My 6th Failed FET (frozen embryo transfer)
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
We started estrogen injections after being on BC for two weeks (BC protocol so that I can menstruate and then we can begin IVF transfer treatments). So there we were, so excited because this time we had worked hard for almost 3 months to test, examine and fix my uterus! I was on letrozole and neothindrone for 2 months and my uterus should now be cured of the adnomyosis. We were ready, excited and very hopeful (again).
Usually I have to take estrogen in the form of patches. They are little clear patches that go on my belly and help my estrogen levels increase. This also helps thicken my lining so that it’s transfer ready (minimum of 7mm thick). However, this time around, my Dr. wanted me to take estrogen in shot form, yep right on my upper butt. This is much more invasive and the amount of estrogen being pumped in me is SO much higher than when I wear patches. But all in all we were excited to have a different protocol this time, more drugs, hopefully yielding a thicker lining. (PS. The uterine lining is where the embryo has to stick for a woman to become pregnant).
We went into the clinic a week later and guess what? The estrogen worked! My numbers were through the roof and my lining was at a 7.8 and it looked good (according to the Dr.) He said we were ready to transfer and gave me the green light to start my PIO shots, (progesterone in oil) also in my butt. I was to start that night and then 5 days later we were going to transfer this embryo! I was in shock, my body NEVER reacts this quickly to medication, so it must have been a very high dosage. My boobs were already feeling sore and well, I was also feeling good (if you know what I mean). Estrogen does that to me. TMI? At this point no such thing as TMI.
We started the PIO shots that night. My back side is STILL so sore from the 2 years of on and off progesterone injections, so this time around these really hurt me. We did these for 5 days before transfer day. We continued the estrogen shots (every 3 nights), and then I started taking the usual doxycycline and prednisone (my clinic’s protocol 5 days prior to transfer as well). So yes, I’m basically a walking pin cushion, hormone junkie who feels like throwing up after every doxycycline and then feels like getting frisky at night (mind you at this point we were not allowed to have sex anymore – this would go on until 6 weeks pregnant). Nick hates that part, and actually, so do I since, well, like I said, a lot of estrogen.
Ok, back to the transfer, we were ready! We came in for our appointment at 3:45pm. We had to bring the girls since it was after school hours and it’s just easier sometimes. They’re amazing I might add, they just sit there (with their iPad because I’m not insane) and eat some snacks. They know things are going on and I constantly reassure them that mommy is ok. But I still get worried, what if I’m scaring them with so many doctor visits? What if they grow up and only remember waiting at the doctor for mommy instead of remembering parks, ice cream and snuggles? So much guilt, but I won’t even go there right now because that will take up 10 pages “front and back” – I had to lol, I’m obsessed with Friends.
Anyway, we went in. I had some cute socks on that Nick had bought me on one of his work trips (they suggest you wear warm socks to the transfer so your feet stay warm). It’s cold in the transfer room and it’s important to stay warm, especially your feet! My acupuncturist, Niseema, always reminds me of this (warm feet = warm uterus).
My bladder was full. They always like us to have a very full bladder because it pushes the uterus down making it appear more horizontal so that the transfer of the embryo is easier for the Dr. I laid there, took my valium (favorite part) and got covered up with some warm blankets (Valium so that your muscles relax and your uterus doesn’t contract, although I like it for anxiety purposes too). We put on our hair nets and gowns and then the nurse put my legs up in stirrups, locked them in and told me we would start in a few minutes. Sounds sexual but it’s not at all!
The embryologist came in with our embryo. Nicks’ favorite part since he gets to look into the microscope and see our little squiggly! He said it looked good. He always thinks he knows if it looks good or bad. No, he’s not an expert, in fact, the way he compares embryo to embryo is by remembering what the embryo looked like when the transfer worked in December 2018. But I let him feel like I trust what he’s saying. “Oh good!” and he smiles, so I do too.
The doctor came in a few seconds later. He shook our hand and then the called out the time, my name and DOB. He checked my uterus and my bladder and said we were ready.
The embryologist then got the embryo ready and once the doctor figured out where to place the embryo in my uterus (after looking over some scans of course) the embryologist walked over with a tube that had our little embaby in it. The tube was inserted into my vagina, my uterus. It went in and then the embryo was released in the “perfect” spot.
“Do you see these little white specks? Those are bubbles, the embryo is in between them”
Ok I see the little specks but I definitely didn’t see anything else, but ok (the bubbles are there so that the Dr. can see where the embryo is getting releases since it’s too small to see in the ultrasound. So that was it. Transfer #6 was done. I laid there for 10 minutes, trying not to pee my pants, and then I was allowed to use the restroom (which still freaks me out even though I KNOW the embryo can’t fall out).
Nick got the girls and brought the car around while the nurse rolled me down in a wheelchair. I hated the girls seeing me like that, but I did talk to them about that beforehand and told them I would be in a wheelchair because the medicine I had to take made me dizzy. They seemed content with that answer. We were on our way home, mild bed rest for 48 hours.
