The Endometrial Receptivity Test Can Suck It

Playing catch-up here – busy with a mess of work lately, which is awfully nice. I’m writing you from Phoenix where I’ve got some work tomorrow….it’s warm, and that’s like a reboot to the system after the Chicago winter we’ve had.

Last Thursday I had 2 biopsies taken for an Endometrial Receptivity Array (ERA).

As the name indicates the Endometrial Receptivity Array tests to see if the endometrial lining is receptive to implantation. (I encourage you to Google a more technical description to fully define the tests). Dr. Hail Mary wanted to run these two biopsies to see if anything was afoot in there since I’ve had three embryo transfers and no permanent residents. The test is done in the implantation window of your cycle (mine was done Day 23) following at least 5 days of progesterone (which I started taking back on February 14…..how romantic).

What’s the procedure like, you ask? Well, a speculum is put into place just like for a Pap, the cervix is cleaned off with a bit of iodine on what looks like a Q-tip on steroids, and then a pipette is snaked in. Once the pipette’s in place it’s moved around the lining and with a bit of a suction it gathers tissue for the biopsy.

It. Was. Not. A. Walk. In. The. Park.

Since I was having tissue drawn for two different test I had to go through this twice. (I’m not asking for your sympothy, just stating the facts….but it was a fucking crappy test). During the first one the nurse kept saying, “you are doing really great.” Now….I know that something likely needs to be said during these things, but perhaps me “doing really great” simply sprung from not swearing out loud like a men’s rugby coach or using my fists to punch at the table….likely “doing really great” mostly had to do with my ability to just lie still. I did get my deep breathing on – that was super helpful. If you ever have to do one of these just breath as deeply and as much as you can, it does make a difference – if not, you’re just…clenching, and that’s not going to do anyone any good.

It’s hard to explain exactly how it feels…..it’s loads of heavy cramping, for about 45 or so seconds, maybe a minute. Now I know that’s not a long time but if somebody had a pipette up your business and it was suctioning out bits of your endometrial tissue, 45 seconds is 45 seconds LONGER than you want that to be done.

The only ray of sunshine I can add is that 45 seconds really isn’t THAT long and when it’s over it’s over – instant relief. I think some Tylenol or ibruprofen would have helped if I’d thought of taking it beforehand….and afterwards I just had some lingering mild cramps (like a mild period) so I was fine. The tissue’s being sent off to a lab so it’ll be a few weeks before we know anything. We are of course aiming at a diagnosis of: Receptive. Though Not Receptive isn’t a deal breaker, it gives them info to work with and likely treat….so we’ll see when we see.

I’ll keep taking progesterone shots through the 25th – 1ml in the morning (right cheek) and 1ml at night (left cheek) – and then I’m to call them when my period ensues. Then it’s on the birth control pills, and if all these tests are fine then we’ll get started with IVF4 for reals.

PIO leads to Knotbutt and Progesterboobs

We’re just about halfway through our 2ww wait here and as the double-edged sword would have it, I find myself without much work and with alot of free time. On one hand it’s time to fill within a period of time that I want to pass quickly…and work would certainly be a distraction. But, on the other hand, lots of free time has allowed me to knit a few last minute Christmas gifts and to watch a mess of stuff on Netflix.

It’s also been a week of progesterone shots (PIO)…(PIO = Progesterone in Oil) which are going fine. I do wonder if something has changed with the constitution of my butt cheeks as the shots are taking a little more of their sweet time to sink in. I mean, they’re sinking in, but I feel like I’m having to apply a bit more pressure and it takes a few more seconds until the needle slides in. It’s still fairly low on the discomfort scale (my apologies to anyone who thinks I’m a fucking BRAGGART) so I’m thankful for that.

One thing I’ve done, based on reading the suggestions of other people, is to warm the oil slightly before drawing it into the needle and plunging it into my butt.  How am I warming it you may ask? Why…..I’m putting that little bottle in my brassiere and letting it warm up with the help of my natural 98.6 degrees. It definitely works….though that bottle’s pretty cold, causing a bit of squirming the first second or two it’s on my mammary.

However, I don’t know what’s changed, but after at least 35-40 PIO shots thus far (spread across 1 IUI and 3 IVFs) I have my first two knots….conveniently located one in each cheek. It’s my understanding that knots form with the progesterone pools in one place.  My knots aren’t necessarily uncomfortable unless you press on them but it’s super weird to just feel a knotty mass in there. I do massage the injection site afterwards for awhile so I’m guessing I just finally fell prey to the dreaded knot. I used to sit on a heating pad after the shots….maybe I’ll go back to that tonight.

On the plus side the PIO shots have yet again caused a recurrence of Progesterboobs (boobs made bigger by progesterone supplementation). It’s actually just a subtle difference but hey, I’ll take it.

So far so good with the waiting, and only another week to go.