We packed up on Sunday afternoon and headed off for our 1.5 hour drive to San Antonio. As part of my packing, I put three very important pendants onto a chain for me to wear for the transfer itself. My snowflake pendant that belonged to my mom, my cancer ribbon pendant in honor of her, and my heart pendant that Kevin gave me with an inscription of how much he loved me.
After checking into the hotel, we loafed around for a bit and then went to a fancy Brazillian steakhouse for dinner. After dinner, we called it an early night in an attempt to be rested for our transfer the next morning. I was able to sleep soundly for about three hours before waking up with some stomach issues and after that point I couldn't fall back to sleep! I had just too much on my mind for the following day. 7am rolled around and we started getting ready for the transfer by showering and having breakfast then headed out the door at about 9:15am. As we were leaving the hotel, we looked up at the sky and took a moment to realize how ominous and darkish grey/blue it was. There were severe thunderstorm warnings over San Antonio which to most people would be a bad sign. But Kevin and I love love LOVE thunderstorms so we took this as a good sign from the heavens above! I started chugging water on my way over in an attempt to have a full bladder per the RE's instructions.
When we arrived at the RE's office, the waiting room was packed. There was no place for us to sit! We had to wait for over thirty minutes, which is no small feat with a full bladder. I was literally dancing. I finally had to ask the receptionist if it would be much longer because if it was, I was going to go use the bathroom and then refill my bladder as we got closer. Sure enough, they were enough behind schedule that she said I could go to the bathroom. What a relief!
Finally about 15 minutes later, we headed back into the transfer/surgery area and they instructed me to change into a hospital gown, hair net and booties. I apparently didn't listen very well and ended up putting the gown on backwards! Ha! So I had to go back and put it on with the ties in the back. I should have captured photos of this, because I was uber sexy, I'm sure. I laid on a bed in the recovery area with Kevin. There was another husband in the section next to us that was separated by a curtain because his wife was in the surgery room having an egg retrieval done.
While waiting, I was starting to burn up with a hot flash, which has been a common occurrence since starting PIO. The nurse was nice enough to turn a fan on me. A few minutes later, the embryologist came out and told us the status of our embryos.
We had two beautiful embryos prepared for transfer. One had already begun hatching! The other was growing strong and only slightly behind the first. She mentioned again how impressed she was with the embryos considering their age and length of being frozen. She handed us a photo of them. I was just amazed that one was already hatching. In the photo below, the one hatching is on the top. It looks like two embryos, but its actually just one. Part of what you see will develop into the placenta. Just incredible!
The minute the embryologist left, Kevin stared down at the photo. Watching his reaction is going to go down as one of my favorite moments in my life - it's seriously up there with the day he proposed to me.
He was frozen staring at the photo of them. Completely frozen. Speechless.
I was asking him questions and he was non responsive. I kept asking "Are you okay?" No response. I could just see the emotion washing over him looking at these precious embryos. It was real, and it was hitting him. At that moment, any irrational doubt or worry that I had that he might not feel like these babies' father went completely away. When he finally snapped out of it, I giggled and told him that I've never seen him be like that before. He just said he was overjoyed, terrified, and excited, all rolled into one. It's pretty humbling to see such a tough guy get so choked up about two things that are a fraction of the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
My bladder was full again and I was getting antsy for the procedure to begin. They finally announced they were ready since the patient next to us had finished her egg retrieval.
They led Kevin to the viewing room since he could not come into the actual transfer room with me and I was wheeled away to the procedure room.
Once in the room, they had me verify on the screen that my name was correct along with my birthdate. At that point, they started pushing on my lower abdomen with an ultrasound machine which was torture considering how full my bladder was! When the nurse first started the ultrasound, she apologized because she was standing directly in front of my view of the ultrasound video. I was somewhat upset since I really was looking forward to seeing the moment they went in. The RE told her it was not okay to stand in front of the patients view and told her to move to the other side. THANKS, DOC! I got the sense the nurse doing the ultrasound was new because the doctor had to correct her quite a few times before she finally got it right. Once it was in position correctly, the RE called for the embryologist to bring out the catheter with the embryos inside.
This was the moment I had waited for for so long! These embryos had slept for so long then traveled the country to be here. I was finally meeting them. I told the RE how overjoyed I was and tears started streaming down my face as I laid on the table. The best word I can use to describe it would be sacred. It was a very sacred moment.
He inserted the catheter, watched them on the ultrasound be pushed inside and then he said "your little rascals are in there now." I just love my RE! He's hilarious sometimes.
He handed the catheter back to the embryologist who double checked they were no longer in there and then the RE inserted a urine catheter. Sorry if it's TMI but it was probably one of the best things that could have happened at that point. I immediately felt relief from the torture of the full bladder. Right before being wheeled out, the embryologist came over gave me the petri dish that these precious embryos were kept in as they grew.
Here is the video of the actual transfer taking place from Kevin's standpoint. Kevin was shaking so hard that I had to apply the YouTube stablizer feature. He was so nervous! It's hard to tell what you're looking at, but the point of transfer occurs right around 1m15s into the video.
They wheeled me back into the recovery room and the RE brought Kevin back to meet me. They had me lay on my back flat as a board for thirty minutes. Kevin and I just talked and reveled in the moment. We heard a new couple had arrived on the other side of the curtain next to us. They were getting briefed by the embryologist for their transfer since they were up next. It sounds funny but you could hear the joy and elation in their voices as they saw the photo of their precious embryos. I wanted to jump through the curtain and give them a hug too! Obviously I didn't, but there was something incredibly blessed and wonderful about hearing them experience the same thing.
After resting, I changed back into my clothes and we headed right to the car for our trip home. We stopped briefly for some lunch at Carl's Jr. (super healthy, I know) and I spent the rest of the day at home loafing around and trying to nap.
I'm still in disbelief that they are in there with me right this very second. The part of my brain that has endured so much failure is nagging and telling me things like "This won't work. Don't get your hopes up." I hate this part of my brain and I'm trying to keep it at bay but it's been really difficult! I used to be so much more optimistic about everything in life until 2011 came around. It seemed like every time we had good news, it would immediately be replaced with devastating news. This applied to our home, my mom's death, our fertility, etc. It's been so hard to bring that optimism back but I am SO trying!
And finally, we just got the call from the embryologist about that last embryo they were watching. Sadly, it didn't make it. So to recap, two of our embryos died, two were transferred, and we have one remaining frozen. Even though the embryologist was giving us this bad news, she reiterated again that she was very optimistic about the two we transferred yesterday. I'm crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, EVERYTHING that these two decide to hang around for the long haul.
Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers!!!