In this episode I talk about how to survive the 2 week wait, which is generally the wait from ovulation to the end of your cycle or from embryo transfer to when you can do a pregnancy test. But before I even get into the general advice for how you can survive this I acknowledge the fact that you are pretty much waiting throughout your whole cycle, so 2 weeks is in itself a misnomer. In fact when you add up how long you've been trying, the wait so far could be months or years
I also discuss how the 2 week wait after ovulation may not actually be 2 weeks and that this information can give us so many clues and answers about how your cycle is affecting your fertility.
Before recording this episode, I googled surviving the 2 week wait and I look into the common advice found across various sites and how this may not work for you, why not and how I help my clients through it. Why you can't Just **@! relax, and how can you not obsess about symptoms, how its not so easy to talk to someone when you haven't really told anyone what you're going through
I really hope you enjoy the episode and I ask you to share with me how you survive the 2 week wait, or what unhelpful advice you've been given. Drop me a comment on your platform you're using to listen or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
For free resources or to find out more about how you can work with me visit https://fertilityrewire.com
You've been waiting more than 2 weeks I know
So in this episode, I am going to talk about the two week wait, what is the two week wait? I'm sure those of you on a fertility journey will be very aware of this term. It's generally a term that is given to the period of time from ovulation to the end of your cycle where you are waiting to see if you're pregnant.
It's also a term used during the time after embryo transfer in IVF, or ICSI to the time that you can do your test. But, as you will know on your fertility journey, you are waiting throughout the whole cycle, you are waiting for your bleed to finish, you are waiting for ovulation to come and you are waiting to see what happens after ovulation. So it's not really specific to that time, although generally when you Google the two week wait, that's what you're going to come up with.
When it's less than 2 weeks
One thing I want to talk about as well is the fact that this two weeks might be a little bit of a misnomer. So I've talked before how the holy grail of a 28 day cycle, That you will start your bleed and then you might ovulate on day 14 and your cycle may end on day 28. But actually, that's not common for everyone. You might have a long follicular phase, the time from bleed to ovulation might be a long , especially in polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis might find this, especially with oestrogen dominance, that ovulation is a little later. What's interesting is to really pinpoint when you're ovulating.
Now if you're using sticks that might be adding to your pressure potentially and you might be misreading the information. So when you get the green light of go, you know the happy smiling face. Actually, you might be too late by then. So it's really important that we're getting things ready for ovulation and the sperm is waiting for the egg. And I've talked about this quite a lot as well. So knowing your cycle is really really key. So you know what your wait is and how long your wait is before you start.
If you ovulate, and the time from ovulation to the end of your cycle is less than 10 days, I think we can pretty much say it is incredibly unlikely that you would get pregnant with a cycle like that. With a short luteal phase or a luteal phase defect it will be incredibly difficult to get pregnant. And when you know that implantation generally occurs between eight to nine days after ovulation, you can start to see why that is possible. Actually it can occur in some people up to 12 days after ovulation.
The egg is released and it lasts for up to 24 hours. It depends when in that window it is fertilised, It then travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus and that is where implantation occurs. So that timeframe, that two weeks is really key.
If it's less than two weeks for you, then we need to be looking into lengthening the luteal phase it might be that we're shortening the follicular phase. That could be through methods of hormonal balance without medication and some self care and some actions that you can take to support this balance within the cycle.
So before we even get into the two week wait, I wanted you to understand that I know you're waiting for more than two reeks and you've got separate waits going on. But I really wanted you to know that understanding the length of time and the signs your body's giving you can give you a lot more information that will arm you with a sense of control.
why common advice for surviving the 2 week wait doesnt help
So I googled' how to survive the two week wait' and I'll go through with you the advice that you will find, and we'll have a little looky see into that and pick that apart a little bit.
So keep busy, is the first one. So it's kind of saying keep busy, and then you won't think about it almost, you know, don't sit and, and ruminate on it or whatever. For some people, for sure, keeping busy takes your mind off things, it stops you obsessing, which is another thing that you're advised to do in this week. So keeping busy? What are you going to keep yourself busy with because there's a difference between keeping busy, and avoidance isn't there?
