Schrödinger’s Embryos

Ahh, ’tis right smack in the middle of the dreaded Two Week Wait! (2ww)

I believe this phrase is appropriated from TTC (“trying to conceive”) message boards. I’ve landed on those once or twice during moments of googlemania, and let me tell you what, there’s a lot more sex going on in those than there are on the assisted reproductive technology-focused boards! There is never any sex on those boards!(Though there’s a decent amount of reference to male partners giving samples. I hear that’s not as sexy as it sounds, though). ….Sorry. I have been relegated to celibacy. The mind tends to wander.

Anyway, on those boards, people are monitoring ovulation and timing sex, and the 2ww actually lasts for two weeks. The time span from ovulation to the day when a pregnancy test will be most accurate is actually 14 days. The difference with those of us making the petri-dish babies is that, the first 3-5 of those days, we know there’s no embryo(s) in us, so there’s really no wondering whether we’re pregnant or not. Our 2ww is actually a 9-11 day wait. In my opinion, I’d rather have this 2ww than the actual two weeks of those trying to conceive naturally. That sounds stressful… and every single month! They don’t even know if they ovulated (though I hear you can detect it pretty accurately these days), or if the egg was fertilized, or if an embryo grew, or if it implanted. We know everything but the latter… did it implant? Are we pregnant? We know there were definitely embryos! We saw them with our own two eyes!

Then again, knowing about the embryos is a special kind of torture in and of itself. You know that thought experiment about Schrödinger’s cat? I’m no physics guru, but from my understanding, a cat is placed in a box with this elaborate poison-and-radiation Rube Goldberg machine in it, and after it’s closed for an hour, there’s about a 50/50 chance that the cat has been killed by the poison. Until you open the box and check, the cat is, according to some law of quantum mechanics, simultaneously alive and dead!

So, if you can imagine that you spent a good $50,000 to purchase this cat; being able to keep the cat alive is one of your life’s most important dreams; the cat isn’t inside a box but is inside your own body; you can’t find out whether the cat’s alive for 9-11 days, rather than an hour; and that whole time you’re desperately trying to make sure the cat stays alive with handfuls of pills and giant harpoon-needle injections (and maybe pineapple cores, eew)… That’s kinda what the 2ww is like.

And it really does feel like you’re simultaneously pregnant and not pregnant. One moment you’re walking around and the thought pops into your head “I’m pregnant! I’m really pregnant this time! YAY!” and you feel all smug, like you have this great secret. And the very next moment, you think “They’re dead 😦 My uterus is probably an aggressive jerk that rejects anything it comes into contact with. I mean, hell, it killed two donor embryos already, and it even pushed out an IUD once, which is barely even possible!”

I’m actually doing pretty well not thinking about it as much as the other two IVF cycles, though. Maybe it’s partially because I just feel like I have a better chance this time. Maybe I’m realizing that I obsessed a lot the last couple of tries, and it just took up my mental space without having any bearing on the outcome. Either way, I’m still obsessing, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite as much. …so far.


5 thoughts on “Schrödinger’s Embryos

  1. Im sorry, those two weeks sound like they could be pretty stressful. I can empathize though with the psychological thoughts of “am I? I’m not.” Unfortunately mine was do to irresponsible injection, but my point is there is a little something internally that tells you when it”s a , Yes! It’s a private and terrifying moment, an emotional rollercoaster. I truly hope your experience results in peace and joy.


    • Ha! I could, that’d be perfect! Actually it’s really funny you should say that… every single time somebody says “You know who you look like?” I say “…Amy Farrah Fowler?” and they say “YES! How did you know?” then I think “Because I’ve only heard that a ba(zinga?)zillion times” hahaha


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