The Two-Week Wait

The longest two weeks of any planned pregnancy are the two that stand between the tiny twinge of suspected ovulation and the twenty minutes spent staring at the positive pee stick and muttering “holy shit” as it slowly dawns on you that sex really works. Sometimes! But not every time, hence the 336 interminable hours of wondering whether your martini and brie binges are turning a bundle of cells into a knubbly carrot stick or whether a free-floating blastocyst can be psychologically damaged by your repeated viewing of the season finale of The Walking Dead.

The hardest part of the first two weeks of a pregnancy—or a non-pregnancy—is that every little blip and flip your body creates is both a perfectly ordinary function of a non-pregnant person and an absolutely positive sign that you are pregnant. These 14 days create a comforting symmetry to the final few weeks of pregnancy, when every flip and flop your body creates is both a perfectly ordinary function of a third-trimester pregnant person and an absolutely positive sign that you are in labor and your water is about to break all over your conference room chair during your quarterly all-division staff meeting.

Take heart. If you are pregnant, you are in the first days of a 40-ish week journey filled with tummy-clenching uncertainty, heart-palpitating second-guessing, and insomnia-inducing Googling. Also, insomnia, heart palpitations, and a clenched tummy are all possible early signs of pregnancy, while also being perfectly normal bodily functions of a non-pregnant person with a moderate anxiety disorder or a penchant for drinking too much wine on weeknights.

Because the only thing any woman in the midst of the two-week wait wants to know is whether or not this or that vague feeling is an early sign of pregnancy, I will share a few of the signals my body was sending before it was time to take a test. Keep in mind that scientifically speaking, the only way to know for certain that you are pregnant is by giving birth to a human infant.

Things I Vaguely Recall Feeling Very Early in My First Pregnancy (Before the Double-Lined Pee Stick):

  • Like I was definitely not pregnant.
  • Like just in case, I should probably drink up all the good wine in the house.
  • Like everyone on the planet was pregnant but me.
  • Cramps that were not at all dissimilar to pre-period cramps, and only after I learned I was pregnant did I discern a possible difference in that pre-period cramps feel more “squeezy” and these cramps felt more “stretchy.”

Things I Felt Very Early in My Second Pregnancy that Caused Me to Drink Up All the Good Wine in the House:

  • Nausea—All of the real official medical websites say that morning sickness does not begin until at least three weeks after conception, and all of the ladies on the message boards claim they started puking the moment sperm met egg. The first week of waiting I felt pretty yakky, but I think that was the six or seven cups of coffee I was drinking per morning. The second week I felt differently yakky, like the way I imagine a panting cat feels, but I figured that could’ve been the metric ton of leftover Easter candy I consumed.
  • Cramps that felt maybe stretchy, maybe squeezy, maybe just the quart of Pad Thai I ate last night.
  • Like I was definitely not pregnant.
  • Like I was definitely pregnant.
  • Like all of the same people who were pregnant last time were pregnant again.

Intuition is incredibly reliable in hindsight.

Of course, both times I eventually confirmed that the cramps were not PMS and the queasiness wasn’t the leftover Pad Thai, it was a microscopic embryo burrowing into my uterine lining and doubling her HcG like a champion. No matter what you hope or think or feel or read on the internet while you’re waiting to build up enough good, concentrated pee to whip out a stick, there is no way to know until you know. The nail-biting uncertainty of the two-week wait is maddening, but as I learned, it is excellent training for parenthood.

Written by: Kathleen