The days leading up to transfer were crazy. There was a ton of back and forth on what the plan was and it was so frustrating not to know at all times what was going on with my embryos. Were they growing? How many were still left?
The plan first changed right before retrieval, and a freeze all was being considered. Then when we found out we were already down to three embryos a day 3 transfer was considered. I was actually pretty disappointed with this possibility. In my mind, a day 3 transfer means the embryos aren’t doing well and they transfer them early to try and let your body take over and save them. Day 3 transfer is not ideal in my mind. Is this completely true? Yes and no. Lots of people get pregnant with a day 3 transfer and yes they also will transfer on day 3 instead of day 5 if the quality isn’t looking so hot. No one knew the quality of the embryos at this point and that was even more frustrating. They were really considering day 3 due to the low numbers. That can be considered a positive, that it wasn’t due to the quality but it still was not what I wanted. Is it better to transfer than to lose everything? Absolutely. Would it be a huge risk to let the embryos continue to grow out to day 5? Completely.
I got the call from the office saying they didn’t know yet if I would be doing a day 3 transfer, but I needed to come into the office just in case. They weren’t going to look at the embryos and disturb them in the controlled environment until right before a possible transfer would happen. I hated this part. I felt completely out of control and I didn’t even have any information to cling to in order to feel better about the situation.
Day 3 came and I got a call that I didn’t need to come in! Our embryos were looking good and all 3 were still going strong. I had a 9 cell and two that were 8 cells. The doctor and embryologist decided it was worth the risk to let them keep growing out to day 5. I was completely ecstatic! This was the best news. Grow babies grow!!!!! Between day 3 and day 5 it is normal to lost half again, so that would leave me with 1-2 most likely by day 5 transfer. Now that we got the great news transfer would be day 5 (or possibly still a frozen cycle) we could focus our energy on praying those embryos would continue to grow. Another hurdle and lots of prayers.
My husband flew in that afternoon, which meant he would be there for transfer. We tried to enjoy ourselves before the big day. We ate all the local food and went to a baseball game. We tried to focus on just enjoying his short trip home and not on the weight of IVF.
Day 5 came much too soon and it was time for transfer. Again, we were all in the dark as to how those little embryos were doing. This is the third big hurdle. What did we have left? How did the quality look on whatever was still going? What would be our chances of getting pregnant? Would we still have to freeze them? I got dressed in my gown and cap and my husband got to wear scrubs 5 sizes too big.
I downed a bottle of water and my valium to “prep” for the procedure. And then we waited, for what seemed like forever. And I had to pee, but I needed a full bladder for transfer. The ultrasound room I was waiting in was also freezing, so the nurses kept piling warm blankets on me. Not going to lie, the warm blankets were probably one of the best things about transfer day and retrieval day.
The embryologist came in with news about our embryos. This can’t be good, I thought. Her face was slightly frowned and she looked concerned. I started to panic and thought maybe there’s nothing left. Maybe she’s coming to tell me I have nothing to transfer, they all stopped growing. Trying to hold myself together, she explained we still had 3 growing but none of them had made it to blastocyst stage. Two were morulas and one was still an 8 cell. The morulas were still growing, just slower than they like. Their recommendation was to go ahead with transfer and we could decide to transfer both morulas for higher chances.
If we were to transfer two morula embryos our odds would be 60% of getting pregnant, with a 15% chance for twins. We briefly talked about what we wanted to do, but it was clear very quickly we both wanted to transfer both morulas. The lab said they would allow the third embryo to continue growing for one more day to see if it was growing and viable for freezing. Our doctor also thought it was a good idea to transfer two and hope for the best. So with that, we went into the procedure room for transfer.
Transfer is much different from retrieval. I was awake for all of transfer where retrieval I was knocked out. It was incredible and such a special moment. The embryologist brought down our embryos and on the screen in the procedure room we got to view them through the microscope. They magnified in enough for us to see them so close on the screen we could probably count each cell inside. Then they zoomed out and we watched them scoop up our little babies in the catheter and bring them into the room. We switched screens and now watched the ultrasound monitor. We watched the embryos being released from the catheter into my uterus. It was pure magic and the most amazing feeling. Even if those embryos don’t stick, we will always have those moments with them up on the monitor.
Now the really hard part comes, more waiting. After transfer we wait two weeks until I can take a pregnancy test and get blood work done. This waiting is the last hurdle. Will they stick? Will they implant? I pray they do, I pray one of them does. Many of you are probably thinking, oh a 60% chance is so high! Yes, that is true. But there is still a 40% chance it wont work. And what happens if I am pregnant but lose it again? There’s no more starting over and trying again. This is it. This time the waiting is so much harder because I want it to be over and know the outcome but I also am not ready. I’m not ready for this road to be over. I thought I was ready at the beginning of this cycle, but now that’s it’s really about over I am so not ready. Don’t confuse that with me saying I want to do more cycles and more meds, because I still don’t want that. I just wish that I could hold onto this hope a bit longer. The two week wait is usually awful and it still is this time. But it is also very different now because it is the last two week wait I will ever have.