INTENDED PARENTS IN PRAGUE
Our July trip to Prague was unsuccessful. We got 4 highly fragmented, oddly dividing embryos and we transferred all four with a 10-20% chance of one taking. I returned home to read every success story I could find with fragmented embryos. There were a few out there but two weeks after our return, I tested and it was negative. But one thing stuck in my mind. When we left the clinic in Prague, the doctor told us that if it didn’t work, they would find me a new donor and I could have a new, fresh cycle for only the cost of a transfer, which was 900 Euros. The Prague Fertility Center had a great guarantee!
The only way to ease the pain was to plan a trip back and try one last time.
I decided not to tell anyone about our second trip except for a few of my IF friends. It was so hard telling everyone the first time around that it didn’t work and I couldn’t go through that again (the look on people’s faces when I returned to work was awful!). So we pretended that we were going to my husband’s parent’s house for Thanksgiving when in fact we were going to Prague.
I also decided that my husband was going on some antioxidants. In Prague we learned that his motility was really low and that might be why our embryos turned out so fragmented. I researched the trusty internet and found a motility blend for a few hundred bucks for a 3 month supply. I also read that coq10 was great and I got him a good multivitamin. He quit all bad behaviors and we crossed our fingers and toes.
It was super easy to plan the trip a second time around. We decided to stay at the Cloister Inn, which was really close to the heart of old town (last time we had a 20 minute walk to the touristy areas). It was way cheaper than it was in July. In fact everything was cheaper in November than July. We hired a driver again to get us from the airport and back and I ordered my meds from the same Fertility2U.com.
We started our trip with a delay. Our plane was late which meant that we missed our connecting flight in Heathrow, UK. However, that airport was like a mall! You could walk around for days and not even notice that there were places to catch a plane in between the stores. It was crazy.
We then arrived late in Prague, checked in, and went straight to bed. I rarely sleep on planes and being awake all night is hard on this old body.
Our room was surprisingly great. It had two rooms, a couch, and a little bathroom. We read reviews that some rooms are really small but others were larger and I guess we got lucky. Hopefully this was a good sign.
Since we had already done all the touristy things last time, we just walked around and looked for interesting places to eat. We found this place that was in a “dungeon” that was pretty cool and the food, your average Czech meat and potatoes. Also at this place, like most Czech restaurants, the beer was way cheaper than the water. The beer was something like $2 and the water in the pretty glass bottle was close to $4.
When we went to the clinic, the doctor was encouraging us to use donor sperm along with the donor egg. We had talked about it previously and we were prepared to try half and half. But when the embryologist took my husband’s sample, she said it looked significantly better than it did in July and we might just get lucky with using just his sperm only. So we did. My husband was so relieved because he didn’t want to use donor sperm.
We did decide to do a little sight seeing while we waited for our transfer day. One night we did a ghost tour and learned about an underground black market and got to go under the clock tower where they threw criminals into pits. We also learned about secret codes written into some of the carvings on the buildings. Overall, it was fun and informative. The town also goes all out to make everything lovely, clean, and enchanting.
We also decided to go to Plzen, a town a few hours by train. There was a brewery and it sounded interesting. It turned out to be amazing. I toured breweries in the US and this wasn’t even comparable. First, it was big and old. There were underground caverns where they stored the beer in giant wooden barrels. And this is where the beer was actually coming from. We got to taste some of the beer right out of the barrel and it was mighty delicious. Then they showed us some of the old equipment. There was a copper bin that was once used to store grain and the tour guide told us that it seems that who ever throws a coin in this bin, finds themselves pregnant within a few months. Well of course my husband and I looked like idiots as we fished through my purse for a few coins. We threw in about $5 worth of coins just to be sure and everyone else avoided it like the plague. What are the chances that a brewery, of all places, would say something like that on a tour?
The next day was our transfer and we had five embryos left. One was looking good at 8 cells and the other four were slow to divide and were only 4-6 cells. But they all were dividing properly unlike last time. We decided to transfer three, the good one and two okay ones and we froze the other two okay ones. This time we got a cab so I didn’t walk at all and I stayed in the hotel bed for the rest of the day. We didn’t want to take any chances this time.
Soon it was time to leave and heading back to work on Monday was hard. It was also hard not to say anything to anyone knowing that I was hopefully carrying around some embryos that were attaching.
Around day 14 I started spotting, as I always do and knew it was over. I tested just to get the negative over with and so I could stop the progesterone inserts and immediately I saw two lines. I thought it was defective. Does it really happen that fast? All these years waiting 10 minutes and squinting and it was there just like that? I couldn’t believe it. I called the doctor and went in. My blood hcg was 346 which was high for 11dp3dt. Could it be twins? Could it be triplets?
My hcg continued to be really high. I had to wait until 8 weeks to find out how many embryos there were. But at 6 weeks I started cramping a lot and bleeding and thought it was a miscarriage. It was my husband’s birthday and I left work early to rush into the ob. My husband was there and the doctor couldn’t find any reason why I was bleeding. There was also one strong heartbeat. Everything measured perfectly and we chalked the bleeding up to irritation from the progesterone suppositories. We left and ate some real comfort food for a birthday dinner and celebration!
And now I am 20+ weeks and everything has been blissfully uneventful. Sure I still stress. I have dreams that the baby just falls out. But overall, I am so glad that we went back to Prague for that one last chance and didn’t give up.
p.s. At tax time we learned that two trips to Prague with sight seeing and two fresh donor egg cycles only came to about $23,000. Still cheaper than a donor egg cycle here in the US. And the memories from the Czech Republic are priceless.