Check out my experience going through The IVF Transfer Process. From progesterone shots to my ultrasound, learn what the IVF transfer is all about!
IVF: The Transfer
So last we chatted, I caught you up on the retrieval part of the IVF process. That was a longer post because that process is much more involved. The appointments, the medications, so many questions and answers along the way. The transfer is much more straight forward.
Getting started, I was put on birth control. You could say that isn’t part of the transfer, but the way they have things set up it’s sort of like it is. But it was basically the in between period. I went on birth control when I got my first period after the retrieval and stayed on it for about three weeks.
The next step was taking Estradiol, which is basically estrogen. I am still taking it now and it’s three times a day. I have alarms set so I don’t forget. I started that medication right after the birth control about for 2 weeks before adding in the progesterone shots.
The progesterone shots are oil based and they are really the only part of this transfer process that gets a little not so fun. The shot is nightly and began about 5 days before the actual transfer. I think that’s because the embryo was frozen at day 5, and if you think about ovulation and when you begin producing progesterone, it all kind of makes sense. Five days post “ovulation” is basically when the transfer occurred, or at least that’s my understanding.
Ok, so the needle on the left is the one we are using for administering the progesterone. The one on the right is one of the ones we used during the retrieval phase. Notice any difference? The size of the needle perhaps? It’s fewer shots this round, but holy moly! That one shot is a doozie!
I won’t lie, that needle terrified me for a solid 3 to 4 weeks leading up to having to start taking it. My mom came into town for the week leading up to the transfer to help with things, so she got to help with the shots. The hubs gave them to me, she made suggestions on how to make them better.
I’m not gonna lie, those suckers were painful! My right side was more painful than the other, but both had me sore afterwards like I’d just had a rough workout and my booty was so sore I was limping. Yes, limping. After about three days of that, my morale was down. Way down. I didn’t know how I could possibly get through 8-ish weeks of this (assuming I get pregnant, I’ll be on all this medication for a while). We moved the shot site around a bit, used my numbing patches, etc and nothing made a difference.
I also decided to go an acupuncturist for the week leading up to the transfer. I found someone more local than the person I’d gone to before for convenience and she was great. However between the very painful butt shots and the acupuncture needles for about 4 different days over a 7 day period, I’d started to feel like a human pin cushion. A very sore pin cushion.
A couple nights before the transfer, the hubs tried to rub the sore areas to see if it’d help and all it ended up doing was making me cry. Then the next morning, just before we left for our final appointment before the transfer the following day, I was playing with Jessie and she happened to jump up when I bent over to get her toy and hit me square in the mouth. I got a fat lip and it looked terrible. The hormones and needles were clearly getting to me at this point and I cried all the way to the doctor’s office. I was a mess and the hubs was clearly afraid I’d lose my mind that day. Ha! Looking back it’s kind of funny.
So the next morning – the morning of the transfer – I had to drink water. LOTS of water. I’d been trying to stay pretty hydrated and was told that I needed to drink 64 ounces of water in the final hour prior to transfer. I also was supposed to take Xanax and Ibuprofen.
We got to the office a little early so we hung out in the car and I drank all the water, as instructed. By the time I was done, I was DYING to pee. I finished that last sip and practically ran into the building.
Fortunately our nurse that day is a friend of mine from church. She’s the one who actually referred us to our doctor. As soon as I saw her and she realized how bad I had to pee, she let me go a little.
The Embryo & The Ultrasound
We got all changed and ready to go and then she got us prepped and checked things out on the ultrasound. My bladder was super full so she let me go again. Ha!
So finally we got to a place where my bladder was still plenty full but I could bare it for the next 15 minutes or so. Even so, every time she pressed down on my belly with that ultrasound wand, I could focus on very little but not peeing.
The transfer process itself was pretty quick. The hubs got to be in there with me and they basically stick a catheter in and then stick another one inside of that with the embryo in it. They release the embryo (which we could watch all on the ultrasound monitor) and then they check the catheter under the microscope to make sure it’s gone and then they pull it all out. The end. Super fast!
We only transferred one embryo. I think transferring multiple used to be more common, but at our doctor’s office, because of my age, they really won’t let me do more than one at a time. That was fine by us.
We were given a photo of our little embryo and an image of my uterus with the embryo in it (the lightest little spot is the embryo). Not gonna lie, it made us cry seeing that embryo. Weird to think that the first photo of our baby ever is as an embryo, but there it is. Isn’t it beautiful?! 😉
After we were done, we asked my friend/our nurse to take a look at the spot where we were doing the shots and see if she had suggestions. We had circles drawn on each cheek so we always knew where to go. She drew new circles that were in a TOTALLY different spot. Rather than being more into my cheek a little, the shots are now almost going into the back of my hip. It seems totally crazy to think that a less fatty part is better, but it is WAY better! I don’t really have any pain now. Yes, maybe a touch of tenderness – like I know I’m getting shots – but it’s like nothing. We ice the spot for a few minutes and then give me the shot. Done. I hardly even feel it.
Ok so I want to try and describe the new spot. You know where your hip bone is? It kind of sticks out just a bit? Well imagine that location, but sort of on your back. You could stick your middle finger on your hip bone and then extend your thumb back. We are little off towards my side a bit, but it’s still towards my back. It’s basically there, then an inch or so down and that’s where we are doing the shots now. Clearly the shot is ALL about the location. The other location worked as far as the medication, but was so much more painful.
So that was all this past Friday. Almost a week ago. My mom and the hubs babied me like crazy over the weekend after the transfer since I was supposed to really take it easy – and I’m not very good at that. Every time I stood up to do something, I nearly got yelled at. If this does work, implantation should have already taken place and hopefully that little baby is attached and growing. We will go to the doctor to do a blood test on Monday to find out if I’m pregnant or not.
This 10 day waiting period is the longest wait of this whole process so far. Not in actual number of days, but in how long it feels. Taking it easy has basically translated to me not being distracted enough. I am so glad today is Thursday, tomorrow is Friday and then the weekend! Then Monday!! Ahhh!
Is it Monday yet?!?!?!