the best-case scenario occurs when, after your egg retrieval (that retrieved oodles of mature and fertilizible eggs), the fertilized egg develops into a blastocyst (something that typically happens on day 5 after fertilization) and is transferred to the waiting hopeful host at that time.
the day after your egg retrieval is day 1. so the day 5 embryo technically occurs six days after your egg retrieval. for example, on IVF cycle #5 (when i got pregnant with bbl), my egg retrieval was on a sunday (mother’s day, actually), and my embryo transfer was on friday. or was it that the egg retrieval was on a tuesday with the embryo transfer on a sunday?
my husband and i have never had one of our embryos make it to the blastocyst stage, ps. we have always transferred embryos that were still in morula stage (which is what they’re called before they transition to a blast) or embryos that were called early blasts (which means they were transitioning but hadn’t quite transitioned). but i’ll talk more about all this when i write about the embryo transfer in more detail in a later post.
sometimes, doctors will do a day 3 embryo transfer. we did that for IVF cycle #4. at least i think it was that cycle.
anyway, day 3 transfers happen (at least for me) when the embryos don’t seem to be doing so well and the doctor wants to see if a woman’s uterus (the place where embryos are supposed to grow and develop into babies) will provide a better environment.
either way, you have what i am going to call in between days.
you don’t have any eggs developing in your growing follicles. and you don’t have any embryos inside of you.
translation: you are in this utopian place that almost never happens when you’re a woman who struggles with fertility where your body and mind can take a little hiatus from being on duty, so to speak. no more daily shots. no more wondering about what the follicles inside you are doing. and no wondering about what’s happening with the embryos inside you because they’re not inside you yet. you get to take a break. it’s not your responsibility right now.
of course, that’s not entirely true. you do have to start your progesterone supplements the day of your egg retrieval. so you are thinking about how your uterine lining is doing.
and the embryologist will call you each day to tell you what’s happening with your fertilized eggs. so you’re thinking about that.
and you can’t be too active because your ovaries are swollen and you don’t want them to get overstimulated, which will put everything on the skids. so you’re thinking about that.
stuff is still happening.
but what the fertilized eggs do is outside of you. it’s happening somewhere else. with a little help, it’s actually possible to put it out of your mind for stretches of time during the in between days.
feelings of incredible freedom and calm can in reality occur for you. you can have a lightness in your step and in your heart that you haven’t felt for a long time.
every day for as long as it’s been since you decided you wanted to have a baby, you’ve been doing something. trying to figure out if you’re ovulating, when you’re ovulating, when you should be having sex, whether you’re pregnant or will get your period. getting your period and feeling let down all over again. tracking and thinking and tracking and thinking.
and then you decide to go to a fertility doctor. you’re getting tested, so you’re waiting on test results and wondering what they’ll mean. you’re deciding what treatments you want to do, what treatments you can afford.
all the while, you’re hoping that you’ll magically get pregnant on your own and won’t actually have to spend the money or go through the treatments and the ups and downs and ins and outs.
every day. it never stops.
but after the egg retrieval and before the embryo transfer is a magical time.
you cannot possibly be pregnant on those days, and it’s not your fault.
and for a double bonus, you’re not even allowed to have sex, which means that you have no possibility of the thought entering your mind that somehow there was an egg left behind that maybe got fertilized from that sex you had and maybe, just maybe, you’ve gotten pregnant on your own.
like i said, you cannot possibly be pregnant on those days. so your crazy mind can take a break. you can let yourself off the hook.
you really can.
maybe you’re someone who’s doing IVF for the first time, and you’re thinking i’m nuts right now. maybe those in between days don’t feel like a break to you. i’m sure they didn’t feel like a break to me on my first g0-round. or my second or third or …
and if this cycle #6 doesn’t work, maybe i’ll look back and not be able to remember the blissful in between days as such. i’ll just remember how much sugar i ate on those days that i shouldn’t have. or i’ll wonder if there was something i could have been doing those days to make my uterine lining even more beautiful than ever.
but whatever the outcome, i am hopeful that i can remember the good and special feelings i had on those days.
whenever they were or will be.
there’s a scripture that i am using (or attempting to use) as my theme for IVF cycle #6.
therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed.
it is my focus on that scripture that helps me to believe in the release available during the days in between the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer.
i will not have done everything perfectly. but i will have done all that lies in my power. i can take a breath. i can be still. and i can be assured that what happens will reveal God’s arm.
i also believe that this verse can help me to be still on the days after the embryo transfer and before the pregnancy test, the so-called and barely livable two week wait. that is when the true miracle of that verse can occur. but that is a post for another day, too.
i think that makes two more posts to complete my effort to write down what i’ve lived through when i’ve done IVF: the more emotional side of embryo transfer day (since i’ve already written about the physical trauma of the full bladder) and the waiting game between the transfer and the pregnancy test.
or do i also need to write about the pregnancy test day itself? hmm. i’ll have to think about that.