Sunday, December 1, 2013

Transfer Day 11/20/13 (Delayed Post)

I apologize again for my much belated post about our transfer day.  Anyway, here is how the day went.

We arrived at Knoxville on Tuesday night, the night before on scheduled transfer on Wednesday, November 20th.  We were told to make sure we have our phones handy just in case our transfer times got changed, but we didn't get a call from NEDC so we were a go for our scheduled 11:45 am transfer.

We slept in a little, did my morning PIO shot and had breakfast at hotel.  Then at 10:45 I took my medication for the transfer: a Va.lium, 3 Tyle.nols, and one Albu.terol tablet.  I started downing bottles of water, but realized later, it was too late.

The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), also known as the Southeastern Fertility Center

We arrived at NEDC (also known at the Southeastern Fertility Center) at 11:15 am as scheduled.  We checked in at the front desk.  Then we were shown into the recovery area where we met Katie the IVF nurse, and another nurse, I think her name was Julie.  I was told to undress below the waist, and to put on a gown, and a cap.  Then Dr. Keenan and Carol, the embryologist came and met with us.  Dr. Keenan chatted with  us a little and even drew a couple of half moons on my butt because I was telling him how sore my butt was from the PIO shots, and he wanted to make sure were were hitting the right spots.

Carol then told me that they thawed all three of the embryos from our first donor family.  Out of the three, 2 survived the thaw.  They were both "excellent quality" embryos, as per Carol.  Below is a photo of our embryos.  The one on the left was graded 6AA and had completely hatched.  The one on the right was graded at 4AA.  I did a bit of research on embryo grading.  It looks like different clinics may use different grading systems.  The one I found closest to what NEDC uses can be found here.  

Pretty much, embryos are assigned 3 separate quality scores - a number and two letters.
  1. The blastocyst development stage - expansion and hatching status; with a rating of 1 - 6
  2. The inner cell mass (ICM) score or quality; with a rating of A-C
  3. The Trophectoderm (TE) score or quality; with a rating of A-C
So this means that the embryo on the left, my 6AA, has completely hatched out of it shell (6), has many cells that are tightly packed (A), and has many cells, forming a cohesive layer (A).

The embryo on the right, the 4AA, is an expanded blastocyst, cavity larger than the embryo, with thinning of the shell (4), has many cells that are tightly packed (A), and has many cells, forming a cohesive layer (A).

*I am paraphrasing the info found on this website 

In other words, they were excellent embryos!  I was so relieved to find out that we had 2 excellent embryos to transfer.  Carol shared with me a photo of our babies.  Aren't they beautiful?  I was so happy to finally meet them!  

Two "excellent" embryos, graded 6AA on the left, and 4AA on the right
We went over some paperwork, and I was off to my transfer.  I was wheeled into the procedure room.  I was a little surprised that Babe was not allowed in the procedure room, unlike my other IVFs.

By now, my the Va.lium has kicked and and I was starting to get a little loopy.  Dr. Keenan asked how my bladder felt and I told him, probably not full enough.  He said he would just have to fill it.  I asked Katie if they get a lot of people coming in with bladders that are not full, and she said more than they'd like.  I had to climb onto the table and put my legs in the stirrups.  Then came the speculum (my least favorite part), and he proceeded to clean what I assume is the entrance to my bladder.  I was not prepared for how much that solution stung.  Then he inserted the catheter into my bladder and filled it.  I could definitely feel that it was full, but not uncomfortable.  The then proceeded to clean the cervix with the stinging solution again.  That was the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure.

Katie put the ultrasound wand on my lower belly and I was able to see what Dr. Keenan was seeing on a large TV screen.  The large dark blob on the top of the screen was my bladder.  He showed me that the middle part below the bladder where the "+" was was my uterus, and to the left of it was the cervix, and then to the left of it was my vagina.

He then inserted a catheter into my cervix and into my uterus.  It was a test transfer, with no embryos in the catheter, but it was cool to see how it would be done.  Then when he was ready, Carol passed the embryos to Dr. Keenan through a window in the wall, and they asked me my name and my birthday again, and also if I knew how many embryos were being transferred.  I said two!

Katie asked if I was ready and I said yes.  I started getting emotional and started tearing up.  I apologized and told her I was getting emotional, and she said no worries.  Dr. Keenan inserted that catheter with my babies into my uterus and he told me to watch for the flash of white light as that's when the embryos would be transferred.  

There was the flash of white light!  The babies were in me.  He removed the catheter and gave it to Carol to make sure there were no embryos left over in the catheter.  And then we were done!  Below is a photo of the transfer.  The two white spots under the "+" sign is where the embryos were placed.  And I hope they had a chance to snuggle in nicely.

2 embryos (white) transferred into my uterus, right below the "+" sign on the screen.
I rested for a short while in in the procedure room.  I was trying to savor the feeling of having 2 babies in me.  Before long I climbed back onto the bed and was wheeled back into the recovery room where Babe was waiting for me.  The foot of the bed was raised while I laid there to rest.  Babe and I chatted for a while.  It was kind of a weird feeling because we could tell there was another couple next to us, but they were being so quiet.  I was thinking it would have been great if I could have met up with some of the other embryo adoption mamas from the group in the recovery room right after our transfers.  After a while, the nurse went over our post transfer instructions and advised me not to cheat with a home pregnancy test.  I was then allowed to use the bathroom to empty my bladder.  When I came back, Dr. Keenan and Babe were chatting, talking about work related stuff which I thought was pretty cool.  I changed back to my normal clothes and we were pretty much done.  We were able to catch a photo with Dr. Keenan before we left the clinic.

We went to a barbecue place called "Sonny's" for lunch to celebrate our transfer day.  The we went back to the hotel to rest.  I was trying to answer texts from friends and family, but the Va.lium was taking a toll on me.  I was so tired I slept for 4 hours straight.   When I woke up, we went to a restaurant recommended by a friend called The Chop House for dinner.  I ordered my favorite, lamb chops and a virgin pina colada to celebrate.  We were excited and a little giddy that we were PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise).  Babe and I joked about how I just got knocked up by another man!

We went back to the hotel and went to bed early.  The next morning, we left and started our 14 hour drive back to MN.  The nurse advised us that we needed to stop every 2 hours to walk around.  It was a long ride and we stopped and spent a night in Madison, WI.

So that's how my transfer went.   Tomorrow (Monday) morning, I will have my beta at 10:30 am.  The local clinic will fax the results to NEDC, and I will get a call from NEDC with the results sometime tomorrow afternoon.  I will find out after waiting for almost 10 years, if we will finally be parents.

Though I have had no desire to do a home pregnancy test, I am a little nervous now.  Prayers appreciated!


  1. I'm thinking and praying for you this morning!! I hope, hope, hope this is your BFP and ends with healthy babies (or baby). :-)

  2. Prayers definitely going up for you and your babies. Definitely keep us posted on what you hear!!!

  3. Now that's a full bladder... lol!

    Thinking of you this morning, and praying like mad for a positive beta! I'll be stalking all day, waiting to hear the good news!

  4. Great story! I can't wait to see your BFP soon. Whoo hoo!

  5. Tears as I read this. It sounds like you really savored the experience. My thoughts and prayers are with you constantly!

  6. what a beautiful experience, my thoughts are with you(((((((hugs)))))))

  7. You couldn't be in better hands.

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