By Imogen Rossam
For those who’ve experienced the whirlwind of the excited, nervous emotional chaos that Embryo Transfer Day is, will sympathise with this piece. For those of you yet to experience it, prepare yourself and don’t forget your sense-of-humour at home.
Here are five things they DON’T tell you about Embryo Transfer Day:
You’re not the only one potentially getting “pregnant” that day.
I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I think the entire universe revolves around me, or the fact that I always imagined ‘getting pregnant’ in a totally different setting (hmmm, didn’t we all), but I really assumed my embryo transfer day would be all about me. In reality, of course, there could be between five and ten other couples in line with you all waiting to get “knocked-up” on this, their special day too.
Apparently, no-one talks
I remember having my very first procedure when we first started with fertility treatment, an HSG X-Ray. I sat in a line of about five women, all looking down or at their phones, not uttering a word. After about 10 minutes the silence was killing me and when I couldn’t bear it any longer and I said, “soooo, we all ready to get some iodine shoved up there huh?” Some ladies gave me a courteous giggle, most typed faster or looked away even harder. I have always wanted to chat more to the women I am with in the waiting rooms while we wait for our scans, egg retrievals or embryo transfers but alas it’s just not the way it’s done. I guess you don’t know where the other person is at in their journey, or the can of worms you might open by asking, “how are you doing?” Or maybe it’s a reflection of our society more than anything else, I’m not sure. Either way, prepare to sit next to other couples going through exactly what you’re going through and not say a word to them.
Tenth time’s a charm
If you have veins like me, that vanish at the sniff of a needle, prepare yourself for a good couple of tries of poking and prodding to get your drip up. Protocol these days is, for all women to have an Atisoban drip on the day of embryo transfer. Most nurses will say, “I’m usually so good at getting a vein!”, don’t believe them! I witnessed a lady who was there alone, going as white as a sheet as the nurse took, what felt like the 73rd attempt, at her veins – you could actually see she was contemplating telling them where to shove the cannula. I walked past her quietly, as she sipped on her sugary tea, and said “I know how you feel, hun. If you faint, its ok, my husband will pick you up!
The most overwhelming need to pee you will ever experience
Once your drip is in and you are effectively in the queue, the nurse will tell you to start drinking water. “We need a nice full bladder,” she will say. “How full is full?” you will ask. She will reply, “FULL!”.. And if you are like me, slightly competitive, you decide that you are going to win the fullest bladder of the day competition and get to work, chugging back the litres! You will need to pee so bad it will hurt and you will actually begin to feel nauseous – this is normal. Carry on drinking. You will continue to feel nauseous and even shout at your partner for making you laugh, because you think a little pee came out. Carry on drinking. They will then take you into the theatre to check your bladder on the scan and say “wow, that’s a full bladder!” and you will remind yourself to be polite and smile, whilst trying not to cry, shout or pee right there on the table!
Wait for the flash
Finally, you will find yourself with your legs in the air, with a fabulous (and probably good-looking) gynae’s face pretty close to your lady bits. You will still need to pee, and you will even want to punch the radiologist using the ultra-sound because he is pressing on your belly/bladder. Just when you can’t anymore, the Doc will tell you to watch the screen and “wait for the flash”. In one second you see it! The flash of white that signifies something being released inside of you, your beautiful embryo. In that small second, everything you’ve experienced that day, all the hormones you’ve endured leading up to this day, all the heartache and pain you’ve experienced in the long years of infertility, will all dissipate into one beautiful moment – a moment of hope and promise.