My IVF Diary 3 – Embryo Transfer

11 Feb

5/11/13 Doxycycline and progesterone

Today is the due date of the baby I lost in April after my first round of IVF since having my son, so the results of yesterday’s ICSI feel all the more significant.

If this cycle works, the resulting baby will have been conceived on the day my previous baby should have been born. It would feel like fate, like it was meant to be. Like I would always carry a little piece of them inside this child and that my angel, wherever they are wanted us to meet again.

If the results are bad, it will be a double tragedy on this sad day.

At 10am, the embryologist phoned.

“Mrs Roche, can you confirm your date of birth?”.

After I do so, she says “We have some good news for you. All of your 6 eggs were mature and able to be injected. By this morning, 4 of them have fertilised normally, and one more is showing signs of fertilising so we will check it again later. The last egg was abnormal and didn’t survive the injection process”.

4 out of 6. That is good. 66% fertilisation rate is totally normal and way better than last time, so we still have a chance.

She confirmed that at this point they did not know if they would go for day 3 transfer or day 5, so she said they would call me tomorrow with a progress update and to keep Thursday free just in case.

I am now praying that these embryos will all hang on, and will be dividing normally by tomorrow morning.

I can’t wait for the update, yet am nervous that tomorrow will show a different picture.

6/11/13 – progesterone and doxycycline

In the office today with a big meeting at 10am, so was expecting to have to wait until lunchtime to speak to the embryologist.

However, she rang at 09.30 whilst I was in another meeting, so I hid in the corner and spoke to her in short broken sentences so as not to give anything away.

Today all 4 embryos have divided. By this time they should have reached anywhere between 2 and 4 cells, and as of this morning, 3 have reached 2 cells and 1 has reached 3 cells.

She said they would likely go to a day 5 blastocyst transfer so that they could see some distinction between the embryos, but would call tomorrow with a day 3 update.

Gosh this is nerve wracking. Am praying with every ounce of my being that these guys are strong.

I phone my hubby up, with only the briefest of messages..”still 4… Saturday, tell you more later”.

And of I trotted to my big meeting full of purpose and enthusiasm.

7/11/13 doxycycline and progesterone

Good and bad day.

First the good.

The embryologist phoned at 09:45am with another update.

“Today we expect to see division of between 5 and 8 cells, and you have 4 x 8 cell embryos”

4 x 8 cells! I was so ecstatic I almost did a jig around the room.

“So we will definitely take you to day 5 transfer on Saturday. You are first on the list at 09.30am”.

At this point the doubt kicked in. So I started grilling her on the chances of none of them making it to blastocyst stage and the transfer being cancelled on Saturday.

She kindly told me that it was a possibility, but that at this stage, all of the embryos looked the same, and it was only at day 5 that it would be clearer which were the best. Typically about half of day 3 embryos make it to day 5, so we just have to pray that we are typical, and that on Saturday, we have at least one or two good ones to transfer.

I immediately phoned my husband and at first tricked him into thinking it was bad news. He sounded gutted, so I quickly broke the good news that all 4 embryos were right where they should be. He was jubilant. I think he really wants this cycle to work as badly as me.

Now the bad news. I am in serious pain today. I woke up with back ache, thinking perhaps that I had slept funny. But after 30 mins or so, the pain was worsening and I was convinced it was constipation or trapped wind from the progesterone.

After downing a bottle of water I went to the loo for the first time since the egg collection and despite experiencing diarrhea, I otherwise felt better. The back pain eased, the bleeding, ovary and pelvic pain of the last two days gone.

However, just 10 minutes later, the back pain was back. I needed the loo again, so off I went, and as before despite diarrhea, the back pain eased.

By this time I decided I must be empty, so I took my progesterone suppository and doxycycline with breakfast and continued working.

Just 20 mins later I needed the loo again, but determined to keep my suppository in I refused.

I managed a full 90 minutes, at which point the back pain became unbearable.

I again endured a bout of violent diarrhea, and this time the back pain remained.

Now in agony and terrified that there was something really wrong that might result in the embryo transfer being cancelled on Saturday, I rang the clinic.

Concerned by my howls and tears, they immediately booked me in for a scan, and told me to take some paracetamol and get a lift up. I phoned my husband who was out of the area working, and he immediately turned around and was home within half an hour.

At the clinic they took a urine sample and performed a scan to look for OHSS.
My ovaries were a little enlarged, but no more than expected, and there was a small pocket of fluid in my pelvis, but again, nothing they wouldn’t expect. So they were satisfied that this was not the cause of my pain.

