Sometimes I look at the position we’re in right now; have voluntarily put ourselves in, and I wonder what the heck we were thinking coming back here again. Here we are, half way through the 2-week wait, and I feel utterly miserable.
Yes this post will perhaps come across melodramatic and extremely negative and I apologise unreservedly to those of you reading this from the infertility community who are doing your level best to keep a positive mind-set and think good thoughts, but I had forgotten just how torturous this period could be and right now it feels that we must be mad.
Of course that sounds extremely flippant and if the result turns out to be the one we so desperately want, none of this will seem hard anymore; we will look back on our IVF cycles with fond memories and cherish our little baby that we wouldn’t have had but for the hardships. But in the meantime, every day is tough at the moment.
The main reason being is that I am absolutely terrified of bleeding again. Every day I feel movement down below; cramping, bloating and for the past 2 days a constant stitch in my side. Now the wonderful world of Google (which I am purposefully staying off of this time) would tell you that these could all be positive symptoms; it is widely known that if an embryo decides to implant you can often suffer cramping and even a bit of implantation bleeding. However, the sensible Rachel also tells me that this could still be after-effects from the egg retrieval, or it could be a sign my period is on its way or it could mean nothing at all. To try and convince myself that I’m pregnant from a few symptoms is just asinine; and it’s not a road I can even contemplate going down.
I also feel pretty unwell in general. I’ve had the start of a cold since last week which never seems to come to anything, I feel absolutely exhausted all of the time, I have headaches, achy joints and my skin and hair are in a terrible condition. I believe this still to be the repercussions of the cycle itself, the down-regulators and the hormones so I’m just trying to use these 2 weeks to be as quiet and relaxed as I can possibly be. I’ve been doing the Zita West post-transfer meditation which I can’t recommend highly enough just for calming thoughts and visualising the embryos latching on and growing inside me. In my opinion it really is brilliant and definitely worth a download for anyone who is looking for ways to relax and keep your thoughts in line.
During our first cycle I made a list of all the do’s and don’ts for during the 2 week wait. I got a couple of the items from our clinic and the rest from the internet. And that was my mistake right there. I realise that having so much information at our fingertips can be wonderful and certainly I have felt enormous benefit from being able to connect with infertile couples from all over the world. However, I have learned this cycle that most of the ‘tips’ that I have read on the internet regarding the 2 week wait are complete rubbish. Clearly the main ones of no drinking or smoking are pretty obvious as we all know the health effects of these habits in general, never mind when you’re trying to get pregnant.
However, the last time I denied myself of certain foods, didn’t allow myself any baths, no hot water bottles, kept socks on at all times, didn’t do this, didn’t do that and for what? It didn’t work anyway! This time I was determined to get more information from my clinic so on the day of the embryo transfer I started reeling off my list to our nurse and it was all she could do to stop herself from laughing. She reiterated to me again to STAY OFF THE INTERNET! Most of what I had restricted last time I had no need to! I could enjoy my baths (as long as they weren’t scalding hot), have as many hot water bottles as I wanted and pretty much eat what I wanted (aside from the main food poisoning trigger foods). She told me just to be sensible; not to have too much of one thing, not too much caffeine (I don’t drink tea or coffee but do enjoy a coke zero now and then) and to try and avoid any medication for the 2 weeks (aside from paracetamol if I really needed it). I must admit I felt so much relief. Especially about the baths, as they are my place of zen and without them I do tense up, which is not exactly ideal right now!
What I have learned most from this cycle is that IVF is not an exact science. Yes there are things we can do to increase our chances from the outset where our health, nutrition and lifestyle are concerned and I firmly believe that you need to give yourself a good base to start from in order to have a decent shot at this. However whether or not I eat the core of a pineapple (a seemingly ‘proven’ IVF method) is certainly not going to change whether I get pregnant or not. Again apologies to anyone who is following a strict fertility diet or believes in all these IVF myths. This is only my opinion and if it helps you on your journey then more power to you. And I’m sure there are people who have done exactly what the internet has told them to the letter and ended up pregnant, but how will they ever know if it was from that or it was just luck? And maybe I’m wrong, or my clinic has advised us wrongly and if I was doing all this perhaps I would be increasing my chances, but I just feel it is all added pressure that I really don’t need. To my mind, IVF is like rolling the dice, sometimes you get lucky, more often than not you don’t. The odds are shitty, but we all know that going in.
All in all the absolute worst part about this stage is that there is nothing we can do. I really wish there was some way I could help the embryos attach, to keep them safe and encourage them to grow and hold on with all their might. But anything that I can do, I have done. I have followed my instructions from my clinic and now all we can do is wait, and that is the hardest part of all. Waiting for more heartbreak or waiting for euphoric happiness. Only time will tell.