Tomorrow is the 313th day in our IVF & gestational surrogacy journey.
That’s 10 months and 9 days.
More than 7500 hours.
And over 27 million seconds.
It is also the day our frozen embryo transfer is scheduled to take place.
We’ve spent the last six (very) long weeks waiting for this day to come. I knew getting through them would not be easy, but I didn’t know that they would be quite so painful or that I would be left feeling so inessential.
The time leading up to our first embryo transfer felt entirely different. In a way, our transfer day seemed to appear out of nowhere. Throughout the many weeks prior we had been completely focused on properly injecting medications and monitoring my egg follicles. After the retrieval I spent my time anxiously waiting for the daily updates on our newly formed embryos and developing last minute travel plans with Elle. There was no time to dwell on anything else, and so reaching transfer day came as almost a shock. That morning, between the devastating news that our embryos were unexpectedly failing to grow and the rather bizarre concept of hoping that someone you’ve known for 4 months becomes pregnant with your child, I felt as thought I was trapped in an emotional whirlwind.
But, in the month and a half since the news of that transfer failing and the initial planning of a second one, there has been nothing but time. For me, there have been no injections. There have been no appointments. My blood hasn’t even been taken once. My job was finished on March 6 with the egg retrieval, and I have had no part in this cycle. Instead, the various details have been solely up to Elle. She is the only one doing injections and going to appointments because her body will be the one to receive the embryo– not mine.
Clearly, that is the point when you need some extra help to have a family. I’ve been aware this would happen for a while now; it has been almost 2 years since my doctor confirmed that getting pregnant would be dangerous for both me and the child. I had imagined that passing off this privilege to someone else would hurt, but there has been no way to truly know how it would feel. I had not processed that an FET (frozen embryo transfer) would give me a glimpse into that pain.
I am so grateful for Elle that there aren’t even words. She has been the best thing to come out of this past year, and I appreciate her even more for being so understanding of my every thought and feeling during this time. But it still hurts to feel as though I am a bystander in this process. Being viewed as little more than an egg donor from a medical standpoint is an awful feeling. I desperately wish I could be the one getting the transfer tomorrow, but that is not possible. The finality of the situation has hit me very hard these weeks.
This evening we drove back to the now-familiar hotel close to our fertility clinic. Elle and, her husband, Dave are catching a late flight and will meet us here within a few hours. Tomorrow we are scheduled for a transfer at 2pm, which is much later in the day than we had hoped. Our embryo will start the thawing process about half an hour before we get there, but we won’t know until after we arrive whether it has survived the thaw. We may get there just to find that we are some of the unlucky ones who spend thousands of dollars to get to the transfer day only to have nothing to transfer. All day today I have felt sick at the thought of it. I don’t expect to get any sleep tonight. Tomorrow we’ll be stuck waiting anxiously until well into the afternoon. Maybe we will get to go through with the transfer or maybe we’ll all be sent home again. Either way it’s completely out of our control.
Right now all I want to do is hold a photo of our embryo and know that it has a fighting chance at becoming the child we’ve been dreaming of for so long.