Also known as, pregnant until proven otherwise! Meh. I’m not sure how to feel about that label. But according to the world of IVF, this is me. We will know for sure on 4/28.
I’ve struggled to put my thoughts to keyboard over the past few days. I guess the easiest, most natural next post would be to sum up our last few days of living in the IVF twilight zone.
Friday the 14th we went in for our egg retrieval. Piece. Of. Cake. I really barely felt like anything happened, to sum up the day.
Tip: schedule the retrieval for as early as possible, so the lack of food and water doesn’t turn you into a hangry patient. This was very helpful! You are not allowed to have anything up to the retrieval because you are given light anesthesia. The worst part of the day was the blood work really, which I should be used to at this point. But it was a new-to-me-nurse and boy did she sloooooooooooowly inch that needle into my arm…it should be like a dart, lady! Like a dart!
So then they moved me on to anesthesia, where the small needle in my hand was uncomfortable, but eventually unnoticeable. I was rolled into a teeny operating room in the fertility clinic that had a back door that led to the lab where all the embabies are kept! Fertility speak for fertilized embryos. They threw my legs up into some SUPER comfortable stirrups (can’t say I ever thought I’d type that sentence) and slid the oxygen cannula into my nose. A few deep breaths, and the next thing I knew, I was back in my chair, behind my curtain…BAWLING. I heard the nurse say “oh this is a very normal reaction to anesthesia!” But I was in a couldn’t-see-through-my-soaking-wet-eyelashes, couldn’t-catch-a-breath, hysterically bawling state. I’m sure everyone thought “she must be so emotional from the retrieval!!” WRONG. I was taken over by the anesthesia monsters. So they went to get Dawson and I remember telling the lady, through gasps for air, “you…can’t…miss…him. He’s the one with the big mustache!”. Thank you hipster, well-groomed, handlebar mustache.
Dawson says the nurse warned him that I was a little weepy, but as he pulled back the curtain, he found me with a blanket over my face still crying. Shortly after, I tried to pull off my blood work bandage and flung it across the room, so then the crying turned into a laughing fit! But that was the bulk of what I remember that day. I went home, slept, slept some more, boom…retrieval done.
Numbers: we got 4 eggs, 3 mature, 2 fertilized. The embryologist called us by 7:30am the next day with the results. We were very thankful that we didn’t have to wait all day, impatiently, for the news. The news wasn’t great, but it was what we expected, and you only need one right???
Fast forward to Monday the 17th, it was transfer time. IVF transfer days differ based on the patient. Most clinics will do a 3 day or 5 day transfer. Making it to day 5 is great because at that point, the embryos are fully formed “blastocysts” that can be graded and the quality is better known. But it’s impossible to say that a day 5 transfer is best. Our doctor recommended a day 3 transfer because we really weren’t working with much, and what was the point in keeping the embryos away from their natural habitat? With only 2 to use, the idea is that they might have better potential for survival and flourishing back in the uterus. So we made it to transfer day, with these two embryos coming home with me:
A 5-cell and a 6-cell, both grade 2 of 5 (5 being the worst). We say you can already tell which child is the better one…the smooth, put-together guy below. Dawson says the top one is a boy because the dark blur is either his penis…or a mustache.
Transfer day was far more uncomfortable than anything else that we’ve done so far. That’s not to say that it was painful, but it wasn’t fun. You have to go in with a “full bladder” so that your bladder is pushing up your uterus and giving the doc a better view of where to put the embryos. I didn’t want to be the girl who had to chug water on the table half-naked, so I had a FULL. BLADDER. To the point that I was struggling to walk while also being high on Valium and Feldene. Those went to my head very quickly, hit me more than the anesthesia on retrieval day.
So the nurse was pushing on my bladder to do an ultrasound and see that everyone was in place. YUCK. That sucked. Then the doctor came in and started opening everybody up, and that movement at least relieved the pressure of having to pee. The cleaning of the cervix and the catheter used to transfer the embryos weren’t bad, but I would compare it to a pap smear that was taking too long and an inexperienced doctor did the smear. Meh, we make it through!
Dawson got to sit in on the procedure and we both laughed at the formality between the doctor and the embryologist (of course this is necessary, but it gave us a giggle). The doctor yells out “READY!” and you hear the embryologist from the embabies cave yell “LOADING FOR SARA, LOADED, COMING IN”…SWOOP, embryos back in me. Just like that.
Best part, the doctor used a catheter to drain my bladder and it’s really hard to remember a time that I’ve been that happy…
So now we wait. For 12 days. Some say the two week wait (TWW) is the hardest part, I do think that could be true, but there is some relief in the fact that I’m back to a normal routine. No shots, no doctors appointments, just back to “normal”. That part feels really good. I am taking estrogen twice a day and progesterone supplements twice a day to prepare my uterus for a successful pregnancy. I paid a little more for the progesterone vaginal gel (you just pop it up there like a tampon) and I think that has been more than worth it. Sure, I feel a little gooey, but not having the mental pressure of a butt shot every night is a nice relief.
A friend asked me if I had a “gut feeling” about how the transfer went. I am a very “gut-feeling” kind of person, but I can honestly say…I have no feelings. I feel the only thing I can do right now is sit and wait. I am trying so hard to not over-analyze the daily cramps and feelings like I’m about to start my period, that it seems easier to just not think about the embryos inside of me. There’s nothing I want more than for them to continue growing into babies, and I’m confident in preparing for a pregnancy, but not knowing….it’s a mind-f**k 🙂
Luckily, we leave tomorrow to go to a friend’s wedding at the beach. This will be the best possible distraction. Then the following week, leading up to our pregnancy test, is extremely busy for me with work/volunteer events. I will say that you don’t have to go out to dinner every night, go to a movie, or get your nails done to distract yourself. You will NOT be fully distracted during this wait. Pushing through IVF is like struggling to make each day work with a heavy, shifting weight on top of you. Each step and each day lightens the load bit by bit. But you won’t feel a full relief until the end result is achieved.
I’m trying not to go to the place of “what if this didn’t work”? And that’s leaving me in a twilight zone. Floating through each day, somewhat distracted, somewhat happy, trying to remain positive. Every step of this process has been so different emotionally. But…what else is there to do but wait?