Several days after my egg retrieval, my uterus was ready for my second ever embryo transfer. When we heard that we had 6 embryos we were ecstatic. That sounded like so many compared to the last time. However, on arrival we were down to 5. They had decided to transfer only 2 embryos to minimize our risk of twins, but the two were perfect quality! Finally, we were going to be parents! My infertility specialist was in another procedure that day and was unavailable to perform the transfer. Instead, one of her partners was present for the procedure.
I was back in my striped from the waist down position with my legs in the air; I was ready to have this work. My legs started to cramp and get numb after a while, and the ultrasound probe was more uncomfortable than I had remembered. There was so much pressure pushing down over and over again against my sore ovaries that had just been poked with needles numerous times. Time after time, the physician attempted to pass the catheter tube into my uterus. The embryos were handed to her and then passed back to the incubator. She just couldn’t make the tubing work. Several times she unconvincingly thought that she was in the right spot, only to then conclude that she was not. Back and forth the embryos went.
I was starting to get nervous. This was supposed to be the easy part of the procedure. Tiny capillary tube in, baby in, presto…pregnant. Eventually, the nurse, who by now I considered a friend and who was holding my hand on the opposite side from Dave, suggested that we call my primary infertility specialist to let her try. Thankfully, she was able to come down from the operating room. A wave of relief swept over me when she entered the room. Not, that the other physician wasn’t good, but there’s a trust that develops between a doctor and a patient over time. I trusted my primary infertility specialist. I had researched her and chosen her as my doctor. Her knowledge level was great, but her surgical and procedural skills were also top-notch (which is why I had chosen her in the first place). She quickly moved into position and got to work. Unfortunately, my cervix decided that it wanted to be tricky for her as well. After at least another 15 minutes and several different types of tubing, she was in! In went the embryos. We waited for the confirmation from the embryologist that none were left in the tube. Yes, we were once again with child!
I got up from the table, desperately, needing to pee. Their protocol said that I didn’t need to lay flat, or put my legs in the air, or anything special. I could get up and go about my day as usual, but I still wasn’t allowed to exercise due to my ovary size. I was thrilled. This was going to work. Two great looking embryos were now inside of me. They were my little munchkins. I texted my friends letting them know how things had gone. We were only a week away from Thanksgiving, and we were going to Charlotte to see my parents for the holiday. I couldn’t wait to hear the words, “You’re pregnant.” We just had to make it through Thanksgiving and then we would know.
Our trip in Charlotte was fun. Everyone was excited for us. It was going to work this time because the medications had been so much better, the embryos looked much better; and well, it was just going to work. We decided to take a day trip to the Biltmore house. On the way home, Dave took a curb while pulling into a gas station. He didn’t just bump it a little, no, I felt myself lurch in the seat, with my seatbelt tightening. I freaked out! How could he be so careless? I couldn’t be jostled! What if he had just ruined everything that I had worked for? I went a little insane on him and then just stopped speaking the remainder of the way home. I don’t like getting angry, but I had so much riding on this cycle. It wasn’t like it was easy for us to get embryos. Every step had been challenging. He reassured me that everything was fine, and that it would take more than a speed bump to disrupt things. I didn’t want to hear a word of it. Although I eventually forgave him, I was a little nervous that it may have messed up our chances. I was probably blowing things completely out of proportion, but when you are on a gazzoodle of hormones and you have as many emotional and physical ups and downs as I had, you would probably have freaked out as well.
I was at work when the call came. It was my infertility nurse. She had been assigned to me from the beginning, and it was a good thing. I called her quite often when I had a concern, and she was the one who called me with my blood work results and my pregnancy test results. She was the one to hold my hand during the procedures, and she was the one saying “Hi,” to me each morning before my countless ultrasounds. She had called me with the news on my first cycle informing me that I wasn’t pregnant. She had a way of delivering the news that was very predictable. She always started with my name. She would say, “Emma, this is Libby (changing her name for privacy sake).” And, then she would repeat my name and my results. “Emma, you are not pregnant.” Followed by a sincere, “I’m so sorry.”
I had gone in that morning for a pregnancy test. Libby was calling with the results. Unfortunately, once again, I already knew what they would be. I had been feeling crampy for several days, and I was having a little bit of spotting. My munchkins had decided not to stay. I felt like they had betrayed me. Libby’s voice confirmed my concerns. “Emma, you’re not pregnant. I’m so sorry.” I was heart-broken. How could this be? This time had been better. This time had been as good as it would get. I called Dave to let him know, but I couldn’t reach him. Typical. He was working. I simply left him a message saying, “It didn’t work. We aren’t pregnant.”
My infertility doctor called me as well to check on how I was doing with the news. We discussed options once more. At least this time we had frozen embryos so I wouldn’t have to go through a stimulation cycle again. And, of course, the price was much less for doing frozens. My gunner attitude pushed me to ask when we could get started again. I would have to wait a little while, but they could start me on birth control and once I had a period we could proceed with a frozen cycle. I was game. I do have to say that the periods after a failed IVF cycle are MONSTROUS. The medicines make the lining of the uterus thicker to support the embryos, but that means that you have more lining to shed. Fun, Fun! Not only are you not pregnant, but you get the worst period of your life. Oh, wait did I already mention that above? It’s worth mentioning again.