My IVF Journey

March 11 2020 – My period came, and I was literally dancing and singing because we could finally start IVF treatments. I would’ve liked the TCM to have worked though, but it didn’t pan out so never mind.

The iNjections

March 13 2020 – We headed down to the clinic bright and early – IVF appointments are always super early in the morning, and learned how to inject myself, did all the necessary tests and then we headed home.

Over the next few days I continued to inject myself, with Gonal-F and Orgalutran as per the schedule that they gave. The first hurts for about half an hour after injection, and the second makes me tired and sleepy. I also had to return to KKH regularly to check the size of my follicles, of which there were nine and were growing well. To complement my treatment, I also went for acupuncture, which was quite a relaxing time actually, and helped ease some aches and pains.

EGG retrieval

On 25 March, 12.30am, I injected myself with the trigger injection, and then we headed down to the clinic for embryo transfer on 26 March. They brought me into the clinic, where they drew my blood and inserted the needle for the IV drip (which I still hate). After that I watched Tom Cruise in Minority Report and Powerpuff Girls until they called me in. They checked to ensure I was not allergic to any medicines and then they put me under with general anaesthesia.

I woke up groggy in the recovery room, and immediately asked for food and water since I hadn’t eaten anything since the evening before. They plied me with water, biscuits and Milo and I had to wait the requisite time before they let me go. Apparently, I was supposed to use that time to sleep, but I couldn’t. Once they ensured I had peed, I left to meet my husband. I also somehow messed up locking the locker where my clothes were and couldn’t get it to open, so they had to get the master key.

The results? They had extracted four eggs from the nine follicles, and would fertilise them with my husband’s sperm and see how the embryos would grow. I have to say I was disappointed with the results as I had read that many others had great results with plenty of eggs, and I only had four. However, this worked out well in my favour since this meant that I wouldn’t be taking too many “lives” – since an embryo is considered a living thing.

Embryo Transfer

By now Covid-19 was in full swing, and we had to regularly declare ourselves safe via the declaration form at KKH. For the embryo transfer, which took place on 31 March, my husband was allowed in the operating theatre with me. Of the four embryos, one didn’t stand a chance and the other three were growing. They chose the best one which had developed the most and inserted it into me via a needle after administering a local anaesthetic. I teared up when this tiny little dot was placed inside my uterus.

Two Week Wait

During this time, I generally kept myself warm by wearing socks around the house, and ate the TCM-approved diet for the duration. Also, I wore a jacket to keep warm. Some suggestions for TWW also included eating pineapples, and eating McDonald’s fries on the transfer day, both of which I did not follow. I just kept praying for a positive outcome, and also just behaved as if I was already pregnant.

Results

I went down for a blood test on 14 April to test my HCG levels to see if I was actually pregnant. I resisted the impulse to test beforehand, which is not really easy when you’re soooo curious to know. We then headed home to wait for the call from KKH, since we couldn’t really loiter around outside, thanks Circuit Breaker. The actual call came while I was in the toilet, and I called for my husband to join me. The nurse who called me congratulated me for being pregnant, however, the numbers were a little low. I headed back down to KKH and got dydrogesterone to help my pregnancy.

One thing to know is that the nurses have varying reactions to these numbers, such as telling me I was tentatively pregnant. The pharmacists also do NOT have your medical history and so WILL ask you questions like “Are you taking this to restart your menses?”, which sounds like the most insensitive thing to already fraught nerves. I had to return two days later to see the HCG numbers, and thankfully, it tripled to about 400 plus, which means I was officially pregnant.

Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash