My fourth embryo transfer worked

My Fourth Embryo Transfer Finally Worked

4 min read

“Because this was my fourth transfer, we were in let’s do anything and everything, mode.” Bird&Be's Breanna Hughes has had four embryo transfers, so she’s well-versed in transfer protocol and answers your embryo transfer FAQs.

Name: Breanna Hughes
Role: Co-founder and COO at Bird&Be
TTC since: 2016 (baby Hayes born 2022)
Diagnosis: PCOS
Bird&Be product: The Power Prenatal for Females with CoQ10 Boost 
History: Additional diagnosis of a thin endometrium lining. Two miscarriages, three IVF retrievals, four embryo transfers, two failed transfers, one chemical pregnancy and one successful IVF transfer resulting in baby Hayes.
Best piece of advice: You never know if your fertility journey is going to be a sprint or a marathon. Find something or someone that helps you build resilience and stamina in case it turns out to be a marathon.

How did you prepare for your embryo transfer?

Because this was my fourth transfer, we were in let’s do anything and everything, mode. The month before I had done the Endometrio series of tests, including an ERA. This test indicated that I would need an additional 12 hours of progesterone, which I took via a combination of PIO (progesterone in oil) shots and suppositories. My clinic also recommended an immune-dampening protocol which was taking CPP (Claritin, Prednisone and Pepcid AC). I wore estrogen patches that ramped up towards my transfer date. (I was happy to wear the patches as it prevented “Smurf discharge” (IYKYK) from the estrace blue pills.)
I took Bird&Be The Power Prenatal for Females and added on L-Arginine which I took separately. I also added some traditional superstitions (that don’t necessarily have scientific evidence but don’t hurt), like pomegranate juice, pineapple core, and castor oil packs.
I have what is considered a thin endometrial lining—I never get thicker than 6.5 millimetres. This was extremely discouraging as clinics typically look for thicker than eight milimetres before a transfer, but—spoiler alert—it ended up working! 

What did you do the night before and the morning of your embryo transfer? 

The night before I had a delicious dinner rich with beets and blood-flow friendly foods, and completely relaxed. I did a puzzle, watched Netflix and got some sleep. The morning of, I chugged water, ate a hearty breakfast and mentally prepared myself for the full bladder discomfort that is required for a transfer procedure. 

What To Expect At Your Embryo Transfer From an ND's Perspective   

How were you feeling before the transfer?

My first time I was a nervous wreck. My fourth, I was excited for the Ativan that my clinic gives all patients to help them relax.

What happened when you arrived at the clinic?

My clinic has an option for you to receive pre- and post-transfer acupuncture, so I did that. They took me to my transfer room, I had my transfer socks on and got cozy with my own blankets that I brought. I listened to a Sigur Ros soundbath and relaxed as much as I could (or as much as a full bladder would allow).

What were you feeling directly before your transfer?

The Ativan had kicked in, so I was feeling GREAT! I was also very focused on being able to empty my bladder.

What were you feeling during your embryo transfer?

I remember feeling a bit of, “wait, that’s it?” It felt anticlimactic based on the build-up. It’s over pretty quickly. I still felt a rush of adrenaline, but I thought it would be way stronger.
My fourth embryo transfer worked!

Were you given any indication of the success of the transfer? 

My doctor did say “that went really well,” but I’m not sure that they can tell much at that point.

What instructions were you given for post-embryo-transfer care?

This differs from clinic to clinic (I know this because I’ve been to two different ones). My current clinic says no hot tubs, baths or submersion in water for an infection risk. They also told me to avoid being outside in super-hot temperatures for an extended period of time (my transfer was in the summer). I was also told to avoid extreme exercise that gets my heart rate elevated (I’m an avid peloton rider) and to do low-impact exercises instead. For all the other things (for example, alcohol) they told me to act like I am pregnant and refrain.

How were you feeling post transfer?

Very busy and distracted. We were a few weeks away from launching Bird&Be to the public and so I dove headfirst into work as a way to distract myself. I really appreciated that distraction. My body reacts to progesterone very similarly to pregnancy, so I tried not to symptom spot. That is until six days post transfer when I saw an obvious symptom I had never experienced before—massive blue veins on my breasts. When I saw those, I knew it had worked.

What Is Considered a Positive Beta-hCG Test?    

What follow-ups happened post-transfer?

My clinic doesn’t do any follow-ups until beta day, which is nine days after transfer. Then, they draw your blood and will phone you a few hours later. The two-week wait feels long, but I will say those hours between the blood draw and your results feel like a year. You can hear it in the voice of the person on the other line if it’s negative. They get you to immediately stop all meds and wait for your period to come. If it’s positive, they schedule another blood test 48 hours (or what feels like another two weeks) later. After that my clinic schedules an ultrasound to look for cardiac activity another two weeks later. The longest two week wait of them all.