The 2WW. PUPO. Whatever you call it, the nerve wracking time between a fertility treatment and a pregnancy test can be hard to manage. Two weeks is a long time to wait wondering whether there is a little life growing or not, but we have some tips to help you stay as positive as possible.
1. Dr Google isn’t your friend
Your body has just been through a lot, especially if you had an egg retrieval, and it’s going to take some time to feel completely normal again. But googling every twinge will offer up thousands of articles on the internet, and it’s easy to get caught up reading everything and worrying for no reason. Trying to interpret every signal from your body will not only contribute to your anxiety and stress, but it is just about impossible at this stage to determine if they are pregnancy symptoms, PMS, or the additional hormones causing havoc. For example, implantation bleeding occurs in about a third of pregnancies - it is caused by the embryo attaching to your uterus - and it’s easy to mistake it for a period. Equally, if you do not have implantation bleeding it doesn’t mean you are not pregnant.
It’s best to try not to think or stress about this either way, so stay away from the search engines to stop excessive worrying.
2. Consider a digital detox
Social media is a daily fact of life for most of us, but when you are emotionally fragile, seeing friends’ pregnancy announcements may be the last thing you need. If this is you, then consider doing a ‘digital detox’ to manage your stress and anxiety levels. If you feel you need the support of a forum or chat group, then make a resolution to stick to that alone - they’ll have been through the same things and be sensitive to what you are going through.
3. Keep busy
It helps to plan out some activities to get you through the two weeks. While getting away for a few days may not be possible in these Covid times, just going shopping, to a gallery or museum or even just coffee catch ups with friends can take your mind off the wait. Even if your heart isn't 100% in it, having some structure and committed activities will make the time pass more quickly.
Some people prefer to bury themselves in work, others to put their feet up and self nurture, but whatever your preference, keeping your mind occupied will distract you during the days till testing.
4. Schedule some thinking and journaling time:
Journaling is a really productive way to collate your thoughts, and it also can reduce anxiety and stress. Sometimes simply the act of writing down your thoughts helps you clarify what’s really important. It also helps if you can talk with your partner or support person about any issues that continue to bubble up so you can get their perspectives.
5. Practise relaxation techniques:
Many people find that meditation, yoga, deep breathing, visualisations, acupuncture, or setting daily intentions work for them. It’s a good idea to start learning relaxation techniques before your two week wait, so you can find what works best for you. It almost goes without saying that a healthy diet and light exercise will keep you in the best frame of mind.
6. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Whether it's your partner, a trusted friend or relative, or even an online forum it’s good to have someone to lean on for support and to share your thoughts with. If you are finding it really tough, then consider making an appointment with Julie Potts, out counsellor here at Flinders Fertility.
7. Give up control - and be kind to yourself
Finally, one of the best tips is to realise that there really is nothing you can now do to make a difference to the outcome of the pregnancy test. You, your doctor, the nurses, and embryologists have all done everything they can to get to this stage and all that can be done is to wait.
Feeling stressed, anxious, or impatient is OK and completely normal, and though not pleasant, stress will not affect the outcome of your treatment. So don't stress about being stressed!
Be kind and gentle to yourself. IVF is a tough journey and you’ve done well to get to this stage so hang in there.