So let's have a think about that. Are you keeping busy by keeping your diary full? Because that may help you. Just think on with this. If keeping busy helps you that's great. If keeping busy is an action that you think might help you, but actually, it's the type of busy that is wrong. So maybe not going to lots of social events is better for you than going. So my advice is that you can say no. So when you're invited to things, and particularly if you're invited to things that are potentially triggering, like baby showers and so on, I would urge you to kind of sit into that feeling and perhaps, you know, allow yourself to say no to protect yourself.
STop obsessing (because thats easy.....not)
I mentioned stop obsessing. So stop obsessing about pregnancy symptoms. So are your breasts sore, is there any tingling in your tummy? Are you feeling sick? Has your appetite changed? Are you bloated?
How can you not be looking for these? And when I'm working with my clients, we work on the what if?
What if this means I'm pregnant? What if I am pregnant? What if I'm not pregnant? You know, they're the thoughts that clients have. And we work with coming away from the what if, and we look at how things are. Its a very British thing, to not get one's hopes up, you know, to kind of stay in the negative and not allow oneself to get one's hopes up. And that's something that, I work with an awful lot with the clients that I'm working with.
Step away from google
You're also told in the advice about surviving the two week wait to step away from Google. Now, stepping away from Google is something that I work with my clients with a lot. But it's just stepping away from the wrong sources. Okay. So be aware that if you will go into a forum, a fertility forum, that may be a great area of support, but it's also people's views, and people's opinions and they are not necessarily people who have expertise in fertility, but they have their own experience.
And as you know, we are all so incredibly different and there are so many variables within everybody's fertility story, so many nuances within your body. So many differences, you have two different partners, you know, your male and female involved, so you increasing the variables even further, in that sense. So choose what you look at wisely. Look at credited sources of information, not forums, necessarily. That's my main advice.
But if a forum gives you great support, if a forum gives you great encouragement, then that's fantastic. I'm not dissing forums here. I don't want it to sound like that. It has to work for you. And it's about putting yourself in situations that are supportive.
One of the things to think about in terms of that is that and you're exposed to this all over social media, you know, Jane did this and she got pregnant. Now Jane took this herb and she got pregnant, but Jane's hormonal imbalance is very, very different, potentially to yours. And if you follow what Jane did, that might negatively impact your fertility journey, it might not help. You know, we need to look at things in terms of that difference to people, I have clients that have, you know, as I'm sure many of you have tried, everything, I've seen that somebody on Instagram has tried this herb and they've tried that or read that somebody took magnesium, and that helped or somebody had acupuncture. And that helped.
And, you know, it may well, but we have to come back again and again, for what I talk about all the time to being a fertility detective. And finding out why there may be an imbalance, finding out what that imbalance is what signs your body is giving you and speaking to somebody who is an expert in this field, and understands about fertility, mind and body on a much wider scale.
Don't test to early
One of the other advices is don't test too early. Now, what is too early?
Again, you've got to look at your cycle and when you ovulate, and if we're thinking that implantation might not happen up to 12 days after ovulation in some people, obviously, that varies depending on your cycle. When you really get to know your cycle, then you will start to understand that. So what is too early?
Well 10 days will be too early. But if you normally start your period 14 days after you ovulate, then day 14 is not too early, in my opinion. Now, this gets very complicated both physically and emotionally here. So I encourage my clients to test the day after their period is expected if they have a regular period. Otherwise, we go on charts and we work with their luteal phase and I will say, well, perhaps you could test now. Now, we work on what those expectations of that test are how, we're going to feel after the test, you know, to prepare somebody emotionally.
But from a physical point of view, the reason I support testing when your period is a day late, maybe two days late is if you have a very, very early miscarriage. You will, and I know this is something to think about, you will know that because you will have done a pregnancy test. If it is positive. If you then miscarry or you get your period, you might have thought it was just a late period. But this will let you know whether it was a miscarriage or not. And this is very clinical, I know. But in the UK, you cannot be investigated for miscarriages until you have had three.
Now I'm working with lots of clients that when we look at their history, I do believe they've had more miscarriages, that they've had early miscarriages or what's often referred to quite cruelly actually as a chemical pregnancy. So we have to go with how that will affect you emotionally, as I've said. it will be devastating, it will be devastating. For some women actually doing the pregnancy test and getting it out of the way means that the anticipation and the stopping and the waiting and the wandering can change. So we have to work both physically what's right, don't have to do an early test if it's not right for you emotionally. But we work on that emotion of that testing process.
