At the end of my last post I wrote the following: I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’ve done what I could to figure it out, and the rest will just be what life is so good at delivering: a surprise.
Well the “surprise” was that it didn’t work.
I spent zero time rehashing it here. Although we were extremely disappointed, my doctor has chalked this up to “bad luck” and we are moving on – and fast! Just 19 days after confirming the failure of our first FET, I have another embryo inside of me. Here is how that went down:
I went to work yesterday morning and waited for the call from our doctor’s office saying that our little embryo survived the thaw. I got that call around noon, finished the rest of my work meetings, and then slipped out the front door to coast uptown in a cab. I felt calm. All felt smooth.
I arrived to a packed IVF waiting room and quickly changed into the “mommy-making” uniform of scrubs and a robe. By the time I popped back out, my husband was there (in his full suit and tie “money-making” uniform) and we both sat quietly flipping through our phones – such old pros of this odd life that we are now living.
While I waited, I was instructed to slowly drink 16-ounces of water. If you recall, my first FET was done via “blind” transfer. As this was not only awkward, but really uncomfortable, I requested that this transfer be an “ultra-sound guided” transfer. In order to do this, you must have a full bladder as it helps the doctor to realize the uterus on the ultrasound, as the bladder acts as a “landmark” of sorts when full. I also took two 0.5 mg of Xanax this time so that I’d feel more relaxed. The transfer last time felt almost violent and I didn’t want this to happen again.
About 20-minutes later, I was called into the inner waiting room (literally where dreams go to die) and I made small talk with a woman who waiting for her fifth transfer. FIFTH. This entire IVF game is such a cruel racket and most everyone I meet that is going through it has stories such as these.
Dr. S., who did my first egg retrieval, was also the doctor slated to perform my frozen embryo transfer. Although I love the symmetry of having the same doctor who took out this egg put it back in, I wasn’t thrilled about seeing Dr. S. again. I didn’t like him the first time due to his tacky taste in blasting techno music in the operating room. I didn’t love him this day either. His jokes are lame and off-putting, particularly when they are delivered mid-procedure:
“Okay, I’m going to take the speculum out now…unless you’d prefer me to leave it in? In which case, I’m going to send you straight down to the psych-ward!”
As he laughed out loud to his own stupid joke, my legs were in the air, my “ladybits” were exposed, and my precious little embryo had just been transferred to my body. Nothing about it felt like a laughing matter.
Anyway, it was a much easier transfer this time. I did not feel the catheter pinch and everything felt incredibly smooth. It was over so quickly and then Dr. S. handed me the photo of our freshly transferred embryo and I was shocked. It was completely hatching out of its shell already! I did not expect it to look like that (probably because our first one did not at all) and I was so surprised. Dr. S. said, “This is a very good looking embryo. It’s fully expanded and it’s already hatching. You should have good chances with this.”
As I was wheeled out of the operating room, all I could do was keep staring at the photo. My husband joined me in the recovery room and he was also shocked to see it. We both cried a bit and felt very lucky and very emotional about this beautiful hatching embryo of ours!
Then the Xanax really started to hit and I was so loopy the rest of the time. I got home and my husband made us a bed on our pull-out couch in the living room so that we could watch movies and snuggle the rest of the evening. This has become our little tradition after embryo transfers and it’s very cozy.
Today I am feeling so much calmer and more positive than I did before. Here are some of the reasons I feel better this time:
- Smoother transfer (no pain, no cramps, no uterine contractions)
- More advanced blastocyst (fully expanded and hatching out of shell). Which according to this study: “spontaneously hatching/hatched blastocysts have a better potential to implant and develop into a positive pregnancy.”
- Earlier end of endometrium cycle so we know we didn’t miss this “window” of implantation. As one nurse told me, “The blastocyst will wait for the endometrium, but the endometrium will not wait for the egg.”
- Calmer, more positive and peaceful attitudes. (Our first transfer my husband and I fought on the way to the procedure because there was traffic and we were late and super stressed).
It took us two rounds of IVF cycling to get our crop of eggs. Perhaps it will also take us two rounds of transfers to get our baby! <3