When I last left off in this journey, my eggs had been removed via surgery and I was recovering at home. The doctors collected 34 eggs during the process but there is also a very high drop-off rate. Some of the eggs were not big enough and there were many that were not usable for a variety of reasons. They ended up using 15 of my eggs to continue towards the fertilization process.
Due to Kyle’s circumstances, we had to do a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) where the sperm is directly injected into the egg as opposed to placing the two together and letting nature take its course. Every day they would call and let us know how many of the embryos were continuing to grow. Out of the 15, 11 successfully took and were shipped off to another company for genetic testing which our doctors recommended due to my PCOS.
Out of those 11 embryos, 8 came back as having the correct number of chromosomes. We ended up with five boy embryos and three girl embryos. That call was such a huge weight off our shoulders! Knowing we had actual embryos that were ready to implant literally brought me to tears! (You can also choose not to know how many of each you get or you can let them randomly choose which they implant but Kyle and I are not big on surprises!) We also opted to do a frozen transfer by the recommendation of our doctor. He felt that letting the body rest for a month after all that it goes through during the egg retrieval process can lead to a more successful implantation. Below I will now describe the six days before the implantation process:
**Note: This was written while I was going through this a few months ago so it is in the present tense relating to that exact time.
I can’t believe it! After over a year of waiting, the time is almost here to hopefully have a baby! The six days before the transfer come with a whole new shot and medicine regimen that is quite involved but, honestly, you are so close to the homestretch of implantation, you don’t even care!
I shot a video for you explaining all the meds you will be on along with the shot and the actual injection. My mom was teaching Kyle all of it so he could do it on the road and she has been a nurse for over 25 years so she is a pro! Also, below is a really handy chart I made that was a life saver for me in order to remember everything I needed to take and when. Feel free to print it out because honestly with the stress and excitement of what’s to come and your busy lifestyle, it’s very easy to overlook a pill. My regimen consists of:
- Four Estrogen Patches that you place on lower abdomen or upper butt and switch out every other day
- Doxycycline (an antibiotic)
- Progesterone Shot
- Baby Aspirin
- Crinone (Vaginal Gel Insert)
After eating breakfast I took my Doxycycline along with my pre-natal vitamins. For those of you who get sick from multi-vitamins like me, I really like the prenatal gummies (although I wish they didn’t coat them in sugar) that they sell at Target. After about 30 minutes, I began to get nauseous from the antibiotic. I didn’t throw up but my stomach felt queasy and I was a bit light-headed. I always took my prenatals after breakfast and they had never made me sick before so I think it must be the Doxycycline. Also, in the morning, you will have to insert vaginal gel, Crinone, which is another form of progesterone. This is really easy, it’s in a pre filled little syringe. (Ladies going through this, ALWAYS wear a light days at least while using this especially after a few days. It seems to accumulate up there and then all coming rushing out at very inopportune times. Its pretty gross I’m not going to lie but on the plus side it doesn’t hurt at all!) I went about my day and felt a bit icky during my workout but I still managed to do the entire routine so the queasiness wasn’t bad enough to stop me. That evening we began the progesterone shot and I was very nervous about it. I read online that I wouldn’t be able to sit and that the pain was excruciating so I was not looking forward to it at all!
Before I continue, let me say it’s not terrible because we modified the normal regimen. The needle is typically an inch and a half long with a larger gauge but my doctor switched me to a half-inch needle with a smaller gauge. (See the video to see the needle size along with all the different medicines). The needle size was both a positive and a negative. First, it hurt a lot less going in because it was smaller but it was very, very hard to get the thick liquid out. You can watch the video but 1cc takes almost a minute to administer and my mom was shaking a bit because she was trying with all her might to get the thick liquid into the injection site. You can also ask your doctor for an alternative, they make one that isn’t in as thick of an oil base but it is not readily available. You will switch from your left to right butt cheek every other night and stay in the upper, outer top quadrant of your cheek. The actual needle going in wasn’t bad at all, as I iced for five minutes before hand. The site may bleed a little when the shot is done and the cheek really is tender afterwards. To me, it felt like when I wake up after doing a really hard workout on one body part. It has that soreness that is manageable but you feel it.
