Meet The Kids!

Today we transferred three day-3 embryos. I was really hoping for a day-5 transfer, but our little cellular bundles had other ideas. In order for my doctor to OK a day-5 transfer, I needed to have at least four 8-cell, grade-A embryos on day three. As of this morning we had two grade-A embryos, two grade-B embryos, and four others that were pretty fragmented or lagging behind.

I was semi-upset when I got the news that we’d be transferring today. In my head, getting to a day-5 transfer meant that my embryos were good quality. I felt misled by Dr. Braverman — after all, he promised me my embryos would be better quality this time around. What a cad! However, I just looked back at my day-3 report from IVF #1, and I had fewer decent embryos at that point than I did this morning, and we did a day-5 transfer anyway. So it seems that my new clinic is just more conservative with day 5 transfers. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I did not want to end up with nothing to transfer. No thanks.

The morning did not go smoothly. Tim wasn’t allowed into the OR area. The acupuncturist accidentally needled my left calf so hard that the entire muscle cramped up. The embryologist felt the need to tell me, multiple times, that just because two of my embryos were grade A did not mean that this cycle was going to work. Um, WTF? I finally said to her, “Look, I know that grade-A embryos guarantee nothing. This is my 3rd cycle. I’m just looking for some hope here.” Then the doctor was an hour late to my procedure. I had to pee so bad that my whole body was sweating. And when it was all over, the doc did not bother saying “goodbye” or “good luck” before he left the procedure room. Again, WTF?

Needless to say, I was on the edge of tears all morning. I tried listening to my meditations and all that biz, but none of it was really helping. The clinic is just awful, and unfortunately we have to use them because they are the only one in our area who works with outside doctors. The one bright spot was the nurse in the transfer room. She was awesome and totally kept the morning from careening off into The Bad Place Of No Return.

The actual transfer itself went off without a hitch — super fast, no weird catheter malfunctions, no embryos stuck in the tube, etc.. And now I have three embryos  back where they belong, which is really all that matters in the end — not what day they arrived there.

So without further ado, meet our three beautiful babes. We transferred both grade-As and 1 grade-B. The rest will continue to grow, and we’ll find out their fate on Wednesday. Say “Hi,” kids!

photo

When we picked Lettie up from the babysitter I showed her this picture.

“These are embryos,” I told her.

She looked mildly interested, so I asked, “Which one is your favorite?”

She immediately pointed to the chap on the bottom right.

Ooooh, I thought, maybe that one is The One.

Then she said, “Do we eat embryos?”

Aw, my little cannibal. Sprinkling embryos on her cereal.

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty good right now. Maybe not the zen-master self I was in my last post (ok, not at all), but still pretty decent. I carried the picture of our three babes with me everywhere today. I propped it on the couch and the embryos watched some football. They saw Pope Francis perform his historic mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway. I leaned them up against a trivet and there they stayed as we ate our dinner.

And really, I can’t help but think today is a fortuitous day. There’s a supermoon lunar eclipse tonight. The pope was cruising around my city, kissing babies and spreading his holiness everywhere. And, perhaps most unbelievable of all, the Eagles won.

Boom.

Signs, people, signs.

IVF #2: #GoEmbryos #HopeStreet

You guys, thank you so much to everyone who commented on my post or sent me a message yesterday. I even had one friend drop off some marigolds. It was a rough day, one of the roughest I’ve had in a long time, but you all managed to make me feel so loved. It’s pretty easy to feel isolated and alone on this journey, but you have proven time and again that you walk beside me.

After Lettie went to bed yesterday, Tim and I talked for a long time about what to do. I did end up connecting with my doctor, but she didn’t give us a strong opinion one way or another on whether to go for the day three transfer or hope that the embryo grew to blastocyst. We hashed out every single possibility six times over. We even called a real-life friend who has gone through IVF to bounce ideas off of her. We worried about miscarriages and chemical pregnancies and the possibility of a genetically abnormal embryo implanting. We worried and what-ifed until we were about to pass out from exhaustion.