So the other advice that you see on the two week wait is it's good to talk. Now, who are you going to talk to? Because chances are (not the same for everybody) but chances are, you've not shared this with people. It's not an easy conversation. It's not a conversation you shared with many people and maybe your relationship with your partner is great and that you are able to talk about that together or maybe that wouldn't be helpful. So who are you going to talk? Some suggest that you talk to other people going through fertility and for some people that is great. For others, actually, you want to talk to someone that hasn't got their own story on this. You just want to talk to someone perhaps who will listen someone who perhaps won't offer platitudes and tell you that your time will come and just got to keep on trying, you know, so you've got to find that person. Now, I think I talked about this when I talked about and shared with you about my miscarriage that I had with my first pregnancy, I hadn't told anybody that I was pregnant and I was away from home in another part of the UK, and I phoned a friend who lived nearby and had to tell her that I thought I was having a miscarriage. And it was really hard because she was kind of being told I'm pregnant, I'm not pregnant, all in the same thing . Whereas when I got pregnant for the second time, I told a core group of friends because I wanted to be prepared. Okay, now, it's the same with fertility, is there someone that you can talk to about it that you can open up to that will be the listener? I know for my clients, that person is me. And within the group programme, the 'Conceivable' group programme, people will be able to get that support as they wish, as they wish to talk to other people.
I think what I'm trying to say is I'm not dissing all the advice here, I'm just saying, it just depends, depends on what's going on for you, and you need to find out what's right for you.
RELAX! because thats really easy eh?
The other thing that is suggested is that you undertake relaxation techniques, which is kind of like telling you to just relax, and we know that just relaxing isn't actually an easy thing to do. It's like me talking continually, potentially about a pink elephant, and then tell you not to think about pink elephants, or telling you in the height of a crisis, you know, with wild animals around you, don't think about wild animals just relax, just relax. There's nothing to worry about here.
So, yes, relaxation techniques are fantastic and it's something I teach, it's something that's part of my programme as well. And there's lots of free resources out there, you could look at mindfulness, you could look at self guided self hypnosis, there's lots available on YouTube, you can think about getting this in place. So it's not something that you're just going to do in the two week wait, it becomes a part of your life, actually, using these relaxation techniques and finding a technique that works for you. Within the work that I do with my clients, we look at Tiger taming, so we're looking much more broadly, it's not just about the two week wait, it's just generally about reducing the stress response and the fear response in the body, and how you react to thoughts. And especially at this two week wait, it's how you respond to the what ifs.
So it's not about being negative or positive, you can actually get to the point with some aspects. Gosh, not all but with some aspects where there's a level of neutrality. But what we move towards is a level of acceptance. Now this can get a little bit confused. It's not accepting that this is the way it is, it's not accepting that this isn't going to happen. It's accepting that this is how you feel now and that is okay. It's okay to feel really crappy. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to be angry, it's okay to be fearful. That is how you are feeling and the energy it takes you to try and push that feeling away because you should feel another way is so it takes so much energy to do. So here is this feeling, this feeling is here and we look at ways that we learn to be in that feeling in that moment rather than the future tripping that I've talked about in a previous episode, where you're doing the what if the what if, what if, and if I don't get pregnant this month, then that will mean that and then that will mean that and then that will mean that so you need to validate what you are feeling. And I've talked about this before where we recognise our thoughts.
There's a story that you are telling yourself that you are narrating that story. And it's about taking or not really taking control but being aware of that story that you're telling yourself and maybe changing the narrative, maybe changing the narrative, not just thinking positively gosh, no please no, not just thinking positively but just working at a deeper level, to change that narrative.
no one thing works for evrybody
I think what I really need to get across, which I hope I've got across is that there isn't one rule for everybody, just like there isn't one, fertility journey that's the same for everyone. There are similarities, of course, and one of the big similarities is the emotional impact, the effect on your sex life, the effect on your relationship, but different nuances within it. Absolutely. And probably one of the common, causes of fertility issues that I see is a short luteal phase and we do have to dig deeper into that: what's causing the oestrogen dominance? How can we work on balancing this cycle? How can we physically prepare you for the fertility journey going forward? And how emotionally can we prepare you as well.
