I more than survived my surgery. After a couple months of recovery – we neared what would be our second embryo transfer. Because we had 1 little guy “on ice” we were able to forgo the full-blown IVF process and “just” do the embryo transfer phase. This still involves giving yourself meds. For me, the meds came in the form of estrogen patches and oral estrogen pills (#crazytrain), as well as progesterone shots. Shots right in the butt cheek. Nick had to administer these shots which I wasn’t happy about. During our first round of IVF I did the injections myself (Nick prepped the meds though)… I felt better having control over when the needle went into my stomach. So anyways, Nick had to learn how to do the progesterone injections. He got pretty good at it!
The day of the embryo transfer is relatively uneventful. You go to the doc office and they carefully put the embryo into your uterus. It’s painless. It’s very precise and sterile. There is a doc, nurse(s), ultrasound tech (since they watch on a screen when its transferred), and an embryologist in the room. Romantic, right?
I remember the ultrasound tech saying “oh my god, that’s a gorgeous embryo!” as they released it into my uterus (which I could see on the ultrasound screen…but barely, it’s so tiny). This made me burst out laughing which then made me panic because you’re supposed to stay very still during the procedure. I was sure I messed something up.
Once they’re done, you’re sent on your way. They no longer advise bed rest after a transfer (at least not my doc) but they told me to take it easy. Nick and I took it easy at the local bagel shop. Everything bagel, toasted with veggie cream cheese and a coffee. Oh, you thought I’d give up caffeine? Pfff. At this point, I was over depriving myself. It was also our 5-year anniversary the day we did the transfer. Between the special date and the delicious bagels and coffee – I think we had some type of lucky combination.
Now comes the fun part, you continue with the injections and have to wait 10 days to see if the embryo implants. This is a long 10 days. Go ahead and google the “10 day wait.” It’s a real thing. If you get your period, that means the embryo didn’t implant. If you don’t get your period, that could mean you’re pregnant.
Against medical recommendation, I took a pregnancy test at Day 6. I told myself…I know I’m not “supposed” to but I don’t f*ckin’ care. After last time when I held out until day 10 and legit got my period THAT morning and cried in the bathroom – I was like “I want to know NOW if this might be another big fat negative.” So, I peed on a pregnancy test. Not a fancy one but also not a cheap one. At this point, it’s like boggling your mind the money you’ve spend on this whole situation. No digital test for me at this stage.
And there it was…a very faint positive. I thought about not telling Nick. What if I got his hopes up for nothing? But, I couldn’t keep it a secret. I remember telling him as he laid on the couch watching TV. He was ecstatic. There I was…straight faced, like “yup, it’s positive but it’s really faint. I’m going to take another in the morning.” #nofunpolice
The reality is this “sciency” process does take a bit of the fun out of it.
The next morning, I took another test and there it was the same faint line. Over the next few days I told my sister – but kept it very hush hush otherwise as I waited for my official blood test. The morning of blood test, I went to the doc to get my blood drawn and then headed into work. As I walked into work I got a call from my Aunt…my Dad was in the hospital. He didn’t want me or my sister to know…but he was there and he was having heart issues.
Next thing I know, I’m at Faulkner Hospital. Which is the hospital my Dad decided to drive himself to after he went to urgent care with severe chest pains and they advised him to go to the hospital immediately. He was in good spirits and at this point we weren’t completely sure what was going on.
I got the call that we were indeed pregnant while I stood in the hallway at the hospital. I decided not to tell my Dad at this point as it was still so early in the pregnancy and I wanted him to focus on his health. Inside, I was happy and although my Dad being sick was scary, for some reason, this positive news and the realization that something was actually growing in there…gave me a sense of calm and strength I didn’t think I had.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks…my Dad was transferred to Brigham and Women to undergo a double bypass surgery. He was lucky. Had he not gone to the hospital when he did he would have had a massive heart attack. The surgery saved his life.
After a week or so of recovery in the ICU and then cardiac unit at the Brigham, my Dad moved into our house in Scituate and my sister, niece, and nephew came to stay with us for three weeks to help him recover. It was a crazy time. During most of it, I was ‘hiding’ my pregnancy from mostly everyone except those closest to us. I was going to work every day and either going to hospital after or coming home to a full house.
At about 8 weeks pregnant we had a scare. I had just gotten my hair done in town and was taking the boat home. All seemed fine at the time. But as I walked off the boat I got this weird feeling, like I had just gotten my period. It was like a sudden rush “down there.” In my head I thought “what was that? Did I get my period? This is weird.”
Once I got in the car, I reached down and touched the outside of my pants…blood had literally soaked through them. I panicked and called my sister. My sister has always been the calm one and thank god she was at our house. She told me everything could be ok and maybe it was just some spot bleeding. I drove home thinking “wow, I can’t believe this is over. No baby anymore.”
I really didn’t want to tell Nick what happened. I called the doctor and he told me that if I was still bleeding to go to the ER. Thankfully, I wasn’t. He told me it didn’t necessarily mean we lost the baby. But there I was like, “doc, this wasn’t like a little blood. This was A LOT.” He told me to take some Benadryl and come into the office in the morning for an ultrasound. I told Nick what was going on and we both slept like sh*t. The next morning we were like two zombies heading into the doc office waiting to hear the news. When we got there the nurses were very sweet and once in the ultrasound room the tech told us that she needed to look around before telling us anything. We just sat there in silence. God, that cannot be an easy job.
Finally, she goes, “ok, there it is.” And turned the screen towards us. I was like “what?” And she said “the baby, it’s right there. Everything looks fine.” I was so relieved. I think Nick was about to pass out. But I was also confused. Like, “wait, what caused that heavy bleeding? That can’t be normal?!” And she told us – that actually yes, sometimes sporadic bleeding does happen during early pregnancy and it’s not always a bad sign. Since mine was not accompanied by cramping and it tapered off, they said it was probably just old blood leaving my system. I was still baffled but grateful nonetheless.
Here we are now at 23 weeks pregnant. I have a baby registry and a bare room ready to become a nursery. I have a pot belly that my boobs pretty much rest on now. I can’t wear any of my old pants and have invested in maternity tops left and right. My mind still goes a bit haywire when people congratulate us. I’m so grateful but I also know I won’t fully believe it until I’m holding HER (her name is Baby Ellie) in my arms. Until then, I’m trying my best to take it one day at a time. I’m also trying to give other women some hope. Although I realize this road doesn’t always work out for everyone, I do have more faith now than I did before. And I’m often reminded of something someone said to me when we were in the thick of it all – “you might not have the family exactly how you pictured it in your mind’s eye but you WILL have a family one day.”
That concludes Chapter Four. My next Chapter I’ll share a bit more about what helped me during my first trimester. Also, if there are any questions or topics people are particularly interested in, please email me. I’d love to use to fuel a future post. firstname.lastname@example.org