There’s been some miserable weather here lately, with several consecutive rainy days and the cold weather finally kicking in. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when it’s cool! But I am absolutely not a fan of the rain and it’s been a bit dispiriting.
In any event, I went back to the clinic a week later as instructed, and Dr. O looked in much better spirits now that the New Year rush had subsided. Another blood test – not much drawn this time – another half-hour wait while things processed and then another quick consultation with Dr. O, where she told me that my hormone levels were as they should be, and I should start progesterone pessaries that day. She counted days off on the calendar. “Can you come in next Tuesday for another blood test? Then we’ll be able to confirm whether or not embryo transfer can happen on Wednesday.”
That day was Friday, which meant kick-off was less than a week away. Eek!
In the nurse’s room she counted out more oestrogen patches (only 4 at a time, this time! My skin is grateful) and also counted out the progesterone. “This type is twice a day,” she said, “morning and evening.”
“Oh, twice a day?” Every time I’d gone through this before it was always once a day, in the evening before bed.
The nurse nodded, pulling a face. “It’s more insurance-related nonsense,” she said. “The twice-daily type is all that’s permitted at this stage. Once you get pregnant the evening-only type gets approved!”
“Weird,” I said.
“Weird,” she agreed.
Tuesday showed up faster than I anticipated, and another vial of blood was drawn. Another half-hour wait, and then: “You’re good to go! Tomorrow won’t be me,” said Dr. O, “but I’ll see you on the 27th with your results. Take care not to get sick!”
Out in the waiting room, another nurse came to find me and took me into a counselling room.
“Is everything okay?” she asked. “You seem pretty cheerful this time, but… are you alright?”
“Honestly?” I said, “I’m fine. I’m weirdly totally fine. Like, the OHSS was rough but it meant that we have three – I mean, technically four, but three – eggs to try, so even if this fails it’s not like I have to go through retrieval all over again so I’m… feeling kinda positive.
“And like, when I got pregnant with my daughter, I’d already spent a year coming here trying different things and I didn’t even know if I could get pregnant, and even when the test came back positive I still didn’t know if I could carry a baby to term. There were so many unknowns that I couldn’t even be properly happy when Dr. Y gave me the ‘congratulations you’re pregnant’ paper. But this time, it’s like, I know it can be done, technically, so it’s just a matter of doing my best and trusting in the science.
“Also,” I confessed, “the first dream I had this year was one where I had another baby. So even though I know it’s not logical at all, it’s just a feeling, but I feel like this year is going to be successful.”
“Honestly though,” the nurse said, “that’s really important! Dr. O always says so, too. Having a positive mental outlook can be so hard, especially the more time drags on, but it really helps.”
The ume blossoms are starting to come out already! It’s been an exceptionally mild winter really, recent rain and cold notwithstanding. Normally ume don’t flower until February-ish, depending on the region.
On Wednesday (today!) I put on a long skirt, put the signed consent form in my bag, and made sure I’d drunk plenty of water before heading off to the clinic. I did the latter part rather too well, and was absolutely desperate for a wee by the time I got there but couldn’t go to the loo because a full bladder was necessary for them to be able to see my uterus clearly on the ultrasound! The struggle was real, as they say. Thinking arid thoughts, I sat waiting until they called me in to Dr. Y’s room.
“Your egg defrosted beautifully!” he said. “It’s a 5AB now. Look!” He pointed to the screen. “You’re good to go. Good luck!”
“Yay! Thank you!” I shuffled out to go and remove my tights and knickers (hence the need for the long skirt) before being called in to the same room where they did the egg retrieval. Get introduced to the technician in charge of making sure the right egg gets transferred, hello, visually confirm that it is indeed my patient number and name on the petri dish, check check and check. Skirt hoisted up around my waist, sit in the big chair, whirrrr as the chair goes back, and… oh! Who’s that?
“Your transfer will be done by Dr. H!” the nurse announces. Dr. H. waves.
“Oh, hello!” I say. “I don’t think we’ve met before. Nice to meet you!”
“Same to you!” the young doctor says, getting things organised. What a way to meet someone for the first time. Par for the course in OB-GYN life, I guess! She puts in a speculum, disinfects my skin, and the technician calls out that everything is ready.
The nurse standing to my left smears ultrasound jelly on my belly and pushes the scanner into my skin, right over my bladder. I need a wee more than ever. “Oh, wonderful,” she says, “you’ve done great, we can see perfectly!” She gestures to the screen to my right. “Look, can you see?” The shape of the instrument in Dr. H’s hand – apparently it’s a kind of catheter – is visible, entering all the way up into my uterus, and then it’s all done, all over, all the things are being taken out and the nurse wipes jelly off my skin while the technician checks the embryo did indeed get transferred and wasn’t accidentally left in the equipment. All done.
“Everything’s okay!” the technician calls from behind the door, and then I’m free to go and put my knickers back on. So quick! I feel like the process is even more streamlined than last time? Still, everything went smoothly.
Then it was time to receive yet more oestrogen patches and yet more progesterone pessaries (urgh) as well as some medication to take orally three times a day for the next ten days.
Results day is January 27th! Technically nine days away now. I have experienced a little discomfort this time, which is apparently not uncommon (they advise you to bring a sanitary towel in case there is any minor bleeding) so decided to take things a little gently this afternoon, which was probably a wise choice – I fell asleep almost as soon as I got home and didn’t wake up again until 4:30pm! Too much excitement, I suppose.
In the fertility/parenting world online there are all sorts of abbreviations and expressions that are odd or incomprehensible to outsiders. ‘TTC’ for ‘trying to conceive’ makes enough sense, but who would intuit that ‘DH’ refers to someone’s husband, for example!? Anyway, one such term that is sometimes used – especially in IVF circles – is PUPO, Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. Especially when conception has been a challenge, you behave as though you’re pregnant (no risky foods, no alcohol, etc) because while the science may be out of your hands, you don’t want to risk screwing things up through your own actions. So that’s me right now, off the booze and cutting back on the caffeine, at least for the next couple of weeks.
Next update will be after the 27th. Keep your fingers crossed…!