The urine dip was normal, so nothing there of any concern.

Therefore, the consultant deduced that this was likely a gut/bowel discomfort caused by the rather harsh nature of the doxycycline antibiotic, and therefore, she advised me to discontinue it.

The paracetamol eased the back pain all afternoon and I returned home to work. By evening, the pain in my back returned only a little, but is now accompanied by mild pain in my pelvis. I hope having stopped the antibiotics, this pain will phase out in the next 24 hours.

8/11/13 progesterone

No update from the embryologist today, the embryos are cooking in the incubator undisturbed.

I’ve now stopped the doxycycline antibiotic and am hoping to feel some improvement soon.

The back pain has returned this morning only lower down on the right hand side. I wish I knew what it was.

The diarrhea has calmed a little, no doubt a result of stopping the antibiotic, but I am still gassy from the progesterone.

I resolve to work from home as I have much to do, but by 11am I am in more pain than I can bear and begrudgingly reach for the paracetamol. This offers light relief for about 1 hour, but then the pain returns and I can do little about it other than move position constantly, in search of something more comfortable.

By evening it is all I can do to eat my dinner (I am surprisingly ravenous today), take some more painkillers and go to bed.

9/11/13 progesterone.

2am. Awake. Back still hurting and I cannot sleep. This is going to be a long night. I toss and turn, drink water, sit up, lie flat, but nothing is easing the constant ache. I want to take a paracetamol but am keen to hold off until we leave for the embryo transfer.

I lie in bed shifting uncomfortably for a further4 hours, only nodding off at 6am, before my son wakes me at 6.15am. Urgh, great start to the day.

At 8.30am, I take my paracetamol and leave for the clinic with hubby. We arrive at the clinic at 9.10am, and unlike the hoards of expectant couples lined up for transfer at the previous hospital, I am the only one scheduled for 9.30am.

The embryologist immediately joins me and takes me into a side room to discuss the status of my embryos at day 5. God I am nervous, hubby is parking the car, and I am all alone. Can’t we just talk about them out in the main reception area? I don’t want to be pulled into a quiet room so you can give me bad news.

She starts by running through the development of all embryos since the day of egg collection. Day 0, 6 eggs retrieved, day 1, 4 fertilised normally, 1 broke up during the ICSI injection and one fertilised abnormally.

Day 2, 4x 2 & 3 cell embryos remaining, day 3, 4 x 8 cell…. Yes yes… Get to today, what is left?

She hands me a stunningly clear A4 size picture of two embryos. With such clarity, I can instantly see that one is an early blastocyst and the other is a morula.

She tells me that the other two embryos did continue on, but these are the best two to transfer and the other two are not suitable for freezing.

I am happy, for the first time in 3 cycles, we have 2 embryos to transfer, and on day 5! I am concerned that none have made a full blastocyst yet, but she assures me that some embryos take up to day 7 to become full blasts, and that she is satisfied that these two look good quality.

I am pleased, but then she makes a comment that floors me. She says “on the first day of division, none of your embryos divided at exactly the optimum time, which we find to be a significant marker, so it does suggest a lower chance of pregnancy”.

I was stunned. Day 1! No one told me about this on day 1 during our update phone call. Why did they tell me there were 4 normal embryos all within satisfactory limits? They told me the daily division ranges and everyday my embryos were within the normal range.

She tries to reassure me that perhaps our embryos just take a little longer than the norm, but I am silently in turmoil. My hopes dashed. I see these beautiful perfect embryos that have made it to day 5… This means they are strong….and yet she is telling me that right on day 1 they decided they all had little chance of turning into a pregnancy. My emotions are so mixed. It is all I can do not to walk out of the room and get back into the car.

I love these embryos already, I have been yearning to have them put back in their rightful home. To get cosy in my womb, yet now I feel that they do not belong. But I am damned if I am going to leave here with nothing after all this effort.

Hubby arrives and I show him the pictures and sign the consent form agreeing to transfer two embryos. I try to remain upbeat and we accompany the friendly nurse downstairs to the theatre.

Since I barely waited a few minutes to be seen by the embryologist I have had no time to drink at all, so my bladder isn’t very full.

I make my way downstairs to the theatre recovery area and change into my gown, robe and slippers and down some more water in an attempt to fill my bladder sharpish.

