boobs. Are they sore? Are they bigger? Are they bigger and sore? Are you just wearing your wife’s bra today?

Day 10: Start counting the days until you can take the pregnancy test. Look at a calendar for reassurance. Count again later that night. Start couching it in terms that show that hours have gone by and you are closer.

Day 11: Begin fantasizing about taking the pregnancy test in 4 mornings and how you’ll respond when you see the second line. Will you go silent? Will you cry? Will you scream and wake up your wife?

The lack of weight conditioning class is making you a cranky, tired asshole. How will you be able to lift the kid if you don’t work your arms before this? WHY did the doctors forbid Zumba, body pump and jogging? Why don’t they just ban joy while they’re at it?

Day 12: Begin spotting that night. Become convinced it is implantation bleeding and are ecstatic for an hour, until it gets heavier. Take an ‘Implantation Bleeding or Period?’ quiz online. It tells you you’re probably not pregnant. Continue to stay in denial.

Day 13: Even though you are clearly having your period, take a pregnancy test. It comes out negative. Cry. Email your case manager and begin making arrangements for next month’s testing.

Day 14: Despite the fact that you are still bleeding copiously from your crotch, become convinced that you are, in fact, pregnant. Recall every clip of ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ you watched on the Soup. Know you are crazy. Hope anyway.

Day 15: The day you were supposed to take the pregnancy test originally. Take another one. It comes out negative. You are still hurt by it. Cry again. Stay convinced you are pregnant until day -6 rolls around the next time and you have to start ovulation testing.

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