To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I'll Take Two Embryos To Go!

A reflection of Portland and
Mount Saint Helens on the wall at OHSU
June 5, 2015  Thirty years ago today Ferris Bueller took a day off ... so I did, too! But instead of singing in a parade, going to a museum or hitting a baseball game I went to OHSU to finally be reunited with my future babies!!  Seeing as it was finally the day of my frozen embryo transfer (FET) I decided to dress nice for my babies, and wear some special things from some special people. On my right hand I wore the ring my Grandma left me and on my head was one of Grandpa's handkerchiefs. Having them with me made me feel ready! I never got my phone call last night to tell me my instructions, so at breakfast on our way north I figured I would call and find out my rules. They were pretty simple .... Go to the bathroom around 10am for one last time and drink 20 to 24 ounces of water after emptying my bladder and before my appointment.

So that's exactly what I did! You know you are at the fertility clinic a lot when you arrive to check in and instead of asking your name, Sylvia says "Hi Ronda! Everything still the same?" *At every appointment you verify your name, address and your Ebola status. It wasn't long at all and I was being called back by Stephanie. This was my first time working with her, and I must say I really liked her a lot! We did a quick run down of height, weight, temperature and blood pressure and then went to a procedure room I've yet to visit. 

It was dimly lit, which I found to be very calming. I felt nervous, so calm was just what this patient ordered! There was plenty of time to get into my outfit (i.e. my sheet) and hang out. Soon Debbie, the embryologist that knew my babies well, came in to talk to us. We learned of how embryos are given ratings of A, B or C based on a variety of qualities. Both of my embryos were rated a BB, which she said was very good. We also learned about what they do when they are frozen and what happens when thawed. This made me nervous; I was really hoping she wouldn't say they didn't make it. But alas, my embryos are strong and they made it through just fine and were ready for me. Phew!!

Obviously I'm getting way too comfortable on the table with my stirrups! The screen is what we are watching with the ultrasound on it. To the right is a small silver window that opens to the room where the embryologist was waiting with my embryos. You can only see a sliver of the door that she did open to hand them off to the doctor during the procedure.
Dr. Lee
Stephanie had me lay back and she did my first ever ultrasound that was on my skin versus internal (unless they did one on egg retrieval day, but I wouldn't even know that). She did a pre-check to see how well we could see my uterus and decided I should have another glass of water. So water it was. By the end I was certainly feeling the full bladder the doctor wanted me to have! When Dr. Lee came in the room I felt calm, happy, optimistic, excited.  His initial vibe was like seeing an old friend and I really felt I was in good hands!

He reviewed my information yet again and confirmed that I was wanting two embryos. From there until the end it felt like lots of happy vibes, laughter, jokes and optimism. Man Friend got a little concerned when Dr. Lee didn't flinch when I said I was prepared for twins and he agreed it was a possibility!   

Quickly I was getting in position and Dr. Lee was doing a practice run to learn the size and angle of my uterus. Stephanie stood at my side doing an ultrasound, with Man Friend right next to her catching it all on video. And this is where the jokes began .... some of our finer group moments included....
  • Man Friend pointing out we were going to record the procedure ... we thought it funny to be able to say we recorded the conception -- at least this tape is one we can share!
  • I pointed out how some people don't even have to try to get pregnant, but for me I use four men to do it .... Man Friend, Dr. Hedges, Dr Seifer and Dr. Lee! To which Dr. Lee replied, "it takes an army!"
    • Man Friend obviously donated some sperm. Dr. Hedges helped with the sperm retrieval. Dr. Seifer sucked out my eggs, and the wonderful Dr. Lee gave me my babies!
  • And my favorite moment of the entire appointment (other than seeing my babies enter my uterus of course) was brought to us by Dr. Lee. That little window in the photo above? It was open and we could see into the embryology room. Debbie wasn't standing there, which prompted Dr. Lee to stick his head at the window and say, "I'll take two embryos to go, please!" It felt so fitting!
After the test run Dr. Lee got the catheter deep into my uterus to just the right spot and then slid another one inside of that. This one was the one we watched Debbie hand to him. It felt so surreal and exciting to know that inside this thin, long tube were two 5 day old embryos that we helped make and will hopefully result in one or two little babies! In the tube went. We could watch it actually going in, with Dr. Lee narrating every step of the procedure so we'd know what we were watching. And then poof! A liquid came out and into the back of my uterus. He had Stephanie take a freeze frame shot and immediately printed it for us. In my hands was a picture of my uterus and the tiny liquid that had my embryos in it!

Debbie took the tube back to confirm that both embryos did cooperate and leave the tube into my uterus. Good kids I've got there! So with that news Dr. Lee gave me a big hand shake, left with a big smile and wished us the best of luck. For the next 15 minutes I relaxed on the table with my pillow and heated blanket. Over that 15 minutes my bladder started to scream at me. Dr. Lee said I could go to the bathroom at any time but I chose to lay flat. When I did go to the restroom, there I was, wrapped with a white sheet around my waist and tiptoeing to the bathroom. Leaving the bathroom I was happy to see Dr. Wu, my doctor. That felt like another good sign. She was excited to see me and asked how it all went. I was giddy and happy to say it was great! For another 15 or more minutes I just relaxed on the table. Stephanie came back with my post-transfer instructions and my lab instructions for my pregnancy blood test in only 10 days! As we gingerly walked out we saw Dr. Hedges walking through, yet another good sign!

That big black mass at the top is my full bladder.
The purple/blue circle is around my uterus.
The greenish/blue line is just under the catheter you can see going into my uterus.
The light green circle is around a tiny splotch of white -- that's the liquid with my babies in it!

In the car I reclined as far back as I could and allowed myself to fully relax - doctor's orders! I can't lift anything over 5 pounds, no vacuuming, no housework at all, no exercise, not even sitting up on my own using my abs/pelvis to lift me. So pretty much bed rest today except to use the bathroom, which means Man Friend is waiting on me. Woo!! Tomorrow I can do a little more, but still basically I can do nada until the pregnancy test.

It's been a very exciting day. So many emotions. I've almost cried, laughed, everything in between. So many months and shots in the making, and here I am. Home, nesting my little embryos in my uterus, relaxing and trying to make a good nest for my little babies!

JUNE 2015
Embryo transfer!!!!!
Estrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M E
Progesterone ProgesteroneProgesteroneProgesteroneProgesteroneProgesteroneProgesterone
Estrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M E
Blood Test
Progesterone Progesterone
Estrace: M EEstrace: M E

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