Tonight I'm feeling the need to put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keys, and write down a bit about our last failed embryo transfer. I know it's been almost two years since I've made a blog post, and I have no idea if I will continue to keep up with writing, but something brought up some memories of going through it today, and I wanted to quickly write them down.
We did our final frozen embryo transfer in December of 2017. We were originally planning to wait longer, but we found out that our fertility clinic was closing. We loved our doctor and everyone at his practice so much, that we didn't want to go through it with anyone else. We couldn't afford it ourselves, but we were beyond blessed by someone paying for all of it for us.
After one round of IVF and one previous FET, this time the meds felt almost routine. The biggest difference this time was using progesterone injections instead of progesterone suppositories, the reason for this being that research is currently suggesting that PIO might be slightly more effective than the suppositories. The doctor kind of felt that it probably wouldn't make a difference, but since I didn't get pregnant last time, we would do it just in case.
And actually that's what my memory today centered around. Honestly, that month is a blur to me really. I think maybe my mind blocked out a lot of both the hope and pain of that time as a protective measure. Even about a month afterward I remember saying to Steve that it all felt so long ago, even though it had only been a few weeks. Funny how that happens.
What I remembered today was getting those PIO shots. If you don't know anything about PIO (progesterone in oil), they are known for being painful. All of the other injections I needed to prepare for the transfer were subcutaneous, a small needle that just goes into the skin, no deeper. I had gotten really good at giving myself those, so most times I barely felt them. In fact, this time I didn't have any bruises at all from those little injections, as opposed to our first IVF when my belly was covered in bruises.
PIO injections are a whole 'nother ball of wax. They are intramuscular injections so the needle is bigger and goes much deeper. The progesterone is also in oil instead of water so the contents of the syringe go in more slowly and take longer to spread into the muscle, so you can get little sore knots in the injection sites. I was getting these every evening.
There are lots of little tricks to make the experience less uncomfortable, but our routine included icing the spot before the shot, having someone else put the needle into my butt (as opposed to putting the needle into my thigh myself), watching videos on how to get it into the area that would be the least painful for walking around, laying flat on the ground during the injection so that my muscles were relaxed, and sitting on a heating pad afterward to warm up the oil and help it spread more quickly, and switching butt cheeks every night. Eventually I stopped icing it before hand because it didn't make much of a difference in the pain, and I think it made the injection site so cold that the oil wasn't warming up much with the heating pad.
That part of routine was insignificant though. What I really remember was joking with Steve about stabbing me in the butt while I drew up meds in the syringe after warming them with the heating pad. Getting to do that didn't stop being funny to him for that entire two week wait. I remember Cai's nervousness the first time Steve did it. I remember that my little boy laid on the floor next to me and held my hand every time. Somehow we all giggled a lot every time.
Those two weeks between the embryo transfer and my hcg beta were full of joy and hope. We had explained it all to Cai, and he and I would lay in bed at night and we would pray for those two little babies inside me. We would talk about if he would have brothers or sisters or both. We would talk about how I talked to him in my belly the same way when we were waiting to find out if he was growing inside me.
There were also full of mind numbing fear. To the point that after we found out we weren't pregnant I told Steve that even if our doctor's office wasn't closing and we had the money to try again, I would never want to. I never want to go through it again. Actually though, I'm not sure fear is the right word. When we were trying with Cai it was fear. Fear that it wouldn't work and we would never have a child. That fear is gone. Even if we never have another baby, I have Steve and Cai and my life is full. I'm not sure if it's complete, it might be, although I feel like there's room for at least one more child, but it's full. I'm not sure what word I would use instead of fear though. Anxiety? Panic? Dread? I'm not sure. Maybe it was just fear. Fear of the letdown. But whatever it was, it was that feeling I know so well of being 100% convinced that I was and wasn't pregnant at the same time.
The hardest part this time was that I felt deep down that not only were we going to end the process with a baby, but with both babies. When we tried with Cai, in the time between finding out I was pregnant and listening to his heart beat for the first time, I went from hoping for twins to being pretty convinced there was only one baby growing inside me. To the point that hearing only one heart beat wasn't sad because I already knew in my heart despite being hopeful that I was wrong. This time I felt prepared for twins. It seemed a possibility this time more than the other two times. Especially because these were our best quality embryos.
I'm not sure that I have anything else to say at the moment, although I don't really want to end this on such a sad note. It was a hard time. Harder than the time before that. But I'm still feeling joyful. I feel fulfilled. Our life is definitely not struggle free right now, by any means, but it's happy.