As of 3pm Tuesday I have 3…yes 3 embryos inside my body. Now, whether or not all or even 1 of them stays for the long haul is still to be debated. My journey to get here has been bumpy to say the least. I’ve learned things I never thought I would need to learn. I have cried, laughed, gotten angry….but I have made it this far. Since I didn’t share my whole IVF journey, I will sum it up in a few words ( or paragraphs).
Step 1: I started this whole ordeal back in December. Yep, 4 months ago. It all started with ultrasounds, blood work, and a lovely test called a hysteroscopy. For those of you who have never heard of that let me tell you, it’s not the most pleasant thing I have encountered. It starts with a shot of Novocaine on your cervix. YES I said a shot in your cervix. Surprisingly it does not hurt nearly as bad as it should. That numbs everything up so that the Dr. can insert a catheter with a camera into your uterus. You get to watch it all on a screen, and pretty soon you see the inside of your uterus. The point of all this is to check for abnormalities which would get in the way of a baby implanting. Lucky me, all clear!
Step 2: I then had to wait. And wait, for my period to get here. Usually I am praying her away but in this instance I am begging her to get here quick. Once I got my period I got to start birth control pills. So crazy to think that I would willingly take birth control when trying to get pregnant. These help regulate hormones and time your cycle. I was on these lovely meds for 4 1/2 weeks. PS- I am not a pleasant lady when on the pill. About 7 days before my last BC I had to start an injection called Lupron. This was to shut off my ovaries in order to suppress them enough for high stimulation. Side effects of Lupron are similar to that of menopause, so you can imagine the fun I had.
Step 4: The exciting joy ride of stimulation begins! After stopping the pill, I went in for what is called a baseline scan. I had my blood drawn to check hormone levels, and had an ultrasound to check for cysts. I was all in the clear and set to start my injections in 2 days. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, I could not wait to get this ball rolling. Nightly injections of Bravelle and Menopur went on for 6 days. Side effects include- hot flashes, bloating, cramping, moodiness, acne, pain at the injection site, and bruising.
Step 5: I was terrified to go into my first follicle scan. For those who don’t know a follicle contains an egg, and can be seen on an ultrasound. The number of follicles correlate with an approximate number of eggs to be retrieved. In the back of my head I had a feeling I was going to be disappointed. I was right. I had barely over 4 developing follicles. The norm is 8-12. I trudged home and worried for basically the rest of the day. I got a call from the nurse stating they were upping my dose. I continued shots for about 4 more days and went to the clinic everyday for follicle checks. At my last check I had 4 mature follicles. Half of the normal. I was crushed. We had the option to cancel our cycle. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, I had come this far. All you need is one good egg. One good embryo…
Step 6: Egg retrieval day! I was so nervous I could barely stand it. What if I had no eggs? What if I only have one and it doesn’t fertilize? Before I could ask myself another question I was out. I woke up to hear that the Dr. retrieved 5!! 5 eggs! There was a hidden egg. I felt like in that moment we did the right thing. This was our reassurance. Now I have to wait a whole 24 hours to see if any made it to fertilization.
Step 7: I woke up at 8am waiting for my phone call. I kept checking my phone. I took it everywhere with me. Finally at 12pm I got the news…3 eggs have fertilized out of 4 mature. This is better than I expected. I was over the moon. They said we would be doing a day 3 transfer. To sum it up, you either culture the embryos until day 3 and transfer, or if you have a lot to choose from you can extend to 5 days to pick the best of the best. Since we only have 3 they didn’t want to risk anything.
Step 8: Transfer….again, nervous as ever. What if they all died after day 2? Feet in stirrups again, we get the news that we have 3 embryos. 2 good, and 1 fair. We are told it was best to put in all 3. My mind immediately thought of having 3 newborn babies crying for my attention. However, that quickly erased as the Dr. said it was about a 1% chance that would happen. OK, in they go!
And here we are…I am 2 days past 3 day transfer and I am impatiently waiting.