Getting pregnant part 3

The next morning we left at 5 am. Extra early to take the pressure off. I was nil by mouth as I would be being sedated for the procedure, and I felt sick and bloated. I couldn't wait to have these eggs removed and feel a bit better. Mum coped with the drive really well, keeping me calm and talking to me while I directed her from my phone.

We arrived in plenty of time, parking almost outside the clinic. Inside I was shown to a small ward where I was given a gown to put on. Because of the anaesthesia mum wouldn't be allowed in the room. That was the other reason I was nervous. Although it wasn't heavy anaesthesia, the last time I had gone under I had nearly died. I felt reassured that they were aware of this and would be keeping a closer eye on me but I wanted it to be over, and I was tearful. Mum said 'you still don't have to go through with it if you're not happy' typical of my mum, even after everything we had been through to get me here, she just wanted me to be happy and safe. Something I can completely relate to now, that I couldn't so much at the time.

It was time, the same doctor that had done my scan in Harley St before came to talk to me. She was much friendlier today. They would be putting me under, removing the eggs, and then checking them over to make sure they were mature, then mixing them with the sperm for fertilisation. I'd get a call in the morning to tell me how many had fertilised and then I wouldn't hear again unless there was a problem before my transfer. They booked my transfer there and then for 5 days, told me as soon as I felt well enough after I could go home.

This was it! In the operating theatre, they checked my name and dob what felt like a million times before putting the drip in. I was fine until they put the oxygen mask on and then I panicked. It felt like before when I'd had surgery, what if I didn't wake up? Luckily I didn't have long to worry as what felt like moments later I wad back with my mum holding my hand. I felt groggy but not too bad. I was offered a drink and biscuit while I waited for the doctor. They'd retrieved 5 eggs. It was quite a good number for me, although I knew that the number was low for IVF. I was reassured that it was quality, not quantity that mattered, and soon I was on my way home.

There's a tradition amongst the IVF online community, to eat McDonald's chips after egg retrieval. Something about the salt. I was starving anyway, so on the way home, I got a large fries and coke. What harm could it do? I was already taking a long list of supporting supplements, if fries were a good luck charm I'd take it! It was a strange feeling knowing that as I drove away I was leaving a piece of me behind, and I couldn't wait to get it back!

The next morning after a restless night, I got the call. The embryologist told me that 4 out of 5 eggs had been fertilised! It was expected for that number to drop but it was a very good start. Now I just had to get through the next 4 1/2 days without going crazy.

It felt like a lifetime, scared my phone would ring and it would be the clinic saying my embryos hadn't made it, but eventually it was the morning of the transfer and we were on our way again. I'd taken a pregnancy test that morning to check that the HCG left from my shot had left my body. There was the faintest of faint lines so I knew that if I left it another day or two it would be gone and any positive result would be from a true pregnancy. The whole journey there I was quiet, I was still expecting a call until I arrived at the clinic. Luckily no phone call came!

I was told I'd need to have a really full bladder so they would be able to get a good view, so I drank water with fresh orange and lemon slices, glass after glass in the waiting room. Before I'd even been called in I already was feeling pretty desperate for a wee. I've never had a great bladder, as my parents can attest to the number of car stops we had to make on our journeys to Cornwall when I was younger. What felt like forever but was probably only 15 minutes later I was called down. I was told to put on my gown and the doctor would be with me. "You've got one good embryo that we are looking to transfer today and another two that are still developing that may be OK to freeze tomorrow," the doctor said. "What if they aren't good enough to freeze?" I thought aloud "then they will be destroyed. We don't normally offer you more than one embryo to transfer on your first go, but you can transfer one of the other two as well if you'd like, have a think and let me know. We're running about a half-hour behind so you have a while." Oh my god, my bladder would burst!!

I talked it over with mum, what should I do? Should I put two back? What if I had twins? Would it increase my chance of being successful? I decided to put the one back and then if it didn't work I'd hopefully have another two embryos on ice for a frozen transfer. Seriously though, I was in excruciating pain, I'd drunk too much, and I couldn't bare it. I hobbled to the nurse's station and said I couldn't wait any longer. She looked and me, and smiled "it's not supposed to be painfully full, just full. Go have a wee, but try to hold some back". Ahh, the sweet relief! Do you know how hard it is to hold some back when you are literally bursting? It's hard! Luckily it must have worked as a few minutes later I felt like I could go again, then it was my turn!

