Wednesday, 26 August 2009


So, I've just been to the clinic and had my chlamydia swab done - part of the compulsory screening before the treatment can begin. I'll warn you now before you read any further that you might find the rest of this post a bit too much information...

A bit of history for you - I once went for a smear test and found it incredibly painful, and they didn't manage to get whatever it was they needed, so the whole thing was a complete waste of time. Following that experience, as I was not sexually active (and never had been) I decided that I wouldn't go for smear tests again.

Of course, I'm now married. Before our wedding, I was actually really nervous about making love with my husband, because of the excruciating pain of that failed smear test. It has been a pleasant surprise to me that it has not only not been painful with him, but has actually been very pleasurable.

However, I have had little frissons of concern when I read that embryo transfer was "no more uncomfortable than a smear test".

After today, I'm terrified! The chlamydia test is done in the same way and was as painful as I remember the smear test being years ago. I also had the added excitement of feeling that I was about to wet myself for as long as the speculum was in there.

The nurse explained to me afterwards that I have a tilted cervix and it's quite hard to find. She said when I do go for smear tests, I should make sure I go to someone very experienced, because I will probably feel excruciating pain with someone less experienced and they're likely to end up being unable to find my cervix, so that it will all be for nothing (which is what I assume happened last time). She also said that because of the angle of everything in there, the other feeling of discomfort was caused by the fact that the speculum was pressing quite hard on my bladder.

During the embryo transfer, not only do I have to have the speculum put in and the consultant digging around to find my inconveniently tilted cervix, but he's going to guide the catheter with an abdominal ultrasound - which requires me to have a full bladder.

I'm terrified now of the pain I'm going to experience that day - and I'm perhaps equally terrified at the thought that if the speculum is pressing down on my probably overfull bladder in the way that it was on my nearly empty one today, I could well end up weeing all over the consultant.

Oh, the indignity!


  1. I am almost 100% convinced that embryo transfer is done under general anesthetic - going off to google for you now...

    PS Horrible day :( Smears are never fun, but tilted cervix included - ugh! Make sure your consultant knows about this before the ET day.

    Back soon

  2. Right, back again. This is from a Wiki page - as you'll see, the last line says that "Anesthesia is generally not required." I would imagine though, that with your history and diagnosed cervical issue, that it would probably be worth your while asking for them to consider it, or at least to consider that one called 'waking anesthesia' (can't remember the actual medical term). Either way, you at least know about the problem now, and can make plans to alleviate it!!!

    Thinking of you and sending you huge hugs XXXXXXXXXXXXX

    The embryo transfer procedure starts by placing a speculum in the vagina to visualize the cervix, which is cleansed with saline solution or culture media. A transfer catheter is loaded with the embryos and handed to the clinician after confirmation of the patient’s identity. The catheter is inserted through the cervical canal and advanced into the uterine cavity, where the embryos are deposited. The catheter is then withdrawn and handed to the embryologist, who inspects it for retained embryos. An abdominal ultrasound is often used to ensure correct placement, which is 1–2 cm from the uterine fundus. Anesthesia is generally not required.

  3. Thanks for doing the googling, Jeannie. They went through this when we had our meeting last week. I'll be asleep for the egg collection, but completely awake and unaesthetised for the embryo transfer. I asked if I should take paracetamol beforehand, and the nurse said it shouldn't be necessary, and once the embryos are around they prefer me to be as unmedicated as possible.

    I'm thinking a hefty dose of Kalms might not be a bad idea that day - surely a natural remedy shouldn't be too bad, and the embryos won't be implanting the day of transfer anyway, so no shared blood supply yet...

  4. :( Well, if it has to be that way, it has to be... I would take the paracetamol (as far as I know it is safe during pregnancy, so can't think why it wouldn't be safe at this point. You're right - implantation only happens 7 to 10 days after usual conception, so I guess that would make it about three days after ET?

    We had a good saying about moving to Grahamstown in such a hurry - lets land one plane at a time. Sounds like a good motto for this situation too - get the planes landed one at a time!!! XXXXXXXXXXX

  5. I'm so sorry that today was so painful! And, I can completely see why you'd be worried about the ET day! I hope they're able to work with you to make it bearable, at the very least! (((HUGS)))

  6. I am nervous about embryo transfer, too. Hopefully it won't be too bad. I am kind of a wuss. =(

    When are you scheduled (tentatively I guess) for egg retrieval and embryo transfer?

  7. Thank you Lin.

    Sonja, I'm just waiting for CD 1 now before I begin - I'm on day 14 of a usually 26 day cycle now, so should be beginning injections around 9 or 10 September. I'll be on the short protocol, so if all goes to plan, egg retrieval should be around the 23 September and embryo transfer a couple of days later.