Finishing up an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle brings a whole host of emotions. You're happy that the procedure itself was successful and that the shots are finished or at least very great. You're ecstatic about having your life back, without the frequent blood draws, ultrasounds, and phone calls. On the other hand, you may feel adrift when the intensity is over and you've gone from constant monitoring to being almost ignored by your clinic.
Now it's time to wait for your pregnancy test. Because the test results will not be accurate for almost two weeks after your embryo transfer, this time period is often referred to by patients as “the two-week wait.”
Technically, you are Pregnant but Waiting for confirmation
From a purely technical perspective, after the embryos are placed into your uterus, you're pregnant – in the loosest sense of the word, at least. You have embryos floating around where they belong, and all they have to do is attach and grow.
This is probably the first time in your infertility history where you can say without a doubt that you've formed an embryo and that it is where it needs to be to grow. You may have known that you made a follicle, and were fairly sure that you got sperm where it needed to go at the right time, but you never knew for sure that the egg and sperm got together. Now you do.
Now comes the waiting period. The two-week wait is a time of “what ifs” and “if onlys” like no other time you've probably experienced. Because this is new territory for you, we give some ideas on how to make it through the two-week wait without driving yourself crazy.
Keeping yourself occupied
Although you may be tempted to just relax and wait, unencumbered by other responsibilities, the truth is that sitting around waiting is hard work, a lot harder than keeping yourself busy with everyday tasks. Waiting for water to boil and staring at it as well is a quick recipe for instant irritation, and so is staying idle during these two weeks.
Try to plan as many activities as you can manage (after your post-transfer rest period). If you work, consider it a blessing and immerse yourself in your responsibilities. Many women suggest reading a good book to get you through this time. Try to keep the book as far away from the topic of fertility as possible. Exercise is also a good way to keep busy, but keep it mild, like walking around the block. Many couples find that the two-week wait is a great time to take a vacation.
If the tension does begin to run high, assemble your backup plan. What will you do next, pregnant or not? This type of planning often alleviates the fear and uncertainty that accompanies the two-week wait.