I woke today, as I have done most days in Prague, at around 7am (6am UK time), and put the kettle on. Like I do in Windsor, actually. But today was no ordinary day.
Today was egg transfer day.
It’s also day four post-egg collection at GENNET. This is new territory for me!
So I swallowed my progesterone tablets (Utrogestan by the way – you can’t do this with all pessaries) instead of taking them vaginally, and drank a load of liquids for a full-ish bladder on GENNET’s instructions. Importantly I showered and shaved my bits (need to look nice down there for the doc!), and got my head in the game.
Both my husband and I were feeling nervous about what we were going into. Yesterday we had eight day-three good quality embryos in the running. The bar was set high – we’d never had such positive results. The only way things were likely to go now was south, based on our previous experiences. Plus, it’s common knowledge that between 20-50% of embryos drop off after day three.
‘What would we be happy with?’
How many embryos would we be happy with, we asked each other, as we got ready to leave. ‘One’, my husband said. ‘One?! I wouldn’t be happy with one’, I said. ‘Four would be brilliant – two transferred today, and two frozen would be amazing. That would be best case scenario for me,’ I said.
We’ve never had any to freeze before, so perhaps I was being a bit optimistic. But I was being honest. Having two frozen would be an absolute dream come true for me.
GENNET for the last time
So off we went to GENNET for the final time. Passports shown at reception, we were soon up on the third floor where I’d had egg collection four days prior.
But rather than a nice private room, we got one of the weird cubicles on the corridor, right next to another couple awaiting transfer. You could tell, because you could hear them. In fact, you could hear everything going on – the nurses, the to-ing and fro-ing, the other patients… it was like Piccadilly Circus in there, honestly.
Soon after we arrived, a nurse came in and explained that we had some printed instructions on what to do (or what not to do, mostly) after egg transfer. They’d also printed my husband’s sperm results out for our reference.
The sperm analysis was terrible – really, very bad (as in zeros in most boxes). I looked at them in disbelief and thought: we have no chance. Day three is when the male genetics kick in, and those day four embryos are screwed.
So much for ubiquinol and Wellman 🙁
We must have waited half an hour before the nurse and embryologist came into our room. We were so anxious, it was horrible.
She started off by saying we’d had 13 eggs retrieved, 12 mature and eight on day three. I’m like: yeah, I know. Now put us out of our misery!
The embryologist then said today there were two blastocysts.
I was like: eh? Isn’t that what you get on day five? But she seemed really pleased by this, and said it made her life much easier in choosing which ones (i.e. these) to transfer today.
She even showed us a picture of them, and she seemed really proud of them. I have to say, they did look pretty good, although who knew you could get blasts a day early?
Next, she announced that they would be freezing four more embryos in morula form. I was like: come again? Four?! But this is us, who’ve never frozen any before, with the terrible sperm. You know, the couple you encouraged to do donor sperm… we have four to freeze?!
Plus, she said, she was going to progress the other two remaining slower-developing embryos until day six to see if they made blastocyst too. We’d find out their fates on Monday.
They passed us a copy of a report as we sat there, gobsmacked. It stated all eight of our embryos were quality 1-2, (although I know it’s hard for them to grade morulas). And we were stunned.
All eight of our fertilised eggs were still ‘going’, and going strong. That’s pretty awesome by anyone’s standards, let alone a couple with severe, ‘grave’, male factor issues.
PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise)
Transfer was easy. I showed my wristband with my name to the embryologist, confirmed my surname on the big screen then up they went.
The nurse printed out a photo of my ultrasound with the two blasts just after transfer for us to keep, although you couldn’t really see them as the image was so grainy. Still, it was a nice gesture and keepsake.
The lovely nurses then wheeled me back to my room to rest for 10 minutes, before I gratefully went to the loo as I was absolutely busting. And then we were good to go.
After paying, we went to have hot chocolate and cake at the lovely little cafe to the left of Starbucks near the clinic. (I highly recommend that cafe – the cakes are immense.)
A nice place to sit, stare at each other incredulously, and dissect what the bloody hell had just happened…
We still can’t believe how lucky our cycle has been so far.
It honestly feels like this cycle has been a dream, and I imagine this is what lots of people experience when they go through IVF. They probably think: hey, this has been so stressful but, believe me, having two high quality blasts and frozen embryos is a piece of piss compared to only getting one good blast (cycle one) and two crap ones (cycle two).
I’m fully aware that the odds of pregnancy are still against us, but we have at least six goes at trying for a baby now this round – maybe eight. What a difference that makes. Maybe this is our time. We had an absolute shocker of a 2018 – so much upset and disappointment. Perhaps this is it for us.
I know this is just the beginning, and even if I am (properly) pregnant in two weeks’ time, it’ll be the start of a very long nine months. But let’s not worry about that now. I’m finally enjoying the feeling of having had a successful IVF round (in the sense that we got blasts and frozen embryos!) and being PUPO.
The dreaded 2WW
Now I just need to get through the next two weeks, and try and learn from my previous cycles about what NOT to do! Wish me luck!