Fertility, Vulnerability & embryo transfer

Listen to Husband talking about his thoughts about the Embryo Transfer

Vulnerability and fear

From the moment the date for the embryo transfer was set ten days ago, I have attempted on more than on occasion to post to social media that this is what we were about to do. I’ve written and deleted various phrases and sentences that would allow me to click and post. It’s interesting to me, that even I, who is so incredibly open about this, in an effort to educate, balked at the idea of really letting that much vulnerability out. There are three embryos have been frozen since December of 2016. We had chosen the strongest one to be unfrozen and thawed to be transferred first. Yet, the idea of publicly either celebrating or grieving, so in the moment, made me pause and face the fear of vulnerability like never before. Perhaps this is what someone else goes through who doesn’t talk about their fertility journey to their closest people because they are afraid of showing their vulnerability and that can be very scary.

My Why

Why do I bear all and bear witness to what happens behind the closed doors of a fertility clinic so publicly? It’s because there are others who don’t and won’t for whatever personal reason talk about this topic. Whether it being, shame, guilt, self-blame, or other reasons, they need to know there are others. Today as we said goodbye to the support group , we all said how powerful and empowering it was to be in a group where we could share similar stories. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IVF, the whole process is a whole body-mind process. Read that again, it’s a process. It’s not just someone, a friend of a friend “doing IVF”, it’s me, sharing. You may know me, or are getting to know me; here I am and thank you for coming for the ride along with me as I ride the journey.

The IVF infertility secret desire

I kept hoping that bottle of wine and one romantic sexy night (while relaxing) will do the trick, but this has not happened despite my best-laid plans and intentions. I would love to have just one person in the bedroom with me, and that is my Husband, but instead, I have a goddam orgy. From the moment this started, I’ve had to re-do me and learn some lessons about myself in the true preparation of parenthood, which may God have mercy, is also a crapshoot.

I’m having sex with 7 people at once

orgy

With the rawness of these procedures the sexiness of it all the simple act of sex or love making is stripped to a needle, an ultrasound wand, an ultrasound technician, the doctor, at least three nurses, the embryologist (plus his assistants) and the acupuncturist. This is the modern day baby. I’m making a baby with all these people. We are all in the orgy together. They are all in the bedroom with me. I don’t even mention the security guard in the lobby of the building, maintenance folks and so on. Every time we try again to have a child, all of us people get together and do it together. No less than 7 people have been intimate with the vag, sometimes three at the same time. I would say I have so many people looking at my reproductive parts that I don’t even blink when I’m told I have to take my pants down.

I was talking to someone on the phone and they said, “maybe you will get pregnant on your own”, my mind couldn’t even process that could happen. Someone needs to teach me how that actually happens. You mean it just happens?

As we head into the first ever embryo transfer I’ve been told my organs look fantastic, the shape of my uterus is ethereal, there are no cysts and I have been told by quite a few people that I look different (perhaps there is a glow to me?) or maybe that’s just the relaxed not stressed look? I’m taking this to mean that now is my time. 

What does an embryo transfer mean?

It means there already is a growing baby in a lab that is 5 days old and is about 300 divided cells, from the two cells, the egg, and the sperm. This baby has already survived and is alive and thriving. The only thing science doesn’t understand is why an embryo will attach and thrive or why it won’t.

 5 day year old embryo

Meet Elmo above

What I needed to do to prepare:

I’m taking been taking estrogen hormones twice a day, sticking them up my, um, my, right that thing. After 10 days, an ultrasound and blood work to check if the uterine lining is looking good and if it looks good I get crionone progesterone suppositories to stick up in um, ya, that thing. God, how many things must I stick up there?! This continued for 7 days till transfer day (in between I’m going to go for acupuncture) 

The day of the transfer

I had to have a full bladder for the procedure. Like an almost bursting bladder. The kind of bladder that you need to go pee but can wait. I had Patricia and Husband with me on the day of the transfer. I also had Seya there (remember her from IVF retrieval?) to do the acupuncture and to take care of us. She knows where everything is in the clinic and she was there earlier to prepare the room. I had asked her to choose a room that was different from the IVF retrieval as the retrieval was dramatic. Seya was amazing. She needs to be part of the process for every patient. We all need to be taken care of, just like Doula. She allows us to be in the moment and not think about the details. This needs to be part of all clinics everywhere. She brought me a nice warm blanket and put in the acupuncture needles. At one point she asked me where do you feel a blockage in your body. I scanned and felt a blockage in my throat and around the diaphragm. Seya went to the top of my forehead, touched a point and I felt like I was floating. I felt like I had sunk into my skin three layers down. Amazing. I put on my Tara Brach and got everyone to leave.

Soon after Seya came back, Husband and Patrica all suited up to go the operation room.

I was met by the embryologist, the doctor, the ultrasound tech, Husband and Patricia – we all there to have one big massive love making, baby-making session. A full out love orgy. I had to confirm my name and sign away. Dr. B, then put in a tube-like thing again up the vag, and then down the tube came the embryo with a flash of white on the ultrasound. All done in about 10 minutes. Lol, just as long as quickie 🙂 All professionals satisfied, they all left and Patrica plus husband and I, in full stirrups waited in the room for 15 minutes taking my mind off that I desperately needed to go pee. One nice thing they did in that room, was when I look up at the ceiling, there is a picture of the sky and clouds. So relaxing.

Finally, 15 minutes was up and ran with butt exposed to the washroom to relieve the pressure from the bladder. Ahhhhh……

Back to the hands of Seya for more acupuncture, lunch for some gnocchi and home. Far less drama than the retrieval. Now let the two week wait Hotel California begin.

