This morning I had my trial embryo transfer. I still firmly believe it was a big ol’ waste of time. Even worse, Doug took the morning off work to support me and it was an even bigger waste of his time. His work is so demanding and he can only get so much time off to attend appointments with me. I’d much rather he hadn’t come this morning and instead used that banked time to come to my next appointment when something worthwhile might have taken place.
So what is a mock or trial embryo transfer I hear you ask? Take it away, Mister Wikipedia:
“A mock transfer process in IVF is simply when the doctor inserts a catheter into your uterus to measure the length and depth. He does this so that when it is time to actually deposit embryos into your uterus he will know what type of catheter to use and know where to place the embryos.”
Basically it’s the exact same process as an embryo transfer, only without the embryo. Some studies conducted have suggested the pregnancy success rate is higher after a mock transfer is performed, because the doctor has a better chance of using the right catheter and correctly placing the embryo. Other studies have found a mock transfer has little to no actual effect on the outcome and other factors such as not opting to bed rest and taking the right levels of progesterone have a much greater impact on success. I recommend you do your own research and make up your own mind which side of the fence you sit on.
For my embryo transfer I needed a full bladder, because the doctor is guided by ultrasound. That means I had to drink a litre of water over half an hour and then let it sit in my bladder for 45 minutes prior to the scan.
I also had to go through the same process only a couple of weeks ago when I had my last ultrasound. Although I’m pretty much an expert at internal ultrasounds and have had probably a hundred so far this year, I don’t often have regular old external ultrasounds. This means I’m not accustomed to filling my bladder.
I was so worried I wouldn’t drink enough water prior to my diagnostic ultrasound I guzzled my litre of water in 10 minutes, drank an extra 200ml just to “make sure” and then had to let it sit in my bladder for over an hour. By the time I got to the hospital for my test I was physically in agony. I couldn’t even sit down in the waiting room and instead was pacing back and forth uncomfortably and jiggling on the spot when a nurse came over and asked me if I was ill.
“I….I…..have to get an ultrasound….” I managed to say.
“Ok,” she said with a smile. “How about you go down to the bathroom and just let out a little bit of urine. Say, to the count of five?”
“To the count of five?” I gasped. “There’s no way I would be able to stop after five seconds. I’m so full right now and I don’t have that amount of self control!”
She laughed at that and admitted she wouldn’t be able to do it either, but some ladies are just able to stop when they need to. She went down to the sonographer and asked if they could see me straight away. The lovely sonographer agreed to cut her lunch break 10 minutes short so I could be scanned immediately. People at hospitals are generally so accommodating. I don’t know why anyone complains about the level of service provided by medical professionals – particularly nurses.
So anyway, when it came to my embryo transfer today I was determined not to make the same mistake. I drank exactly 1 litre of water in exactly 30 minutes. I was in hardly any discomfort at all, even by the time I got to the hospital. My bladder certainly felt full, but I wasn’t exactly dying.
Today was the first day we’ve been to the new fertility clinic, located in a small private hospital. We’ve previously seen Doctor B in her offices on level 4 of the hospital, but the clinic was down in the bowels of the hospital on the lower ground floor. It’s certainly less flashy than our first fertility clinic, but it has a nice atmosphere. There’s also giant sperm artwork on the walls. Giant. Sperm. Artwork.
Doug and I were the only two people in the waiting room, and were due to go in for our mock transfer at 11.30am. We were giggling and playing one of those stupid candy crush type games on his iphone, when a much older couple arrived and sat down next to us. The man looked early fifties, the woman early forties. Both were greying and wore laugh lines around their eyes. They turned and gave me the usual once over. I could read the expressions clearly on their faces. Why is this silly young girl here?
For a while I ignored them, and went back to watching Doug play his game. Then I noticed her leg jiggling uncomfortably. Then both her legs. Then her whole body. Then she was standing. Dancing. Pacing back and forth. Breathing heavily. Biting her lip. She was in agony. Uh oh! Someone’s had too much water! The nurse came rushing over and I overheard that this lady was in the clinic to have her embryo transfer. There was actually going to be an embryo in her catheter. This wasn’t the ideal time to overdrink water. The nurse told her to go and let out “to the count of 5” and the lady hugged her in thanks then ran as fast as she could to the bathroom.
Minutes later she was back. She seemed much calmer. We all sat nicely in the waiting room. Then the jiggling began again. Then the pacing. Then the dancing. Then came “I’m just going to let out another 5!” and she raced off to the bathroom again. A few minutes later, the same thing happened again and she insisted she needed to go and let out another 5.
“Look,” the nurse said patiently. “You have already let out to the count of 10. You can’t let anymore out. We’ll need to rush you through immediately or there won’t be enough left in your bladder to do the procedure.”
And that’s how my mock embryo transfer got pushed back to 12pm. Because of some silly woman’s inability to properly follow instructions and drink 1 litre of bloody water I had to wait an extra half an hour with my own full bladder!! Having made the same mistake a few weeks ago I did sympathise with her, but I don’t think my poor bladder should have been punished for her mistake!
Other than that, the mock transfer went quickly and smoothly. They tested different sized instruments and catheters, and then Doctor B showed me on the ultrasound monitor how she would find the right place to drop off our embryo and leave it there to implant. It was interesting, but I still can’t see how it was worth the fuss or a day off work for me.
After it was over, Doctor B asked us how badly we wanted to have children on a scale from one to ten. Without even hesitating I blurted out “TEN!” but Doug smiled a little and answered “seven.”
I think that perfectly sums us up as a couple. Doug is always more cautious than me, more measured, less emotional. I know we both want children very badly. I know Doug feels that way because he’s told me many times. But I do understand that this has become something more for me than it is for him now. It’s an obsession for me. I can’t imagine a life without children. I refuse to live one.
Doctor B will be away overseas now until the 15th of July so I’ll be out of contact with her. There’s nothing to do now but wait until early July when we start ralovera and then injections.
Another long, cold wait…