Quote of the weekend from the mister: “There’s nothing like trying to make small talk while another man stares at your wife’s cooch.” That, in a nutshell, was the story of my transfer.
We were told to arrive to the clinic at 10 sharp on Saturday morning. We swung by the farmer’s market, lined up for our Saturday morning chocolate croissants before our town’s magical baking couple even arrived to set up their tent, and were on the road in time to make our appointment with plenty of time to spare. I even had enough time to leisurely pick out my transfer day socks. As I Tweeted out the pic of me and my socks in the town gazebo I captioned, “Transfer day socks. ‘Cause eggs and the chicks that produce them rock!”
45 minutes in to the drive we zipped around a blind curve only to find a police cruiser parked sideways across both lanes of traffic. The friendly local cop sauntered up at the leisurely pace one expects of small town America and said, “Oh, yea, we’ve got a car in a ditch. Road’ll be closed til the tow truck gets it out.” Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t want to search our car right then and there given the sheer sweat-producing panic that news elicited. I definitely looked like someone hiding something. We declined to wait and I iPhoned us off-road and through planned community after planned community until we arrived just a few minutes after our scheduled appointment. Crisis averted.
Upon arrival to the clinic’s waiting room, I was informed that transfers actually take place in their spa facility next door. Let’s play spot the newbie! I rolled my eyes and somehow staved off the desire to mumble a chorus of, “You could have fucking told us this before this moment!” We drove around to the spa entrance, I entered this unfamiliar new territory, and waited. For a clinic that prides itself on trying to offer a relaxing atmosphere and support positive self-thought, the unanticipated facility change, the constant barrage of “Are you doing acupuncture today?” (No, I’ve paid more than enough for this already, thank you!), and the gaggle of women discussing unruly 1 year-olds just inside my earshot was none too relaxing. Little did we know the best was yet to come.
We entered the waiting room around 10:05. We were finally taken back to our room at 11:00. The doctor came in at 11:30. Good thing my husband told his boss he had to miss that very important 9am meeting. Grumble.
Turns out the reason for the delay was the entire clinic was experiencing a wireless networking outage. 4 years (1 hour and 30 minutes) of waiting to do our very first embryo transfer, and the clinic was unable to print any pictures of my embies because of a wireless issue. Seriously, FML. It’s odd how much that little fact bothered me. I’ve anticipated my first transfer for ages. I’d walk in to the familiar surroundings of my clinic (fail), be presented with pictures of my gorgeous embies (fail), and be in and out calmly and quickly. Yea, not so much.
When the doctor finally entered the room I was thrilled to see it was my favorite doctor. He did my latest D&C and I remembered liking him then. I like him even more now. He spoke to me of science and medicine, not mantras and yoga. His professional demeanor did help calm me, even if things ultimately got a little weird.
An embryo transfer is really not much more than a slightly more invasive and prolonged pap smear. You scoot to the end of the table, a speculum goes in your vagina, the cervix is cleaned with the same medium the embryos have been growing in (aka “Embryo Gatorade”), a small catheter is threaded into your uterus, a syringe containing the embryo is threaded through the catheter, an ultrasound probe is inserted to visualize the uterine cavity, and, when the ultrasound shows that the catheter is in exactly the best spot for (hopefully) future implantation, the plunger is pushed and the embryo’s deposited. Easy peasy.
Thing is, though, they don’t bring the embryo-containing syringe into the transfer room until the very last moment. They want you to be waiting on the embryo and not the other way around. Though it surely didn’t feel like it at the time, a thirty-year-old woman is more capable of waiting than a fragile 5-day old blastocyst. What this meant in reality was I was sitting there for what felt like an eternity, legs spread wide open, husband at my head and doctor holding the empty catheter in my hooch, waiting for the embryologist to appear. So, we made small talk. Awkward, awkward small talk. I about jumped up and kissed my husband when he broke yet another unbearable silence with a well-timed question about the clinic’s embryo freezing procedures. Anything to break the silence. Well, almost anything I guess. When the transfer was actually happening the doc wiggled the catheter and pointed to the ultrasound screen saying to me, “That’s me waving high from inside you!” Uh, wha? As I saw the quick explosion of fluid and embryo flood the ultrasound screen he added, “And now you’re pregnant!”
We transferred one grade 4AA blastocyst – the highest quality blastocyst possible. We had at least one other 4AA blastocyst waiting as well. The clinic offered us the choice of transferring one or two blasts, so they had grading ready to go on the two best embryos on the day of my transfer. The grading of the remaining embryos will post to my patient portal sometime in the next week. We also found out on Saturday that I had an additional 7 expanding blasts that would be frozen, with the possibility more would reach expanding blast stage by Monday (today, 7 days post retrieval). I called for the final report this morning. This cycle has been a dream:
- 23 eggs retrieved
- 19 eggs mature
- 16 eggs fertilized
- 16 embryos still growing on day 3
- Of the 16 embryos:
- 1 blastocyst transferred
- 9 blastocysts frozen
- 6 discarded (failed to become blastocysts)
Those numbers are pretty much beyond my wildest dreams.
Because I’m a fiend I’ve been peeing on everything in sight since Saturday. My official blood test is next Monday, October 14, but I’ve been taking daily home pregnancy tests as well just for giggles. The shot I administered last Saturday to trigger the final maturation of my follicles in preparation for egg retrieval is essentially a straight dose of the same hormone picked up by home pregnancy tests. This means if I hope to get convincing news either way with a home test, that I’ve got to follow the tests from positive (from the shot) to negative (from the shot being gone) to, hopefully, positive again (from a pregnancy). This morning’s test was the first stark white negative. If a line reappears in the coming days there will be immediate cause for hope. The earliest I’d expect to see a true honest-to-goodness positive is late this week, but that news surely won’t quash my desire to pee
on my hands in a Dixie cup each morning when I wake from now until next Monday.
For now, though, I’m officially PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. As the doc said after my transfer, it’s time to party like a pregnant lady!