As promised, I’m writing about my wonderful day last Wednedsay. I wanted to take some extra time to write in detail how my day went, any science-y or technical stuff and finally how I felt when it was all done. I started off the day with my morning snuggle with MrBeep. Then I enjoyed my morning google reader/blog fix, commented on a few posts, then wrote a transfer day checklist. Then it was off for a bath and getting ready. I wore my fabulous flowery brown and pink pants, a pink shirt, my Gramma’s locket, my wedding ring, engagement ring and finally my tangerine dream earrings from The Awesome JJ. Fully loaded with as much positive juju as possible, I stepped out the door and wizzed off to pick up Looooo.
She and I headed out to PCC Natural Market, picked up a light lunch from the deli area, then we headed out to a waterfront park to enjoy lunch and relax.
I gobbled a yummy veggie wrap, a cup of soup and finished with an awesome peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie. Looooo gave me a piece of her vegan gingerbread cookie and WOWZER it was even better than mine. I relaxed and munched away, she told me about her crazy week doggy sitting 3 Jack Russell terriers for a friend. Mayhem and adventure was a major theme. It was great. No talk about what was going down in a few hours, no infertility drama, etc. It was so calming. I needed it.
I kicked off my sandals and let my toes wriggle in the cool grass. The sun warmed my face, the wind cooled my skin. A glorious day. The high was 85 degrees, it was the warmest day of the year so far. Closing my eyes, I decided I wouldn’t allow my mind to obsess or think in circles. Calm mind, warm heart. Breathe. It took a lot of years to arrive at this day. Just IN. And OUT.
After my toes were cool, my hunger sated, and my skin warm, Looooo drove me to the RE clinic and gave me a hug. I decided to try the pre and post transfer acupuncture, I really appreciate the advice from folks here on my blog and on the forums at Resolve.org. I met with a really nice acupuncture professional who asked if my bladder was full. It was QUITE FULL actually, and I was in a bit of discomfort. She said it was OK to use the bathroom. Despite all of my water guzzling during lunch, I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get back up to my full potential within an hour, so I just went to the point where I was no longer in pain, but not empty either. Yes, I stopped mid-stream…I discovered my totally lame Heroes power.
She brought me into a procedure room and I lay flat on a cushioned exam table. She asked if I had any questions or concerns (I couldn’t think of any) so we began. She placed needles in my wrists, belly, knees, feet, ears, and on the top of my head. She put an herbal eyemask on my face, turned on some lilting, ethereal music and dimmed the lights. She told me to just relax and breathe and then left me to be at peace. I settled my mind and stayed in the moment, just breathing deeply, letting all of my muscles relax. I steadied my nerves, my breathing and (hopefully) my blood pressure. After the procedure was over, MrBeep came into the room and gave me a kiss. The acupuncturist gently removed the needles, helped me up from the table and walked us both back to the patient recovery room near the procedure/IVF transfer room.
Prep and Embryo Selection
I was given a warm gown, booties and a very fashionable hair cap (well…OK. not really very fashionable at all) and asked to change into them. MrBeep was given scrubs, booties and a cap too. He was very cute in his blue scrubs! I wanted to take a photo, but I forgot the chip in my camera (don’t you hate that?) Grrrrrrrr. After a few minutes, an RE nurse came in and checked my name and birth date.
“And what procedure are you here for today?” she asked.
“My Day 3 Embryo transfer” I replied, smiling. I like that they check to make sure every little thing, even the stuff that would seem obvious, ‘cause you never know.
“Excellent. DrL will be right with you to go over the procedure and tell you about your embryos.”
I was very nervous. I knew we had enough to be there, but had no idea of the quantity or quality. DrL stopped by a few minutes later, smiling. He shook hands with my husband and they did a little required guy talk “So what line of work are you in?” asked DrL. “Biotechnology” replied MrBeep. Then they discussed the use of DNA microarrays for pre and post-natal genetic screening (this is one division of MrBeep’s company, others include cancer screening, and biowarfare agent detection). DrL warmed up to MrBeep right away. He has that effect on people. Then we got down to talking about the embryos. DrL told us there was good news. We had 3 or 4 embryos available to transfer. He explained that there was no way to tell by sight which one was most likely to implant (if any at all). He said it was up to us whether to do 3 or 4. We discussed a few different options and got his advice. Finally, due to my age (40), our MF and the quality of the embryos, we decided to transfer all 4. All were at least 8 cells. #1 looked great, 2 and 3 looked good and 4 was looking a tad fragmented, but not out of the running. We decided to give the li’l guy/gal a chance and included #4 too. DrL said we made a great decision and told me to sit tight for another few minutes while the embryologist got the embies ready.
