2013-10-17

So very conveniently my monthly infertility counselling session coincided with my embryo transfer day. That’s handy, just one trip required. And even better, the husband was free today so he decided to chum me to the embryo transfer – and go early and work on his laptop in the hospital coffee shop so that he could give me a lift.

Counselling was alright. I actually went in with something I wanted to talk about, but the counsellor had clearly done her revision and come with a prepared agenda. She wanted to talk about something in my childhood that I’d told her about but never considered to be relevant to infertility or my wellbeing generally. My continual rebuffing of her advances in this area just seem to have made her keener to address it. So I let her have it today. I still don’t think it is relevant. And I didn’t get to talk about the issue that is actually on my mind. Bums.

I then met the husband and we had a half hour between the counselling and the embryo transfer.

I’ll hand over to the husband for his account of what happened next.

Baby? Maybe?

The question is more pertinent than ever on the day of the second frozen embryo transfer – our third attempt at IVF overall.

Generally I don’t go along for IVF appointments with my wife. If you read this blip regularly you will know how well she is coping with the process emotionally – I’m immensely proud of her – and she takes the attitude that we shouldn’t both mess up our working day, especially since I can do little more than spectate. As it happens my schedule today made it very easy for me to be there so I went along. This is one of the big ones… Right now, right this minute, resting upstairs, my wife is pregnant. Whether it will “stick” and she’ll still be that way in another couple of weeks is the big question. Fingers crossed…

Within 5 minutes of arriving we were shown to a curtained off bed area in a small ward for her to change into her nightie and for me to put on a gown and rather fetching pink clogs to ensure I didn’t contaminate the process! Then after another few minutes we were in for the transfer. This takes place in a small dark room containing a chair with stirrups, the ultrasound, and a monitor connected to a microscope in the adjacent embryology lab. As my wife has said before, it’s quite funny the lengths they go to “protecting her dignity” during the preparation phase considering they are going to dive right in….

The nurse supervising was the department co-ordinator who has always been really good with us, and the embryologist was the consultant, so we had the top team on the job. The embryologist was particularly reassuring – “I’ve reviewed your notes in some detail and I don’t understand why you’re not pregnant – hopefully this will be the one”.

They make a big thing of checking our names – repeating names, dates of birth and patient numbers so everyone can check every file and the embryo itself all match up with the patient. Next they show us a picture of the embryo (which is a 3AA blastocyst – very good quality) and with some rummaging and fiddling the deed is done. It’s really nice to hear someone being so positive about our chances at this stage! The only negative is that the first one they thawed didn’t survive the process so we have one fewer in the freezer, but that’s not unexpected – about 1 in 10 fail to thaw. We get an ultrasound of the process as a souvenir and we’re back to the ward to change back into street clothes and head off.

The nurse-co-ordinator wished us well, and suggests that if this isn’t successful we come in for another chat – she mentions possible other treatment options including trying more than one embryo at a time, or a new “endometrial scratch” procedure that can improve success rates. Hopefully we won’t need that, but after nearly a year of treatment it seems like a good time to review if it still hasn’t worked.

In and out in just over 30 minutes.

We have been naming the embryos. First we lost “The chosen one”, then “Puffling”. This one is “Kipling”.

I hope that Kipling will find my dear, dear wife’s womb a comfortable, nurturing place to implant, grow, grow some more, and ultimately make an appearance as our first baby. I daren’t really believe it will be, but I keep hoping.

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