My favorite time of the year was here. Winter in Florida had finally arrived. 60’s at night, 70’s during the day, ideal weather for a hoodie and some comfy leggings (maybe even a pair of boots). Who wouldn’t love this weather? Just like northerners look forward to the summer every year, likewise, we Floridians, look forward to the winter.
During what felt like the longest November ever, I taught during the days, and at night, I practiced yoga or received acupuncture. In fact, I was going to acupuncture 2 times a week (not cheap!!!), and yoga 3x a week for a solid month. My goal was not only to reduce my stress levels, but to get the blood flowing to my uterus, which in turn would help thicken my lining. At home I was also practicing yoga. Every night I had my “legs up the wall.” All you yogis out there know exactly what I am talking about! I would sit, butt up against the wall with my legs up for at least 30 minutes, all the while praying my lining was growing.
After that, I would pour a glass of red wine (something I never did with other cycles–you get risky after you are a pro!), and take a candle light, lavender bubble bath. I remember feeling incredibly tired day after day, especially come mid-November, when I starting taking all of the hormones again. There were many days when all I wanted to do was just take a hot shower, eat dinner, and curl into bed after work. But I pushed, and kept going. I kept thinking about December 19th, our “big” day; for this was the day we would start our family.
All of the therapeutic practice paid off. By the first week of my ultrasound monitoring, after only 1 week of estrogen pills and patches, my lining was already at an 8. Yep, that’s right, an 8! The thickest it had ever been. And the best part was I still had 2 more weeks for it to continue thickening. FYI: Lining doesn’t get thinner, or shed, until a menstrual cycle. This being said, we knew my lining, at minimal, would be an 8 for the transfer. As it ended up, I never even needed to take the vaginal Viagra, which I couldn’t complain about (even though we already paid for it).
The week following my first ultrasound, on what just so happened to be Black Friday, my lining was up to a 10. We walked out of that appointment just staring at each other in awe. We couldn’t believe it! The doctor and nurses couldn’t either. They were actually clapping and cheering. We thanked God over and over again. When they asked me what I was doing differently this time, I said, “praying harder.” We tried our best to give God the glory any chance we could.
December was here. At our 3rd ultrasound, my lining measured a whopping 12. Anyone in the world of assisted reproduction knows how awesome this is! I had finally made a thick, cozy bed for those embryos to burrow into. I was actually proud of my body, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time. At this point, I stopped taking the Estrace vaginally and switched to a lower dose orally since my lining didn’t need to grow anymore. I scheduled 1 more ultrasound for the next week, just to make sure everything was perfect before I started taking the progesterone.
The morning of the final ultrasound did not start out well. First, let me tell you that every one of our ultrasounds were scheduled for Friday mornings at 7:30 a.m. so I could be on time for work. Even though it meant getting up at 5:30 a.m., and leaving the house by 6:30 a.m. to get to the appointment on time, it was better than missing work. Bright and early that Friday morning, I stopped to get gas before I got on the turnpike and headed to my appointment. After I pumped the gas, my car wouldn’t start. I called my hubs since he was still at home. Of course, I was crying hysterically! A woman, on tons of hormones, the week before her 3rd IVF transfer, stranded at a gas station, in a skirt, and it’s barely 50 degrees. Not good.
He was there within 15 minutes. He tried to jump the car, no luck. It was obvious that not only was I going to be late to work, I was going to be late to the ultrasound too. And the kicker was I couldn’t even call the doctor’s office to tell them I’d be late because they don’t answer the phone until 9 a.m. (don’t ask me why!!). We had two options: A.) He takes me to the appointment, then takes me to work, and finally, one day, gets to his job (God only knows by that time it would be noon-everything literally takes hours in Florida), or B.) He drops me off on his way to work to get a rental car, I go to the appointment, and then, eventually, to work. We chose B.
I got the rental car and arrived at my appointment, needless to say, an hour late. I stormed in completely flustered, waiting for someone to even try to tell me they couldn’t see me because I was late! Thankfully, everyone was understanding and the nurse saw me right away. I figured once she took me back, I would be in & out within 20 minutes. Quickness is the norm with these blood and ultra appointments during a cycle. But today, that was not the case. Today, I had what appeared to be fluid in my uterus. Fluid in my uterus meant our cycle could possibly be cancelled.
I burst into tears in the office. The nurse told me she wanted me to stay until the doctor arrived to get a second opinion. Well, the doctor did a scan & thought it was fluid as well. She said we would have to cancel the cycle if it was. She suggested inserting a catheter into my uterus where the fluid appeared to be, in hopes that it suction the fluid right out. We tried 3 times that day. We tried with an abdominal ultrasound view once, and then a vaginal view twice. Yes, I had an ultrasound probe and a catheter in my you know what at the same time. I could see the catheter right at that fluid sac, but nothing would come out. We tried again the following day (thank God I rented that car, mine was still out-of-order). Still couldn’t get it out. More tears.
The doctor came to the conclusion that the fluid had to be right outside my uterine cavity. She said she would not cancel the cycle at this point. Can I tell you how mixed my emotions were? I completely despised the thought of cancelling the cycle because that meant the past 2 months were pointless. However, what I hated even more was the idea of something being wrong and going through with the transfer. If there was fluid, and we did the transfer, it could be deadly to the embryos.
Right then, I begged her not to do it if she thought there was any fluid in my uterus. I told her I could handle it being cancelled, when in all reality I didn’t know if I could. She must have thought I was crazy; I didn’t care. I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me, and thus sway their decision. She assured me that she would not perform the transfer if she thought there was fluid in the uterus, or if the fluid increased in size or changed location at all in the next week. This being said, we set up another ultrasound to check the day before the transfer. This was now the new “big” day.
For the next 6 days we didn’t know if we were going to be doing the transfer or not. I started my progesterone as if we were, as I was told, and waited. I was a nervous wreck. Unfortunately, there is nothing else you can do to get the fluid out of your uterus, it simply dissipates on its own. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not.
We were so frustrated! In a matter of minutes, we went from being over the top about the lining to not even knowing if we were moving forward. I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, with IVF there are no guarantees, and something major can go wrong at any given time. In all actuality, just when you think you are free & clear, you realize you may not be. And so, our prayers began to change. We prayed for God to close the door if he didn’t want us to move forward. If this was his way of telling us no, then so be it. Over and over again, I whispered, “anything God, but PLEASE, PLEASE just don’t let us lose another pregnancy.”
The day before the transfer finally rolled around. Another week that felt like a year. My blood pressure was through the roof when I got there, and I was shaking like a leaf. As soon as the doctor came in, I was crying. The things hormones will do to you. The things you will do to have a child. The things you will do for your dream of a family. She inserted the probe and we stared at the screen. Then we got the news: ALL THE FLUID HAD DISAPPEARED.