IVF Part Three: Embryo Transfer & Waiting
Ok sooo we left off just before my embryo transfer on my last post. Here’s how things have gone since egg retrieval:
November 9th: 45 follicles on ultrasound, 17 eggs retrieved
Nov 10 Day One: 12 eggs were mature, all 12 fertilized
Day Three: 8 embryos were they need to be, 3-4 still hanging on
Day Five: All embryos are slow growers, transfer pushed to Day 6
Day Six: Two embryos to transfer, one 4aa and one 4ba, the rest all still low grades
4aa and 4ba grades mean that the embryos that we transferred were expanded blastocysts, with a large embryo and thin zona, with many cells organized in epithelium. The A/B difference in the two pertains to how tightly packed the cells were.
The actual embryo transfer procedure was pretty short and simple, but I’m going to write about it in as much detail as I remember, because I know that at least anyone going through IVF will want to hear about it :)
I was instructed to drink a full bottle of water on the way to the clinic, so that my bladder would be full for the ultrasound, but not to “overfill” my bladder… I pretty much always have to pee and I had had a terrible experience in an ultrasound in college with an overfilled bladder, so I actually just sipped on about ¾ of a bottle of water right up until they called me back. I do not regret this one bit, I think a chugging a full bottle thirty minutes prior would have been way too much for me! Even still, the ultrasound pressing down on me was pretty painful.
Once I got back into the room and laying on the bed the doc and nurse both came in to get me ready. Doc warned me that the metal cylinder he was going to put inside of me would be cold (it was). It was also painful because he had to adjust it pretty roughly and push it all around my still swollen ovaries and full bladder. They had to scrape around in there which was no fun at all! The room was really dark (besides the spotlight on my business, which I’ve become more accustomed to than anyone ever should be) thankfully, because I was wincing in pain and only Ben could see my face!
The doc actually had to take the cylinder out and back in again, but the second time was not so bad, probably because he had a better pathway that time. Once that was situated the two of them coordinated with the ultrasound to put the catheter thingy in and pointed in the exact right spot in my uterus. When this was finally done they literally hollered to the embryologist, Jay, to bring in my little embabies. I didn’t even know he was in the room right next to us the whole time until then. The doctor then said my full name, embryologist said my full name and the grades of my two embryos, and then they asked me to say my name as well. They are very careful not to mix up embryos and patients, thankfully! When this formality was done the embryologist came through the door very carefully with a long, clear, skinny straw-like thing containing both embryos. He told me that one had started hatching already that morning, which was a good sign and that the rest needed to possible go til the night or Day 7.
The straw thing went into the catheter that was already placed inside me and they gently pushed both embryos in. I was able to watch the ultrasound screen and see a tiny white dot pushed onto the target. They explained that that tiny white dot was the fluid that contained both embryos. It was all so exciting! It was really bizarre too though, that I was able to witness the exact moment that the embryos were placed inside of me and just thinking about all that science was a little overwhelming. The embryologist retreated into his secret lab again to check under the microscope that both embryos were cleared from the thin tube, which they were. This was another time I was thankful for their thoroughness and extra careful steps.
Before the doctor left the room he put his hand on my lower stomach and rubbed it around a little bit, then took his gold necklace that he wears everyday out from under his scrubs and showed it to me. It was some Native American fertility thing and he gave it a couple of shakes in my direction for good luck and then told me that the rest was left up to the Man upstairs and pointed to the ceiling. I’m not superstitious really, but I liked this lighthearted little ritual that he did, it made me feel alot better about all the anxiety I’ve been holding inside about this day!
Ben held my hand as I rested for about twenty minutes, before I VERY gently stood up to leave. The nurse told us something that has also relieved a lot of our anxiety. She said that the embryos were like placing a poppy seed on peanut butter and that they would stick pretty well regardless what I did, or if I sneezed or coughed or anything. The 24 hour bed rest was just being extra careful. I felt better knowing this, but i was still extremely careful for the next 24-48 hours barely moving from the recliner or my bed. I did not want to have ANY regrets.
The worst part of all of this is now the dreaded WAITING. I feel excited and positive yes, but also helpless and scared to death all at the same time! Of course I’ve been paying extremely close attention to my body , looking for potential symptoms of pregnancy, but with the prescribed progesterone and all that my body has been through these past few weeks, it is impossible to know what is causing these symptoms or even if they are all just in my head! I”ll list below what’s been going on for the past few days, just because that’s what all the IVF bloggers seem to be doing, not because I think that it actually holds any significance or is helping me predict the end result at all. The only thing left to do is trust in God’s will and hope for the best!
1dp6dt: dull headache all day and night, the tiniest amount of pink blood noticed at time of progesterone suppository, small little twinges felt around 8pm
2dp6dt: light cramping at 8am and again at 7pm, small backache
3dp6dt: watery discharge in addition to normal progesterone in the AM, tired, night sweats
4dp6dt: small increase in breast tenderness, upset stomach in the AM
I take my first beta test at 6dp6dt just before Thanksgiving, I’ll probably hold off on any announcements whether negative or positive for a few days after my second beta, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving so that we can at least keep a part of this process to ourselves for a short time. In the meantime, please send prayers and baby dust! Thank you again for following along with me in our journey and especially thank you for the outpouring of love and support that we have received from the very beginning. You all are the best!