Monday, 29 May 2017

IVF #3, FET #3: Transfer Day, Part 2

On Saturday I told you about our wait to hear from the Embryologist on T-Day (and my subsequent hanging up on him, oops). I'll pick up where I left off.

We'd just had the call when we were in the shop trading in our phones. I stepped away from the counter before darting back to relay the message to Mr Click. We finished up what we were doing there, the staff wished us good luck and told us to stop back in the future to let them know how we got on.

And then we wandered round to Paperchase to cool our nerves for a little while before making the move towards the hospital.

We were to be there for 11am so well in advance of that, we caught the bus and headed hospital-wards. I'd gone from a buzzing ball of anxiety to a buzzing ball of excitement. I'd not wanted to get my hopes up too much in case of disappointment, but now we'd got the go ahead, I was so ready for it.

Now one of the worst things about an embryo transfer is that you have to have what is termed a 'comfortably full bladder'. Anyone who has ever tried to sustain a comfortably full bladder will be aware of what an oxymoron this is. Your bladder can either be full or comfortable, but not both.

I've been stung by this before. On my first transfer, when I followed the medical advice to the letter, I duly emptied my bladder an hour and a half before my appointment time and began drinking an hour before. I'd been advised to drink a bottle of water. By half the bottle I was bursting and I spent most of the wait for the transfer pacing because I was convinced I was going to wet myself!

Since we'd been given a time of 11:40am, I figured I'd start drinking at about 11am. The progesterone I'm on has been making me pee more so I thought it'd take me less to fill myself up. As it happens, just because I feel full, doesn't mean I'm actually full. Lesson learned, though hopefully I won't need to put that into practice again any time soon.

We were summoned through at almost bang on 11am, making me glad that I'd sent Mr Click away to get his coffee when I did otherwise I would've been flying solo for the transfer. One of my favourite nurses, K, took us through where we were immediately changed into our stylish transfer-wear:

Proving you don't have to shop at Ann Summers for baby-making outfits!
I started to panic slightly because things were moving along a little quicker than I'd been expecting, so I began chugging water. As I said, I did feel pretty full but as I later learned, not quite full enough.

K returned with our letter with our pregnancy test details (a date that I'm keeping close to my chest so I don't have people asking whether we know if it's worked yet or not). Followed shortly afterwards by the Embryologist, M, and our Doctor, Dr. S, who I've seen before (I think she did our first egg retrieval but I'm not sure), she remembered us anyway.

M straight away confirmed that both embryos survived the thaw and they were looking 'beautiful'. They were both top grade when they were frozen and of the two one had thawed back to top grade, the other one was still expanding (I think she said 95% so nearly there) so it wasn't given a grade but it was still looking good.

Originally we'd planned to be somewhere near the bottom of the list for the day's transfers so I suspect that if we'd not been in such a hurry to get them back where they belonged, they both would've been fully expanded and maybe even starting to hatch as some of our previous ones have been.

Neither was hatching at the time we saw them, but for me that also felt like a good omen. With Olaf and Elsa they were compacted at the time of transfer, so perfectly circular with no little bubbles poking out. Obviously a hatching blastocyst is perfect for transfer since it should be ready to get stuck right in, but neither of our hatching ones have hung around for long so I was happy with how our two were looking.

M checked that we wanted to see them on the screen when we went in, of course we did, then she hurried off to get them ready. Meanwhile, Dr. S. went over the transfer process with us. Since we're old hands at this now she didn't linger on it too much, other than discussing the risks of multiples, which we were aware of. She did mention my previous issues, particularly last year's spectacular failure. Apparently transferring a second embryo increases our chances by about 5% and I'll take whatever I can get.

And just like that we were ready to go.

We headed through to the room. I went over to the hatch, handed over my ID card to the Embryologist (so we could make sure that the Click embryos went back, rather than anyone else's), then I hopped up on the bed, stuck my feet in the stirrups and had my lady bits exposed to everyone in the room with the exception of Mr Click who had been deposited in a seat at my head.

A minute or two passed and then two little circles popped up on the screen. On the right was our top quality, fully expanded embryo and on the left was the one which was still working on re-expanding. Something they've never done before at transfer is pointing out which bit of the embryo will become the baby, but this time they did. The right one's Inner Cell Mass could be seen at the three o'clock position and the left one's Inner Cell Mass was at the twelve o'clock position; a little dark bubble of cells which could some day be a person. It was incredible.

This was probably my most uncomfortable transfer. I don't know if it's the meds I'm on or if I was really tense but I felt pretty tender while they were working on me.

The process is supposed to be a little like a smear test. A speculum is inserted, then a catheter is fed through the cervix, then when everything is as it should be the embryos are brought through in a separate catheter and they're popped back where they belong.

And if you've got a full enough bladder you can watch the magical process on the ultrasound screen thanks to the nurse pushing the ultrasound scanner on your bursting bladder. In the past we've seen it really clearly but this time I wasn't quite full enough so it was harder to make out what was going on. Dr S didn't really need the ultrasound, it was just to help make sure everything was positioned right and is actually more for our benefit than theirs.

Despite not being as clear as it could have been we were still able to see the little flash of fluid containing our embryos being pushed into my uterus. At least until I sort of giggled nervously and jiggled things a bit so we lot sight of them again. It's hard to stay still for all this.

And then you're more or less free to go. We headed back to our room, got changed and had some extra meds delivered.

Then it was time to hop in a taxi, grab some lunch and head home where I, feeling totally exhausted, hopped into bed and watched most of the second series of Outnumbered to remind ourselves of what we're getting into.

Oh, and we've named our embryos. In honour of the fact we've been watching The Dukes of Hazzard recently, currently nestled in my uterus are Bo and Luke, Mr Click even uttered a little 'Yee-haw' when they went back.

Let's hope they stay there for the next nine months or so.


  1. Bo and Luke, that's very fitting. I didn't know much about this process so I thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. It seemed like the right pair of names for them. :-) I'm glad you're finding it interesting.


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