Mum was allowed in with me this time, with no anaesthesia! I was shown a blurry picture of my embryo and again had my name and dob checked a million times. They need to be sure they are putting the right embryo back I guess. After I lay down, they started scanning me. Mum held my hand, while they used the catheter to put the embryo in, which you could see on the scan. They told me to make a wish and it was done! I laid there while they checked the catheter was empty and my embryo had been transferred with the solution, and then a few minutes later I was free to go.

It was such a lovely positive feeling, and as I walked to the car I said to mum, I'm officially pupo! Pregnant until proven otherwise. I made mum stop twice on the way home for another couple of weeks. My bladder was useless!

The next day I went to see my acupuncturist, Amanda. I showed her a photo of my embryo and she was so excited and positive. While there I got a phone call from the clinic. The other two embryos hadn't made it. I felt crushed why hadn't I put two back? I'd made the wrong choice. Amanda was such a calming warm presence. 'You didn't put two back, because you didn't need to, have faith!" She told me to send her a picture of my embryo and she would chant over it throughout Christmas.

For the next three days, I felt OK and fairly positive. But on the night of the third day, there was a small amount of blood when I wiped. By day four I caved and tested, negative. The blood must be my period. I tested and tested still negative. I was obsessive. I knew it was too early but I started to worry it was over before it began. By the night of day four, with still a negative test, I sat at home and cried. I cried a lot. I had really bad period pain now and I felt so emotional. Probably not helped by the extra drugs I was now on, progesterone. These weren't shots but pessaries that I had to put in and then lay down for half-hour afterwards. I was adamant it hadn't worked again. I spent an hour on the phone with mum and Lucy, who both comforted me, and said if it hadn't worked we would do it again somehow. I arranged to meet mum the next day in Canterbury after she had done some shopping. I wanted to go to the clinic to take them some chocolates and treats for Christmas. I then went to bed, snuggled up with my dog and cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I tested again. Still negative. I tested every time I needed to wee. Nothing, only one line. Just as I was about to leave to go to Canterbury, I went for one last wee. I let my dog Figgy out the back and picked up my last test again. There were two lines, there were two lines, THERE WERE TWO LINES!! One was faint but it was there, I didn't need to squint to see it. I quickly put my coat on and drove Fig to my mum and dad's as she was staying with my dad while I met mum in town. It was so hard to see him and not tell him, but I wanted to tell my mum and sister first. Mum had been at all my appointments ( Marley had too apart from the London ones, and the clinic staff absolutely loved him) and Lucy had supported me nonstop, being there on the phone or in person every single time I needed her. This was their news as much as mine. I kept looking at myself in the rearview mirror and saying aloud, I'm pregnant, like a crazy lady.

I knew Lucy was in Canterbury too (it was the day before Christmas eve, and they were both doing last-minute shopping) but she was with her husband Sam and Marley. I phoned her and asked where she was, just leaving Canterbury in the car to come home. "Come back, I need to show you something, meet me outside Lenleys car park in 10 minutes" I wouldn't say anything else and put the phone down. I needed to get them together and quick, I was ridiculously excited now. I parked up and waited, mum was taking too long. I phoned her and she was just walking back to the car park to meet me. Lucy would be there any moment, I drove on and picked her up from the bottom of town and parked up again as Lucy's car pulled up alongside us. I made the excuse she was taking too long and I needed a wee, see a theme here?

We got out of the car and they both looked at me, mum confused as to why Lucy was there, Lucy confused by my demands to meet me straight away. I handed them my test "Merry Christmas Nana and Auntie Juice" they looked and we all started jumping up and down in excitement. This was the best Christmas present we could have hoped for. I was pregnant at the same time as my sister, it was Christmas and my first shot at IVF had worked!

This precious watercolour was created by my beautiful, talented sister Lucy. So lovely to have the artwork to keep. If you're interested in having your own embryo artwork done, get in touch with me and I'll pass her details on!

The original grainy image I was given!

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