*DISCLAIMER* So it's come to my attention that it seems I need a disclaimer at the beginning of this post. This post, along with all others that I have clearly labeled and tagged Medical Me, contains medical information. I am undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and since I was unable to find many honest accounts of the process online, I decided to write about my experience to help others who may undergo the same procedure in the future. I've been vocal about the fact that some may not be comfortable or happy with the direction my blog is taking this year and if it is time that we part ways, let's do so amicably. You do not have to read these posts. There will not be a test. *END DISCLAIMER*
The day after my egg retrieval, I got a call from my doctor's office. Of the 33 eggs they had removed, 26 were mature and 23 had fertilized. This meant we had 23 embryos to monitor for use at either the transfer or to freeze and use later.
My embryo transfer was scheduled for 12:30 on a Saturday. Again we had to arrive about forty-five minutes prior to the procedure because I needed to have blood drawn and they needed to prep me for the procedure. Once in the prep room, the nurse told us about the embryos they were going to transfer. She called them, "beautiful" and showed us a picture. For a transfer, the ideal embryo has either 6 or 8 cells and is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest. Our two embryos were both 8 cells and rated a 2. The doctor told us that none of our embryos were ready to be frozen yet and the final decision would be made after they developed for a few more days.
For the transfer, I had to arrive with a full bladder. This was the biggest concern to me. At this point, I was something like 50% Gatorade and I already use the bathroom once an hour so the idea of not being able to go to the bathroom for nearly three hours was a little terrifying!
At my retrieval, the nurse explained that by full, they didn't mean "ready to explode" full so that was reassuring. In the end, I had my regular breakfast of cereal and coffee, went to the bathroom before we left, and that turned out to be fine. I had a prescription for Valium that I decided to take about thirty minutes prior to the procedure. It made me pretty loopy while we were sitting in the waiting room, but I feel like it basically wore off by the time I was in the operating room.
Prior to starting the IVF drugs, my doctor did a "trial transfer" to take some measurements, the logic being that they wanted everything to go smoothly when there were actually embryos in the catheter. An embryo transfer is very similar to the IUI process except they use an abdominal ultrasound to confirm the positioning of the embryos. The sensation feels very much like a pap smear although it lasts a bit longer since the doctor had to properly position the catheter before inserted the embryos.
Afterwards they wheeled me out to the recovery room where Husband was waiting. I had to lie there for another thirty minutes then I was was permitted to use the bathroom (finally!) and go home. I spent the rest of the afternoon on bed rest and Husband picked up some yummy dinner for me.
Following the transfer, most patients wait approximately two weeks before going back for a pregnancy test. Before then, the body isn't producing enough HCG to confirm whether the transfer worked. However, since I don't do anything the easy way, I ended up back at the doctor's office twice during this two week period. Stay tuned on Friday to read all about what happened there!