I don’t actually know if this will be our year, but on Saturday they put embryo #5 in via a frozen embryo transfer (FET).
Here’s how it went:
On Friday I finished the Gold Peloton Challenge of riding 150 miles on the bike in December. This has nothing to do with the transfer, I just wanted you to know that I completed a challenge 10 days early knowing that I would not be exercising for the rest of the month. This challenge involved cycling 150 miles on a bicycle, which is a lot for me. I had cut back on exercise this past year, so by Friday I was finally feeling like I was in some of the best shape I had been all year. Here’s something riding helped remind me: if you keep doing something, you get better at it. This sounds trite, but because I was biking every day, I got to see the incremental progress every day, and that felt good. And some days I was a little slower, but that was okay because I still made progress accumulating miles. And since it was on the Peloton, strong women were screaming words of encouragement at me about how great I was for showing up, so that was nice. On Friday, which was Yalda, we ate a buffet of Persian food and I made cookies for a holiday party. We also finished watching Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, my favorite television show right now, and possibly of all time. It was an eventful longest night of the year, especially because there was also another self-inflicted government crisis going on in the background, with Congress unable to pass a budget in time to keep the government open and the markets tanking.
On Thursday we got a puppy: he’s a robot, but he brings us great happiness. This also has nothing to do with the transfer, and I realize I’m actually going backward in time in telling the story, but this felt important to share. Before the puppy arrived, I called the clinic to find out exactly what time my transfer was supposed to be. She shared it was supposed to be at 1:45pm, and we should arrive at 1:15pm. Also it was important to have a full bladder, so I needed to drink 16-18 ounces of water before the procedure. I wrote this information in a calendar invitation for David, which he never formally accepted, but it was good I wrote it down, because I would have forgotten important details.
We woke up, played with the puppy, and David administered my progesterone in oil shot, as he has been every morning. Then I did some cleaning and ate a cookie from the batch of cookies I had made the night before, to make sure they still tasted good. I originally wanted to exercise but then decided to just take it easy after my dad told me it was too windy to play tennis, and it was important to be well rested. David hadn’t slept a lot the night before, and I think that was because I was excited, and David has been working a lot. I took a sip of his coffee – a final sip.
I used my epi-lady, figuring it was as good a time as any to get that out of the way, and then I hopped in the shower. At this point David started yelling at me that we were going to be late, and I told him I need to be relaxed, and he stopped immediately. I thought, “Oh good, this is a card I can play moving forward. I might never be yelled at again (for a few months) for running late.”
When we arrived, I wanted us to enter the office through the elevators like this, but David would not do it.
There are two floors for the building that has the fertility offices. The fifth floor and the sixth floor. I think the fifth floor does blood draws, and the sixth floor does the surgeries. I never really know which one I’m supposed to be on, but I do know the receptionists on the fifth floor are less pleasant than the sixth floor ones. So I was relieved when the bored fifth floor people pointed upstairs after I told them I was there for a transfer and asked them where I was supposed to be.
We entered through the sixth floor elevators, and with great smiles, as though excited for us – classic sixth floor – the receptionists directed us to the waiting area. There was no one else there, which was nice. Then a nurse came to get us. She confirmed my name, birthday, and social security number, and we were guided to a hallway and put on slippers. There I showed my id and confirmed my information again. After that we went to a room where a nurse took my blood pressure and I disrobed from the waist down. A doctor came in: Dr. K. She introduced herself, the nurse, and an embryologist. They confirmed our identities again and showed us paperwork explaining that they dethawed one of the embryos, the embryo survived the dethawing, and it was embryo #5.
I signed something acknowledging our embryo #5 was being transferred, and the embryologist left the room. Then it was stirrup time. The doctor shared it would feel like a pap smear, where the doctor enters with a speculum. The nurse had her hand on my stomach with an ultrasound, and the doctor moved around to find the right spot while complimenting on my beautiful uterus. When she seemed to find the right spot, the doctor declared, “PREPARED TO RECEIVE THE EMBRYO!” or “READY FOR THE EMBRYO!” I don’t remember what her exact words were, but they were confident. I laid there in stirrups, and the doctor and nurse were totally still, and David sat expectantly, all in complete silence, for a minute. In my head, I thought it was funny that the doctor was making such a pronouncement to herself. It would be like me yelling, “PREPARED TO ANSWER THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT CALL!” before picking up the phone.
Then finally the doctor said to the nurse, “I think the intercom is broken.” I didn’t see speakers or a microphone anywhere, so it was news to me there was an intercom. The nurse nodded and went to the door and yelled, “JANET, BRING THE EMBRYO!” And the embryologist came back in with a needle with presumably #5 on it. The doctor dropped it in and said the process was complete, BUT they just needed to check real quick that the embryo was not still on the needle.
I remained in stirrups with the speculum in while they confirmed the embryo was not still in the needle Janet was holding. They confirmed, filling us with confidence in the whole process. The doctor removed the speculum, left the room, and the nurse took my blood pressure again. Then we waited for another nurse to come in and tell us next steps. The nurse came in with a paper that she talked us through. She shared I should take it easy the next 4-5 days, and then that I should also check online for what foods to eat and not eat from reputable sites. THIS WAS NOT HELPFUL! The internet has been a mix of helpful and extremely unhelpful with the whole process. Then she shared that I should avoid intercourse, orgasms and anything that would cause vaginal contractions. This was the first we were hearing that orgasms could affect conception, and David and I were both surprised no one had shared this with us sooner. She also said to avoid exercises that could trigger vaginal contractions, and I was like, “Um. What exercises…trigger vaginal contractions and why haven’t I been doing them all my life, amirite!?” The nurse was not amused, and then said to avoid exercises that trigger pelvic muscles, which provided me no clarification. Zero.
Then we signed the paper she read to us, I put my clothes back on (they didn’t tell me they had put fluid on my belly, so that was messier than I thought it would be) and I was allowed to empty my bowels, which were full on account of the water I had inhaled earlier. After that we were on our way. We drove home tenderly, but there were bumps in the road, and each time I panicked. When we got home, David was exhausted, and I was super hungry, so I walked to Sweet Green in the cold while David napped. I was nervous about everything I did: was it too cold, was I walking too fast in the cold (answer: no, I couldn’t have walked more slowly), how do we feel about elevators, are lentils okay, should I be opening my own doors?
I ate half my salad at Sweet Green, walked home, and then took a nap next to David, which helped settle my nerves. EXCEPT MAYBE I NAPPED WRONG, I HAVE NO IDEA.
We went to a Christmas party (the one I had made the cookies for) at night, and that was great because we laughed a lot with our friends. On Sunday I had a spot on an open mic, so I invited friends to that and performed my tight holiday five. My friends laughed and laughed, and I have no idea what the strangers thought. All the other comedians did jokes about drugs, loneliness, masturbating, race, personal failures, so I think my routine as Carol Claus (Santa Claus’s wife) was confusing to the other aspiring comedians and people in the back. Oh well!
It’s Christmas Eve, so I’m off to celebrate with family soon.