The Dreaded Two-Week Wait (TWW): Why Does it Feel Like 2 Years???
Well, let’s not pick on it too much -- after all, this is the wonderful time where we will become as two. I just want to know why I can’t know this instantly! ‘Cause you just can’t; not the way it works.
What is the TWW?
First, the TWW isn’t always 2 weeks; sometimes it may only be 12 days, but we call it TWW more as a label. Specifically, it is the time between when you ovulate and your next period. (Or not -- if we are lucky!) And what are we waiting for….well, it depends. Many reading this blog are waiting to see if they are pregnant. Others are waiting for their period, in hopes that they aren’t pregnant. (Remember those days?!) And either way, no one likes waiting.
Why is the TWW dreaded?
It’s often dreaded by most menstruating women as well because of premenstrual syndrome or PMS (almost 90% of women have some form of PMS). Granted, it may or may not show up for you, but for many it makes this time period “dreaded.” You may also experience different TWW symptoms like bloating, headaches, food cravings, moodiness, depression, fatigue, cramping, irritability (I’m being polite), forgetfulness, backaches, sore breasts, acne, diarrhea/constipation -- and did I mention forgetfulness? That should easily explain why it is dreaded, all on its own.
Let’s talk about our trying to conceive group where the focus is more on the wait. Imagine if you had something really fun and exciting to do in a month from now….you think about it every day, maybe even shop for the event, definitely get on the internet and do some searches, find out more about it in social media, maybe even make some sacrifices for it in the way of food/drink/money. And on the 30th day, I will let you know with a flip of a coin if it is going to happen or not. What are you going to do? You know all of this back on day 1. So, do you get excited at all? Or do you keep yourself calm? You just but can’t help but think about it. It almost seems cruel, doesn’t it? THIS is what women who are trying to conceive go through every single month, month after month and sometimes year after year!!! I used to tell my patients at the fertility clinic that it’s ok to be “crazy” while you go through all of this….who wouldn’t be?!?!? Just know that you are not alone. Thanks to the internet and social media, we can find others like us when we need to, and we can walk away and be alone when we need to as well (not something easy to do in real life sometimes).
What happens during TWW?
Hopefully getting pregnant is the short answer. In particular, we ovulate around mid-cycle and then the two week wait starts. During this time period, the egg that we ovulated (released) has left its home on the ovary, and that follicle is now turning into a very helpful cyst called a corpus luteum, and it stays around for at least 2 weeks. Its primary job is to secrete progesterone, which is the “pregnancy hormone.” So, it will do this for 2 weeks, and if we are lucky, it will continue to do this until you are about 8 weeks pregnant (and then the placenta takes over, supporting the pregnancy). That’s it in a nutshell. Progesterone causes most of those side effects mentioned earlier, and it is also the one responsible for making our temperature go up a little (BBT), which many of you monitor on the Premom app in order to confirm you've ovulated. When your body sees that you aren’t pregnant, the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone. That immediate shutdown of progesterone will eventually be responsible for the ensuing period (same thing happens when you stop the birth control pill…..period comes a few days later).
About 5-6 days after ovulation we will have implantation hopefully. Some people can tell (little bit of spotting, implantation twinges, BBT dip, etc.), but as many people have these symptoms at implantation as those who don’t and still implant. Please don’t read too much into these things -- it will only drive you crazy(ier).
What to do and how to handle it
Short answer is there isn’t much you can do physically. Now, some gals will try to cut the two week wait short and do a pregnancy test early. The good news is you can test as early as 10 days after ovulation, and you may get that positive -- but lots of pregnant women won’t get the positive, even though they are pregnant, and they will devastate themselves (until tomorrow when they will do it all over again). So, doing pregnancy tests early is up to you. You know the good and evil that come from it.
Of course, what we all know: eating healthy, taking those supplements/vitamins, good nutrition, daily exercise/movement can only help in general and certainly won’t hurt. Truly most of us in this group need help trying to mentally handle it. And of course, that is why you are here. You all are so lucky to have Premom and this wonderful, safe community to support and teach you. Social media and Doctor Google are good but they aren’t great. Sometimes they cause more grief than provide assistance.
Mentally, you need to know you aren’t truly in control of the outcome or what is going to happen. Honestly, I stopped telling my patients about restrictions or things they need to be doing, especially when we didn’t know if it really helped. What we were doing was basically saying to them that they had control, and then when we don’t end up pregnant, we feel like it was our fault and that guilt builds over time. My lovelies……accept you really don’t have the power. If you ever want to chat one-on-one, please feel free to schedule with me on the Premom app. And my last thought as a classic PCOS patient who didn’t ovulate…..I was always so jealous of those of you who even had a TWW. Grass, greener, other side and all that. xoxo Nurse Linda