That’s the medical process. That is the first 50%.

Now the actual mental emotions and mental spiritual prep. 

Don’t want to get attached to the outcome which is so hard. It’s like you can hope but not hope too much. I am feeling good. There is a fine line between craving, aversion and just letting go. I think right now I’m in the middle of these two.

I’ve been listening to Tara Brach meditations and as well some hypnosis.

Someone, please tell me if you prepared this much if you go pregnant naturally?

The likelihood of a transfer actually working is 40% up to 70% with the embryo glue.

In my support group, I know two women who did transfers, one did 2 and the other did 4 and none of them worked. We just found out that another did another transfer and it also didn’t work. 

There is nothing more I can do to increase my chances, maybe eat less dairy and refined sugar.

Medical interventions for the embryo transfer:

What the medical clinic is doing on their side is “assistive hatching” which means assisting the egg to hatch by applying a small laser to the shell so it literally hatches. They are also using this new thing called “Embryo Glue”. This helps with the embryo to stick to the uterine wall and actually implant.

Once they transfer, it’s up to God and the embryo glue to make things work, oh yes and the embryo deciding it wants to push through and grow further.

We then do two-week wait, meaning we wait two weeks to see the results.

And then it’s another 6 weeks of taking more progesterone and hoping for no miscarriage.

There is nothing more to do. 

To book an appointment with Seya please click here:
647.808.9156 www.channelhealth.ca


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InFertility and self-care. Sometimes I just need to stop and enjoy my coffee.

I realize that we all just need to sometimes just stop, go for coffee and laugh at the insanity of it all.  I mean, life is insanity. Honestly, don’t we all just need to stop, have a coffee, indulge in the most gluten, dairy, sugar filled pastry ever and go see people who know you better than you know yourself? I have two people like that outside of my usual support network. They happen all do acupuncture. 

Yesterday, I messaged Saviour Stephanie and asked her if she could see me. She has known me for over 8 years from the time I couldn’t walk because my sciatic nerve caused me to stop walking. I don’t think she would like the name I gave her but this is how I feel walking into her room. It’s a sanctuary on the 7th floor in the middle of downtown Toronto. A crazy, taxi, car and pedestrian-filled space. Stephanie used to be on the other side of the street, but then they started to build a condo and blast through the ground. She packed up her bags and moved across the street to an office building, but you wouldn’t know it once you enter her door. A simple massage table, her bookshelf, some relaxing music in the background and Stephanie’s welcoming smile offering the tea of the day. She is the one that saved me when I was down with such bad sciatica that I couldn’t get up and walk. She knows me. She knows more about me than I know about myself.

I wrote her that I would like to see her because I would like to come back home where I don’t associate acupuncture with it being a procedure. She, her room and the massage table bed are my home.

I deliberately kept Stephanie out of the fertility acupuncture rounds because she is my sanctuary. I go there and she just listens. She is just so in tune and knows me so well I don’t need to explain.

She sees my spirit and my soul. When she is working I can feel her sinking deeper between all the layers of my skin and connecting with my being. Can you just feel her magical presence with you right now? She advertises her herself as shiatsu and acupuncture, but that’s just the outside sign. Don’t be fooled by the cover. It took me a while to understand that she is so much more than that but when I got it, wow, was I ever grateful.

What I would really like is for the clinic to take care of me and not just my body, but the other parts of me as well. The SELF. The mental health piece. The part of me that you can’t see. That such an unrealistic expectation but I can dream, right? I need to go find my balance outside of The Clinic. I’m happy when Husband comes with me to the clinic because I think my brain sometimes goes into fight or flight mode at times, especially when I see the nurses who just follows follow directions and don’t think. Can people think for themselves?!

Saviour Stephanie put me on the table and put the needles in.

She calms my nervous system down from the fight/flight response. She just knows what to use and my body just sinks into her table. I repeat my mantra in my head. I’m safe. I’m safe. I can release and be at ease. I’m safe. On cue, my body and mind sink deeply and safely into her hands. Stephanie works diligently away, with movements so small that for someone who would be watching her, wouldn’t know she is doing work. Her Cranial Sacral work and her hands are liquid gold. A gentle soul who knows exactly what to do with every slight muscle movement she knows and understands the psycho-somatic memory my body has stored.

After Stephanie, I head to my favourite coffee shop and have a Cortada with a brownie and a view of Toronto. Today I stopped and sat in my favourite coffee shop and are grateful I have this medical leave so I can take time out as well as see Stephanie last-minute and be writing this out. How I love this view from Rooster Cafe and how much I just love these kinds of memories.

I think of all the people who I have talked to about this journey and that are reading this blog. From China, Saudi Arabia, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, Australia. A subject that crosses all international boarders. With all of this, I hope I have changed some views on IVF and fertility and redefining what a “mother” and a “woman” is. It is not just me bearing a child.

I think of my team of people who I assembled who are helping me on this journey and all of sudden everything is OK.

My personal trainer Calum Shaw says,”There is so much more to us than personal training because there is so much more to you than being out of shape”. He does more than just personal training. He knows there is more to training than working the muscles. He works on the whole being, just like Stephanie.

I put my hands on my heart and thank it for the life it gives me. I feel my breathe and thank it for the gift of life. Oh my gosh, it’s so important to stop.

Today I just needed to breathe and enjoy my coffee.

Today I’m just grateful.

All my love to anyone reading this.

xoxo