When I first started this journey the eventual embryo transfer seemed like a mythical process that would happen at some undefined time in the future. I actually didn't think too much about it.
There was so much to get done first - the creating of the embryo's to begin with (which is a whole other story that deserves it's own post. Donor eggs were needed as the Intended Mum's ovaries had been removed along with her uterus to save her life - leading her to this position. The IPs, myself and the donor all met up and it was amazing to have three families coming together to create this muchly longed for baby), along with blood tests and fertility appointments and hours of counselling, visits to lawyers, more appointments, matching our schedule with that of the Intended Parents, signing the final legal documents and trying to get everything posted back to the clinic in a timely manner. This whole process took from February when we first met and had our initial appointment at the clinic until the end of June.
And cost the IPs a small fortune!
Then we were given the green light to start my cycle. Things were about to happen.
I was put on some estrogen tablets, slowly increasing the amount over the first few days following my period. Then I went into the clinic for a scan on day 12, and everything was looking good. I took home some CRAZY expensive progesterone gell dispensers that needed to be squirted up there twice a day, morning and night. At a cost of approx $230 a week. If the pregnancy took, these would need to be continued until 9 weeks along!
Day 17 was embryo transfer day. The IM flew down so she could be there with me. We sat in the waiting room, chatting constantly, just waiting for whatever needed to happen next. We had a scheduled time that came and went. We were told the Dr was running a bit behind. But the IM had a plane to catch back, and we were getting closer and closer to peak hour traffic! Finally a lab tech came to talk to us. She had photos of the embryo at first defrost, then a few hours later. You could actually see how it had changed and expanded. We were both mesmerised! Would this be the first baby photo!?
We were then ushered back into the waiting room - when I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be drinking water so I had a full bladder. I sculled a 600ml bottle of water in about 5mins. And went back to waiting. We were called in not long after that. I was convinced my bladder wouldn't be full enough - but I need not have worried!
They got me up on the very immodest chair/bed thing specifically designed for this kind of thing, with my pants off and my legs spread I had the Dr elbow deep with one probe inside and one on my belly, a nurse hovering around behind him, the IM to the side - all four of us having a chat about something innane.
We hovered like this for a while as the Dr had a look at my uterus. He likes to give 'pop quiz's' in the middle of appointments, and this was no different. He brings up the image of my uterus with a dark area in the centre of it and proceeds to ask us all what the dark spot means. I suggest fluid of some kind. He agreed, but wanted to know what kind of fluid. The nurse tentatively suggests blood? The Dr looks at me and asks if I've had any bleeding. I reassure him that I hadn't. By this stage I can feel the tension from the IM, which only worsens when he makes the comment that embryo transfers have been cancelled after discovering uterus's like this. I don't think the IM or myself breathe for a few seconds.
Then he proceeds to explain quite mater-of-factly that the fluid is just mucus. Which is actually really good. And gives us the garden analogy - 'you can't expect a garden to grow without moisture, it's the same for embryos'. We all start to breathe again. Including the nurse who is obvioulsy used to the Dr's quirky bedside manner, but still wasn't sure where he was going with this.
We're still in this position for a while longer. The Dr asks the IM to take over the belly ultrasound probe at one point. I'm not even sure why!? All of this awkwardness is starting to get uncomfortable. That bladder that wasn't full before is now full to the brim. I decide to ask if we can expect something to happen soon. The Dr laughs and explains that we're just waiting for the lab techs to bring in the embryo.
Finally the magical tube with the embryo nestled safely inside it arrives. It's inserted and we watch as the white substance is expelled into my uterus on the ultrasound screen. Two little white splotches. But we're reassured that there was only one embryo transferred.
Then it's all over and done with. As soon as that the probes are removed, I'm told I can stand up and go to the toilet (and again reassured that doing a wee won't knock the embryo out!). We go over what happens after this - I get given two blood test forms. One for day 28 to determine if there is any HCG floating around in my blood. And the second to re-test 3 days later to make sure the numbers are increasing appropriately (they like them to double). They explain that if the first result is negative, they'll book us another appointment to come back in and discuss the next cycle.
My IM and I take the elevator back to ground level, say a quick goodbye (as the taxi's are there waiting for us), then head off in our respective directions - me home to my family, and her off to the airport to make the much longer journey home to her family.
The whole afternoon is quite surreal. The taxi driver and I talk about the state of the city now and how there's just not the work for taxis any more. I want to grab him and say 'I've just been impregnanted with another persons baby'. But I sit there. And listen to him talk about his retirement and how he doesn't work the dreaded night-hours anymore.
I get home and my 4yr old hugs me and asks if I have a baby in my tummy now? (We've been very open and honest with her throughout this whole process, and my husband had told her I was seeing the Dr so he could put our friend's baby in my tummy). I had to laugh, and explain that he had, but that it wasn't a baby yet, it was just very very small. And we had to wait to see if it would decide to stay around and grow into a baby. I lay on the couch with her for a while and was reminded again of how blessed we'd been with our kids. Nothing like a surrogacy process to remind you of that!
Obviously we did get our positive HCG result. 360 for the one done at 28days, and nearly 2000 for the one done 3 days later. (But I cheated, and did a little home pregnancy test before hand!)
And so began the journey that is this surrogate pregnancy.