My transfer went well. I did ruin it a little for myself by being a drama queen about the full bladder situation. I knew this would be a bit of a problem because I am a Big Girl’s Blouse when it comes to wanting to pee. My friends call me Tiny Bladder and TB.
As previously posted, I was in a melancholy mood the day of the transfer. I played Basement Jaxx’s Jump N Shout several times at a very high volume beforehand to knock the cobwebs off (I occasionally amuse myself by trying to rap along to it using the lyrics = not possible) and, so, felt a lot better jumping into the car on the way to the clinic.
My mother usually accompanies me to the big appointments (such as the three IUIs) but she was otherwise occupied at the nursing home. I was happy to go alone and knew that, if she came, we would inevitably end up talking about my Great Aunt’s impending death, which I didn’t want to associate with the potential beginning of life. And I didn’t want to be responsible for my mother not being by M’s bedside when the time came.
The transfer was scheduled for 3.30pm and I was brought down to the changing room/waiting area at 3pm. I had been told to urinate for the last time at 2pm and to drink 1 litre of water in the hour before the procedure. I had drunk around 900ml by the time the nurse took me downstairs. She explained that they really just need you to feel able to pee, as they use the bladder as a marker on the scan, and they don’t want anyone to be in pain. I was in two minds about whether to take the last 100ml, as I wasn’t feeling a gigantic urge to pee by that stage, but I finished it off. So, by 3.30pm, when I was due to be called in, I was completely, completely, completely uncomfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever actually paced a room before but that was all I could do to try to take my mind off the pressure on my abdomen. I was literally in a cold sweat under the synthetic hospital gown.
I stopped checking the time on my watch, as it was making things worse, but the nurse arrived at about 3.50pm, I think. She could tell from my face how uncomfortable I was and told me to go to the toilet and release some urine. As uncomfortable as I was, I was very dubious about having the pelvic floor control to regulate that properly but I gave it a go – and released about two teaspoonfuls, terrified I would let go and ruin the whole procedure.
We headed into the theatre, where there was no sign of either doctor or embryologist. She scanned my abdomen to confirm that my bladder was full enough. “It’s absolutely gigantic! Do you want to go and release about half of that?” So, off again to a different toilet where, once again, I released only a couple of teaspoonfuls because: i) I was worried I’d empty it completely and my two thawed embryos would perish unloved in their petri dish while I desperately tried to fill my bladder again; and ii) how do you judge a volume like half your bladder?
She then left me waiting alone in the theatre while they played (coincidence they choose this track? I don’t think so) Kodaline’s High Hopes and I whistled and sang to distract my bladder-obsessed mind.
Two embryologists walk into a room
Eventually, two embryologists, both men, came in. They could also tell I was uncomfortable and said I would be able to go to the toilet again but first they wanted to tell me how my embryos thawed and to give me my embryology report. In ordinary circumstances, this would have been a great thing but, as they talked me through what they had done, I was basically hearing: “Bla bladder bladder bladder bla bla bladder.” They explained how the flash freezing process worked and that sometimes embryos don’t survive the thaw, but my two were fine. They had selected two of the embryos that the Eeva time-lapse test had suggested would have a high chance of reaching blastocyst stage, had frozen them after they reached that stage and would be transferring them that day.
Interestingly, they only monitor 12 embryos under the Eeva test. I had 17 and I’m not sure whether they just froze those extra five without knowing their quality, or whether they didn’t survive or were destroyed or used for research. I’m still very hazy on what happens to the embryos during those five days. Also, the Eeva test gave eight embryos a high chance of developing to blastocyst stage, but I only had six high-grade embryos frozen, so what happened to the other two – did they not make it to day five? I didn’t have my wits about me enough to ask.
They then headed over to the PC in the corner to call up my complete embryology report on-screen and talk me through it. Page by page. And showed me both videos of the developing embryos. I felt really bad for them, as I’m sure they were thinking “She’s witnessing the miracle of bloody life, could she not be more enthused,” and also for myself, as I was witnessing the miracle of life and should have been more enthused.
