There are two weeks between insemination and taking a pregnancy test. This unit of measurement glosses over all that entails though; the 14 days; the 336 hours; the 20, 160 minutes; the 1, 209, 600 seconds. Each and every single one of those is felt in excruciating detail when you’re in the midst of the hell that is commonly known as the two week wait.
I spent most of the first thirty-six of those hours googling different variations of the same question; when can you take a pregnancy test? Just ‘incase’ the nurse had been wrong you understand. I asked the question based on the date of my last period; ovulation date; insemination date; (possible) implantation date – you get the picture. I kept shortening and shortening each stage of the process until I was convinced that I could actually take the test in seven days. That was a meer 168 hours away, minus the 36 hours that had already passed. This was going to fly by.
I spent the day after the insemination in my PJs, as did my son. Just the other day I’d started to wonder how I’d cope being pregnant and alone with a little one too, but now I thought it’s not so bad after all. I just need to bunker down and not actually do anything. We lounged around. I got out the paint and pens and my son
made a mess got creative. The afternoon was mainly spent in front of the telly. I’m not sure how long this approach can last, I assume at some point I may have to cook, clean and go to the shops and there is that little problem of my job, but for one day only it seemed to get us through. After all, I had a lot of those kind of days when my son was younger, so they shouldn’t be too alien to him.
Throughout the day I was hypervigilant to every twinge in my womb area. In the afternoon I had cramping. I’d read that this can happen after IUI and can be due to the procedure, or due to implantation. I sat there alternating between being convinced that the pains were implantation (yay!) and worrying that they were ovulation and the insemination hadn’t been too late as I’d worried before, but too early (boo!). Or maybe I just had appendicitis? Or possibly a case of over active imagination?
The day after, I woke up feeling better. I was no longer in hibernation mode. The cramping had gone. We went out for the day, when we returned I was so exhausted I started to think I might be pregnant. We will ignore the fact that I’m always exhausted, suddenly this exhaustion was taking on a whole other meaning. When I ran out of breath running up the stairs I suddenly remembered how pregnancy messes with your breathing. Paired with eating like a horse that night (despite ALWAYS eating like a horse), I was sure I must be pregnant. In the early hours of the morning as I was going in and out of sleep I was convinced my breasts were tender – an undeniable pregnancy symptom surely? That night I dreamed my breasts were oozing milk. Then I remembered, I always have vivid dreams when I’m pregnant. Was there any way I couldn’t be pregnant? Who needs a test when you just “know“. We will ignore the the fact that this was only sixty odd hours after insemination; what’s science when you’ve got woman’s intuition?
11 days to go. Or as it’s more accurately known 264 hours. 158, 40 minutes. Or 950, 400 seconds (at least we’ve got to under a million though, that’s something, right?)
The next day was hell. Was this the start of the pregnancy hormones sending me crazy? Or was this just me plummeting off the edge of the cliff as has happened a number of times in the last few years? My first two pregnancies were full of anxiety. I look back now and I wonder was there something ‘wrong’ with me. I mean, it made sense to be anxious with the second one as I’d had a miscarriage beforehand, but why was I so anxious with the first pregnancy? Perhaps it was due to the underlying stresses and strains of living with my then husband, but had I also experienced a pregnancy related anxiety? I wasn’t sure what was preferable – to be pregnant and anxious, or to be not pregnant and crazy?
My son and I were driving each other mad so we went out for the afternoon. As we walked home I ‘felt’ pregnant. To my surprise I felt a sense of sadness flow through me. Until this point I had wanted to be pregnant so much I knew if it failed I’d be gutted. But on that tired and lonely afternoon I felt pregnant and upset. I feel guilty for even saying that now. I fear I’m tempting fate because I know I’ll be sad if I’m not pregnant, but for a while there it felt wrong. I can’t do this I thought, and I can’t even tell anyone. People weren’t exactly bending over backwards to support me as a single mum first time round, who’s going to want to be there for a woman who chooses to do this alone? I was freaking out, maybe my hormones were to blame, but even if they were at play, they couldn’t be the only problem. How would I manage to get through nine months of pregnancy and eighteen years of parenting if I couldn’t manage the first sixty hours after insemination?
My patience with my son disappeared. It was the first time I felt the pull of another child and this was only the idea of another child. Thinking that my son may no longer be the only person in my world felt very strange and scary. For the last three years the only person I have focused on has been my son. Both of us have got so used to it. It wasn’t just me who was struggling with my emotions, he was picking up on my vibe and pushing me to my limits. What had I let myself in for? It turns out these two weeks are going to be a lot harder than I imagined but for a completely different reason that I expected – I’m no longer sure which I want more – a positive result or a negative one.
That evening, once my son was finally asleep, I researched implantation. The earliest it can occur is six days after ovulation. Dr Google was once again informing me that these ‘feelings’ I am experiencing are even more ridiculous than they sound. I suddenly felt very not pregnant. My womb, which had been feeling heavy and full, suddenly felt light and empty. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that it can’t have happened yet. My emotions are refusing to listen to the science though.
The next morning I woke up shattered. I had such vivid dreams that night, that I hardly slept. There was a slight tingling in my breasts and a feeling of nausea too. Perhaps I was pregnant after all, I thought excitedly. I realised now that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be pregnant, I wanted a baby more than anything. The negative feelings were because this is a massive deal. At times I feel so very alone in it all, and – if I’m honest – I’m scared of how I will cope in practice. The change in how I have been feeling towards my son is me learning to balance the needs of two children. The first step in that process is to get my head around the idea of having more than one child. In nine days time I’ll know if I need to be doing that any time soon.