Endometrium what?

So today was the day of my big ERA test at the clinic. I was bracing myself for what would be 5 to 10 seconds of extreme pain. The clinical assistant had warned me that it would feel like “a very intense cramp for a few seconds, but then it would be over.” And so I knew that today was not going to be fun. They’re also taking a biopsy of my endometrium to check to ensure I do not have endometritis, which is an inflammation of the endometrium that can make an embryo transfer difficult. If I have it, the nurse said the fix would be easy — just a course of oral antibiotics.

The doctor came in with a nurse assistant and said that he was really excited about this menstural cycle for me because everything looked as good as it could possibly look: all my hormone levels were progressing as expected and hoped, plus the lining of my uterus was over the ideal level of thickness; he anticipates we’ll have a smooth transfer assuming this ERA test goes well.

“Excited,” huh? I’m not sure how “exciting” any of this is. That’s a funny word to use in the world of IVF.

So, he stuck the speculum into my vagina, and then took his instrument to remove a biopsy of my endometrium. He gave me a verbal head’s up when the “unpleasant” feeling would begin. It lasted less than 5-6 seconds, but it felt like a very, very intense menstrual cramp. And when he removed the speculum and said we were all set, I felt a combination of feverish hot flashes wash all over me. I could feel my face flushing. He suggested I lie down for a bit before getting dressed to leave. Even though he had removed the speculum already, it still felt like there was something down there, still inside of me, for at least a few minutes after.

The nurse stayed with me for about five minutes. They usually stay with you after this procedure for a bit to monitor you until you seem more composed… in the event that you may pass out and lose consciousness. She made some small talk with me and said that this ERA procedure went really well, as it was super quick; in some women’s cases, the doctor is not able to get to the right angle of the endometrium, so he actually has to go in a few more times after that, resulting in prolonged pain and even worse cramps for the woman. She also said that most women actually scream or moan or even cry when an ERA is done. “You handled this really well!” she said, smiling. My eyes widened. Thank GOD that was not me today!

After getting dressed, I still felt like I was having hot flashes and felt a bit dizzy and light-headed, but I thought that maybe walking in the cold would do me a little good. I walked for about four blocks to get some fresh air and then called an Uber to drive me home.

On the short 5-minute ride home, all I could think was…. “The shit I’ve had to do to just try and get pregnant. Please, God, make this all worth it…..”

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