I had already planned for this, as I do before every transfer. I had dinner ready for that night, lunches made for the girls for the next two days, lunch made for Nick and groceries stocked. I know I’m crazy but these little things stress me out if I don’t have them done. So, per usual, I was prepared so that I could “relax” for 48 hours.
Now we wait, the dreaded 2ww (two week wait). Although it technically is only 11 days (in my clinic that is). But here I was, for the 6thtime, on our 7thembryo (We transferred two at once on our second transfer ever). This had to work, we fixed everything, I’ve been drinking pomegranate juice (because it increases estrogen), I’m calm, and my levels looked great. Our embryo was perfect, honestly it was! I was confident.
All the pregnancy symptoms started to come in. My boobs were beyond sore, huge and veiny. I had mild cramps (normal) and started to pee every 5 minutes. My dreams were so vivid, to the point where I needed to wake myself up a few times. My gums started to hurt, which apparently can happen when pregnant, and I was exhausted. BUT deep down I knew ALL of these symptoms could also be due to the progesterone and high hormone levels in my system.
I tried to ignore those thoughts and kept telling myself they were pregnancy symptoms.
The days passed by, I started to get anxious and moody, as I always do. I cried a lot and was so worried because I knew that feeling all too well. The feeling you get when someone punches you in the stomach, the feeling I get when the nurse calls and says the test was negative.
Nick tried to take my mind off of things by changing the conversation. The girls’ crazy schedules kept my mind occupied and I just tried to stay positive. This is such a hard thing to do lately. I’ve been through so many losses these past two and a half years that fear is now something that is constant in my body. The sadness and desperation turns into fear and anger. But I tried to suppress it. I tried to believe, and I ended up believing and convincing myself it had worked!
Test day came. I never test ahead of time, I have a bad relationship with pregnancy tests so I just can’t do it (again maybe a separate story). I went in at 7:30am and the nurse drew my blood.
“Good luck! We will call you in a few hours.”
I hate this day, I hate everything about it. I hate feeling like I can’t breathe for hours, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything but stare at my phone. And I did just that. I also had to go to the bathroom (#2) like 4 times; nerves. So I decided to pee on a stick. I had to. It was negative. I was devastated. But for some reason I was still hopeful.
I started texting my nurse as I always do because I’m neurotic. She said nothing was in yet, it was 12:30pm. I called Nick because this time he was at work since it was a weekday. He freaked out thinking I had an answer, I just needed a distraction. And then the other line started coming in. It was the nurse.
I started crying, I knew by the sound of her voice that it was negative, and it was. I couldn’t breathe, again. I crumbled over and said ok thank you for calling me. (I always feel so bad for my nurses; they’re amazing and to have to tell people this news seems like the hardest thing to do).
I called Nick back “it didn’t work” I said sobbing. He couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t make out a word
“I’m coming home” he said.
I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, how did this not work.
We both sat there, I cried, and nick hugged me. I grew angry, I felt defeated and I was done.
“No more, I’m done, this is too much. I’ve now lost 7 embryos” (one time at the other clinic we had transferred 2).
Seven chances, seven dreams that got taken away from me. How could I keep going?
Nick said “I know but is that really what you want to do? I think we should try one more time, we have one more embryo left.”
I slept that night, not sure how but I did. I told the girls that night that I was sad because I thought I was going to have a baby but I wasn’t going to. They said “oh” and hugged me tight. Have I mentioned to you how amazing my kids are? Honestly though, what 8 year olds act like this? The number of hugs and love they gave me that day (and most days) was amazing. I guess we are doing some things right.
I woke up and went to yoga the next day. See the TWW is brutal too because you think you’re pregnant, you are happy not to exercise at that point. But then you learn that you’re actually not pregnant, and then you feel stupid, like “I could have picked up that box, I could have gone to yoga or pilates, I could have gone on a bike ride with with my daughter.” More guilt.
But Nick insisted I go to yoga. So, I did. It felt good, but I cried on the way to class, and during shavasanah. I wasn’t supposed to be there yet; I was supposed to be walking and caring for this baby.
I had bad cramps that day, my boobs still hurt and all of my needles and medications were on my bathroom counter, staring at me, reminding me of what I don’t get to do anymore, of what I don’t have, again. I put them away sadly. It’s funny how much pain you put your body through with all these shots, and yet the second they’re no longer needed you crave them more than anything in the world.
So here we are, waiting again. We talk to the doctor and now I wait for my period to come and my estrogen levels to drop so that I can start injections again (I know, makes no sense but that’s how it goes). I’m working on my vitamin D, which was low, and we will be shooting to make my uterine lining much thicker this time. But to be completely honest, I don’t have too much of anything left in me. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I know I’m strong but the guilt and the heartache and mental stress is getting to me now. I want this more than anything. But I also want to live life without this anxiety. I want to play UNO with my girls without constantly thinking about the next step in this journey.
I’m hopeful, I know this can work, I just don’t know how much longer I can “work” trying.