Thursday, January 23, 2014

Embryo Transfer and Playing the Waiting Game

    After our egg retrieval and learning that my estradiol level was over 10,000, I had pretty much convinced myself that they weren't going to allow us to proceed with an embryo transfer.  I braced myself for the worst.  I was weighing myself 2 or 3 times a day, drinking TONS of gatorade to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes, and just waiting for hyperstimulation to set in.  Well Monday came around and while I did have some weight gain, some mild nausea, and a general feeling of just not feeling great,  I wasn't showing signs of severe hyperstimlation so they wanted us to come to Nashville with the intent of doing the transfer, but said that if they examined me or if I started feeling worse then they wouldn't proceed.  Monday night I was pretty emotional and to say I was anxious and nervous is an total understatement.  Mentally, I had prepared myself for a freeze all and not being able to transfer. I think I was trying to guard and protect myself from the heartbreak and disappointment I knew I would feel if our transfer was cancelled.  So finding out all of a sudden that we were going to be able to transfer, I just wasn't prepared and all the anxiety that would have been building up over the course of a few days hit me all at once and I was very overwhelmed.  Was I ready for this?  I hadn't received an embryo update since the vague one on Saturday.  How were our embryos developing?  Is this going to work?  How am I going to get through the waiting period?  If it doesn't work, will we have embryos to freeze?  Will I have to go through ALL of this again?  My mind was reeling.  The night before the retrieval I was so worried and anxious that I only slept about 2 hours, so to avoid that happening again I decided to take some Tylenol PM in hopes that I could get some decent rest and not be up all night driving myself crazy with questions and what ifs.

We left Knoxville at around 8 AM and got to the clinic in Nashville by 9:45. They examined me and felt comfortable going ahead with the transfer.  After getting prepped, signing some forms, and Harrison changing into scrubs, I took a Valium and we were off to the procedure room.  I'm so glad that Harrison got to be in the room with me and hold my hand.  I was awake, although loopy, during
the procedure and it was over very quickly.  I was able to watch on the ultrasound machine as they delicately placed our precious embryo right in the middle of my uterine lining.  I was wheeled back to my room, snoozed a little bit, and had to lay flat with my feet elevated for about an hour before we were discharged to go home.  We were given a beautiful picture of our little embryo, which was graded an A..the best there is.
Our beautiful, healthy embryo (Day 5)
They were able to freeze 6 embryos on day 5 (Tuesday) and an additional 4 on day 6 (Wednesday) for a total of 10.  The 10 frozen embryos are either grade A or grade B embryos. That means we had 8 embryos that either did not develop, stopping developing at some point, or developed abnormally and therefore are considered not viable.  We are extremely blessed that we had such great success with this part of the process.  Because of the high number of good embryos we had to freeze and our age (still fairly young fertility wise), and a few other factors, we only transferred one embryo.  Now some of you are probably thinking, "why not 2 or 3 to increase the chance of success?"  Well, the more that is studied  and learned about infertility, IVF, success rates, etc., there is a lot of research to suggest that transferring more than one doesn't increase your chance of success that  just increases the chance of multiples.  Again, you might be thinking "2 for the price of 1!"  Well again, all the possible complications of multiple births such as prematurity, lung disease, extended NICU hospital stays, long term health problems, etc., it doesn't necessarily pay off.  And of course being a NICU nurse and knowing all the problems that can come from prematurity, I would never want to put my babies or myself at risk.  Because we are young and have several embryos frozen means that if the outcome of this cycle isn't what we hope for, we will have several chances of doing a frozen embryo transfer and achieving success.  Nashville Fertility Center bases their success rates on a "take home baby," not just a pregnancy.

Physically, I'm feeling just ok.  Still retaining some fluid and feeling bloated so elastic, stretchy pants are still the most comfortable.  I have noticed some food aversions...well a lot actually.  Not much sounds good to me right now and the things that do are really random (Hamburger Helper, orange juice, coconut greek yogurt!?!) The human body is a mysterious thing.  I can't help but wonder what's going on in there.  In case you're wondering here is what is going on over the next few days: 

5-Day Transfer

Days Past
Transfer (DPT)
Embryo Development
OneThe blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell
TwoThe blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus
ThreeThe blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation
FourImplantation continues
FiveImplantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop
SixHuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream
SevenFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
EightFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
NineLevels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy

Today is day 2 post transfer so hopefully our little embryo is starting to make itself nice and cozy.  I started progesterone injections on the day of the retrieval and will continue these until we get a negative test or if positive, till I am 10 weeks pregnant.  I had forgotten how much I HATE these shots.  I got very used to the little tiny needles and the injections in my stomach but these shots are brutal.  A thick 2 inch needle that has to go in the upper quadrant of my behind. And to make it even more fun, the progesterone is mixed in oil so it is THICK.  Its like trying to give yourself a shot of cooking oil or maple syrup.  Its only been a week and my behind is already bruised and sore on both sides, even though I alternate each day.  With all the joys of IVF, I don't understand why fertile people don't choose to conceive this way....(sense the sarcasm).  It's loads of fun.  But I know one day I'll look back and every bit of it will be completely worth it.  

So now the hard part...the wait.  With all that medicine and science has to offer, we still have to wait a week and a half to find out if we are pregnant or not.  And even if the first test is a positive, I have to go back 2 more times for blood work to monitor the level and make sure it is increasing appropriately.  Either way, positive or negative, I'm just going to go ahead and tell you that I won't be announcing anything right away.  If its positive, it's still scary and a very fragile time. Things could still go wrong in the early phases, just as with any pregnancy.  If its negative, of course I am going to be devastated and dealing with all the emotions that come with getting yet another negative result...guilt, anger, depression, sadness, frustration, etc.  While I love sharing our journey with you and hope that my openness and vulnerability can help someone else, please respect our privacy during this time.  I promise that at some point, I will update you with all the just may take a few weeks.  I can't thank you enough for all the support and prayers I have received because of this blog.  We have felt surrounded by love and have definitely felt God's hand guiding and comforting us each step of the way.  


  1. Good luck. Hope this transfer brings your take-home baby. Even at my age, I would only transfer one. I'm so happy clinics are starting to advise people more in that direction. I've seen too many multiple pregnancies end badly which heartbreaking anytime but especially after infertility. Sending sticky thoughts...

  2. I am so glad things went well and in your favor. I think only transferring one is the way to go. I know that is what I would do too! I will keep you in my thoughts! Take care of yourself! Love and baby dust!! xoxo.

  3. Praying so hard!!! Much love to you, sweet friend! I'm thinking of you and Harrison!!!!

  4. I pray this transfer is successful! I always wanted to transfer two but my doctor said it wouldn't be ideal for me. I was so disappointed but when he showed me the statistics and there was only a 2% greater chance I realized it was silly to be disappointed. Praying your embryo finds a cozy spit in your uterus to latch on!

  5. It sounds like everything went perfectly... I mean the E2 levels were crazy, but it doesn't sound like it was severe OHSS, and with levels like that it could have been! So glad that you got to do your transfer! All things are pointing towards success! Wishing you the very best during the wait!

  6. Glad that thins fell in place for you. Check my experience with embryo transfer here

  7. Blastocyst Embryo Transfer one of the best option for those women who are above 30. To get this treatment you can easily set your appointment with our clinic now.