The nurse enters and asks me if I am full and I reply that I have drunk more than a bottle of water, but am not feeling terribly full. She suggests we enter the theatre where she can scan my bladder to check.

Upon viewing my bladder, she declares it still too empty to tilt my womb back into the right position and also shows me that my right ovary is sitting behind my womb propping it upright. This could be very awkward.

I return back to the cubicle outside and agree to drink 2-3 more cups of water to top myself up. The nurse and the consultant both wait outside for me. I ask if there is another embryo transfer scheduled after mine and they confirm that there are two. I feel guilty and urge them to carry out the other transfers if I am holding them up. They insist that they can wait and tell me to take my time.

I drink and drink and drink. I stand, I walk… Anything to encourage the fluid down towards my bladder. After another 3 cups of water I start to feel bloated and full. I tell them I am ready, and we re-enter theatre. But another scan reveals that despite a fuller bladder, my womb remains stubbornly tilted upwards in the wrong position.

I return to the cubicle intensely frustrated, and continue to drink yet more water while they bring the other patients down to their cubicles to change into their gowns.

I down another 2 glasses of water and begin to feel sick. I must have drunk close to a litre now, I would never normally retain that much without rushing to the loo.

I wait for a few more minutes and then tell the nurse that I really am as full as I can bear.

We re-enter theatre and the scan reveals my bladder is now full, but my womb is still forced into the wrong position by my right ovary.

The consultant declares it awkward but agrees it’s not going to improve, so we should go ahead.

I place my legs in the stirrups, the speculum is inserted and my womb cleaned (now that is a weird feeling). The nurse pushes the ultrasound on my belly forcefully to obtain the best picture, I squeal and swear my bladder will explode.

The consultant repositions the speculum several times to get the best view and asks the nurse to repeatedly move and press the ultrasound on my belly. The discomfort is shocking but I am aware that a successful transfer is critical to the rest of this process. My embryos need to return to the right place if they are to implant, so I zone out of the pressure and focus only on staying still.

Eventually, the consultant calls for the catheter containing my embryos, which the embryologist brings through from the laboratory.

This is it. The consultant orders the nurse to apply yet more pressure, but I hang on for dear life. The catheter is inserted, I hold my breath, and they release the embryos. I can’t see the screen, nor can my husband, but they assure him that there was a good flash on screen when the catheter was emptied.

The embryologist returns to the lab to check the catheter is empty and once confirmed, I am wheeled out of theatre to rest for 15 minutes before emptying my bladder.

The nurse congratulates me several times on being so brave, and says that considering how difficult the procedure was, it resulted in a perfect embryo transfer.

I lie on the bed for 12 minutes, before the litre of water is straining my bladder so much I can no longer hold on. I run to the loo and release the pesky water.

I return to the cubicle, get dressed, thank the staff for their patience and return home to the boy once my test date has been confirmed as 20th November.

For now, I have babies on board and before the inevitable anxiety kicks in, I intend to enjoy this thought.

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10 Responses to “My IVF Diary 3 – Embryo Transfer”

  1. @Mummy_blog February 14, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Gosh, what an experience. I was holding my breath the whole time during your post. Very well written. #PoCoLo

  2. Caroline (BecomingaSAHM) February 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Wow what an emotional and physical rollercoaster – I was holding my breath throughout too! I wish you all the best! #pocolo xxx

  3. Victoria Welton (@VicWelton) February 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    You really do go through the mill on IVF – it sounds like a nightmare! I have to say that I believe in fate. Grace was born 9 years to the day that I had previously had a (forced) termination. She was 10 days early. Hope all is well. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

    • ferreroroche123 February 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Every ivf cycle has certainly brought its own challenges and discomforts! I’m sorry you had to lose a child, but there is something special about having another child with significant dates. I am just trying so hard to hang onto this one and need abit of fate on my side.

  4. Bec Cowley February 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    My goodness, what an experience! I really hope everything goes well for you xx

  5. Karrie September 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I’ve just lost my embryo today after 12 days. Feel so alone and heartbroken.
    Your diary so positive and so describes all the feelings I have gone through so recently. It is such a difficult time…

    • ferreroroche123 September 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      I’m so sorry, it is such a hard time to have gone through all the physical and emotional hardships of an ivf cycle and then for it not to work out at the end.

      I wish you a successful outcome for future cycles.

      It is understandable that you feel upset right now, let yourself go through that and you will come out of the other side and find the strength for the next step, whatever that may be.

      • Karrie September 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

        Thank you x

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