**This post discusses fertility treatment and surgery. It’s intended to be helpful but if you feel you’ll find any of this upsetting, please don’t read on.
The information comes from my own experience and in part that of the women in the support groups I’m part of (they gave their permission of course)**
We had a five day transfer, this means that our embryo was placed in my womb five days after egg collection. Some transfers are done earlier for a variety of reasons but usually it’s on account of how the embryos are growing. Inside Mum is a much better environment for an embryo than a lab, so unless there’re growing very strongly, the clinic may choose to transfer one early. We were very lucky indeed and by day five all 12 were looking great.
This of course made us very happy but it was a bit overwhelming. The embryologist told us she’d struggle to choose which one to use. When she said this, Phill and I just looked at each other. We’d been prepared for the strongest, stand out embryo to be transferred and hearing that in fact it would be chosen pretty much at random was a bit unsettling, Nevertheless, knowing that a lot of our friends had been lucky to have just a couple of embryos, we accepted that as far as unsettling situations go, having 12 strong chances was a great one to be in.
At the time of fertilisation (the day of egg collection) the pregnancy is considered 2 weeks along. So by the time I had my embryo placed back inside of me, I would in a way, be 2 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I know this sounds crazy and it was a difficult one to get my head round while on bed rest.
Saying goodbye to Beth that morning was strange. She’d been a big part of the journey we’d been on and yet here at the end/beginning, we were simply waving her goodbye. At once it felt like she should come along but also like she should be entirely separate from what was about to happen – lest it not work out. I kept reminding her that it might not, while trying to remind myself that it might.
She’d painted her nails with glittery blue and pink polish (baby dust) for luck and I did my hair and make up and donned heels and a shirt dress – remember they wouldn’t go ahead if I was still poorly and I at least wanted to look the part!
When Phill and I returned to the clinic, the foyer of the hospital had been taken over by a group of ladies who had knitted baby blankets an d cardigans. Phill went to buy drinks and I found myself lingering over their creations.
They were beautiful.
I wanted with all my heart to be someone that needed to buy these things.
I decided that I WAS someone that needed these things! I bought a beautiful crochet blanket, made with pastel wool and considered it my message to the Universe that a baby was welcome and wanted in our home. Phill joined me and agreed it was a good idea. When the lady asked if the blanket was for us or a gift, I told her the truth – that we were literally about to become PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). She hugged me and said we’d be in her prayers. True to form – I cried.
Transfer is very different from collection. It’s much less surgical, you’re partner gets to stay with you (wearing a glamorous hair net again of course) and you’re kept awake. You lie down in stirrups and much like when you have a smear, the doctor gets himself comfortable at the perfect height to erm…. see everything! Your partner stays firmly at the head end of proceedings!!!
The doctor scanned my abdomen and said that although there was still some fluid in there, he was happy that my condition was much improved and as long as I was aware of the risks he was happy to transfer.
*The risks were that if IVF was successful, the pregnancy hormone would make the OHSS condition flare up. At it’s worst OHSS can cause your internal organs to fail. It’s very dangerous. I took a huge risk at an emotional time and although the result for me was positive, I wouldn’t recommend that others behave recklessly with their health.*
In he next room the embryologist was making her final checks and we could see this on a screen. She checked our details to be sure that these embryos were infact ours and selected the little dot that would be transferred. Here it is – this little dot is our baby’s first photo.
Using the ultrasound, the doctor showed me where he would place the embryo which was being handed to him in a long thin tube of fluid. He explained that he would push the tube into my womb and then release the liquid, so I’d see a flash of white on the screen and that was where the embryo and fluid were.
It’s uncomfortable but not painful and as positioning is so important you have to keep still.
You know what you probably shouldn’t do if you want a woman to keep still as you carefully position an embryo in her womb, you shouldn’t say something ridiculously moving as you go to do it!
We watched intently on the screen as the tube came into view, then at the crucial moment the doctor whispered “good luck little one” and I completely lost it. He looked like he was wrestling with a fishing rod trying to keep the tube in the right spot as I blubbed like a baby!
This was the first time I’d allowed myself to see this little dot as more than a bundle cells, more than an idea, a hope. It was our baby, my son or daughter and it was all up to them now.
Once the fluid was in my womb, the embryologist checked that the tube was completely empty. It was. The embryo, our little baby was back inside me and I was ‘sort of’ pregnant. It was very quick, there were 6 people on the room when it happened and I can only remember one of their names!
It’s odd to walk out of the room knowing that there’s a baby inside of you. You feel as though you should be carried out and wrapped in cotton wool. You’re scared to sneeze, to go for a wee, laugh, cry, sit down, stand up. But the fact is, nothing you do right now is going to make a huge amount of difference. One thing I’ve learnt being a part of IVF support groups is that luck has more to do with success rates than any of us would like to admit.
We went home and began the two week wait or for us, the 9 day wait. Were the procedure successful then after 9 days we’d be technically 4 weeks pregnant which is enough for a pregnancy test to be able to give a positive result.
The two week wait os the stuff of nightmares!!! You become an obsessive googler, knicker-watcher, POAS-er (‘pee on a stick – er’), symptom questioner and general worrier. The two week wait for me and for most, is a story all of it’s own.