FET #1 from IVF #1

Super-Secret Post
Concerning cycle 39 (December, 2014)

We were preparing to transfer the first of our two frozen embryos in December.

The clinic opted to tinker with my chemistry instead of simply transferring the embryo around the time I ovulate. The shot I got on Cycle Day -7 suppressed everything; I then went on estrogen supplementation of increasing dosage, as well as progesterone just before the transfer, until I either got a negative test result or was well into a pregnancy when the fetus would be producing enough hormones to take over.

Things were on a much more-stretched-out schedule than I realized. It was over 3 weeks between Day 1 and the transfer, and then a two-week wait after that.

The first three weeks were easy. I took my pills, being careful to increase the dosages and frequency as required. We had an education session with the nurse about doing intramuscular injections for the progesterone-in-oil. I had an ultrasound where the technician peeked in to see if my uterus looked ready for an embryo; it was, and our transfer was scheduled for a few days later and we started the shots.

The shots were more intense than the subcutaneous ones for ovary-stimulation. They go straight into the gluteus maximus and are just as pleasant as that sounds. They also burn. Think, the difference between a blood draw versus a flu-shot; the flu-shot has always been way more uncomfortable for me, and I got to get one every night for almost three weeks.

As I uncharacteristically revealed on Facebook, “Intramuscular injections are a pain in the ass.”

And as an added bonus, we had to do one at a Christmas party at someone’s house. We could have been more discreet about it if some parents hadn’t just decided that their baby could be put to sleep in the carseat in the ensuite bathroom, otherwise known as the place we had scouted out to do the shot (no counter in the powder room, plus it would have been more obvious we were going in there together, and would have held up others for 10 minutes).

But I get ahead of myself. The transfer itself wasn’t really all that different than an IUI from my perspective; they just run a catheter up and insert the embryo directly into the uterus. It’s about the same or even easier than a PAP smear. But from their perspective it’s a bit trickier because they want to be as sure as possible that the embryo makes it in there and isn’t still stuck in the catheter. As a result, we had to use the same operating room as the scary egg retrieval and have the catheter monitored by ultrasound.

The embryo can’t be seen on the ultrasound, but another monitor connected to a microscope did give us a glance of it before it was loaded into the catheter.

Since the embryo is so tiny, to assist with seeing and moving it, a small air bubble is loaded right behind it. The air bubble is visible on the ultrasound, and we watched it go in and even could see the bubble after it left the catheter. Very strangely, they gave us a printout of the ultrasound pic of the bubble in my uterus. Weird indeed.

There isn’t any indication that you need to stay lying down afterwards so within a couple minutes, after they checked the catheter to make sure it was clear, I was allowed to get up and walk back to the recovery area. It was Christmas so we had to get all the info of when the clinic was closed, and get a note for carrying syringes with us through security for flights back to Mr. EAP’s family.

It was a very strange sensation for the first few days. There had been a dividing embryo in a petri dish, and that was now inside me. But I wasn’t pregnant yet. But I was still sort of “carrying” it.

Here’s the only note I have about the cycle written in the present tense:

“Dangerous” activities I don’t want to do in case I am pregnant are categorized into “Things I can’t do immediately after transfer” and “Things I can’t do if we get a positive test (or maybe even later)”. Skiing is falling into the latter category as it’s really only dangerous if I get plowed into and even then, before the thing is macroscopic, I would have to be majorly wrecked for it to be affected. Alcohol is in the former. A small amount of caffeine (one of those tiny 90 cal cans at the aforementioned Christmas party) is OK for now (I am setting out hoping to avoid caffeine in larger amounts than chocolate, but I am aware that is unnecessarily strict — but I can be sensitive to caffeine so I’m playing it carefully). Switching allergy medicine and staying away from aspirin-derived medication was immediate.

Symptom hunting was an absolute nightmare. Since we’d started trying to conceive, my PMS symptoms had already changed quite a lot. So whenever I had a weird feeling, was it new PMS? Was it a pregnancy symptom? Or maybe just a side effect of all the hormones I was on? Or stress around the holidays? AAAAAAAAAACK.

The progesterone was also a high enough dose that I wouldn’t get my period until we got a negative blood test and stopped the hormones. This made the two-week-wait a bit more suspenseful than the IUI cycles when I’d commonly get my period before the bloodtest.

We were almost a week at one Christmas visit. While we were there, the date for our follow-up bloodtest came up. We had taken a requisition form with us so we could go to any blood lab for a simple draw, but expected to pay out of pocket because we were out of province and the blood draw is covered by our provincial care. It turns out we almost had the opposite problem; Manitoba was going to accept my health card and cover the cost, but the requisition from an Ontario doctor might not be OK! We could try a walk-in clinic to get the req, but the technician first called head-office to double-check.

It worked out fine and we left instructions for the results to be faxed to our clinic and had no charge. Yay!

That was on a Monday, and Thursday was a stat holiday. We didn’t hear and didn’t hear, and finally I caved and bought some home pregnancy tests before all the stores would be closed. Being asked to wait longer than two weeks seemed extra cruel, and I figured I could handle a “false positive” if we had another chemical pregnancy better than I could handle knowing nothing. (If the home test was positive, I wouldn’t be any less nervous than I was with no info.)

I took two tests January 1st, Thursday. They were stark white. Well, that was that.

The next day, we were finally on our way home and I called the clinic to ask if they wanted me to come in the next morning since they hadn’t received the data from Manitoba yet. It turned out they had that morning, and that indeed it was negative. So, a big fat boring negative with little drama aside from needing to continue the hormones for an extra 5 days for no reason (and not being able to drink free champagne at New Year’s).

We still had an embryo on ice, but our follow up appointment with the clinic and chance to arrange the next transfer was still 6 weeks away, so we knew the next two cycles would be just waiting again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *