Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The big day...just kidding!

My first job!
Normally after an embryo harvest, you wait a grueling (the wait is so hard!) 3-5 days (based on embryo quality) before continuing on to the transfer (where the fertilized embryo is removed from the petri dish--not test tube--and transfer back to your uterus). Transfer day is like Christmas morning. After all of that anticipation and preparation, you are finally ready for the big day. Then again, maybe that's a bad analogy because it's like having your present but not getting to open it quite yet. You know it is there but you don't know what it is. And there is a chance the present may be empty. Regardless of how good the analogy is, that was how I felt that first time.

Unfortunately the timing really wasn't panning out well for me. Despite my best attempts to have everything all scheduled and ready to go, my body didn't quite cooperate and as I mentioned before, my harvest happened later than I had hoped. My embryos grew to blastocyst stage which meant I was set for a transfer on day 5. This placed the transfer on July 7 -- a big day as this was also the first day of my new job and our 7th anniversary.

The day I found out the timing for this I was hysterical. Okay not really, but I cried in front of the nurse at the clinic and she probably felt like I was hysterical. I didn't know how I was possibly going to maneuver the situation:

On one hand, after months and months of waiting, shots, procedures, we were finally ready for our first real shot at pregnancy.

On the other hand, after 13 years of training I was finally ready for my first day at my first real job. And I wasn't sure how to tell them a few days before that I would need my first day off! "Sorry, but I'm going to have to miss my first day to try to get pregnant!" Not what an employer wants to hear. I was super upset and stressed about it for days. I didn't want to cancel patients and staff at the last minute. I didn't want to seem uncommitted or unreliable. I didn't know how to even ask for the day off.

I finally spoke to one of the doctors. He was very understanding and suggested we freeze all of our embryos rather than transfer one fresh and freezing the remaining. He gave me the stats on this -- that a frozen and fresh transfer had essentially the same success rates and that some centers are even going toward frozen only transfers. After the harvest I hadn't been feeling well -- significant bloating, nausea, tiredness, etc, and as these were potential early signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (which can become very risky and worse with the continuation of the hormones after embryo transfer) he felt freezing the embryos was a good way to go medically and logistically. Besides, if I truly were experiencing OHSS they may cancel my transfer, anyway.

This was disappointing to hear that I would have to wait (this is what we had been leading up to for so long!) but I felt so relieved that there was an answer. Looking back now I know some people would say I should have done "what was right for me" despite my job, but I think it was the right decision. Waiting made it so I didn't have to worry about the stress and possible symptoms associated with a possible pregnancy or the disappointment if it didn't work while learning the ropes at my new job. It gave me an opportunity to let my ovaries quiet down before stimulating them again with a new batch of hormones. And I got to take a welcome break from all of the medications.

I was told I could probably proceed the next month. I felt like waiting a month to lower the risk to my own health while also getting established in my job was a good trade-off. Unfortunately when the time came, they made me wait longer than I had hoped as they wanted to give me extra time to make sure to avoid hyperstimulation.

Our transfer day was pushed back until September, which left us with a long wait but able to focus on a very busy summer at work for both of us.

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