[Hazel joining in the fun as I get a blood draw to test hormone levels, day 11.]
Now that the embryos are on ice, waiting, we have a choice to make. Natural, or medicated?
You can’t just stick an embryo inside whenever you feel like it, willy-nilly. The timing has to be right. Right means when the body would normally be prepared to have an embryo implant itself into the uterine wall, which typically happens in the third week of a regular cycle.
There are two ways to create a “third week” of a regular cycle. One way is to pump yourself full of hormones with shots and override any natural signals, and the other way is to simply let your body do its thing and you will get a “third week” with every cycle.
The advantage of doing a medicated cycle is that you can tightly control the day you want the transfer to happen. That can be helpful when, for example, there’s a one in a million chance that a total solar eclipse is taking place nearby and you want to catch it.
The disadvantage is that it’s TEN weeks of shots, and these are intramuscular, oil-based shots. Read: uncomfortable, sore, and pain in the butt. I’m not sold.
With a natural cycle, you let your body’s hormones do their thing, and when your blood tests reveal that leutenizing hormone is at the right level, you give yourself ONE shot, wait 6 days, and get the embryo put inside.
The advantage here is simplicity; the disadvantage is no control, so you have to flex to what your body tells you it’s time to do, eclipse or not.
The success rates differ by only 2% – medicated has a 60% success rate and natural has a 58% success rate. The doctor attributtes this to chance – one has to be higher than the other; to have the results be the exact same would be improbable.
I chose natural. I just wasn’t up for 10 weeks of shots. No thank you!
In order to pin point my body’s timing, I had a day 3 ultrasound (everything looked normal), a day 11 ultrasound (same) and then I added morning ovulation tests – peeing on a stick – it looks much like a pregnancy test but senses estradiol and leutenizing hormone instead. Today I got the solid (not blinking!) smiley face, which meant I went back in for one final ultrasound and blood draw.
On the screen was a nice round, ripe egg that will travel down the chute tomorrow, and we just have to let it go. If we attempted to put it to use the old-fashioned way, there would be a risk of twins. You don’t swing when it’s 0-3 in the count, no matter how nice the pitch is.