posted in Pregnancy
Over the next 3 weeks, we invite you to come along on an IVF journey, step by intense step. From making the decision to go forward with in-vitro fertilization, to the meds involved and what they’re really like, and to finding out whether this emotional and sometimes painful roller coaster ride yielded the results so dreamed of and prayed for. BabyCenter blogger Melissa Willets will be documenting every detail in a series of blog posts.
If you’d told me a few months earlier, I never would have believed I’d possibly get pregnant in a doctor’s office, with my husband sitting feet away from me, and with almost half a dozen other medical professionals looking on.
But here I was after a grueling cycle of IVF: embryo transfer day. I’d been told to drink a lot of water, and show up for the procedure a bit early so I could undergo an optional acupuncture treatment, which studies showed increased my chances of getting pregnant.
Afterward, I sat in an exam room with my husband, whom I figured should be nearby when I could get pregnant. It was eerily quiet, except for my mind, which raced with fears, hopes, and endless questions. Would this work? Would our IVF journey succeed? Would I get pregnant today? Or, would I leave here just as empty inside as I’d arrived?
Suddenly, a crush of people burst into the room; I think there were five of them, from my doctor, to an embryologist, to a sonographer; and a few other people whose functions I still don’t know. My husband joked later it was like a Nascar pit crew descended upon us, out of nowhere.
Suddenly, things were happening. Fast. First, the doctor showed us our baby. That’s right; we got to see a photo of the embryo we’d created.
I stared at the blob in wonder. That was my baby; the first-known photo, at least. Most parents don’t get a chance to see their child until 8 weeks gestation, at the earliest. But now, I was getting a glimpse of my little one, in the blastocyst stage, “living” independently of me. My hopes, my dreams, all the blood, sweat and tears I’d poured into this process, represented as a mass of cells.
Next, we confirmed our information. Then, my legs were up in the air, spread wider than when you’re giving birth, I swear. There were cold, metal tools involved. It hurt, and I tried to focus on breathing deeply, and relaxing. Ha!
We watched in awe as the embryologist’s gloved hands reached into what looked like an incubator, and sucked our baby into some sort of tube; a mini-turkey baster of sorts. Within seconds, the doctor inserted the tube inside me, and that was it. The transfer procedure was done.
The entire process, start to finish, couldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes. As quickly as the pit crew arrived, they were gone, leaving us alone in that room again to contemplate what had happened.
I’ll go on record as saying that in those quiet moments, I felt like something amazing had taken place. I used the word “miracle” at the time, as my husband and I embraced. For a few brief minutes, I was convinced I’d just gotten pregnant.
But no sooner had I gotten dressed, than the doubts set in. My doctor provided no guarantees the transfer would work; only saying I had about a 70 percent chance of getting pregnant. After a truly devastating late second trimester loss just months earlier, my mind couldn’t help but focus on the 30 percent chance I wouldn’t get pregnant.
That night I felt very emotional. My earlier confidence had faded into self-doubt and even terror. Because like so many women who endure IVF, I felt I needed this transfer to work. I needed to be pregnant, to make everything I’d been through worth it. And yet, I had no way of knowing if my fate was already sealed, and the transfer hadn’t taken.
I’d have the next eight days to obsess over the results. Even after going through an unthinkable loss, and a cycle of IVF that challenged my mind, body and soul, this would be the hardest week of my life.
Next week, I’ll share more about what I went through during that brutal week, and finally, my pregnancy test result.
What was your transfer day like? Or, is what I described what you thought an embryo transfer would be like?
Read more about my IVF journey:
Photos: Melissa Willets
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