A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient Part 2: Transfer Day and the TWW 

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!

 

Retrieval

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.

Transfer Day

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.

The doctor finally enters to speak with us before transfer. He believes we are attempting something that’s just not going to happen. We try to remind ourselves that his honesty is one of the reasons we like him. It’s transfer time at last and we get to see the first picture of our little ones. One is a good looking blastocyst  (aka Zoolander baby), the other is a day behind with no chance of making it to freeze. We’re advised to transfer both for a chance at one.

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

To test or not to test, that is the question. By the end of week one we have checked off more Christmas bucket list activities than Buddy the Elf. I’ve even made up a song about progesterone…”Oh progesterone, oh progesterone how lovely is your swift prick. You really make such lovely lumps, I cannot thank you enough. Oh progesterone, oh progesterone. Please help me have a baby.” I’m supposed to wait until beta day. I look up my symptoms at five days past transfer – none except for stinky pee, which is probably due to too much asparagus.

Beta Day

I lay awake trying to hold my pee again. If I’m going to take a hpt it has to be first morning pee. I’m sure it’s probably negative. Yesterday’s test looked like an evaporation line. Today’s test looks the same as yesterday at first. I pick it up again a few minutes later. This time there is clearly, without question, two pink lines. I call my husband to come see. “Hey, baby? I think I’m pregnant!” He confirms the second pink line, but we decide not to get our hopes up too much. We’ve been here before. The last time we saw two pink lines it resulted in an early loss. My second graders make a great distraction as I wait for the call.

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.

Melissa Titus

Melissa Titus

Melissa Titus taught kindergarten and 2nd grade in the public school system for 10 years. She is taking a break from the education field to begin her new adventure as a SAHM to her 4-month-old boy/girl twins. When she's not spending time with her husband or loving life as a twin mom, she loves to write, bake, support others still in the midst of infertility, and explore the great outdoors. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest: @meltitus
Melissa Titus
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