18 December 2010, by Yi Lin
It’s been fifteen days since the embryo transfer on 3 December. Just two more days till my HCG test on Monday. But who’s counting right?
Okay, fine. I am. But I’m trying not to. Or at least pretending not to.
I first mentioned the dreaded 2WW or two week wait during our first IVF cycle i.e. the approximately two-week waiting period following the embryo transfer until the day you get the results.
It’s been very uneventful this time round. Whenever my friends ask (and thanks for asking! ) how I’m feeling, or how things are going, or whether there’s any news so far, I pause… check for cramping (nope!)…. and just reply that I (and hopefully the embryos too) am just hanging in there.
No signs. No symptoms. No vibes *yawn* Life is so normal. Well, every day that passes with no news of the dreaded AF is good news. To take my mind off all things baby, I came up with a list of things to keep myself busy with during the 2WW. Not all were planned for, some just fell into place with time.
So here they are. All those women out there who are TCC, feel free to use this as a reference, or just design your own 2WW To-Do List. Life has to go on, no?
1. Go to Work
This first item on the list was definitely unplanned for – and unwelcomed too! I was looking forward to a nice long stretch of hospitalisation leave, a lovely 14 days away from the office, just like what I was given during the first cycle.
But NNNOOOOOO. Apparently hospitalisation leave is only administered when the patient undergoes sedation during the egg extraction phase. Since sedation is not necessary for embryo transfer, I was only given a measly four days outpatient medical leave (which included the weekend!) So back to work I went. Grudgingly.
On the bright side, December is probably the best time to be in the office. As the year winds to a close, people go on vacation leave, things slow down a little, work is less hectic, lunch hours stretch a tad longer, colleagues dish out food and gifts, and everyone is in a happy, jolly mood. But just for good measure, I highlighted to the boss that I was under doctor’s strict orders to remain stress-free and think only happy thoughts all the way till Christmas. It’s working so far.
2. Take Your Supplements
And religiously too. For round 2, I was given Cyclogest or progesterone pessaries to support the chances of pregnancy. Unlike how the dosage was administered during the first round, my jaw almost hit the clinic floor when the nurse instructed me on how to use these pessaries. Yes, they are inserted into a bodily orifice, just like the first time. Yes, that said orifice is located between your legs. No, that said orifice does not rhyme with the word “designer”. Guess again.
Uh huh. It goes into The Other Hole. I need not elaborate further.
And if you think they look small from the picture below….
… look again. That, my friends, is my index finger. Not my pinkie.
Needless to say, administering them in the office toilet cubicle is not the most convenient process. But I do what I have to do.
3. Eat (Almost) Anything You Like
Take advantage of the time before you get pregnant to eat whatever you like before the nausea and cravings kick in, and before you get banned from forbidden food, such as sashimi and caffeine. We got together with friends for salt-baked crabs. We pigged out on pints of Ben & Jerry’s. We sampled Starbucks’ festive coffees.
Well, almost anything. I still err on the side of caution by avoiding what Chinese believe are ‘cooling’ and sour food, such as watermelon, pineapple and my favourite daily dose of green apple juice (I switched to red apples.)
Figure Out Acronyms. Pregnancy online forums and message boards have their own lingo. It can be daunting, utterly confusing and downright irritating to have to decode so many unknown terms in a simple sentence. Such as 2WW, HCG and AF, which I have already used in this post. Still wondering what they mean?
Some acronyms refer to medical terms, which obviously, are easier to refer to by their short-forms. e.g. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced by pregnant women that is detected by a pregnancy test. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG), a test to check if the Fallopian tubes are blocked.
Some are common words and phrases that can be figured out quite easily. e.g. TCC = Trying To Conceive, 2WW = Two Week Wait.
Some are downright dumb. AF stands for “Aunt Flo”. I was expecting it to stand for something much more scientific. Why can’t grown, adult females just call it a period? DH stands for “Dear Husband” – and I was wondering why every woman had a husband with initials DH. BFP means “Big Fat Positive” and BFN means “Big Fat Negative” in reference to pregnancy tests. POAS means “Pee On A Stick”. BD means “Baby Dance” i.e. sex.
Come on, people. Stop using terms for 3 year-olds already. Let’s call a spade a spade.
5. Find Something to Nurture
It could have been an effect of the hormone supplements, but I found myself itching to mother something. Almost anything.
My friend was putting up kittens for adoption and if it wasn’t for the child/kitten-unfriendly design of my home (we’ll have to sort that out one day if this baby thing takes off), I would have gladly taken one in.
