This is Part 13 of the IVF Diary series. I’ll be keeping a diary of all important IVF days, starting from when we first chose to undergo infertility treatment in Prague. Click here to read all other IVF diary posts.
It’s been 10 days since our little embryo was transferred and it’s time to update you on how things have been going.
Going back home
There aren’t any contraindications to flying after an embryo transfer so we booked our flights for the day after. The great part about flying after transfer is that you have an excellent excuse not to do any of the suitcase lifting.
Doing the dishes and laundry also requires quite a bit of lifting so, unfortunately, that’s out as well. Oh and I think I also read somewhere that window seats are generally reserved for those who just got an embryo transferred. Or at least, that’s what I made Mr. Frugalcrib believe!
The flight itself was fine, albeit very long. Why is Florida so far south?! Don’t answer that as I know the answer to that just by enjoying the 80-degree (27 Celsius) weather in December while writing this post in our sunny backyard.
Swiss Air decided to add some excitement to the flight by continuously showing us where the Titanic sunk on the map. Djeezz… what’s next? Adding the Bermuda Triangle to it as well? Oh wait… maybe that’s exactly what they added right there on the left in French 😉 Anyway, despite all the potential misfortunes, we made it to the sunshine state just fine!
I can’t even begin to describe how happy I was being back home. It’s not that we didn’t have fun in Prague, but there’s just something inherently comfortable about sleeping in your own bed after being away for so long.
It didn’t take long before I could walk like my normal self again. No more grannies passing me by, glaring at me as I walked 0.01 mph. Nope! I was knocking them down left and right making my way through the grocery store. Yes, yes I kid. I respect my elders. But it really did take a whole week before I started feeling better after egg retrieval.
I was still carrying around lots of fluids (probably in my ovaries) and continued to look very pregnant at least until 10 days after retrieval. It’s slowly subsiding and I finally feel like myself again.
When to Start Testing
Generally, clinics will tell you to test 10 to 14 days after embryo transfer. While that’s great advice for your average IVF patient, it’s not going to work for the impatient ones.
Implantation of a Day 5 embryo happens between 1 and 5 days after transfer, which means 6-10 days after egg retrieval. It shouldn’t take long after implantation for the placenta to start pumping out tiny amounts of hCG.
This hormone, hCG, is what you’re testing when you take a pregnancy test. And it’s the “beta” part of the hormone that is tested when you do a blood test to determine if you’re pregnant (that’s why it’s often referred to as doing your “beta”).
One of the most important characteristics of hCG is that it doubles approximately every 48-72 hours. The doubling part is crucial. If your hCG levels aren’t increasing by at least 35% every few days, it’s an early sign of a non-viable pregnancy.
So, when to start testing? First of all, it’s absolutely necessary to make sure you’re not picking up leftover hCG levels of (for example) your trigger shot. Some women are also prescribed hCG after embryo transfer, and if you’re one of them… don’t bother testing until you know it’s out of your system. This can take up to 10 days, depending on your dose. I’ll write more about that in another post as I feel it’s too important not to mention in closer detail.
Everyone handles the two-week wait differently. Some want to wait until the very last moment before they test, others start testing the day after transfer. Do what makes you comfortable.
Pregnancy Test Results
For me, testing as soon as it made sense to start testing felt best, which was about 5 days past transfer. An early implanting embryo could be picked up (so yay in case of a positive), but it could still be too early for a late implanting embryo (so no need to break down in tears by seeing a negative pregnancy test).
I have more than 100 pregnancy tests. No kidding. They all came free with the ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) I had ordered over the past year. Yes, they’re the cheap kind that are generally referred to as “internet cheapies”. That being said, those cheapies are very sensitive and should be able to pick up hCG levels at the 10 mIU level.
Up until this point, I’d only used a handful of them so I felt fine testing multiple times a day starting at Day 5. Unfortunately, all of them showed only one single line. You want there to be two. It didn’t matter how long I stared at those tests, how much I scrutinized the little sticks, there was still only one line.
After Day 8, I knew I wasn’t pregnant. It could technically still be a very late implanting embryo with low hCG. Or maybe my cheapo pregnancy tests were somehow faulty. Deep down, I knew it was over. A late appearing faint line would not bode well for the viability of the pregnancy anyway, so I wasn’t too sad when nothing showed up at Day 9 or 10 either.
I confirmed it today by getting my hCG-beta blood test done. It came back <1, which means that I’m really not pregnant and can stop taking the progesterone that I’d been using since egg retrieval.
So on Day 8, we told our parents and the people who knew we did IVF that it wasn’t happening this cycle. This really, really sucks! Even though we were well aware that the chance of being pregnant was smaller than the chance of needing to try again, we were still sad about it. I even cried a little. But after that was done and over with, I kinda felt better. It felt good to talk about it.
We still have 4 good looking blastocysts in the freezer in Prague that deserve a shot at becoming our first born.
We’ll probably go back to Prague in a month or two. The visit shouldn’t take more than a couple of days since all that needs to be done is the transfer of an embryo. That’s the great thing about a frozen cycle. The hard parts are already over with. No need to inject yourself with hormones to grow follicles, no egg retrieval, no anesthesia, and no need for lots of ultrasounds either.
And most importantly… who wouldn’t like to read a Part II of this IVF Diary? It would kinda be a shame if it ended just like that, right? I mean, who else will tell you all about the Tales of the Frozen Embryo Transfer? Yup, all for our loyal followers 😉
Anyway, I’ve decided to create a separate mailing list! You can add your email address below and you’ll be notified whenever I write posts specifically about infertility or IVF (and if you want to get notified of any new posts, add your email address to the box in the side-bar on your right!).
Click here to read what happened next.