It was the night before our transfer, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…who am I kidding! I couldn’t relax, rest, and much less sleep. My nerves, anxiety, fears, hopes and dreams were consuming every ounce of my being. I popped out of bed the next morning like a Jack in the Box, and hurried downstairs to fill the five hours of time before our appointment. I knew I had to stay busy. I knew at any moment I could let the tears flow like water; I could break down and allow all of the pain from injections, needles and medication to rush in; I could allow the frustration and hormone imbalances take over. I could break down about everything. Everything we had been through, and about how hard we had worked to reach this point. I could allow myself to go to the place in my heart and my mind to emotionally process that today is the day we would finally bring our babies home. But I wouldn’t allow myself to do any of those things. I would stay occupied, and push all of those feelings away.
I began my morning by making a breakfast casserole for my husband and I. It is a simple recipe, but one that would take up an hour of my morning. Once I had the casserole prepared and in the oven, I cleaned, cleaned some more, and cleaned even more. Rick came downstairs shortly after I put the casserole in the oven. He kissed my forehead and made a cup of coffee. I began buzzing around the house like a cleaning fairy, making every surface I crossed sparkle and shine. Rick sat in our living room on one of our grey leather chairs, where he often sat to answer emails and take work calls on Saturday mornings. I was mopping the floors, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms and dusting, when Rick finally said, “baby, why don’t you come sit down and relax for a bit?” I was about to tell him that I needed to stay busy, but he caught me before I could respond, and he said, “are you trying to stay busy and keep your mind off of today?” I nodded my head, yes, and he said, “okay”. I was so thankful that I didn’t need to say anything more.
We showered and got ready to head to the doctors office. We were told not to wear any scented perfume or lotion, because the embryos are so sensitive during the transfer. Rick decided that he was also not going to wear deodorant, just in case. I giggled, but appreciated the fact that he was taking things as serious as I was. With so little to do to get ready (no makeup, lotion, or hair product) we were all set to go in about 30 minutes. We left a bit early, because we didn’t want to chance being late.
My anxiety really peaked in the car when we pulled out of our neighborhood. Rick had the music up really loud and was nervously tapping his fingers on the center console and the steering wheel, not even to the beat of the music really. I told him I really needed the anxiousness to come down, and I changed the music to Sade. If you aren’t familiar with Sade, please do yourself a favor and discover her. Anyway, I was also told to take a Valium, which was prescribed to me by our doctor, one hour before the transfer. I prayed it would bring me down a couple of notches.
We arrived at the doctors office and went inside. We checked in, received our patient wrist bands, and looked for a seat in the waiting room. It was very full that day, and I assumed there must have been an IVF class scheduled for that day. It was refreshing to think that we had been in that same waiting room months ago to take our class, and here we were for our transfer, such a short time later. Fifteen minutes went by, and the embryologist finally called our names. We jumped up and followed her back to the same secluded area where our egg retrieval took place. We were led to a suite, and I was given a gown that was to open in the back, and Rick received a yellow scrub outfit and a cap to cover his hair and feet. Rick wore flip flops that day, so the covers for his feet ended up looking like ninja boots.
Our nurse came in to our room moments later and showed us a photograph of the embryos that were being transferred in a few short minutes. The photo was in a little card board frame, and she flipped it open to show us. There they were. My little boy, and my little girl, who were going to be with me again. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, because our babies were finally going home with us. The tears began to well up in my eyes, and the emotions I had been pushing away all morning began creeping in. The nurse looked at Rick and I, and she began to get emotional herself. She told us she was going to take us across the hall to the transfer room, and I pulled the emotions back in again.
We walked into the same room that my egg retrieval had taken place, and another nurse came in to make sure my bladder was full. She pulled the sheet down that I had covering me, and low and behold, I still had my underwear on! She had to step out while I took them off and gave them to Rick. I guess that Valium really had kicked in! She came back in and I was of course too full with water, again. I emptied my bladder by 3/4 of a cup. I went back in and we were greeted by Dr. Greene who said, “Hey! Are you ready to get pregnant?!” I said, “Absolutely! I’m ready for it twice!” Dr. Greene laughed and said I was right.
The procedure started. I was told to look up at the screen and verify the data from our tube. My name, date, and a bar-code appeared on the screen. Rick and I both verified the information, and we held hands tightly. The embryologist then used a pipette to pull the microscopic embryos out of the dish they were resting in, and brought them to Dr. Greene. We then moved our attention to the sonogram screen to the right of my head. We were told that we would be able to see the transfer of fluid into my uterus on the screen, but not the embryos since they were only the size of a period at the end of a sentence on a piece of paper.
Dr. Greene looked at Rick and I and said, “you are now pregnant, Amber! Unless I tell you otherwise.” Rick and I were both completely overcome with emotion in that moment. We had waited so long to hear these words. Rick had tears in his eyes and he kept stroking my hair. My eyes were locked closed, as I tried to quietly process the waves of emotions that hit me one by one.
- First wave: We’ve waited so long to hear those words
- Second wave: We have worked so hard
- Third wave: Our babies are finally with me
- Fourth wave: We were finally going to have the family we have prayed so hard for
- Fifth wave: My husband is amazing
With each stroke of my hair, I could feel Rick’s emotions. It was very rare to see visual signs of emotion from my husband. He is hopelessly optimistic, never focused on the negative, always sees the good, sees no reason for worry our doubt, and tears are just not necessary. His emotion in that moment, and tear filled eyes were signs of excitement, pride and love, not only for me, but for our babies and our growing family. The way he looked at me in those moments reminded me of our wedding day. Every fiber of my being was consumed by love and adoration for him. It was a feeling of contentment, knowing that God has truly given you the greatest gift; the gift of one another. This was the second most precious moment of my life. First, my wedding day, and then the moment I became pregnant with our babies.
We took five days to live in the slow lane and allow our little embryos to implant, but then I was back to work, and back to the adventures of waiting on IVF. We had two weeks to wait on taking our pregnancy test, which according to the calendar, would fall on Thanksgiving day. This was either going to be the best holiday we’ve ever had, or the most difficult. Something in me was content and at peace. I was pregnant, and we were a family already.