My transfer on my failed cycle was unexpectedly difficult. The soft catheter the doctor used would not pass easily into the uterus due to the presence of some fused scar tissue and the curve of the uterus itself. The scar tissue had not shown up on previous scans and had not been noted as an issue. The doctor had to remove the soft catheter and proceed using a firmer catheter. At my review meeting for the failed cycle, a mock transfer was recommended so that these issues could be assessed and a plan made for the next subsequent real transfer.
On this advice of the clinic I scheduled a mock transfer to take place soon after my first natural period following my failed cycle. This period arrived pretty much on schedule, in fact a day early (29 days). I was advised to present with a full bladder, the same as for the original transfer. The date was set for Thursday October 25th and the time was to be 2pm. This was day 7 of my cycle. I decided to take the day off work and not stress myself with other matters. My husband was unable to accompany me as he has run out of annual leave, or at least is down to half a day which we want to save for the real transfer. I arrived at the clinic, bottle of water in tow and feeling a little sad at having to come here again. There was some delay so I read a newspaper, a couple of magazines and Twitter in the waiting room. I think there was difficulty locating a doctor as they were all running behind with other things. After about an hour’s delay I was brought in. The 2 nurses I spoke to were concerned that my full bladder was holding up under the pressure but it was. I was brought into the procedure room where I remembered having my egg collection done in the last cycle. A doctor arrived in, the same doctor who had done my real transfer in the previous cycle. He explained what would be done, basically he would attempt to insert the soft catheter that had not worked in the last cycle. He also had to hand a firmer catheter.
He noted that I would be undergoing an endometrial scratch before the next cycle also and we had a chat about this. I had asked the counsellor I had spoken to at the review meeting to intervene on my behalf to request this as it is not offered routinely by the clinic and they have not yet commenced a study on it. However, the doctor was familiar with other studies that have been conducted and noted that initial results were positive as an aid to implantation. He explained that procedure also, basically it is a small biopsy of the uterine lining and it may help implantation by reducing the number of natural killer cells or making the womb more receptive to an embryo. It would not cause any harm, even if it did not have any benefit. It may even help my case by ensuring that the troublesome bit of scar tissue would not be allowed to regrow and fuse.
The doctor explained what might happen in the event that the mock transfer did not go to plan. The endometrial scratch may then have to be more extensive and sedation might be needed for that and for the actual transfer, using firmer catheters.
I assumed the position on the surgical bed and the mock transfer commenced. The doctor took his time and initially I thought it was not going well. The nurse had put gel on my stomach and was guiding an ultrasound wand across so that the event could be viewed on the monitor. I had a small bit of cramping. Next moment the doctor and nurse both saw the catheter inside the uterus on screen. This was the soft catheter that had not worked the last time. The doctor pronounced himself happy with this and that the normal transfer procedure would be fine the next time. The scar tissue had not fused back over which was good news. I asked about the cramping and the doctor said that on the day of the actual transfer, I would need to come in with the fullest of full bladders due to the particular tilt and curve of the uterus. The fuller the bladder the ‘straighter’ the uterus would be and the easier the passage for the catheter. I had better get into drinking and holding training in that case!
The doctor said that the endometrial scratch was best done around day 21 of the cycle. I had scheduled my pre period scan and scratch for day 26. He said this was ok so long as I was absolutely sure my period would not come earlier than this. I may consider changing the date as today (day 11) I actually got a positive OPK, which is 3 days earlier than my previous earliest OPK result. If I am in for a shorter cycle this month I don’t want to miss my chance. Typical AF to start messing with me now after being pretty regular for the past year at 29-32 days!
The doctor also warned me not to try to conceive this current cycle if I intend to have the scratch. The reason for this is that the scratch is being done quite late in the cycle and could potentially disturb a very early pregnancy. I was advised to either take the pill or ensure we used barrier protection. To be honest our chances of spontaneous conception are so miniscule that I am not really worried, but at the same time we are taking measures to avoid the possibility and I am tracking the fertile window closely.
I found this visit to the clinic a bit upsetting, not because of anything that happened or was said, everyone was kind. It was the reminder of the whole previous cycle, the result, the indignity of having my legs in the air in front of two strangers (whom I know are doing this every day and it means nothing to them), the lower body being hardly covered by a paper towel-which the nurse had to take off at one point briefly. It’s just not how I imagined it and while I can see the black humour in the whole process sometimes, this day I just felt exposed and alone. I couldn’t find the funny side in it, whereas normally I try to.
So now I am trying to get myself FET ready. I am trying to get back on the healthy food bandwagon, drinking milk, eating avocados. Trying to do more walks to offset the stone I have put on in weight since I got married, not helped by IVF. I start yoga in the next fortnight. I am still doing acupuncture and have added a short course of reflexology as well. I want to get my mind ready as much as my body as I am a complete worrier and overthink things a lot. I am trying to focus on the fact that FET will be less of a strain on my body than the fresh cycle and maybe that will make the difference. I am very grateful to have this option and my 4 frosties.
My worries- not necessarily rational…but maybe in print they will loosen their hold over me..
What if the embies don’t survive the thaw?
What if this fails again? Can I handle it?
What if my uterus is faulty and cannot do this? Where did this scar tissue come from?
What if my overthinking overworrying mind is causing failure?
What ifI cramp at the next transfer and mess it up?
Is the treatment messing my body up, will it push me into menopause?
Am I doing the right thing having treatment? Am I too old?
Can I handle a pregnancy if I manage to succeed?
What if I miscarry, will I cope?
What if I have a baby, will I cope?
What if the baby has disabilities, will I cope?
My aunt had a baby decades ago, who passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome- what if I have a baby and this happens, will I cope?
Cancer has ravaged my family and claimed my own mother, will I see my precious baby into adulthood?
Will I be a good mother?
Do I deserve a baby?
Do I deserve a baby?
Do I deserve a baby?
I want to move on to this next step of FET and soon and I am doing so. I want it to work so much. But I am afraid. I am more afraid than I am letting on.