Suddenly, the idea of helping and giving gifts to other children became highly attractive, although I think the Christmas spirit in the air played a part too. I ‘bought’ 35 apple and peach trees for 7 children in Lesotho through World Vision’s ‘Tree of Life’ campaign. Dannie bought a goat, no kidding (no pun intended). I volunteered for the office donation drive to help raise funds for the Community Chest. I got excited over shopping for Christmas presents for other people’s kids – and assembling the toys once the kids tore the wrappers off.
We even bought an R2-D2 voice-activated robot that we can talk to and play games with. It really is the coolest thing on earth. Check it out. After just one day of playing with R2, I felt so much affection for him that when I saw a YouTube video of a child smacking her R2 robot, I almost teared… oh wait, that’s embarrassing. Ahem. Like I said, it’s probably the hormones acting up.
6. Look After The Husband
Opinions are split as to whether it’s okay to have sex (I can’t bring myself to type BD or “baby dance”) during the 2WW.
So many days of waiting and no sex makes the husband a frisky boy. Give your attention to other hobbies and activities that get him excited too… In our case, it was a good dose of comics, toys and games at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention at Suntec. As I was in a magnanimous mood, I closed an eye and graciously allowed him a picture or two (and an arm around) with some skimpily-clad Cosplay girls too.
Check out the happy faces:
7. Enjoy Adult Activities
Take advantage of total freedom while you can. My female colleagues and I checked out the new PS Cafe at Ann Siang Hill located just behind our office during our occasional Girls’ Night Out event. It was a no-kids-allowed venue. We headed out with the husband’s best bud for a late-night movie marathon comprising two cool movies that we’ve been dying to watch, one of which was The Social Network. Okay, we admit that the other one was Disney’s Rapunzel… which we all agreed was a more enjoyable flick than the former. Lalala… moving on..
Read all the adult fiction you want before you have to fill your bookshelves with children’s storybooks. I polished off ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown in a couple of days. Gather your friends for late-night adult movies on DVD and laugh over old favourites like Zoolander.
While you can before your bulging belly restricts you to certain sleeping positions only. Plus, this is the best way to past time quickly and for the scheduled HCG test date to come faster.
9. Plan for the Future
It could be as soon as dinner with friends next week. Or organising a Christmas ‘do at the end of the month. Or setting out travel plans for next year, which of course, have to be flexible depending on whether or not you get pregnant. We’re set for Bintan (our very own pool villa!) with friends in early January and if round 2 of IVF doesn’t work out for us, we’ll be taking the opportunity to plan for two vacations in Bali with different groups of friends and I will be able to take on a work trip to Cannes, worry-free.
10. Paint Your Own Toenails
Because this simple task is going to get really tough once you get pregnant.
11. Delegate the Burden of the 2WW
I got this from an online article on a pregnancy website and thought it was pretty funny:
Delegate the burden of the two-week wait. Clearly someone has to worry constantly during this time, but does it have to be you? Divide the days up among your best friends and closest family. On their assigned day they are required to think, wonder, and worry all day about whether you are pregnant or not. At the end of the day they have to call or send you email describing how agonizing it was. Also they have to report to you if they had any “symptoms,” such as sore breasts, excessive urination, nausea, bleeding, fatigue… you will be surprised how many people, male and female, have early pregnancy symptoms if they just look for them.
12. Start a Journal
Haha! Been there, done that. This blog has served as a journal for our personal journey to parenthood. I love reading back on what I have written over the past 8 months since the Maybe Baby portal was set up in May this year. Even better, Dannie is also a blogger for Maybe Baby. Writing a shared journal is suppose to bring the couple closer during this experience. We have that down pat right here on Maybe Baby.
13. Don’t Put Life on Hold
If you haven’t realised it already, this is basically the whole point of this entry. Trying for a baby involves time, effort, patience and some lifestyle sacrifices. But at the same time, you cannot put your entire life on pause while you lie in bed with a pillow under your bum and wait for a miracle to take place.
Some friends are aghast that I have been walking around, going to work, going out and doing everything else but staying in bed. They think that I should be on complete bed rest for two weeks and if I do get up to stretch my legs, I must walk around barefoot or in flats and loose clothing.
I just go by the personal guideline of just doing whatever I think is okay. And if round 2 doesn’t work out, I will be able to live by my mantra and have no regrets about strutting to work in heels or leaving the house.
But if fertility treatment is making you postpone things that you would like to do, even those that are physically low-key and considered generally safe to do while under treatment, such as attend social events, take a holiday or even change your job, then you may have to think about how much longer you are prepared to wait until your real life begins.
Cos while it’s true that pregnancy and parenthood wait for no one, Life doesn’t hang around forever just waiting to start either.