We have been MIA for a month since our egg transfer – everybody needs their space to breathe whilst going through something as heavy as IVF. I’m going to bring you up to speed with our ups and downs since our last blog post mind November, where we were about to start down regulation injections… that seems so long ago!!!
After 5 weeks of daily injections to temporarily stop periods, we were instructed by the clinic to start our down regulation drugs as well. This meant a daily injection of Menopur, alternating between 150 and 225, which will stimulate ovaries and make them grow to release more eggs. The needle was a fair bit bigger than the tiny one we were used to, and caused a lot of pain and sudden panic at around 18:58 every day. This continued for 9 days – two injections in any spot on Keren’s stomach that wasn’t already bruised and tender.
After a week, her follicles were the right size, and we were instructed to do our ‘trigger shot’ – this would prompt both ovaries to release as many eggs as possible.
Gonasi was the one we were most nervous for – this has to be administered exactly 36 hours before egg collection, and if done incorrectly, would result in a totally failed cycle. Luckily, we found ourselves booked in for collection a day and a half later.
On the morning of egg collection we got up and drove over to the clinic, where we got settled into a private room in the newly refurbished basement of Care Fertility Manchester. After a quick visit from Patient Liaison Manager Lauren (who has been a complete rock for us throughout this whole journey!) to wish us luck, and a few doctors and nurses, Keren was wheeled away and put under a heavy sedation. The procedure only took 20 minutes – I didn’t even have time to drink my morning coffee before she was back! Both ovaries were drained, taking along as many eggs as possible.
Once she had a chance to come back round and have some water and a biscuit, we were given the wonderful news that we retrieved a wonderful haul of 19 quality eggs!!
When we started this journey back in March, we always knew we wanted to donate eggs to help another family, which meant we had to say goodbye to 9. We haven’t yet found out if the recipient has been successful, but we can do at any point.
As we left the clinic, our eggs were being fertilised – the next time we come here will be for transfer!
We were called by the clinics nurses with updates on how our eggs were multiplying and surviving their little petri-dish habitat, which was both terrifying and stressful.
- 1 day after transfer – 6/10 eggs successfully fertilised.
Shit. Almost half of them are gone.
- 2 days after transfer – 6/6 have multiplied as expected. Advised to do a 5-day transfer – at an additional £425.
Okay, that’s better news, but now I need to find even more money I don’t have.
To add to the stress of this, at the same time Keren spent two days at the local hospital after suffering serious symptoms of OHSS – where her ovaries had over-stimulated. This can be incredibly dangerous if not diagnosed before pregnancy, with extreme cases causing difficulties with embryos, and mothers losing ovaries. Luckily for us, we noticed the symptoms and got it sorted before transfer, so narrowly avoided an absolute disaster.
We got to day 5, where we returned to the clinic to meet and transfer our strongest little embryo. We were both beyond nervous, but at least I got to go in this time to hold Keren’s hand and be there for support. No sedation needed – just legs in stirrups and we watched the whole thing happen on a screen via ultrasound! Tears streamed down my face, it was honestly the most beautiful sight, seeing this tiny micro-human being planted inside your wife to be nurtured and grow!
This might not look like much, but is the embryo we transferred. You can see two cell masses which would eventually become the embryo and it’s placenta – and at the top right you can see where it has started to hatch!
We were sent away from the clinic – baby on board – with a pregnancy test and explicit instructions to not test until 27th December.
We read and read and read so many different things, and decided we would test on day 9 (23rd December). Nights were the worst – we would both lay awake worrying, having zero indication if it had worked. Had we just wasted months doing injections? Had we just wasted our entire life savings? Was eggo in there doing okay? What if something is wrong and we have no way of telling?
At 3am on Wednesday 20th, we both caved and decided to do a test. We sat in the bathroom, with pee on a stick developing the result, and we couldn’t bear to look for fear of crushing disappointment. We weren’t sure either of us could really deal with it if it was negative.
It was positive.
It was POSITIVE!
Two little lines.
One extremely faint, but as the days went on, the line grew stronger and we were more and more confident in saying to each other – “we are pregnant!!”
At the time of posting this, we are 8 weeks and 1 day, have had two scans and seen a strong heartbeat.
IVF is hard, but it’s the greatest adventure I’ve had yet.