This is part 2 of Melissa’s story of her journey as an IVF patient. To catch up, be sure to read part 1 “A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient” first!
Sixteen eggs. A relief after the last ultrasound showed maybe 10. I’m so thankful this part is over. I close my eyes and drift off again, happy with the good number. I wake up to a blurry vision of my husband standing beside me. I ask him how many eggs. I make a guess. Eighteen? More? Less? Ten? He laughs and reminds me I’ve already asked him three times now. Still 16 eggs.
Sixteen eggs becomes eight embryos, thanks to the magic of one gifted embryologist who refuses to give up on us and the grace of God. Five days later (an eternity in the IVF life) we will return for the transfer. We talk about the possibility of all eight embryos making it to birth. It’s a scary possibility , but we know we will ultimately have the kids we are meant to have. We know what we signed up for.
We distract ourselves with Christmas music and a healthy breakfast as we make the hour-long drive to the clinic. No snowman cookies with a side of hot chocolate today. I need to make my uterus as inviting as possible. Christmas has been an excellent distraction from needles and ultrasound wands. The drive gives us time to reflect. We do our best to keep our Christmas cheer, despite the weight of emotions on a day like this.
We’re 10 minutes early. I feel my husband grab my hand for a quick prayer before we head inside. I repeat “never, ever give up” over and over to myself. My Dad taught me to never give up no matter how bleak the circumstances. When I worried about getting into grad school – never give up. When I changed careers and struggled to find a job – never give up. When our first IVF transfer resulted in an early loss – never give up.
I feel a sense of hope and excitement wash over me as we make the familiar elevator ride. We could find out none of our eight little ones made it to transfer. We have no idea. Not knowing is killing me. I hate the suspense. The waiting room looks like the holiday season sneezed on it. It’s more like a department store window than a clinic. How can I not feel a sense of Christmas magic? Our nurse calls us back after only a few minutes. It’s freezing and it smells. It’s not a bad smell, it’s a clean, sterile, sweet smell I’m tired of smelling. I resent enduring this smell to have a baby, but I know so many others would wear it as perfume for this opportunity. Positive vibes only today. Never give up.
We wind through the hallway to the mini “hospital” in the back. A nurse shows us to our room. It’s different from our usual. Maybe this is a good sign…or bad? We get the go-ahead to put on our “battle fatigues”. Cap, gown with open back, cozy socks with plastic booties on top. Romance is in the air. We hurry up and wait. My bladder is about to explode at any minute. The clock ticks loudly like a scene from a movie. What is with the loud clocks in this place? There’s a copy of Coastal Living in the magazine rack. Pictures of the ocean make things worse. How about a movie? TV’s not working. Nevermind. I will my body to keep holding it. I’m certain I have a UTI by now. The nurse enters. I was hoping it would be the embryologist or doctor with an update. The doctor is running late. We assume there must be something to transfer or someone would say something. I’ve lost my ability to control my bladder. I sneak to the restroom and vow to chug all of the water I brought when I return.
All is oddly smooth and quick. I’m positioned almost upside down. Two clicks later and there they are. Welcome to my cozy womb, little ones. The doctor pats my hand and wishes us a sincere, teary eyed good luck. I can’t help but let the emotions get the best of me as we wait for clearance to head home, but I keep repeating “Never give up.” We head home to prep for my first dose of progesterone (aka Satan’s evil tar serum from hell) and the infamous two-week wait.
To Test or Not to Test
At lunch my husband tells me to call him. He has good news. “How pregnant am I?” I ask as soon as he answers. “Baby, you are very pregnant!” My beta is 156. A very good first number. I squeal with joy and tears. The second is higher than expected. We ask our favorite nurse what this means. Is the baby okay? She tells us it’s a good sign. It could even mean twins.
Latest posts by Melissa Titus (see all)
- Still Waiting… (Part 3 of 3 in the “A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient’ series) - May 19, 2017
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient Part 2: Transfer Day and the TWW - December 31, 2016
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient - November 17, 2016