Acupuncture · Joy · Transfer Day

Transfer Day/Mastering Progesterone Shots

I have to shout out my husband again, because on Transfer Eve he came home with the most beautiful flowers.  He designed them himself with blue and yellow flowers (meant to represent our embryos-2 boys and a girl!) and arranged them on the bed of his truck after rugby practice.  Swoon!


Now let’s get to March 28th, one of the best and strangest days of our lives!

We woke up ready to go!!  I made Bryan sing “What day is today? Today is Transfer Day!” (think Full House/mother’s day episode) for most of the day while we waited for our call with the exact timing of our transfer.  There is A LOT of waiting involved with this process, and adjusting to that has been slightly difficult for me 🙂

We woke up at 6 for our morning progesterone shot as usual.

At this point I was barely able to walk because shot #2 the week before had created quite the lump on my back.  We hadn’t done enough research to know that progesterone in oil needs to be warmed before administering, and that it takes a fair amount of muscle movement and/or massage after injection to disperse the medication.  After quite a but of experimenting and reading up on how other people had success, we were able to develop a protocol that resulted in way less lasting pain after the shots.  Here is the routine that worked best for us pre-transfer (no heating pad post-transfer):

  1. Heating pad before the shot while Bryan warmed up the primed needle by squeezing it in his hand.
  2. Standing (hurt much less for me) while keeping my weight on the leg that was opposite my injection site.
  3. Using my buzzy just above the injection site.  I chose not to ice the injection site before or after because I read that icing might cause the medication to pool and knot-exactly the issue we were trying to fix.
  4. Immediate thumb massage on the injection site following the shot.
  5. Swinging leg for 1 minute followed by 15-20 squats, then walking the dog (to get the juices flowing!)
  6. Heating pad and massage with a tennis ball to work out the knots.

With our injections happening so early, we had a good amount of time before the procedure.  IMG_6866I am eternally grateful for this, because during this time a long rest on my heating pad finally broke up the knot of medicine that was causing my back pain!  It was such a strange sensation.  I could feel every muscle on my right side (hiney muscles!) pulsating and then POOF!  No more pain!  Additionally, we were both able to shower with the no fragrance shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that we special ordered from amazon (because our instructions said to wear no fragrances).  If you know how I have been throughout this journey you will know how much these veryyyyy specific instructions caused me anxiety.  I didn’t even want Bryan to go to the bagel store after his shower because I didn’t want him to smell like food, worried that it would impact the embryo.  Whoopsies 🙂

We got the call around 9:45 from Anita (she called me Miss Sara and I loved her), and we learned that our transfer would take place at 1:45!  Then came more veryyyyy specific instructions (YEY-anxiety!).  I was to arrive with 24 ounces of liquid.  At 1:30 I should drink 8 ounces.  You should have seen me measuring out water in mason jars.  I originally wanted to have the 8 ounces separated so I wouldn’t “mess up”.  Eventually that become too many jars so I went with two 12 ounce jars, knowing I would have to drink until the water hit 4 ounces.

After the great water fiasco we donned our matching shirts/packed all of our milestone cards, tons of extra socks, my mason jars of water and hit the road!

The ride to the Basking Ridge office wasn’t bad.  I expected to be nervous, but we were literally bursting with joy.  This was a BIG day for us.  Something we had been working towards for so long.  We arrived early enough to drink the first 8 ounces in the parking lot.  I, true to form, waited until exactly 1:30 and started to drink down to the four ounce line.  Bryan took a picture, and for a minute I lost my head.  This is my reaction when I “came to” and thought I had consume MORE than 8 ounces….

BAHAHA we laughed about that picture for the rest of the day!  In hindsight I realize I could be a bit more relaxed about this in particular. They simply want to fill your bladder, an extra ounce or two would have made zero difference.  That said, you couldn’t have stopped me from worrying in that moment.  Like I said, this was a BIG day for us.

