Friday, September 26, 2008

The Two-Week Wait

I am in that most tedious, yet up-stirring time of the whole TTC cycle: The two-week wait. This is when the fun part of your cycle -- where you're doing the thing you need to do to achieve the desired results -- is over and you're waiting until your Aunt Flo arrives for a visit or until you can take a pregnancy test. It's kind of like those last couple weeks of summer vacation, before the county fair begins. Except instead of eating food on a stick, you're looking forward to peeing on a stick.

During the two-week wait, you scrutinize every little piece of background noise your body gives you. You say, "Gosh, I'm tired -- could it be because I stayed up late last night watching "The Colbert Report" on Nope, it must be because I'm pregnant!" Then you start Googling, and then you're really in trouble, because somewhere out there is a woman who experienced basically any experience there is to experience, and then got a positive test, and now you get to add "itchy nippes" "tingling left earlobe" to the list of early pregnancy symptoms to watch for.

Everyone wants to leave the two-week wait, that Schrodinger's cat state where you are not your old carefree non-pregnant self, swigging scotch from the bottle and getting Xrays willy-nilly, nor are you your new, hallowed expectant mother self, where all sacrifice has a real goal for motivation, and where all food binges are to be indulged. So it's understandable that women want to read the tea leaves of their -- here it comes -- cervical mucous, test as early as feasibly possible or sooner, and generally do whatever it takes to get out of limbo.

Yet, testing too early is not necessarily a good idea. I read during my obsessive Googling that an estimated 50% of all pregnancies spontaneously terminate during the earliest weeks, leaving most women unaware that they were pregnant at all.

And that's the danger of too much testing, too early: You're possibly setting yourself up for experiencing a wrenching sense of loss that you could have skipped. In fact, if the odds are to be believed, it's more than "possible" that you'll find out about an early pregnancy that doesn't make it: It's downright likely.

I wish I could say I've made and will stick by a policy of not testing early. I'd like to, but I always find some excuse to cave. Usually, my excuse is some social event where I'd like to get hammered, so I'd like to find out if I'm preggers or not before I go.* This month, my excuse is that I'll be at a huge consignment sale tomorrow that has maternity clothes. How could I not test in the morning before I go, just to see if it might be a good idea to grab a couple pairs of maternity jeans?

Oh, and for others out there who cave to the temptation to obsess and test, here are two fun links for you:

FertilityFriend, where you can chart your cycle on an online calendar. My favorite part: If you tell FertilityFriend that you made love on a given day, it will put a little heart on your calendar there. Also, FertilityFriend has lots of detailed questions about your cervical mucous. I truly believe that FertilityFriend really wants to know the excact consistency, frequency and volume of this mucous. A Friend indeed! You know what they charge for pregnancy tests in the drugstore? As much as $18! It's highway robbery! At this Web site, I got 10 "test strips" (basically a pregnancy test without the plastic stick) for 85 cents each, free shipping, and they got to my house in days.

* Unfortunately, this strategy only really works if you get a positive test, because a negative test early on isn't proof that you're not pregnant. So really, wanting to drink is no excuse at all to test: you either decide that drinking in the first two weeks doesn't count, or you just abstain. Then again, I have just thought of a good excuse to STILL test before a big social event: If you are abstaining, people who know what a lush you are will ask if you're pregnant. Telling everyone you're trying to get knocked up isn't always desirable, unless you have already told all your friends and aquaintances on a blog. So if you find out that you're really pregnant, and you're not planning on three months of secrecy, you at least have a better answer to the nosy parkers who want to know why it's midnight and you're not slurring your speech yet.


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Sara said...

Wishing you guys the best of luck during your "waiting period"!! I remember all too well how those couple of weeks can seem to drag on.

And I'm hoping that drinking during those first two weeks don't count. Before I found out I was preggers with Tater (of course at that point we weren't ttc), I went out for a particularly crazy ladies' night and I shudder to think about all the wine I had.

Carrie said...

Sara -- I'm sure your doctor told you not to worry about it. For one thing, think about the fact that in the early weeks there is no placenta and the embryo is not even growing -- it's just a ball of cells dividing. So it's not really "drinking" from your bloodstream yet, from what I understand.

Notta Wallflower said...

Carrie - I remember waiting. I did all the charting and crap. /sigh What got me through, especially the negative tests, was buying a bottle of wine. Then, I had a positive spin on if I wasn't pregnant. Although, after reading your post, I probably shouldn't have done that, but it worked out okay. But finally, I had one bottle of wine sitting on my counter for a long time waiting for Jellybean to come. I was never so happy to not drink. :-P

Carrie said...

Notta -- I wouldn't feel bad about that! I have generally subscribed to the "first two weeks doesn't count" theory, myself.

Since we have never had trouble with this before, I won't feel bad if this isn't the month. Actually, I have some painting projects lined up around the house that it would be nice to get done, heh.

Kori said...

So what's the word? Renovation or expansion?

I lived through 3 years of desperate 2-week waits with diminishing expectations of success as time and test results factored into the equation. However, since you are sharing with all of us (I wouldn't ask, otherwise), I will ride the happy wave that is a non-infertile couples' 2WW.

It's nice to expect that a future baby is a "when" not an "if," which is what must make the teetotaling 2WW much more bearable.

Let's just hope the Cubs don't drive you to drink.

Carrie said...

Kori --

Seriously. For those who struggle with fertility, the two-week wait is a totally different experience. For the rest of the population, it can be kind of fun if not a little annoying in the, "Why is this ATM machine taking so long to give me instant cash??" type way.

I don't want to count my chickens, since I am getting older, but let's just say that I don't have all that much experience with this part of the process.

Oh, and I do try to avoid total benders during the 2WW, but I haven't totally abstained. Let the record show that I had wine last night at our block party. My, my, eh??