New Group programme 'Conceiveable'
So the programme that I work with, with clients I've renamed so fertility rewire is my podcast, and that is my website. But my group programme that I mentioned before is called Conceivable. And that is where a group of women, small groups of women in the programme can receive information, can work with me and work with the groups as little people in the group as little or as much as they want to.
It's a supportive place. Whilst Yes, people will be sharing similar experiences and be on a similar path. We really will not ever lose sight of those nuances and differences between individuals.
YOU can be in control
I think what I want to really get across is that you can be in control, and you can have more of a feeling of being in control in this two week wait. If you have done what you can do to understand your cycle, you know what's happening in your cycle that you truly know when you ovulate? If you have taken steps to improve your egg Health Quality and your sperm health quality, or your partner's sperm health quality, you've taken steps to look into your pelvic health, you've taken steps to reduce the emotional impact that's going on, you can start to have a sense of control. Being in control and having a sense of control are very, very different.
So to arm yourself for your two week, wait or your four week wait divided into different sections or more. It's about having knowledge. It's about having knowledge, because knowledge is power and information is always going to make things easier. Now part of the fertility journey is that you are lacking information and that you have no answers. So becoming a fertility detective on a gentle, informed basis, not necessarily following what Jane has done. Seeing what is right for you can give you a sense of control, starting to look at these emotional factors in your life. So are you spinning out? Are you future tripping? Are you catastrophizing? What emotional support can we give to bring that level down because of course, we want the cortisol down, we want the adrenaline down. We know that but, we can't just relax. So think about relaxation techniques. Think about methods I've talked about and I'm sure in the tiger taming episode, I talked about the power of an out breath.
The recovery breath
Now when we are anxious and we take deep breaths, what we tend to do is we breathe in, and it's this kind of like, drawing in which is lifting, lifting, lifting. What we want to do is to shorten the in breath away from that gasp and draw to a very gentle in breath. And then a long and slow out breath.
Okay, so you breathe in and out do that just for a few moments. I did this exercise when I did the MIRA workshop on reducing stress and trying to conceive which is on YouTube. If you want to look that up. I will find the link and put it in the show notes.
So you do a short breath in and then out, I'm actually recording a video with this episode is a new thing moving forward. So that will be on YouTube. So you can watch me doing the exercise.
That long, slow out breath is resetting, it's calming and it's what your body does naturally, in recovery. When you're in anxiety, when you're in trauma, when you're in fear, it's all in, in, in, holding in and holding and holding your breath and fear and worrying. When the danger has passed, you sigh.
,The long slow out breath, is your recovery. So that is a relaxation technique that you can start to put in place daily, maybe a few times a day, just to teach yourself that long, slow out breath, and then do it with your partner.
how your partner can help - if you let them!
And when your partner sees you being anxious, this is a tricky one, I get that he's not going to tell you to just relax. Actually the mirror neurons in our brain, what's really, really powerful is if somebody does something, we find that easy to copy in the moment. So when my children have been doing school plays and things in the past, when they were little, I'd see their anxiety in them, and they look across to me and I would just do a long, slow outbreath I would just blow and I would bring my hands down just to show that we're bringing down. So actually, just by somebody near you doing a long, slow outbreath when you're tense, you may just join in with that. Now, obviously I know within a relationship that could make you cross, but you know your relationship and it's comes back to that support, doesn't it? Having someone you can talk to whether that's me or another fertility therapist or a different sort of therapist, or whether that's a friend or a family member that will listen, don't necessarily give advice. Just listen and be there.
I hope that's been helpful. I just wanted to unpick it a little bit. My biggest take home for you is we are not all the same, you are not the same as Jane, what works for Jane doesn't necessarily work for you. And if you are armed with knowledge, it gives you information that leads to a sense of power and control.
If you've got any questions, if you want to drop me a line, let me know how you deal with the two week wait. You can do so in comments or you could drop me a line at kat@fertility rewire.com. I'd love to hear how you deal with the two week rate or perhaps some really frustrating advice that you've been given.
It's been a pleasure talking to you, as ever take care