When everything was ready, MrBeep and I were escorted across the hall to the procedure room. Did I mention how cute he was in his blue scrubs? I got on the table, the nurse helped me into the industrial strength procedure stirrups (your legs are fully supported and your knees are held apart by these cushioned pads), and set a pillow behind my head. MrBeep was seated in a chair next to me, and had a good view of the procedure monitor. I was so glad he was near by. I could squeeze his hand and get a smile if I were nervous.
The embryologist (DrW) introduced himself and let us know that we should watch the wall monitor (TV) above our heads. He said he was going to show us our embryos. I was very interested in seeing this, I looked at MrBeep who gave me a smile. DrW called out from the embryology lab and asked if we could see anything yet on the screen.
What appeared were letters. You see, the petri dish (via some fancy microscope/TV hookup) was shown on the monitor. We could see that my name (DrW took us through each letter of my last, then first name) PLUS my birthdate were written on the petri dish itself. Then he zoomed in on the letter “R” and there were 4 tiny little embryos, all ready and waiting to be picked up by mommy and daddy. I LOVED THIS. No matter what my outcome for this cycle, I was able to see them on that day. For that I am truly thankful. It made the whole experience so much more REAL, you know? This was something that we could see with our own two eyes, not just drugs and injections and lab results on a spreadsheet, but real beings. Our own 4 little monsters (see video). He asked if everything looked right, we told him it all seemed great.
Next DrL came in, washed up, set up the speculum and clamp (that one pinched like a muther this time). He called to DrW we were ready to go. The RE nurse squeezed some goo on my belly for the ultrasound image. I was given an “atta girl” for my nicely full bladder. The TV was switched from the lab/microscope to the ultrasound monitor channel so we could watch the whole thing. DrW came in with the embryo tube and gave them to DrL who got them into the transfer catheter. He described what he was doing and said stuff like “see that little dot on the monitor that I am moving” MrBeep said, “Yeah, I see it” and was watching intently. I squeezed his hand. I watched the TV and tried to see what DrL was describing, but flat on my back isn’t the best viewing angle and I couldn’t figure out a danged thing. After a moment he said they all seemed to go in without a hitch and that we needed to stay still while DrW took the catheter back to the embryology lab to make sure that it was truly empty.
So I lay there, with all this pinchy stuff still up in mah bizzness, trying not to piddle on the floor at any moment. After about a minute of awkward silence, I asked DrL about his profile on the clinic’s website. It said that he is both a writer of non-fiction (over 125 scientific papers on infertility, this book) and fiction. Now the RE books were expected, but fiction? MrBeep said, “Really, you write fiction too?” DrL grinned and thanked me for reading his profile and told us a little about the teen fiction he was currently writing. The protagonist is a skateboarding girl, he wanted her to be a strong-willed and independent character, etc. We all then relaxed and chatted about a few of our favorite fiction books. What. A. Cool. Dude.
Finally DrW called out that no embies were left in the catheter and all seemed fine. All equipment was removed from me (sweet Jebus I was sooooo done with that pinchy stuff). We hung out in the procedure room for another 10 minutes or so, discussing books and military history and local museums. MrBeep and DrL were standing next to me chatting (I thought they should totally go on a play date together) while I lay flat on the table. Finally I was asked to scoot over to a rolling bed and taken back to my curtained patient recovery room. I was told to remain laying still for another 30 minutes while I had my post-transfer acupuncture, which was similar to the first minus a few needles and locations. After the half hour, I was assisted in sitting up and was allowed to FINALLY go to the bathroom. “No pressure” said MrBeep “just relax and go with the flow.” I did my best not to do the pee pee dance down the hall to the bathroom. I returned to the room and changed into my normal clothes.
The RE nurse stopped by and gave us a picture of the four embies now tucked away safe inside. She went over my instructions and we were released to go home. As I was leaving, I saw DocO in the hallway and he let me give him a hug. He told us that we had really great attitudes about this whole thing, which was so important for our mental well being. Down the hallway, we saw DrL in his office. MrBeep had a few questions about the embryos in the picture. I told MrBeep that he would have to come up with nicknames. He pointed to one on the picture and said, “Look it has your smile” everyone laughed and wished us well. I scheduled my blood test and yowzee the time flies. The test will be this Sunday morning (6/14).
Hey, it’s called SHOW and tell
So that’s my incredibly long-winded story. It was very heavy on the TELL of show and tell, but thanks for making it through. Here is the SHOW.
Now go check out what the rest of the class is showing this week. It is always great to find out what all of the other wonderful folks have been up to.
Thanks to Mel for changing the day and the opportunity to share!