When IVF Waiting Feels Endless

As a freelance thespian, I’m used to waiting. The waiting between auditions and callback, or callbacks to cast list postings, can be excruciating. As a fundraiser, I understand waiting. The waiting between when the mailed solicitation drops and when the checks start rolling in. I get it. But IVF waiting is a whole other beast.

There’s the waiting everyone knows and talks about. The Two-Week-Wait (2WW). That’s the time that generally elapses from your procedure and the bloodwork to tell if it worked. I’ve done that wait before. You create little tricks to take your mind off that wait. You try not to not focus so much on every little thing your body does, wondering if that means you’re pregnant or convinced it means ol’ Aunt Flo is coming. I generally try to stay busy. Whether it’s upping my exercise (only if I’m not coming off a stimming cycle), planning girls’ nights, tacking “War and Peace” (OK, that one I haven’t done yet, but if the IVF keeps up, anything’s possible) — anything to keep my mind occupied. And it works… sorta. It works well enough so maybe only a couple (dozen) times a day, for a few minutes each time, my mind wanders to am I? Or aren’t I? But IVF, at least the egg retrieval cycle, is a pretty intense process, so I don’t really think there’s any way around thinking about the outcome.

There’s the waiting no one really talks about, which is the wait to start altogether or the wait in between cycles. I’m currently about four days away from Aunt Flo, both equally hoping she won’t visit and hoping she comes sooner. Y’all know why I’m sure I don’t want her to come. But if she has to come, she should come now. That way I can kick off my second egg retrieval cycle ASAP. Ever since the “sorry you’re not pregnant” phone call on July 12, I’ve been waiting to start round two. We couldn’t jump right back in because insurance needed to approve the cycle and to approve ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) from the start, and we needed the meds (although props to CVS Caremark and Theresa for taking care of that with minimal effort on my part). So we had to wait. A month. And as mentioned before, waiting sucks.

This time at least came the distraction of being able to exercise without fear of twisting an ovary. And the ability to imbibe alcohol without worrying my eggs would be affected somehow. And really, whose bright idea was it to put a woman through arguably one of the most stressful times in her life, pump her full of hormones and take away all her stress-relieving outlets like running, yoga, dancing and drinking?

But the waiting. It’s endless. It will eat away at my soul if I let it. I don’t know how to be “normal” anymore. It’s always there in the back of my mind — the waiting. The testing. The hoping. I think the only thing that may help, may allow me to struggle through this endless unknowing, is embracing the waiting. Making it the new “normal.” Then maybe I won’t feel so strange, so horrible, so out of control when it’s always on my mind.

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