Day 20: Embryo Transfer Day

Zara braved through her first storm.  And she made it! 🙂

It was a rainy, stormy morning for our embryo transfer day.  No one can put our hopeful spirits down, not even Typhoon Megi. 😀

I was told to take, if I remember it right, 500 ml of water before leaving the apartment, and to hold my pee so that my bladder will be full in time for the transfer.  A full bladder will help placing the embryo in its right position in the uterus.

Didn’t forget to bring with me a stick of Crinone too as instructed.  Plus the money in NTD required for the procedure – today was when we paid a bulk of the expenses. So we were all set!  Very ready!

It was really raining hard with very strong winds so we took a cab.  Thank God we got a cab easily without being drenched by the rain.  The fare was just 75 NTD.  Seventy NTD is the flag down rate of cabs here in Taipei, much expensive than in the Philippines.

We were at the hospital by 8:45 and waited for Annie who accompanied us to the 6F Reproductive Medicine Center.  Our appointment was at 9 AM.

The embryologist said that from the 11 fertilized embryos, only 8 continued on to grow.  The doctor decided to transfer only 1, one of the best ones, Graded 4AA based on the embryologist’s information sheet.  I don’t know much about those numbers and letters, but that embryo seems very good!  We have another 4AA, and two 4BB.  The rest I didn’t notice that much, but we did take a photo of the report.

The rest of the 7 will be frozen.   I didn’t ask the doctor specifically why only 1 embryo, or requested to have one more since he already made it clear from a previous consultation that his decision on how many embryos to transfer would be based on the quality of the embryos and that he wouldn’t want me to have multiple pregnancy to avoid complications.

I wanted to have twins, 1 boy and 1 girl, but then I would really just be happy with one healthy baby!  🙂

We waited for Dr. Lee, and waited.  Annie asked me if I was nervous about the procedure.  I must have looked anxious, but it was because I couldn’t hold my pee any longer!  🙂  I didn’t want to go because Dr. Lee might come anytime and I might not be ready by then.  But I felt my bladder about to burst anytime then.  If I didn’t go to the rest room, I just might be able to hold it during the procedure and that would be such a terrible, messy and embarrassing scenario.  😀

Annie asked permission for me if I could go to the rest room.  I was allowed to but needed to take another 3 cups of water, and hopefully my bladder would be full in time for the procedure.

And we waited some more.  We had an interesting chat with Annie – from cheese tarts to when life starts –  until we must probably ran out of topics to discuss anymore.  She had to go back to her office and told us to contact her if we needed anything.

And so we waited.  Took pictures of the hallway and signs to remember this day.

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The poster on the left have pictures taken by a Sweddish photographer and scientist Lennart Nilsson.  Famous for taking pictures of the “unphotographable.”  It was amazing to look at those photos.  How wonderfully God has designed conception!  Sad fact I learned as I read the Wikipedia entry about him – the photos of fetuses were not of living ones but aborted ones. 😦  After learning that, looking at photos on the Internet as I read about Nilsson gave me an eery feeling.

We waited some more until I couldn’t hold my pee again any longer!  I went inside the clinic to ask permission to relieve myself, but then no one was there.  I took the liberty to go to the rest room.  Went to the first rest room.  The scene in the 6th floor was quite depressing.  There’s a hemodialysis room, with the door open and one couldn’t help but see the patients inside.  Passed by a group of anxious visitors looking very downcast, one of them was holding back tears.  And noticed that right across was the MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit).  The first rest room was full, so I thought of going to another direction where another patient waiting for her turn for the transfer also went.

The route to the second rest room was just as sad as the first… There were glass windows where relatives could view the patients.  I saw probably a family of 3 looking through the window while maybe another family member in hospital gown feeding an old man looking seriously ill.  It was really sad.  Said a silent prayer to the sick people, mostly elderly people, in the floor.

I was thinking about what a stark contrast it was to have the reproductive center in the same floor as those areas for critical illnesses.  Young vs old.  Embryos and couples vs elderly people struggling in sickness.  Lives about to start and lives near the end.  But there were similarities – all were struggling to live, holding on to hope, I pray.

My musings were interrupted by the embryologist calling my name.  Finally, the wait is over!  She asked if I was able to hold my pee. I told her I went to the rest room at 11:30 and took 3 cups of water right after.  It was 12 nn then, so it should be fine.  I felt my bladder starting to get full.