When they had returned to the room behind the hatch to prepare the embryos, I had my third outing to the toilet, where I practised more of my amazing pelvic floor control and released, yes, another couple of teaspoonfuls. Having seen those amazing embryos in action, I was doubly petrified that I would muck the whole thing up. Back in the theatre, to my surprise the lovely Dr L breezed in. She scanned my bladder again and said, “It’s like a lake, huge.” She showed me on-screen: at the top was what looked like a black tongue, sticking down – this is all they need to orientate themselves. She then scanned upwards and all we could see for the entire screen was a black void – more bladder. I asked the nurse whether I could have gotten away with drinking 500ml and she replied, “300.”
We three then waited probably another 10 minutes while the embryologists got little A1 and D2 ready for action. Dr L remarked that the female embryologists are rarely late, as they know how uncomfortable the women are by that stage. (I noticed afterwards that the embryology reports they presented me with were printed out at about 3.45pm, a quarter of an hour after my procedure was due to start.)
The actual transfer
By the time the hatch opened and one of the two embryologists handed the goods over, I was pretty much ready for everything to be over. Which was fine, as the procedure from that point felt like the IUI and took about five minutes. The comedy moment was when Dr L said, “And now I will remove the Crinone that has built up,” producing a clump of the stuff, “to leave room for more Crinone to build up.” I couldn’t see the screen but the nurse replayed the transfer – we could see a thin line reaching into my uterine lining and a slight flash when it deposited the embryos. They then had to hand the catheter back to the embryologists to make sure the embryos had actually been deposited and weren’t just lurking there. I suggested to the embryologist that they should all fill their bladders to be in sync with the patients and he did smile but somehow I don’t think they will be changing their FET protocols any time soon.
And that was it. My meds regime was to stay the same: four Estrofem tablets and two Crinone suppositories a day, plus the folic acid. I think I was out of the theatre at around 4.15pm. I was wheeled off to the waiting room with my legs up to relax for 15 minutes, though, predictably, I had to get up after a minute to pee. It wasn’t as blissful as I had expected, as I was still so full I couldn’t urinate properly, plus I immediately felt guilty for getting up and was afraid to flex my lower abdominal muscles. I was also annoyed at myself for ruining the beauty of such an amazing experience by getting in a twist about something as trivial as a full bladder. And, of course, thinking, “Get a grip sister, labour will be a lot worse.”
However, I think I have proven that I absolutely do not have a Tiny Bladder.
How I think it went
I was far from relaxed during the transfer, which was my own fault. I was also wound up and tired before it, as reported. The morning after the transfer, I was so discombobulated on the way to the nursing home, I had tucked into a takeaway coffee before I realised what I was doing. My Great Aunt died three days later, after several false alarms, and we made it to the home just in time to be with her as she died. We buried her yesterday, so, overall, there has been a fair amount of emotional stress, followed by administrative hassle (eg the graveyard threatening an hour before the funeral mass not to let us use the grave), in the last couple of weeks.
Hopefully though, once those embryos are in, they’re in, and they are either going to sink or swim regardless of what’s going on around them.
I have had occasional cramps since Friday but no other symptoms to speak of. No spotting. My breasts aren’t sore, though I’m wondering if they are a little enlarged. They have got a little bigger over the year of ttc, so I really don’t know. I’ve had a headache pretty much constantly for the last week but that’s probably tension or the meds (I don’t think the Estrofem agrees with me and I suspect it’s messing with my blood pressure). I’m absolutely dog tired but, after a week of being on tenterhooks and not sleeping properly, that’s probably not surprising. And it struck me today that I’ve been on meds continuously for about 3.5 months now, so my body is bound to be a bit shagged.
Only the blood test on 23 September will tell. I will probably do a home test that morning so I’m prepared for the result.
Wow, that was a long post about an embryo transfer, with only a handful of sentences about the transfer itself, sorry. Here’s a song to clear your mind.