Navigating IVF: Embryo Transfer Day 

It’s incredibly weird to want something so badly but to be so afraid of it.

It’s incredibly weird to want something so badly but to be so afraid of it.

In Navigating IVF, IVF Steph takes us on her journey through the wilds of fertility treatment.  

So, when we last left off, we were planning for a five-day embryo transfer.

We arrived at the clinic on a Saturday afternoon. I had been instructed to have a full bladder and to take Valium as soon as I arrived. I had this insane anxiety over the Valium. I realize the ridiculousness of being anxious over a medication used to calm you down. I’d had a lot of people share horror stories with me about Valium, and I wondered if I could just skip it. Apparently, it can help relax your uterus and allow for better success with implantation (maybe) though, so I sucked it up and did it.

Um, it turns out that Valium is crazy. Not in a bad way, but in a, “Oh, I barely took this and now walking is hard” way.  At one point, I giggled at absolutely nothing for like ten minutes. Oh, and I left my sunglasses on and had no idea. The nurse came into the room and mentioned it, and I was utterly floored. 

Luckily, before I was too out of it, the embryologist came in. We had two amazing looking blastocysts and planned to transfer both. Typically, at my age, and with the quality of our embryos, it would be recommended that we do only one. After a review of my previous obstetric history, our doctor still recommended one but stated that the relative risk was low to transfer both, giving us the option. We have a higher chance of multiples, of course, but this is something that my husband and I extensively discussed and were incredibly comfortable with. We got this cool picture of the embryos, so if this results in a baby (or babies!), we have the most awesome first photo ever.

The transfer itself was easy. 

You lie down, and a catheter is guided by ultrasound into the uterus. I was worried it would be painful, but it was so comfortable that between it and the Valium, I almost fell asleep. The embryos are placed into the uterus, and then the embryologist checks the catheter to make sure that the embryos cleared the catheter. Since the embryos are not able to be seen by the naked eye, the embryologist has to check with a microscope. Ours had, so I was able to get up quickly and get dressed. We also found out that we had two other embryos that were able to be frozen. If we aren’t successful this time, we can use those without having to go through the stimulation medications again. 

The worst thing about the process is the two-week wait — and all the restrictions. 

The list of stuff you aren’t allowed to do during this wait is pretty long. The first day, you are instructed not to do anything too extensive. Then there was a list of so many other things I couldn’t do — including any exercise (that wasn’t walking), swimming or baths, sex (basically anything fun). You’re also supposed to eat like you’re already pregnant, so no soft cheese, lunch meat, sushi, and all that. Most of these restrictions are because of slight chances, but no one spends thousands of dollars to have IVF and then takes those chances, I’m sure. 

I am currently a day away from my first beta test. This is a blood draw to determine levels of HCG. You have two beta tests, two days apart. The annoying thing is that you are not told your results until the results of the second one come in. This is to see if your levels are doubling appropriately — early in pregnancy, levels should double every other day. That doubling shows that the pregnancy is progressing normally. 

I've made a therapy appointment for the day that we find out. I’m honestly not sure if I will need it more if it is positive or negative. The first trimester always seemed to be an especially terrifying time, but since having an eight-week loss, I’m even more scared

It’s incredibly weird to want something so badly but to be so afraid of it. 

Owning up to this and seeing someone qualified to help me sort through those feelings is important. 

Until next time — when I can let you all know the news!

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