In the evening, you may need to change your patches. These are really simple and I always kept them on my stomach and rotated them around. I tried not to put it in the same spot for a week. Do not worry about swimming or showering with them they do not come off! Honestly every time you peel them off its like a mini waxing of all your fine, baby hairs! Also in the evening, you’ll take baby aspirin, the antibiotic again and also Medrol, which is a steroid, and then you’ll insert another vaginal gel. I did this all right before bed so I could sleep through the queasiness and the soreness of my butt muscle. However, I think because of the Medrol (I‘m not sure), I woke up about two hours after I went to bed and had to pee so bad…and there was a lot of it! I did this again about three hours later. It was as if I had drunk a gallon of water before bed. It was really odd.
So really in a nutshell, there are a lot of meds to take, a bit of nausea and some soreness but nothing too terrible! Five more days until implantation!
The day of the implantation I cannot even begin to tell you how excited we were!!! The big day was finally here; our little boy was going to be put in today! I don’t think Kyle or I slept a wink that night in anticipation! We arrived at the doctor’s office and the whole procedure was so quick and easy. First we both changed into hospital gowns and waited in pre opt. We were lead to the surgery room where the process began shortly after. Our doctor had already done a “test run” a few weeks beforehand to know exactly where to place the tube. This test runs shows them the shape and tilt of your uterus so that they have it all lined up right to insert the embryo. They also ask you to come with a full bladder as it helps your uterus to be in the correct position. This is the hard part because they will be pushing on your full bladder with the ultrasound wand making sure everything is perfect. I had to laugh when they out me on the table and a pee pad which looked exactly like the one our little dog Lucy uses was underneath me. The nurse assured me that its perfectly normal to pee a bit when being pushed on and that they were use to it hence the “pee pad”. Once everything looks right to them they insert the catheter which is a little tunnel way to your uterus for the embryo to travel through.
The next part is AMAZING! First our doctors told us to look on the TV monitor behind us and our little boy embryo, six days old, was on the screen! I instantly started to tear up! That is the BIG positive of IVF that I always joke with my friends that didn’t go through it, I have a picture of my baby at six days old. How many women that naturally conceived can say that J they then bring the embryo in and ask you to turn your attention to the ultrasound screen. They show you where to look (the catheter and your uterus area) then the doctor did a count down. Three, two, one…and then this little ball shoots up the tube and then looks like it is bouncing around in (its free floating) in your uterus. The emotions in the room from Kyle and I were indescribable! Next, I was placed on a bed and had to lay for an hour and then that was it I was sent home and told to take it easy until we see if he implanted! This part was really so easy, no anesthesia no long recovery time, no pain or discomfort. Minus the hour waiting time the actual procedure took no more then ten minutes!
The 12-day wait is excruciating! You will think everything is a sign that the embryo is implanting. I took it pretty easy for the first four days and did very light activities for the following days to be on the safe side. They told us we would come in for the first of three blood tests on day 12 to check if the embryo transfer took. They do a series of three blood tests a few days apart each to make sure the HcG hormone is increasing. Well we simply couldn’t wait that long! On day eight as we were in Chicago for the kick of to the Chase media tour we took a pregnancy test that morning. It was hilarious we were both so excited Kyle was in the bathroom with me literally standing over me while I peed on the stick. After so many times of doing this and seeing only one pink line my emotions just took over. I couldn’t face another negative test. We laid the stick down and sat down on the bathroom floor in the hotel where Kyle held me as I was shaking with nerves and anticipation. Then finally the moment came, we stood up and walked over to the pregnancy test and…. GOD ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS, WE WERE HAVING A BABY!!!!!!!!!!