I did a fresh embryo transfer yesterday. It was brief but slightly painful (thanks to my twisted cervix). I could not relax despite the nurse and doctor’s insistence. It was the same nurse from egg retrieval (ER) but a different doctor. I had seen this doctor for my baseline ultrasound, and she is quite stoic, not atypical of Finnish people. The nurse was apathetic to my tensing up and moaning during the catheter insertion. She was way more supportive during ER. I guess it is expected that ER is painful, but since most women do not complain during the transfer, she assumes that applies universally. She was surprised, though, that the catheter insertion was causing the pain and not her pressing down hard on the abdomen with the ultrasound wand to visualize my uterus better. That was uncomfortable because all 16 follicles are filled with fluid and have been the bane of my existence since ER; constantly bloating, constipated, and with trapped gas causing even more discomfort.
As painful as the transfer experience was, it was over quickly, and the interaction with the stoic doctor was awkward afterward as she didn’t seem to know what to say. I did see a little twinkly white light that is supposed to represent air bubbles where the embryo was dropped.
Regarding the embryos, only 1 of the three fertilized eggs seemed like a perfect blastocyst on day 5, the transfer day. Half an hour before the transfer, the embryologist went over the video from the embryoscope, the new high-tech machine where the embryos were incubated and monitored for the five days following retrieval. I saw a time-lapse video of the three embryos developing side to side. The embryologist stopped the video at key moments to show me what was happening at that stage and how that was on par with normal development. Although all 3 of them started fine with two nuclei and the cells diving rapidly and timely, 1 of them started to seem abnormal towards the 5th day. She mentioned a term that I did not think was important to write down at the time as I was so curious about the other two. I think that the third embryo was the one that did not make it since I got an email today that only one was viable enough to freeze. The second embryo did not look like the model picture of a blastocyst, but the doctor said they would continue to culture it and the third until today and let me know if any of them are viable to Freeze. I was gutted by the prospect of not having any to freeze since my chances of success on my first round of IVF are quite slim, giving my fibroid background. I am very grateful, however, that I have one more chance if this transfer fails, as doing a frozen transfer is cheaper and less strenuous on the body than going through the whole egg retrieval process again. I am even already considering if these two embryos are my only chance of getting pregnant. I have enough funds for another round of IVF, but it would nearly wipe my savings out, and I would not have much of a cushion for when the baby arrives.
I do have a steady monthly income from the US VA, but I am currently unemployed as a full-time self-funded researcher. My quest for funding has left me as drained as this journey with fibroids and infertility. I plan to put the Ph.D. on hold and move to a military community in Europe, where I can use my VA status to get a job, especially if I get pregnant because even though I could make it with the VA income, and passive income from my property rentals, I would like to have better security for the child. But don’t worry, if the universe is against me and I can’t even find a job in the service sector, the baby and me will survive well on what I have, and that is why I would not consider another round of IVF unless I have a steady stream income replenishing my savings. So, this seems like I’ve got a plan for myself. Hoorah.
Now for today’s status update. 1dp5dt: many women on infertility forums are asking what this acronym stands for, and I also had the same question. 1 Day Post 5 Day Blast Transfer. I literally could not make out what DP and DT stand for. I am used to DPO, the number of days post ovulation, so I should have guessed DP stands for days post something. 1DP5DT is 1 Day post-5-Day Blast Transfer.
So symptom check on 1dp5dt! Pourquoi-pas? Everyone else is doing it. But truly, I felt things happening in my abdomen today. The only thing, though, is that I have been having cramps for days from the post-ER follicles-filled-with-fluid syndrome, so how can I differentiate if the lower ab cramps are not just some of the same? I also feel back pain, which I have not been noting down as symptoms since ER, so I am pretty sure that’s new, although maybe I just don’t remember. What was definitely different and new was the feeling of dizziness and nausea that I felt standing up working on my computer. I worked standing because I felt bloated from the big lunch I just had, and then all of a sudden, I had this weird taste in my mouth, feeling like I would throw up and faint at the same time. Tell me that’s not something. This is not my first rodeo of over-symptom-spotting, as I have been trying to conceive (TTC) for a year and a half, naturally, through IUI and now IVF. This symptom spotting does not make it harder for me to deal with a failure because it is good for me to understand the different signals my body gives me regardless of whether I am pregnant. Oh, my boobs are also super perky and sore to the touch; luckily, I don’t have anyone to hug these days. This symptom is definitely not singular to pregnancy and probably due to the progesterone hormone supplements.
Talking of hormones, I need to take my second dose of Cyclogest soon and one shot of Gonapeptyl. I have difficulty getting information on the function of Gonapeptyl, as this is also prescribed to patients with prostate cancer, but most of what I gather is that it stops ovulation, but I thought I already ovulated. I should have asked the doctors, this is not a common drug in the US I think and the internet in the EU is not as informative as in the US, they don’t overshare here as much as we do. This will be my last injection for this cycle (hooray, I don’t like poking myself with needles).
Regarding the pregnancy test, according to the clinic’s guidance, I should take a test 14 days from yesterday, 12 April to be exact. However, the internet tells me differently; many Reddit users are getting Big Fat Positive (BFP) on 5dp5dt, so why wouldn’t I try my luck? That’s in 3 days, on Sunday, 2 April, a full ten days before advised but what do I have to lose? I will keep taking the test and the Cyclogest till 12 April, or the first sign of aunt flo (AF). If I have an early pregnancy loss, it’s wise to test early so that I know that it happened, which also tells me whether I can still get pregnant.
Just a quick disclaimer: I follow the philosophical principles of stoicism, so I exercise negative visualization with any big things happening in my life so I can receive any eventual blows with more grace. I understand that this may only work for some. It is annoying that everyone in my life has the opposite philosophy: It only takes one embryo to work; this will definitely happen for you; you have to stay positive. I have to remain realistic, period!