A Very Un-ladylike Embryo Transfer

**this is an old post of mine that I drafted over the summer after my first FET. Figured I’d share it now. I did not post it in “real time” because I didn’t want to jynx anything. This was the FET that resulted in my 3rd miscarriage. I sounded so happy and optimistic below, sigh…***

When I first started blogging I told myself to try to stay away from my personal medical details, but once I got thrown into the realm of IVF I feel myself crossing the boundary between sharing and oversharing! Full disclosure, I get pretty blunt here- but not too graphic or anything. The purpose isn’t to scare you about transfers, but rather to provide some comic relief to this whole thing! Something where you can say, “glad that didn’t happen to me!”

Ok, so my transfer is a frozen embryo transfer. To prep my uterus for this, I have to take estrogen pills, no big deal, and then after 2 weeks or so, add progesterone. Injections. In the butt. Every day. The needle is larger and thicker than the needles I used for the stim part of IVF! (That’s because the stim meds were given subcutaneously and not intramuscularly).  The progesterone is in oil so it doesn’t go in as easily. This was and is so daunting. Every time I do these injections I am sweating by the time I am done. Some things that help is to roll the syringe in my hands before injecting. This warms the oil solution and makes it more liquidy. Another thing I do is inject slowly. Some people like to just push the whole thing in and get it over with, but not me. Once the needle is in, I don’t mind leaving it there a few extra seconds. I can actually feel the fluid while it’s being injected and I would rather feel that in slow increments, as opposed to one large bout of “ow!”. That’s just my personal preference. But to each their own. I also massage the area after I am done, to help with the absorption. But I still feel achy by the next day. If this is what it takes, then this is what it takes.

Next, transfer day! A day that is supposed to be so exciting, right? My husband and I enjoyed a lovely date the day before, and we went into the transfer feeling more calm than anxious. Anyway, unlike the retrieval, the transfer must be done on a FULL bladder. This helps straighten the uterus for catheter insertion and also makes it easier to view on ultrasound.  FYI: going to talk a lot about pee now.  So my clinic tells me to empty my bladder 1.5 hours before my retrieval. I do that. Then I’m supposed to drink 24oz of fluid to fill the bladder back up. I do that too, because, you know, I like to follow directions. Well in this case I wish I didn’t! By the time we got to the clinic I was so uncomfortable! I change into a gown and sit on the procedure chair, waiting. I can barely lie down. Docs are running late, of course. I tell my husband I don’t think I’ll be able to make it. There are so many rooms yet no doctor or nurse in sight. Hubby insists I go to the bathroom, but I don’t want to ruin anything. I’m pacing around the procedure room like a nut case and finally the doctor comes in! She says I can urinate but only for 5 seconds. So I go to the bathroom and do as I’m told. I still feel uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as before.

The embryologist comes in and talks to us, gives us a picture of our beautiful blastocyst (yes I think it’s beautiful) and I clutch it with all my might, while using my other hand to hold my husband. The staff does a “time out,” and the procedure begins!  I do have to say, I really enjoyed seeing the lil frosty go into the catheter on the screen, and then into the uterus on the ultrasound!

But then I remembered- there is still someone pressing on my bladder. In fact, the staff was surprised how full my bladder was, even AFTER letting me pee just before! When everything was finished, the first question I asked was when can I use the bathroom again. They wanted me to lie down for 10 minutes first, but one of the nurses offered to bring me a bedpan just in case I needed to go while lying down. Well guess what. Five minutes pass, and no nurse or bedpan in sight. I don’t want to get up from my chair because I was told to lie down. In a semi panic, I ask my husband to please find someone to bring me a bedpan, because there’s no way I can go the full 10 minutes without taking care of business. I try my best to hold everything in, but, alas…By the time the nurse comes in with the bedpan, the damage was done. I still ended up using the bedpan anyway, because my bladder was SO FULL. And when I got home, i urinated again! (this time on a toilet lol). But what was supposed to be a calm and heartwarming experience was definitely heart-warming, but also…messy.

Of course on my way home I keep checking through Dr. Google… and I saw recommended fluid intake of 16-20 oz of fluid, not 24 oz!!! Hopefully I won’t have to do this again in a long time, but for my next transfer, whenever that may be, I am NOT drinking the full 24 oz of water before. And I am bringing my own bedpan.