It’s perfect timing. My period decides to come early for once and our clinic appointment is suddenly scheduled right before Freya’s birthday. That means we can combine going over to London for the frozen embryo transfer with celebrating Freya’s birthday there with her grandparents, who we hadn’t seen in person in nearly two years! It feels like it was meant to be.
When the day finally arrives, it’s a bright sunny morning in London exactly like when we transferred the embryo that would become Freya. That must be another sign, right? Despite the beautiful weather though, I am feeling exhausted and stressed. I barely slept the night before, our trip to London has been hard with an overstimulated toddler in tow, and I end up snapping at Jo enough to make her tear up (sorry my love!).
We eat breakfast in a café nearby because I wanted to be in the area well on time. I go into St. Paul’s cathedral for a quick prayer like we did last time, while Jo stays outside with Freya. They both walk me to the clinic’s doors, and… that’s it.
Because of Covid, I have to go in alone. I think my irritability that morning was about that, too. It’s not the same, it was never going to be the same, but if there’s ever a moment where you want your partner with you, it’s at the conception of your child!
Yes, I have done this once before back in early 2019, but it was a different world. Back then Jo and I went in together, excited, giggling. Donning the gown and hairnets felt like playing dress-up. We took pictures and laughed together, just full of love and giddiness at having made it here.
I am excited this time around as well, I genuinely am, but in a much quieter way. I have to fill out a covid questionnaire before I’m even allowed inside. I have to disinfect my hands, take off my clothes and wear a gown. The nurse finds me the biggest hairnet they can find and instructs me to put little plastic covers over my feet.
I have to wait over half an hour for the embryologist. I’m in a tiny treatment room, sitting on a bed. My phone has no reception down there, so I sit looking at old videos of Freya on my phone, trying to get into that baby spirit.
When she does arrive though, it’s with good news. Our day three embryo, the one that was frozen first way back in 2018 and we affectionately nicknamed ‘Ice Ice Baby’, has survived the thaw and continued to grow. It is now classed as a 3aa, the best possible embryo quality (better than Freya’s embryo was back in the day even!), so that’s brilliant news.
Soon after that I am called into the treatment room and instructed by a nurse to lie down on their scary table-with-skiboots set up that I remember well from last time. The nurse confirms with a sonogram that my bladder is full like they wanted it to be, then velcroes my feet into the boots, raises the table, and aims a blinding light between my legs. I knew what to expect, but it’s still very awkward.
I nervously chat with the doctor and the nurse, anything to make the uncomfortable minutes until they bring out the embryo go by.
I wish I was holding Jo’s hand.
The transfer with Freya was extremely painful, so I am consciously trying to relax this time, slowly breathing in and out for when the pain arrives. It never does though, this time it’s just mildly sore, not the terrible searing pain I remember. I get to watch the white ‘whoosh’ on the sonogram screen as the embryo is jetted into my uterus while the doctor wishes me a ‘good luck’ that sounds genuine.
And that’s it, transfer done.
I’m ushered up and told to go pee. As before, it feels very anticlimactic. That’s it? I’m pregnant now?! (Technically at least) As I sit up and leave the table I worry a little about whether the embryo might somehow fall while as I’m walking. I know it won’t, but it’s still a weird impulse to move as if I’ve got a super precious marble lodged up in there.
The embryologist comes by one last time to hand me a printout picture of our Ice Ice Baby. It’s a round, beautifully symmetrical embryo. I give them a mental welcome. Hello sweetheart, nice to have you back with me. Do you want to stay and grow?
I meet Jo and Freya outside again, we find ourselves some traditional post-transfer McDonald’s fries, and then the day goes on. We have waited so long for this and now it’s here it’s hard to believe that it’s real, for both of us.
Now it’s up to the embryo…