The silver lining of IVF

A baby?  Yes, I suppose a baby would be the ultimate positive spin and happy ending for enduring an IVF cycle.  But, my favorite IVF moment (and, yes, there is such a thing)?  Embryo transfer day.

I was a mess of emotions on the morning of transfer day.  Fearful they’d cancel our cycle at the last minute due to the ovarian hyperstimulation they had warned me about.  Doubtful that any embryos had matured enough by Day 5, since none were ready on Day 3.  Scared to death that it just wouldn’t work.  Thrilled that the day was here at last.

Fortunately, I was quickly reassured when we got into the doctor’s office and into the prep/recovery room—the transfer was still on-schedule, no fear of hyperstimulation.  And one, beautiful, multi-celled embryo had matured enough by that day to be transferred.  Only one out of the fourteen that had been fertilized, but no matter.  This one was it; this one was meant to be our baby.  We were rewarded with the most amazing photo of our embryo, taken that morning when they checked for maturation.  In the photo, we could see the mass of cells that would become a baby, and the ring around it that would become the placenta.  My husband and I were blown away by this photograph.  I don’t think I could adequately explain the awe we felt looking at the picture.  Our first baby photo!  So few people get to see a photo of their child at this stage—we felt pretty special, and like very, very proud parents.  Our silver lining.

Not long after receiving that amazing photograph, I was prepped and ready for the transfer.  I was positive my husband could be in the procedure room for this one; he couldn’t be in the room the week before for the egg retrieval because it was considered a surgical procedure.  But, surely he could be there for the transfer, it was just a catheter, for pete’s sake!

Unfortunately, we were wrong.  I felt really sad for my husband and for myself when they told him it was time to go wait in the waiting room while I went in for the transfer.  I mean, hello, every other man gets to be a part of the process while his wife is hopefully getting knocked up.  I felt alone, with only a nurse I didn’t know by my side to talk me through the procedure.

But you know what?  The transfer ended up being my favorite moment of the whole IVF process.  Not that the injections and my swollen ovaries were vying for that number one spot, but you know what I’m trying to say.  That moment made it all worth it.  I was upset still that my husband couldn’t be in the room during the transfer but, at the same time, it also became a sort of bonding moment between me and the little embryo I had already come to love after seeing that photo a few minutes earlier, as silly as that may sound.

I watched through the ultrasound monitor as they inserted the catheter that held the embryo into my uterus, looking for that perfect spot they had sought out a few weeks earlier during our mock transfer.  When they found it, I watched the catheter pull away, leaving behind the little white dot that was the embryo.  I literally got to watch myself hopefully get pregnant, another part of the baby-making process not many others get to experience.  My very own silver lining.  Whatever the outcome of the IVF cycle, my husband and I would have some special moments during that transfer day to give us hope that a baby was a closer and closer reality.

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