First off, I’d like to take a second to thank all of you who read my blog. I’m constantly surprised when one of you tells me you enjoy reading it and it’s benefitted you in some way — especially given that I’m not a particularly good (or concise) writer, and that my posts consist mostly of my complaining about how tough life is.
In any case, I am deeply humbled and encouraged by your investment in our infertility journey. Knowing we have friends who care enough to stay updated makes the whole thing feel less lonely.
Now, on to the good stuff!
In case you haven’t been keeping up to date, I’ve been going over my experience with IVF. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. We last left off right after my egg retrieval (ER) where 35 eggs were retrieved, 21 were mature, and 20 fertilized. I was scheduled for an embryo transfer (ET) 5 days after my retrieval, with a plan to freeze all remaining embryos for future use.
The day of the ET was fairly straight forward. That morning I was instructed to empty my bladder at 9:30AM and then drink 20oz of water in 15 minutes. From then on I had to keep my bladder full until after the procedure, and I really think that was the worst part! My ET was scheduled for 11:30 and we got to the clinic and were taken back to a room fairly quickly. After a nurse took my blood pressure (I was so anxious it was something like 153/100 — I thought I was going to have a stroke!) the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) came in to talk about what was going to happen.
By the day of the ET we had 12 embryos that were still growing, and we agreed to transfer one and freeze the rest. We signed some paper work to that effect, the RE called in the embryologist to confirm our identities and the transfer/freezing instructions, and then I got cozy in the stirrups as per usual. A nurse used an abdominal ultrasound to visualize my uterus (here’s where having a full bladder is useful — gets it out of the way so they can see the good bits), and the RE used that image to guide a very small catheter through my cervix, which didn’t hurt as much as I was expecting. After that came several awkward minutes of waiting for the embryologist to come back with our embryo, but finally she did and the RE pushed it through the catheter with some saline. They gave everything a minute to settle and then the embryologist took the catheter and checked it out under a microscope to make sure the embryo wasn’t still hanging out in it. It wasn’t.
That was basically it! After the RE was done, he and the nurse both left and I stayed in the bed for 5 minutes to let things settle a little more before getting up and (finally) emptying my bladder. All in all it took maybe 15 minutes from start to finish!
Before we left were were given some instructions for the next several days and a picture of the embryo they transferred (which we will always treasure).
The weeks following the ET were pretty straightforward as well. I had to take it easy, continue the progesterone suppositories I started after the retrieval, and go back to the clinic for blood work to see if I as finally pregnant. Those weeks, usually referred to as the Two Week Wait (TWW) are rather hellish if you don’t have anything to keep you distracted. Luckily I have a great husband and friends and plenty of things that kept me distracted even though I wasn’t working!
IVF was pretty terrible for me. It did a number on my body and my emotions, but in the end we created enough embryos that I probably won’t ever have to go through the process of stimming and retrieval ever again (and those were the worst/hardest parts). Hopefully we’re on the road to creating the family we’ve always wanted!