When we arrived and checked-in we were sent to the exact same waiting room that we started in on retrieval day.  THIS time I was able to capture a photo of the bat phone! IMG_6885It’s so crazy, you pick up the phone and they already know who you are.  Everyone is so incredibly friendly.  No matter who I talk to at any time (receptionist, nurse, the finance department…) they treat you like FAMILY.  I will never be able to express what an amazing experience we have had with RMA. Thank you Michelle and Kate for the recommendation!

We had to wait a little while before a nurse came to get us.  It was during this time that we shared the bulk of our laughter about my freaked out water drinking picture.  I am chuckling right now, so ridiculous!

When we were brought back for the procedure everything looked so different.  The office was quiet, dark, and incredibly relaxing.  I leaned this was intentional because it was a transfer day.  On our way back to our room we were able to see an isolette in the hallway.  This is where they bring the embryo (in a petri dish) to your room.  It looks like a spaceship, and the embryo looks sooooo tiny sitting inside!  That embryo wasn’t ours, however, and so we went into our room to relax.

Inside our room there was lovely wallpaper, and spa style relaxation music playing.  After signing our release forms, our acupuncturist came in for the pre-transfer session.  To say that I was relaxed is an understatement.  I HIGHLY recommend acupuncture for anyone going through fertility treatments, ESPECIALLY on transfer day.  I was so relaxed, in fact, that I didn’t notice how odd my acupuncturist was (but I would!).  What I do remember was that she called us hipsters because of my mason jars, and likely Bryan’s beard.

After acupuncture a nurse came back in to scan my bladder and make sure it was full enough for the procedure.  Pee peeI have heard a lot of people that were really uncomfortable with the full bladder business, but it didn’t bother me at all.  Honestly, I didn’t even notice.  I wonder if that is due to so many years teaching and holding my pee!  My bladder was full and it was TIME!

Next, the transfer team came in-the doctor, embryologist, and nurse. Dr. Doherty was excited to see us, and mentioned that it was a “Freehold Reunion”.  This made my heart smile because I love it when people remember us, makes you feel like you are part of a family (LOVE RMA!).  We showed everyone our T-shirts and my socks, and they all loved the gear (another heart smile).  We got to see the embryo in his petri dish projected onto a large screen, and were given a picture of him to take home.  HIM!! I said he looked like a blob, and Dr. Doherty said he was a beautiful blob! (Heart BURSTING!)

Baby Boy Shanahan!

The transfer itself was painless.  The only thing I felt was the speculum (just like a pap smear) and the slight embarrassment of having my bits wide open to the medical professionals in the room.  Dr. Doherty and the nurses joked that I better get used to it because that would be the position I would be in during childbirth (silent scream of excitement!).  We got to watch the entire procedure on the ultrasound camera.  It was AMAZING.  The little guy just slid right in, and Dr. Doherty said the most magical words we had every heard “Transfers don’t get any better than that!”.

It’s funny because I immediately felt different.  I was so warm, and so happy.  The nurse gave me permission to pee, but honestly I was perfectly content just laying there basking in our joy!  After emptying my bladder the acupuncturist came back in and this is where things got strange.  When she entered the room she immediately said “So, what’s wrong with you guys?” Bryan and I sat there stunned, and finally I responded with “what do you mean?”  She said she hadn’t read our chart, and so I gave her a brief run down of our infertility journey.  Then she says, and I am not EVEN joking “you guys are probably related…like distant second cousins…it happens all the time.”  GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!  At this point, Bryan and I both stopped talking.  Luckily I was so relaxed by the acupuncture itself that it hadn’t occurred to me that she was WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE!  We still talk about whether or not we should let the practice know.  If we were a more sensitive couple, she could have really caused some emotional damage.

Anywhoo.. the transfer was complete and I was GLOWING!  I don’t know if it was the acupuncture or the transfer, but I really felt different.

On the way out of the office we stopped for a photo-op to document the fact that we had an EMBIE ON BOARD!


Our little boy was in my uterus, and we knew he would fight to stay there!   Equipped with my fluffiest winter boots (warm feet, warm uterus!) we made our way to the car.  Next stop…McDonalds french fries (the salt helps with implantation!) and home to our first born boy to celebrate!

Now for the two week wait…

#IVF Strong


#Stick Baby Stick!

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