And then we both just kind of stopped. We simultaneously came to the conclusion that we did not want to make a decision out of fear. Neither one of us wants to live our lives like that. And we certainly don’t want to teach our children to be ruled by fear either. For us, all the reasons to avoid a day three transfer came from a place of fear, not hope. So we decided that if the next day our embryo or embryos looked the same or worse, we would go ahead with the day three transfer. We called the acupuncturist and told her to meet us at the clinic in the morning. Then we went to bed, feeling happy with the decision that we made together. I think we both felt lighter. And dare I say it? Hopeful.

But you know how it is. The best laid plans and all that. This morning the embryologist called bright and early and told us that the decent-looking two-cell guy from yesterday was now a bad-ass, grade-1, 8-cell embryo (these are all good things). And guess what else? One of the two poor-quality embryos from yesterday also looked pretty good! The last one was disintegrating (sorry, buddy. I still love you, though).

Well, eff me. This was not the news we were expecting at all. All of you that told me yesterday not to give up were absolutely right. Your prayers and thoughts and good vibes must have worked because those punks are fighting!

So Tim and I reassessed, and again made a decision from a place of hope. We decided that since the embryos were clearly fighters, we were going to let them fight it out another couple of days. On day five the embryologist will check them again–if any are still going and can be biopsied for testing, they’ll do so at that time. I know there are wildly different theories on this in the infertility world, but both my doctor and the embryologist said that if the embryos were going to make it to day five, they would do so whether in the lab or in my body. I trust them on this one. My clinic has really good labs and that is one of the reasons I chose them. And not only do I trust the professionals, but I have faith in our embryos. I believe they can do it. I’m proud of our scrappy little cells.

And yeah, this means that we might not have a damn thing to transfer in the end, but I think I will ultimately be ok if that happens–very sad, yes, but ok.

Because today, one more time, I choose hope.

IVF #1: Day 3 Report & Trying To Stay Positive

Ok, so all five embryos are still alive. That’s good.

The two that looked “perfect” yesterday still look good today (although the embryologist definitely did not call them perfect again today).

The other three do not look so hot for various reasons. One is fragmented, one the embryologist said she “doesn’t like the morphology” (whatever that means) and one is just a slow poke—it’s only 4 cells when she’d like to see at least 6 or 8.

She thinks the two good ones will make it to day 5 and the other three might not make it or won’t be good enough to freeze. She says she’s been wrong before, but that’s her best guess based on experience.

I went through lots of emotions during that one phone call. Hooray, they’re still growing! Boo, none to freeze! And finally, holy sh*t, what if NONE make it to day 5 or are good enough quality to transfer? What then?

That sobering thought is what I’m left with right now. I know that’s a huge What If, but the thought is still really freaking me out.

This whole process is one giant mind f*ck, and right now I just feel sad. I know I should be happy that we still have two good-looking embryos—and I am—but the uncertainty is winning out. Hopefully those two can stay strong. Please stay strong, little dudes!

If anyone has some good juju laying around that they could pass my way, I could really use it. Because right now my stores are depleted.

IVF #1: Day 2 Report

Holy moly, this day got away from me. I’m sorry I am just now updating you guys.

Here’s the deets. Of the six embryos that fertilized:

One is acting like a kook and not dividing normally, so it’s out of the race. I applaud it, though, for being an original.

Two have turned into “perfect” 4-cell embryos.

Two are 3-cell embryos. One of those 3-cellers is fragmenting and the embryologist suspects that it might also drop out.

One is a 2-cell embryo.

So we have five left. Five, five, five! Keep going, guys! You can do it!

As of now, we are tentatively set for a day 5 transfer on Thursday — Thanksgiving. Fingers crossed that things are still looking good when I get the call from the embryologist tomorrow. And please keep sending your thoughts and prayers to my little buddies hanging out in the petri dish. They are obviously loving all the attention because whatever you’ve been doing is working!

I’m feeling so much gratitude tonight. And so much hope.