The embryologist then escorted me and another patient to the transfer room.  The transfer room has two or three beds, subdivided by curtains.  I was glad to be led to the last section of the room, where I could have some privacy.  Wall – curtain.  Not curtain – curtain. So the nurse closed the curtain as she left and I got ready.  I should have worn a dress for embryo transfer.  Mental note.  The preparation was just like having a TVS.  I thought it would be like ovum pick up, wherein I had to change to hospital robes.

I waited for some time before Doctor Lee arrived.   He started prepping for the transfer with the help of other two nurses (or embryologists?).

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Dr. Lee unpacked something like this.  Same thing used on my first day of consultation for this trip – for my mock embryo transfer or sounding. (Photo from http://www.sirwanmedicalgermany.com)

The procedure was quick and pain free that I didn’t even realize it was done until they showed me the ultrasound monitor and pointed to me where the embryo was transferred.  It shouldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes.  The mock embryo transfer was more uncomfortable than the actually transfer.  Pregnancy test will be 9 days later.  So that’s 14 days since the egg was fertilized.

Dr. Lee gave a few instructions – about medication, getting a letter before our flight next Monday, and said that the embryo transfer is successful.  He and his team left to give me time to rest.  They did the procedure to the next patient behind the curtain.

It was almost 12:30 pm.  So I waited again until it was time to get up.  Stared at the ceiling, prayed, looked around the room, thought of singing a lullaby in my mind for the 5 day old embryo in my womb.  There was an old TV monitor in front where I can see my reflection on the screen, and on the right side, there was an Anne Geddes poster of chubby, smiling baby girl surrounded by roses.

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There she is!  The exact same image on the poster in the transfer room.  How can I forget this face!  Memorable poster.  Photo from fineartamerica.com

I was told of the 30 minutes recovery time days earlier when I was oriented about the transfer, and only about 15 minutes passed.  I dozed off a bit, and woke up.  It was a few minutes past 1 and I wasn’t told to get up yet.  I was not sure if the other patient was on the other side.  If she went out, I would have heard her move.  But the room was too quiet that I was tempted to move the curtain to peek if anyone was still around.

Then someone came in and asked in Mandarin, “Anybody there?”  I said, “Yes, someone is here!” She said, “You can get up now.  Other people would be using the room.” OK!  She wasn’t rude, but she made me realized that I wasn’t supposed to be lying down anymore.  I was afraid to get up on my own and I was actually waiting for them to tell me to get up, just like how it was in Kato, where I had my first minimal stimulation IVF.  It turned out that isn’t how it works here in Taipei.

So I got dressed and left the room.  There was Christian, still on the same chair, waiting for me.  Thank God for my ever patient and supportive husband.  We talked briefly with the embryologist at the counter, and I said sorry that I didn’t know I was supposed to get up on my own.  She said no problem, the more rest, the better.

We went to the international desk to settle our bill.  It was almost 87000 NTD.  Went to the pharmacy to get my medication – Crinone for progesterone and Estradiol for estrogen – enough supply until my day to get a pregnancy test plus for 5 more days if the test turns out positive.  The extra days will give us time to buy more medicine.

We could see outside how strong the rain and winds were!  So after getting the medicines, we headed to the main lobby.  Passed by the injection room where I had many memorable injection moments hehe 🙂  Starting to get sentimental that this may be the last time we will pass this way again, at least for this trip.

We had to go out of the hospital lobby to hail a cab.  It was still a covered area for unloading and loading of passengers, but the winds were so strong that it was almost impossible not to get wet while waiting.  Good thing there was a huge column where we could hide.

It wasn’t long before we got a taxi that dropped off a passenger right in front of us.  We told the taxi driver where to go and he mumbled something that I didn’t understand.  The wind was so strong that it seemed to be whipping and rocking the taxi while we were waiting for the lights to turn red.  Small trees had fallen, and branches scattered here and there. Finally, we were home.

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That’s Mackay Memorial Hospital.

It was a stormy day when our little 4AA embryo was transferred.  He may be a boy or a girl actually.  But for the purposes of this blog, I will call her Zara.  Zara braved through her first storm on our way home and she made it.

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Memorable first lunch after my 4th (1st in Taipei) embryo transfer. My husband bought lunch at Family Mart just a few steps away from the apartment, came back with two orders of pasta and wraps, plus a broken umbrella.

Thank God for a successful embryo transfer day!  One step at a time.  Celebrating each milestone.  We’re far from the finish line!  But we have a faithful God who is with us no matter what happens.  As the song goes, “In the midst of the storm, through the wind and the wave, You’ll still be faithful.  Lord, You are faithful.”

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