Getting Pregnant: The Final 4 … Embryos


We got a call early Tuesday morning with an update from our doctor. Out of the five fertilized eggs, four had developed into perfect embryos.

Once again, our doctor reassured us that four strong candidates was a good outcome. For women in my age group, it's routine to transfer five embryos in the hopes that even one will implant and grow. She advised us to transfer all four. We bet the farm ... we're all in. In a couple of hours, the final four would be home sweet home.


Unlike the egg harvest, the transfer is done without any sedation and is relatively simple. The most challenging aspect was the full bladder the procedure requires. This is necessary to position the uterus and provide better ultrasound visualization. An hour before the transfer, I had to pee one last time and then drink about four glasses of water. By the time we got to the office, it felt like I had a gallon of water sloshing around inside of me. I'd have to hold it for about another 45 minutes.

The transfer was done in a little exam room with a special-looking stirrup chair/table. There was also a large flat-screen monitor on the wall where we could watch the proceedings together and oooh and aaah. My husband, doctor, nurse, and embryo-lab-guy were huddled around me. While the nurse pressed a cold, jelly-covered wand into my full bladder (oh God, please don't let me pee), my doctor basically snaked a catheter inside and "shot" the embryos into my uterine cavity.

It was kind of amazing to watch and went perfectly. After lying still for five more bladder-busting minutes, I was finally free to go pee. When we left, we got to take a totally cool picture of our four embryos with us. The photo showed four circles, each full of little round cells. They looked like little flowers.

Know what comes after an embryo transfer? A whole lot of nothing. For two days, I was basically on glorified bed rest, except for getting up to go to the bathroom. Who was I to argue? I tried to revel in my down time. Me, my cozy bed, an equally lazy cat, and Netflix. Practically paradise.

The post-transfer buzz is starting to wear off now. I spend time each day gazing at the picture of our little flowers, hoping, wondering, and praying that one of them turns into a healthy fetus. The hardest part is underway: The wait. Being busy has been helpful. I try to stay focused on the hope. But I'm also gently familiarizing myself with what it'll be like if we don't get good news. How it'll feel. How I'll keep from getting depressed, sad, and defeated.

I wish I didn't have to think about these things, but I feel like I have to be prepared for both possibilities. I think of what that fertility nurse told me months ago: "Don't get your hopes up." She'd be right if she wasn't so damn wrong.

Previous entries: 

Egg Retrieval Time

Let the IVF Injections Begin

Me, the IVF Drug Junkie

IVF Drugs, Injections, & Egg Retrieval

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