I am officially 2 days post 5-day transfer (2dp5dt). My transfer was scheduled for 10:15 am on Easter Sunday. (I’m not particularly religious, but that did seem like a good day!)
By about the Friday before (3 days post-retrieval), I was feeling very bloated, painful, and nauseous from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). I could not button any of my pants, and C had to buy me a belly band just so that I could wear something other than sweatpants to work. This got worse on Saturday, and I began having significant shortness of breath, as the fluid accumulation in my abdomen began pressing on my diaphragm. Before the beginning of my cycle, our doctor had warned us that if I hyperstimulated (which she was concerned about because of my PCOS), we might have to forgo a fresh transfer and freeze all embryos. The night before transfer, I was up repeatedly, not only because of my extreme discomfort and pain but alternately worrying about the transfer being cancelled or how I would endure significantly more severe OHSS symptoms if I became pregnant. (Pregnancy hormones make OHSS much worse, especially with a twin pregnancy since hormone levels are higher.)
Going in on Sunday morning, I was still very worried about this–although I was feeling slightly better than I had on Friday and Saturday, I was still up about 8-10 pounds over my usual weight and very, very bloated (worse than in the photo a few posts back!). I had arranged for pre- and post-transfer acupuncture treatments, which was very relaxing. (I am not 100% convinced about the efficacy of acupuncture, but I find it relaxing and like my acupuncturist, and I figure it can’t hurt!) We met with the doctor who would perform the transfer (not our usual doctor, since at our clinic, doctors rotate the weeks on which they are on procedures, but the same doctor who performed my retrieval) before getting started. I told her about my OHSS symptoms and she immediately asked “how would you feel about transferring just one embryo?” She said she was willing to do a transfer that day, but that she strongly recommended against a two-embryo transfer, since the likelihood of twins with two embryos the quality of ours was at least 50%. She was worried that my OHSS symptoms would progress enough to require hospitalization if I became pregnant with twins. She told us that we had two excellent quality blastocysts ready to transfer or freeze that day–they were both graded 2 on a scale of 1-3 (but grade 1 embryos are very rare and only occur about 3-5% of the time). We had 8 remaining embryos that were still growing but had not yet reached blastocyst stage, and would be checked the following day. Given that quality, she estimated that we had a 59% or higher chance of pregnancy with a single embryo transfer, a 69% or higher chance of pregnancy with a double embryo transfer (and a 50% chance of twins). Given those odds and the risks to my health (as well as the risks of a twin pregnancy), we quickly agreed to transfer just one.
The transfer itself went quickly and smoothly (the doctor said my lining still looked great) and it was back for post-treatment acupuncture, then home for 24 hours of “couch rest.” I left the transfer feeling hopeful and positive.
Yesterday, 1dp5dt, I woke up feeling much better physically and much worse emotionally. Shortly thereafter I received a call from the embryology lab letting me know that only one additional embryo (of our remaining eight) reached blastocyst and was able to be frozen. The other seven arrested. I am not sure why, but since waking up yesterday I have felt absolutely convinced that this cycle will not work. Perhaps it’s the improvement in my OHSS symptoms (although I know it is too early for them to worsen in response to increasing hcg from an early pregnancy), perhaps it’s coming off the valium/acupuncture/transfer high, perhaps its the evidently (relatively) poor quality of my eggs and embryos, or perhaps its just my pessimistic nature, but I am already imagining having to do all of this all over again. I am already having trouble reading about others’ IVF pregnancies, while until yesterday, they were inspirational to me (this has never been the case for fertiles’ pregnancies!!).
I know that my despair is unfounded and counterproductive–while I’m not convinced that feeling optimistic really helps the embryo, it could certainly help me–but I don’t know how to stop it. Why am I mourning this loss that hasn’t even happened yet–and when this is the first cycle, ever, with odds actually on our side?