Frozen Embryo Transfer

I woke up excited the morning of our doctor’s appointment. We were scheduled to meet with our doctor to discuss a Frozen Embryo Transfer. We knew we would get to know more about our 6 frozen embryos at this appointment as well and were eager to learn more.

We learned one of our 6 embryos was not viable. There were countless chromosome errors and the embryo would not survive a transfer let alone a pregnancy. Because I was so sick from OHSS, we did not do a fresh transfer. Had we done a fresh transfer, this embryo could have been transferred. But, because of the wait, all of our embryos had been genetically tested.

5 embryos. Of our 5 embryos, 3 received a “B” grade and 2 received a “C” grade. If you are curious, you could spend a good amount of time learning about embryo grading. I won’t dwell on grading long. The big take away for us was that our “B” embryos have a 65% chance of successful transfer and our “C” embryos have a 60% change of successful transfer. Before going to this appointment, we had agreed that we wanted to know the gender of our embryos, but when it came down to the transfer time, we would allow the doctors to choose the best embryo, regardless of gender. It turned out that of our 3 “B” embryos all were female. For our first transfer, we would transfer a female embryo.

After gushing over our wonderful embryos, the doctor presented the two types of FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). There is a Natural Cycle FET and a Medicated FET. The medicated cycle uses hormones to support a woman ovulating. The natural cycle is simply following the woman’s cycle and transferring the embryo on the designated cycle day. Since I am fortunate to have regular cycles, a Natural Cycle FET was the option we choose. I cannot describe the relief I felt at learning I did not have to use stimulating drugs. I know I could inject needles again, but the emotional and physical damage from the drugs is something I was not be eager to do again.

The best news to come that day, was that we could complete the transfer with my upcoming cycle. We left the appointment knowing we could start right away. I had already completed the many steps of a transfer when preparing for the egg retrieval and subsequently canceled fresh transfer. The next step was calling the doctor when my period started. Then I would go back in for a start of cycle ultrasound. We left the appointment so excited for the next month.

I had blood drawn at the appointment and learned my thyroid levels had more than doubled. I began taking a new medication to lower my TSH levels. I had been feeling a constant weight of sadness and the thyroid levels appeared to be the culprit (partnered with the last couple months of events).

A week past my periods start date, I called my doctor to come in for an appointment to figure out what the heck was going on. Of course, the first question the nurse asked was “are you pregnant?” No. Nope, not pregnant. The ultrasound revealed nothing and my blood work came back with progesterone levels of a woman in menopause. What in the world was happening to my body? The doctor prescribed a medicine to take to force my period to start. On this very day, my husband, sister and her boyfriend, had piled the car full of our ski gear and we were planning to drive to Sunriver, Oregon for a mini winter get away. Unfortunately, the period forcing medication has some crazy side effects and cannot be taken with alcohol. Since we were already halfway to Oregon, I found a pharmacy near where we were staying that I could pick up the medicine the next morning. I enjoyed, what I thought would be, my last beer that night.

We woke up early the next morning to head to the mountain to ski. I woke up feeling disappointed, but excited for the day. And wouldn’t you know it?! My period started! All on its own! A little vacation miracle. I got much closer to my sister’s boyfriend that weekend as my period was the hot topic of conversation. Because I had just been in for an ultrasound before we left, my doctor said the first day cycle ultrasound was not necessary. Thank goodness! Because we would have had to drive 7 hours to that appointment.

Great skiing, great company, great beer, great memories. The week away in the snow was everything I could have ever hoped for and everything I needed. I came back with a positive mind, ready for the upcoming transfer.

I began tracking my ovulation, using a home ovulation predictor kit (you can find these at the grocery store). Once the ovulation showed positive, we had one injection to complete. This injection would jump start my body in thinking I was pregnant. I injected this shot myself into my stomach, just like the good ol’ days. K and I may or may not have been a bit tipsy from taking celebratory shots during this injection. We really were getting good at this injection thing.

The timing of this FET was really working out. It turned out that our transfer would be on the same weekend that my mom was coincidentally visiting. My mom was going to be able to come with K and I to the appointment.

The transfer was WILD. I had to come to the appointment with a VERY full bladder, so the doctors were kind enough to be timely and not waste any time. The doctor and embryologist came in to introduce themselves and explain their roles during the procedure. When we met the embryologist, she gave us a picture of the embryo we would be transferring. It may sound silly, but that was very special. I teared up a bit and immediately started bragging about how cute my little embryo is.

K and I wore our pineapple socks on transfer day.
Hello world, meet our beautiful female embryo!

Introductions finished, pants down and legs spread, it was time to do the dang thing. The doctor quickly put in the catheter which the embryo would be placed into and guided to the correct place. This was pretty uncomfortable. I had completed a practiced catheter placement as a part of the IVf checklist, but at the practice, there had been some numbing spray. This time, it was just a new man doctor guiding it in past my very full bladder asking me to not move. I was trying to take the most quiet, unmoving breaths. The pressure was on, and in. My mom, K and I could see all of this on the ultrasound tv. Next to us, the side wall (turns out it was a large door) slid open to reveal the lab. The nurse switched the tv to show the lab and we got to watch the embryologist get our embryo from the petri dish and bring the embryo to the doctor. We then got to watch the embryo be placed in the exact right place.

Past the doctor, on the right side, is the lab.

The whole appointment took maybe 10 minutes. It was amazing. Just like that, we were PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). I was told to rest for the next 48 hours and not stress for the next 9 day. In 9 days, I would get to go in for blood work to confirm a pregnancy (or nonpregnancy).

When we were walking back to the car to head home, my mom found a ginormous four-leaf clover. Good luck sign? I think so!

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