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Over the next 4 weeks, we invite you to come along on an IVF journey, step by intense step. From making the decision to go forward with in-vitro fertilization, to the meds involved and what they’re really like, and to finding out whether this emotional and sometimes painful roller coaster ride yielded the results so dreamed of and prayed for. our site blogger Melissa Willets will be documenting every detail in a series of blog posts.
Each time I walked into the IVF clinic I’d visited regularly for months prior to my transfer cycle, the heaviness of the emotions around me blanketed me like a fog. None of the other women waiting in cushy chairs talked. But we didn’t have to say anything. Our hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments, and heartbreak hung thickly in the air we shared in a room that had become familiar to us all.
I’d experienced the madness of waiting for results after my egg retrieval procedure. Despite being 100 percent convinced my doctor wouldn’t get viable eggs, then knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt the eggs wouldn’t fertilize, I’d actually made it to the next step in my IVF journey: the transfer cycle.
Knowing some women don’t get the good news I had to my shock just received added weight of this particular visit. As usual, I got a blood test. Then my nurse explained what happened next. And I was in for another shock.
Because the injections I’d endured while prepping for my egg retrieval, which left me bloated and moody, weren’t over as I’d hoped. In fact, the shots, which would prepare my body for an embryo transfer, were about to get worse. As in bigger. And instead of going in my stomach, these needles were meant to go in my rear end. Sigh.
Knowing I was starting a new round of meds and injections felt overwhelming, to put it mildly. Here we were again, our future uncertain. I had no way of knowing if the pain of, excuse my French, having my husband stab me in the ass with a needle each night, would pay off.
Again, as I had during my egg retrieval phase, I cried every time. Not only from the agony of the shot, but because I was terrified, and grieving a recent late-pregnancy loss, and because I felt overcome by a million other emotions unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Meanwhile, my doctor was about to ask my husband and me to make huge life-changing decisions. Namely, did we wish to transfer one or two embryos? And did we want to implant a boy or a girl?
Here’s where I think a lot of people misunderstand IVF. Personally, I wouldn’t undergo all this pain and uncertainty just so I could select my baby’s gender. But the thing is, if your eggs are fertilized into healthy embryos, they will be either male or female. And you are given the option to select your baby’s gender or your doctor does that for you. How? He or she will basically choose the “best” one, based on evaluating your embryos on a variety of factors that are above my pay grade to comprehend.
As the parents of three girls, and an angel baby girl, you’d think our decision would have been a no-brainer. But truth be told, it took weeks of intense soul-searching before we made our final choice. And even on the big day I had my reservations. Because you tell me: Never mind the reality of this unique situation, how twisted is it to know your baby’s gender before he or she is even implanted in your womb?
We’d also decided to transfer just one embryo to give us the best possible chance of a healthy pregnancy. My family had already been through so much with our loss. The idea that a twin pregnancy could potentially put more strain on my body and by extension all of us, felt ill-advised. This baby, if we were lucky enough for our transfer to work, was meant to bring joy and healing to our broken hearts, not more stress and instability.
Soon, after what felt like a million nights of unbearable butt injections, the big day was upon us.
Next, read about my transfer day, a day I will never forget. But wow, is it a bizarre experience that nothing can prepare you for.
Read more about my IVF journey:
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.