I was so excited. I was expecting great news from our first-ever egg retrieval. Instead, I was told that only three of the eggs had fertilized, and of those three only two had survived. I had been counting on dozens of left over embryos to freeze for the future. Instead, we only had two. Although I was discouraged, I was also encouraged. Two embryos were all that we needed. I would take them!
Several days later we headed to the hospital for our fresh embryo transfer. This is when embryos are placed through a tiny capillary catheter into the uterus. My personal infertility specialist was the one scheduled to perform the transfer rather than any of her partners, which gave me an immense sense of relief. Now that I was an “interesting” patient, with soaring estrodial levels and swollen ovaries…everyone knew me. I had broken records. I was off the chart! No longer one of many, I was distinct. It is strange how something bad like ovarian hyperstimulation can actually work in your favor. Being known made the process easier and meant that I received more time and dedicated attention from all of the doctors. In spite of this, I was still relieved that it would be my own doctor doing the transfer. She knew me the best, and I trusted her the most.
The transfer wasn’t supposed to be painful. It was a quick in and out. They actually said that I didn’t even have to stay laying on my back at all. I could get right up and head to work if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. Were they crazy? I wanted to go home and put my feet over my head. I wanted those embryos to stick and stay!
We arrived to the procedure room early in the morning. My husband, Dave, was thankfully able to get the time off of work. We were making a baby…yes, the unromantic way, but we were still making a baby. As the nurse brought us back, she told me to undress from the waist down-yet again, and she handed Dave his baby-blue paper jump suit and surgical cap. As I was starting to strip down and Dave was starting to layer up, the nurse announced the sad news that we now only had one remaining embryo. The second one had not survived. I was heart-broken.
One embryo decreased our chances of success by at least 50%, maybe even more. As it was, the chances of success had only been about 50%; now they were down into the 30’s. I gave myself a mental pep talk, but all the time I felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach. As my doctor prepared for the transfer, the nurse pressed the transabdominal ultrasound uncomfortably over my overly full bladder and hyperstimulated and swollen ovaries. I was fairly certain that I was going to start peeing right in my doctor’s face! I felt like I needed to warn her just in case I was about to embarrass myself and soak her. She reassured me that I wasn’t going to urinate. I remained skeptical and started cursing the darn ultrasound. It felt worse than the transvaginal. How was that even possible?
It took a little while longer than expected to get the catheter in place, but once in, the embryo was shot into my uterus. I was with child. A baby was inside of me. Now it was time to wait and see if it would attach and grow. There was nothing more that I could do other than wait.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting is such a hard process. I prayed more than I ever have. I pleaded with God to let this work. I prayed that the baby would be healthy. I made promises to God that I probably couldn’t even possibly keep, but I wanted him to know that I meant business. I knew that he could make this happen. He could control the situation. Why he had put me in this situation in the first place I didn’t understand, but I knew that he could rectify it. I figured that I had already learned so much. I had grown so much. I realized my human fragility and my need for divine intervention. I waited, and I waited, and then…..I started spotting. And then, I started hemorrhaging with a full-out worst period of my life. My one little embryo had not survived. My womb was empty once again.