I am here to pick up my boy.

That’s what I said to myself, and to John yesterday when we walked into the clinic. I have set my mind to it. And scared that my mind may not be the one who decides.

But here we are, at long last.

I have heard so many times that the transfer is “so simple,” that I had really expected to be in and out in 15 minutes. You walk in, they put it inside, you walk out.

By comparison, it was indeed much much easier than the retrieval process. But there was more to it.

First off, we arrived about 2 hours early. Portland has nutty traffic, and there is no benefit to being late. There was little to do at our AirBnb, and little point in risking it.

With each receptionist and nurse we checked in with, “Wow, you’re really early!” was the reply. These are not words I often hear in my life, but today I thought, “Hells yeah I’m early!”

They want you to arrive with a full bladder, which includes instructions to begin drinking a liter of water beginning one hour beforehand.  That sounded like a lot of water to me, but I followed their instructions. Before long, I was begging to offload some extra. I got permission to jettison 6oz.

Soon we were brought to our recovery room, where I would be receiving acupuncture. This whole acupuncture thing has been a bit of a question mark for me – studies are inconclusive about whether or not it improves success rates. One study shows it does, while the others are neutral. Nurses say it helps us to relax. I wonder why, after 50+ needle jabs, I would say Yes Please! to more needles.

The choice is not clear, so I say Yes, wonder why for a moment, and then let it go.

Turns out it’s pretty relaxing. But maybe that was the Valium pill they gave me.

Waiting in my room… John gets to suit up too.

I get wheeled down the hall on my bed-table, into the room where they do the transfer. Through the window is where the embryos are stored – you can barely make out one of the freezers there in the window. I want to ask for 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream in a sugar cone but…

The screen on the wall displays a picture of our embryo – hatching. Hatching!!! “Just like a chick hatches?” I ask the embryologist. “Yep, pretty much!” If you look carefully, you can see a thin layer of cells surrounding the lower half of the embryo – that is the layer that the fetus and the yolk sac hatch out of. It’s a bit murky to me, but the bottom line is that the embryo – which is about the size of a .period. on this page – ¬†hatches just like a chick does.

Here is a short (36MB) video of the embryologist and nurse explaining:


They check the embryo dish against the name and birthdate on my wristband to make sure they are giving me my own embryo and not someone else’s.

To my left, the nurse begins an ultrasound on my belly, which displays on the screen next to her. The doctor asks if I am comfortable with my bladder so full. I tell him I have to pee, but it’s tolerable. He tells me to go drop another 6oz. I climb off the table, head to the restroom, and climb back on the table.

The screen allows Dr Hesla to see where he is placing things. All I can feel is thin tubes going in and out – he is laying conduit. The nurse’s arm is obstructing my view, and I decide not to ask her to move it. Her doing her job well is more important than my desire to witness.

At some point I see the embryologist come through the door with a 2mL syringe with a long (John said it was 18″ long!) thin bright orange tube attached. I gather that the embryo is in the syringe. It was a speck of a moment, but it was wild and wooly. The thin tube goes into the conduit, to the top of the uterus, and then the embryo is slowly plunged up along the path.

All the hardware comes out, and Dr Hesla reports that everything went great, the embryo looked really good, and now it’s time to relax.

They wheel me back to my room, where I get more acupuncture, and hang out for about an hour before we are discharged.


Next is 36 hours of bed rest, drive home the following day, and then a pregnancy test in 9 days. Cross all your fingers and toes!

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