What a difference 660ml makes.
Thursday’s transfer was a completely different experience to the first one, in a really good way. The clinic’s guidance is to empty your bladder about an hour and a half before your transfer and then to drink 1 litre of water (it used to be 1.5 litres, good grief). Last September, I drank the full litre and was in complete agonies before and during the procedure. I was way over-full and very stressed and feeling really foolish about being so wound up. The nurse at the time said I could have gotten away with drinking about a third of what I’d taken.
Which is what I did this time. Dr L had advised me to empty my bladder just an hour before the procedure. So, I downed 330ml after 3pm and arrived at the clinic feeling fine, to be whisked away to the dungeons at around 3.30pm. The transfer was booked for 4pm and for the next half hour I had to fight the temptation to drink anything else because I wasn’t really feeling it. By 4pm, however, I felt able to go to the loo but nothing too painful, which is just the way they want it. They brought me in at 4.10pm. Reassuringly, the first thing the nurse does is scan your bladder to make sure they can see it – which they could, all perfect. We were done by 4.30pm – by which time I would have been fit to kill someone if I’d imbibed the full litre at 3pm.
Before the doctor arrived, R, the embryologist, came in to let me know how the embryos had fared. Both had thawed fine and were ready for action. Having discovered only that morning (see below) that not all of my embryos were observed under the Eeva programme, I asked if the embryos to be transferred had been Eeva’d. One had, so R came back later and gave me a flash drive with the video on it. They played it on a big screen before we transferred, which was a nice touch. And, this time, I was able to concentrate on what was going on without being distracted by the pressure in my nethers. So little B3 is in there somewhere, hopefully having done its best to burrow in and get implanted. Plus Joe/Jane Bloggs Embryo #1.
B3 started life this way:
A different doctor did the transfer, Dr I, whom I didn’t know. He was very lovely and courteous and gentle so, although I was sorry Dr L wasn’t there, it was a great experience. He talked me through the various stages (I wish I’d memorised them but they included wiping me with water, inserting the catheter and removing the buildup of Crinone (that always makes everyone in the theatre laugh). There was a wait while R got the embryos sorted and brought in the video for us to watch on-screen, and then we were off. It amazes me each time how fast the actual transfer is – over in less than a minute. Both Dr I and the nurse cooed about the lovely lining and perfect transfer and how well it had gone. He probably says that to all the girls but it does make you feel good.
The nurse rewound the action for me on the monitor and we saw the flash as the fluid and embryos were released, after which they handed the tube back to R to make sure the microscopic embryos had indeed been released and hadn’t sneakily stayed behind.
Dr I commented on how relaxed I was and that it’s much better for them too if the woman’s bladder isn’t overly full. The day before he had had to send a woman out to relieve her bladder because there was no way they were getting the catheter up there, tense and full as she was.
I know I keep harping on about the full bladder situation as if it’s the worst thing in the world but, ladies, it’s worth doing a test to see what constitutes a full bladder for you a day or two before your embryo transfer. You just need to feel you would be able to urinate. Being in a cold sweat during the procedure really messes up your experience. We may not be getting pregnant the fun way but anything you can do to make it more pleasant is worth it.
Belated embryo report
On the Eeva and embryo report story: a lady from the embryo team rang me at 9 that morning to confirm that they should thaw the embryos ready for the transfer. I had been lying awake the night before when I remembered the embryologist saying during the last transfer that not all my embryos were time-lapse videoed under Eeva because I had 17 fertilised embryos; as the well has a dozen places, they can video only 12 at a time. I think I forgot that fact the second he told me last September, only for it to resurface on Wednesday night. I asked the embryo lady on the phone whether I had remembered correctly and she confirmed.
Of the six embryos I had frozen, only three have little Eeva videos. I had also lazily assumed that all the embryos predicted by Eeva to make it to good-quality five-day blastocyst had done so, which wasn’t the case either. Looking back on the Eeva reports, eight embryos were predicted to make healthy blastocysts, so I should have realised earlier that not all did, as I had six frozen embryos. And only three of those have Eeva videos, so I guess five of the Eeva embryos didn’t make it. Eeva is just a guide about what’s expected to happen, which kind of makes me wonder about its worth in a situation like mine, but I’m still glad I did it. And they’ve been transferring the Eeva-monitored blasts first, so they obviously have most faith in those ones because they have seen at what pace they developed.
I also asked the other question I’d wondered about but never had the wherewithal to ask: what happened to the 11 embryos that didn’t make it to frozen. She had a quick scan of my records and said they were all a bit different. For example, one made it to 14-15 cells but didn’t compact. Another made it to blastocyst but was bad quality. Three made to it morula day 4 stage and compacted but hadn’t progressed to blastocyst stage by day 6. Others started to degenerate on day 6 and didn’t make it to blastocyst. Basically, they need not only to reach blast but also to be of good quality.
So, here I am, a little more knowledge about my embryos but no idea about the really important thing. I’ll do a home test to prepare myself on 24 March. The blood test on 25 March will reveal all for sure.