Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mock Embryo Transfer

Today, I'd like to share what happened during my mock embryo transfer and how it compares with my previous transfers.

Now, the way I understand the mechanics of an FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) is that a catheter is "threaded" past the cervix, high into the uterus. Then the embryos are "loaded" into the catheter and pushed through into the uterus. I don't know how they get the embryos through the catheter. I do know, last time, one of our embryos got stuck and so the process had to be repeated to get him in. Anyway, it's a simple enough procedure on paper.

In my experience, however, the mock embryo transfer (and the real embryo transfer), had been painful and difficult. The problem used to be that my uterus was so tilted and cervix so tightly closed that the doctor needed a very thin, flexible catheter. It took forever to get it where it needed to be. And it hurt.

The procedure is done laying flat with feet in stirrups, just like those lovely GYN appointments. It must be done with a full bladder. Fun. The nurse stands by with the sonogram thingy, PRESSING DOWN on my full bladder so that the doctor can see the catheter going into the uterus. I know, you can't believe how much fun this is. In the past, they've also had to "manipulate" my uterus by pushing from the outside and pulling from the inside... at least, I think that's what happened. It was traumatic; I may have blacked out. (Just kidding... sort of.)

This time, thanks to Mr. Cubby, the catheter threaded easily and the whole procedure was over and done with in a few minutes. And it was painless. Woo hoo!

They also checked the uterine lining. Mine was at 12. Twelve what I'm not sure. Probably 12 cm but I'm going to tell people it's 12 inches so then they can think the little pooch in my tummy is caused by my uterine lining and not the 1/2 pan of brownies I ate last night.

When that's over, you get to run to the bathroom and come back for round two. This is the part that I forgot about because the first part was such an ordeal. It is the most fun part of all. I like to call it the Water Torture Test. So OK, you get back in the saddle, feet in stirrups. Then the doctor preps and the nurse fills a huge syringe with sterile water. Then the doctor says, "You may feel a little cramping."

Here's a clue if you ever have to have this done, "a little cramping" is code. It means that it HURTS. When I had this done the previous three times, I situated my arms over my head, crossed them and gripped my upper arms, squeezing with all my might while I hyperventilated until the cramping subsided. Not your regular cramps. With each injection of water, the cramping would happen all over again. They go through two or three rounds of this. While it hurts like the dickens, it has to be done because they're looking for fibroids and cysts that may interfere with the embryos' implantation.

I have to say, this time around, having experienced the mother of all cramping - contractions - and an unmedicated birth (gold star for me), the cramping was pretty easy to endure. And thankfully I am fibroid and cyst free.

During one of my previous three tests, they found a cyst or two. The good news is that this is not a deal breaker. I asked my RE here at home to monitor the cyst with ultrasounds and within a month or so it had gone away. One of the medical professionals mentioned that it's not uncommon for women to develop cysts especially with the high doses of estrogen in the Estrace. Now you know.

After the mock transfer and the water torture test I got dressed. Then the nurse came in and gave me more birth control pills. Argh. Instructions that I was to stop the Estrace immediately and begin on the BC again. Argh. And she also gave me the injection instruction guides. Don't underestimate the importance of the injection instruction guides or you may end up with a 16 gauge needle in your rear.

If you don't know much about needles, 16 gauge is what "home piercers" use for body piercing. It makes a big hole.

Next, the business manager came in and we talked numbers for a few minutes.

Then the embryologist came in and we talked embryos for a few minutes.

Then the doctor came back and said everything looks great and that he'll see me in September.


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