As an initiated IVF veteran, I am ready for the procedure. My face is bare of all creams or make-up (making my "advanced maternal age" even more painfully evident). My body is free of lotion, perfume and... deodorant (a great challenge to the biological response of my anxiousness). You see, it seems as though embryos are sensitive to synthetic smells. In their brief transit time from catheter to uterus, they can be negatively affected by scents. Wait, what? Yes, you read correctly. So, everyone involved with the embryo transfer must remain fragrance free.
The cool thing is, as an IVF veteran (thus knowing better this time) I made good on my doctor's offer for some Valium this go-round. So I could absolutely care less about how I look, how I smell... or the fact that my fanny is exposed as I travel in my chic hospital gown from the holding area, to the procedure lab, and back.
I was much more relaxed this time as I lay legs propped, bladder near explosion, basking in the green glow of the procedure lab (yes, apparently embryos are also sensitive to all colors of the spectrum except green). Such a romantic baby-making environment, indeed.
But then I saw the two embryos we selected for transfer on the screen, and my heart skipped a beat as I gazed in complete awe. For me, a lifetime of existential wonder about when life really begins was answered in this moment.
Compared to our first transfer with a Grade A fresh embryo, it's true the frosties (IVF jargon for frozen embryos) we chose this time were not quite as perfectly spherical. In fact, one of them had an inner cell mass that frankly looked a little scrambled to me. But, I remembered what Nurse Ginger once told me, "The ugliest embryos can make the most beautiful babies" - and I'm holding on to that.