CHR Post: IVF 101- Sara’s Guide to IVF (Part V)

My latest post for the Center For Human Reproduction’s Guest Blog

In my last post, I described the last major step in the IVF process: The Embryo Transfer. What’s next? Well, it’s time for the Two Week Wait.

So congratulations to me. I made it through the weeks of intense medication, doctor visits and overall anxiety of the IVF process. So now what? Is it my time to just sit back and plan for nine months from now with the hopes of becoming a mother? Oh no. The anxiety that I felt everyday through the transfer did not go away, it just shifted. Now that the transfer was done, I was about to embark on the next part of IVF known as the Two Week Wait. (No, I did not invent this phrase.) The Two Week Wait (also known as TWW) is the two-week period in between the transfer and your scheduled pregnancy test. If you’re reading this post, your question may be “How do you handle the TWW and how is this time period different from the other stages of IVF?”

Well for starters, I admit from an emotional standpoint I was nervous, excited etc. I realized, however, that I didn’t have much control over the situation. Up to this point, I did everything I could do to try and get pregnant, but things were now out of my hands. I had diligently taken my medication, consistently did acupuncture and tried to “be in the moment.” But now I had to let nature do its thing and just hope. So the best I could do was to keep busy and pray the time would go quickly. I tried to shift my focus by concentrating on my job and my personal life.

The TWW stage is different than the other parts of IVF because for the first time in weeks, you’re not tied to a schedule (i.e. doctor visits). You get a little relief – a mini vacation. I mean, you’re still taking a gazillion meds but you’re not being poked and prodded like you were during the stimulation period. Now it’s just you, your medication schedule and your thoughts. My advice is to try and not think too much of anything. You might physically feel things and think, yes I’m pregnant or boo hoo I’m not. But the truth is you are on a lot of medications that could be playing tricks on your mind and body, which may result in giving you a potential false/positive feeling for how things are going.

On that note, I know it’s very tempting to take a home pregnancy test. There are a few reasons I do not recommend this. For starters, echoing what I just said above, the basic home pregnancy test could lead to a false positive result – talk about a letdown. These home pregnancy tests check for HCG in your urine, and you could still have some HCG lingering in your body from the HCG trigger shot used before the retrieval. The only real way to confirm the pregnancy is with the blood test performed at the doctor’s office to check your BETA levels.

I admit, I wish that I would have had the experience of taking one of those home tests and feeling that joy and excitement at seeing two pink lines. I mean, I NEVER experienced it! But I promise it’s worth the wait of finding out the proper way and if you are lucky enough to be pregnant, you can always head over to your local pharmacy and pick up a test, pee on that stick, wait the three minutes and see that image you’ve been waiting for.

So that’s it. The conclusion of IVF 101: Sara’s Guide to IVF. From this point on, each of you will have a different and personal experience. After this two week wait, some of you will be pregnant, others, unfortunately, will not. Regardless of how things turn out, know that you made a decision to change your life by committing to creating your family. As I’ve always said, there are many ways to become a parent and you will figure out your own way (whether by IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc.) Don’t give up hope because even if things don’t go your way this time, there are more chances and opportunities to get it right in the future. Keep up the positivity and I wish you good luck.

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