An embryo transfer is an exciting event. But it’s also one filled with a host of other emotions including fear, anxiety, hope, and very often, desperation. Generally speaking, when a couple reaches the stage of transferring an embryo (or embryos) they’ve already gone through so much to get to that point. Not counting the months or years of trying unsuccessfully prior to fertility treatments (or the many invasive exams to formulate a diagnosis…) by the time of embryo transfer, a couple has endured countless appointments, injections, medications, bills, and procedures. Most significantly perhaps being the egg retrieval which can leave many women with a serious diagnosis of OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) and more unwanted delays or risks.
But then finally, here they are at that precious moment of bringing their “embabies” (get it… embryo babies…) home in utero. It’s an exciting time, and the infertility support community congratulates them in excitement proclaiming their newfound PUPO status. That is, “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise”. Recently I heard the term PASP thrown out. Though not as catchy, “Pregnant And Staying Pregnant” held better positivity so that’s what I’ll go with this time around.
All seems excitingly well and dandy but the thing is, following the transfer couples enter the unavoidable hell that is the two week wait. Those who’ve tried to conceive naturally who charted or tracked cycles know that once the deed is done, there’s nothing left to do but wait for good ole Aunt Flo, or her lack of presence and subsequent positive home pregnancy test. But when a couple has gone through the grueling process of IVF, it feels like an even more cruel sort of torture. What if all they’ve gone through… all they’ve endured, is all for nothing? What if they don’t have a precious baby to show for it? What if their womb is just as empty as their bank accounts? Implantation happens between days 6 and 10 after ovulation in a natural cycle. In IVF our embryos are essentially equivalent to day 5. So starting as soon as 1 day after the transfer implantation can begin. But hcg (the pregnancy hormone that begins to secrete once implantation occurs) can’t be detected until closer to day 12 on a natural cycle, or 7 days past a 5 day transfer. Most clinics wait until days 14-16 to do bloodwork. Home pregnancy tests aren’t reliable in a lot of cases due to the drugs we are put on, so nothing to do but wait. And fret. And analyze each and every symptom or lack there of.
The doubts, the fears, the anxieties… they all start creeping in, no matter how positive of an individual, nor seasoned the IVF’er. Me? This ain’t my first rodeo. In fact this will be my FOURTH IVF transfer. And believe it or not, we’re putting in a whopping three embryos this time. The desperation of seeing your efforts pay off is palpable… and yet we shove it deep down to prepare ourselves in case we aren’t successful. But we so want to be successful.
For me this cycle I’ve been making a very conscious effort to stay super positive. Eric and I write in our “affirmations book” nightly (although I’ve been writing in it every time I’ve had a negative thought these last few days). I really want to believe it’s possible.. that we WILL be successful. We have so many people rooting for us after all. Miracles happen. I know that our lack of past success isn’t an indication of the future, but some days are hard, and sometimes we feel jaded. For too long I’ve wound up at the end disappointed, so it’s easy to understand that we eventually come to expect those negative outcomes. We’re protecting our hearts… but yet it’s also so important to remain positive. Balance is tricky.
So as we near our transfer, we begin to get a little more on edge. I fear my body will once again reject our precious embryos. I stress over my thin lining. I worry that maybe the embryos we’re transferring aren’t normal and simply CAN’T produce a pregnancy. A million scenarios lay before me and I have to talk myself off the ledge to leave it be… trust… have faith… remain HOPEFUL.
So tomorrow I will be taking it easy, enjoying a relaxing day with some healthy meals and lots of meditation, visualizations and positive thinking… perhaps a few prayers mixed in there too. Friday morning we go in for our transfer. We’re desperate for a Christmas miracle and I’m so scared my prayers will once again go unanswered. My heart is worn. I am strong… but I am human. Pain hurts. Failure sucks. And infertility is a b*tch.