Fertility

Tips for Surviving the 2WW

Eloise Edington  |   21 Dec 2021


Earlier this week, we shared our community’s thoughts on the benefits of being part of a fertility community (read it here). Many TRB Instagram followers said reading sharing experiences and stories helps them to feel less alone on an otherwise lonely journey.

Today, Dena shares her story about the 2WW, failed IVF treatment and Christmas hope.

(Trigger warning: experiences of miscarriage.)

Over to Dena

The two-week wait is the part of the process of IVF where everything truly is entirely out of anyone’s control. My partner, Danielle, (undergoing the treatment) and I have endured the two-week wait twice now; our third one is just about to start.

Before our first round of treatment, the abbreviation “2WW” alone confused us – we had no clue how the process worked and turned to the internet for guidance. We continued to do this in the midst of the 2WW and were bombarded with myriad tips and tricks – eating the core of a pineapple and resting – or being active.

Needless to say, the internet was largely unhelpful.

On some days, we were convinced my partner had all the symptoms, on others, we were downcast because she had none. In this first two-week wait, we were also having to work from home because the country was in lockdown. We were secretly quite pleased about this – we assumed that not going into work or commuting would mean less stress.

The two-week wait is the part of the process of IVF where everything truly is entirely out of anyone’s control. My partner, Danielle, (undergoing the treatment) and I have endured the two-week wait twice now; our third one is just about to start.

Before our first round of treatment, the abbreviation “2WW” alone confused us – we had no clue how the process worked and turned to the internet for guidance. We continued to do this in the midst of the 2WW and were bombarded with myriad tips and tricks – eating the core of a pineapple and resting – or being active.

Needless to say, the internet was largely unhelpful.

On some days, we were convinced my partner had all the symptoms, on others, we were downcast because she had none. In this first two-week wait, we were also having to work from home because the country was in lockdown. We were secretly quite pleased about this – we assumed that not going into work or commuting would mean less stress.

So, we moved through the two weeks over-analysing every symptom my partner did or didn’t have, generally overthinking the whole situation but also secretly expecting the test to come back positive. (After all, we had a fertilised embryo and we had three separate friends who had successfully conceived on their first try…)

Test day came around and we were largely excited; the disappointment we felt when the test was negative cannot be described – but I’m sure can be understood by many people reading this. Confusion was our initial reaction. We had done everything you are supposed to do – the 2WW now just felt cruel to us.

Around four months later, we started our second round. This time, we were back in work (we are both teachers) and fitting treatment in around our day-to-day life. This meant that when we got to the two-week wait we felt quite differently; not only had we experienced it once before but this time we could only control things to a certain extent. Danielle was more stressed than I wanted her to be because she was at work. We forgot to get pineapple so she didn’t eat a piece of the core every day. But we also didn’t have as much time to Google every symptom and question every slight twinge or ache in her tummy.

This time, my partner said she felt significantly more worried about the test day than the two-week wait itself and actually preferred the anxiety of not knowing to the potential pain of knowing. So, we tested a day later than we should have.

This time, the test was positive! We were absolutely ecstatic and also a little disbelieving; my partner was insistent we did not get our hopes up and had to remind me that it was still early days. Unfortunately, at our eight-week scan, we were told our embryo had no heartbeat and had stopped growing at six weeks.

What followed was two weeks of trauma: waiting a week to make sure the horrific truth really had happened, before a medicated miscarriage at home – which failed and ended in emergency surgery for my partner.

We don’t want our story to evoke fear or sympathy; we want our experience to highlight the lack of control you have in the two-week wait.

Despite the oodles of well-meaning advice and tips out there, it really is out of your control. Beyond the basics of looking after your body through nutrition, sleep and relaxation, there really is nothing else you can do to help the embryo one way or the other.

Our third two-week wait is swiftly approaching: Christmas is going to be an excellent distraction!

Here are some other ways we are going to get through it:

  • Communication – talking to one another about our excitement and our fears. It is so important to acknowledge the validity of ALL the emotions and giving them space and air.
  • Getting outdoors – in our second two-week wait, my partner’s medication meant we had to go for a short walk every evening and it was actually something we ended up looking forward to.
  • Distractions – keeping yourself distracted with things you enjoy doing. We are planning to watch a lot of TV and work our way through the local library. Obsessing over the possibilities is futile and scary – losing yourself in other worlds is not!
  • Rationale – if we are genuinely curious about a symptom or have a question about something we are concerned about, we won’t turn to Google but get advice from trusted sources instead. The Google rabbit hole is not one you want to go down! If you look for something, you will find it!

That’s our Christmas plan! Wish us luck – and we are sending all of the positive vibes to everyone out there hoping for their own little miracle to come their way.

Whatever “success” looks like to you, know our TRB community is with you, Dena and Danielle – and anyone else, every step of the way.

If you have a story to share, send our team a message on Instagram here.

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