The night before our embryo transfer I barely slept a wink. I think I got about two or three hours in. I was up most of the night consumed in my thoughts of “what if”. What if that first round was just a total fluke and we’re going to have to go through all of the embryos to get this next baby? What if it doesn’t work and we have to do an entire fresh cycle again? What if my endometriosis has taken over my insides again and I need to have yet ANOTHER surgery? And how the hell will we afford all of this? I don’t talk about the cost of IVF and fertility treatments much, as in the scheme of things, what’s money when it comes down to giving you a baby? But it is definitely something that is a huge deal… and a huge expense. It is something that stops couples from being able to continue their journey to become parents. We’re just so damn lucky that our first cycle was such a success and not only gave us our baby girl, but this next pregnancy too.
I had three appointments lined up for the all important day. Two acupuncture appointments and the transfer procedure. I am a massive believer in Chinese medicine and did acupuncture for years to help with my endo and along side our first round of IVF. So I’d scheduled to do an appointment both before and after the transfer, just as I had done with our first successful round. I feel like when something works once, it’s hard not to get fixated about doing EXACTLY all the same things again. But this round I was so much more relaxed and way less anxious about it all.
I arrived at the clinic, presented to reception and waited to be called into the surgery. Colin had a full day at work, so I was by myself this time, which I think made it all feel even stranger. There’s just something really odd about an embryo transfer, both the first and second time. In that surgery room, in your white hospital gown, surrounded by nurses and specialists and machines, it’s where the medical and scientific aspect of what you’re doing to create a baby really hits you. This is always where I really struggle to keep it together. It’s like that anxious feeling where you know you’re about to break down and ugly cry but you’re trying with all your might not to. All of those feelings of being nervous, terrified, excited and overwhelmed are running around in your head a million miles an hour.
The procedure itself is really quick. They talk you a little through the thawing process and go through the standard identification checks to ensure that you’re receiving the correct embryo. The nurses and my specialist are always so lovely and try to chat to me like it’s a normal day (I suppose it is for them) to try and ease my nerves. Once you’re on the bed your legs are put into stirrups and they go through the identification checks once more. You then get to see your tiny little embryo on the screen wriggling around, right before they guide it in via your cervical opening using a catheter. To make sure they’re putting it in the optimum position an ultrasound machine is used too. Once it’s in, you pretty much just go on your way and begin the waiting game…
This time, the two week wait was a lot easier. I remember previously every single day felt like a week, like time was moving in slow motion. It was all I thought about, constantly. My symptoms were quite similar this time and on day 5 I got that same period type pain that they say could be the embryo implanting. I thought this was a really great sign, but didn’t want to get too ahead of myself just yet. I was pretty proud with how I was doing and feeling at this point. The progesterone drugs were making me feel exhausted and tired, but apart from that, emotionally, I was coping much better.
I’d end every day thinking about doing a test, and this time, holding out was somehow easier. Last time I got to 7 days post transfer before I did a test at home. This time I lasted 9 days. We’d discussed doing an at home test before my official blood test at the clinic as if it was negative, I’d always prefer to find that out for myself, rather than a nurse telling me over the phone. Colin was out playing in the living room with Eva and I just decided to bite the bullet and do it. I turned the test over, set my phone to two minutes and pretty much just closed my eyes the entire time. When the two minutes went off I was too scared to look at the result. Taking a deep breath, I squinted one eye open and got a pretty huge shock. Two strong red lines. A positive result. And just like that, we were pregnant again.
I popped the test into my pocket, composed myself and walked out into the kitchen where Eva was finishing off dinner with Colin. Once they’d finished I casually pulled the test out of my pocket and showed Col. He kinda couldn’t believe it. One, that I’d just gone and done a sneaky test without telling him, and two, that it was positive.
As I write this now, at nearly 20 weeks pregnant, this little babe is kicking around in my belly. It still, even halfway into my pregnancy, does not feel real. Crazy huh? Going through infertility and IVF sure has been one insane ride but we are so incredibly grateful that it worked for us. We really are one of the lucky ones, because without modern medicine and science, we probably never would have been parents.
Someone asked me the other day if I will eventually tell our little ones about how they were made… absolutely. I am so proud of us. Of what we endured to get these babies. I will tell them about how incredibly wanted they were, that science is amazing and that we are just the luckiest.
Is this the end of our IVF journey now? I don’t know to be honest. I think maybe it is. But who knows what the future might hold, right?