At this moment, we are potentially less than 24 hours away from our embryo transfer. So close to crossing another hurdle!
It’s hard to know where the hurdles start -it feels like every day is another milestone. But certainly, our retrieval was a HUGE one, and thankfully: success.
We went in Thursday, leaving at the crack of dawn because of typical, nightmarish, Long Island rush-hour traffic. God smiled on us, however, (the HOV lane helped), and we got there about an hour ahead of time. With a little time to kill, we hunted for a bagel shop or deli for my husband (not me – no food allowed), took am impromptu tour of the area (i.e. got lost), and hung out at a park for a bit while J. ate. After J. was fed and happy, we headed back to the center and checked in.
After just a little bit of nervous waiting, I was called in for the pre-procedure warm-up: vitals and one last sonogram to make sure my eggs were all still there (they were). Not long after that, we were sent across the hall to gown-up for the big procedure. Our doctor met us there, and J. and our doctor made some small talk. The doctor complemented J.’s Jets shirt, J. put in his request for twins so we could be one-time-and-done. As if it’s that easy, right?
Then, J. had been waiting to share his joke that he was so proud of with our doctor: “So, 15 year from now, when our kid is acting up, can I just say to him, ‘We should have kept you frozen’?” (Ever see the Seinfeld episode where George comes up with the best come-back line and can’t wait to use it? ‘Hey! The jerk-store called, and they are out of you!’ Yeah. That.)
A little comic relief was good, but there was more that was funny-slash-strange-slash-disconcerting. Both my doctor and anesthesiologist said to me, ‘So, what are we doing here today?’ and I’m thinking, ‘Don’t you know? Because if you don’t, that is a really big problem.’ Not sure if they were asking to make sure I knew why I was there? My husband and I got little chuckle out of it but were wondering – were we in trouble???
So, it was my turn to say goodbye, and I walked into the procedure room. It had the feeling of being like a set for a TV show – nothing felt real. Everyone, including myself, seemed like actors, playing a part, reading from a script. Was I really going in for this?
The doctor and the anesthesiologist introduced themselves and shook hands (they hadn’t met?), and then the anesthesiologist had trouble getting the IV in my veins (Par for the course with me; same trouble drawing blood, too). And honestly, that was the most painful part; while he was digging in, I am positive he was hitting bone. Finally, I was all hooked up and was told that soon I’d be in dream-land. I had this kind of anesthesia for my D&C, and this time, I wanted to pay attention what I was thinking about before I went out. I said to myself, ‘I want to be thinking something about God, so that is my last thought’ – and I didn’t get beyond that. Gone.
Next thing I know, I’m waking up in recovery, and the nurse tells me that they were able to extract 22 eggs. Twenty. Two. Eggs. Twenty-two! We were stunned. Definitely beyond anything we anticipated!
The nurse went over my instructions, gave me cranberry juice, and we were told to wait for the phone call the next day for the embryo count. As far as how I was feeling, I definitely was sore and crampy. The pain wasn’t terrible, but it was worse than I thought it would be. That being the case, I had every excuse to take it easy on the couch for the rest of the day, and my husband graciously obliged. The med plan was to start Doxycycline, Crinone cream and Estradiol that night, and to get back on the baby aspirin.
I woke up the next morning feeling pretty crappy – still crampy and sore, but in the meantime, I developed a bit of a cold or something. Non-stop sneezing and dripping nose. That aside, I was staring at the phone, waiting for the nurse to call.
Finally, at around 9:30, we got the call: they fertilized 19 eggs and we had 17 embryos. Seventeen embryos. They were very, very pleased with those numbers as was I. Unbelievable. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that.
The plan is to watch them, see which ones survive and develop the best, and then schedule the transfer. The nurse thought I would be blastocyst transfer (Day 5 rather than Day 3), but I could go Day 3. With so many embryos, those extra days allow them to see which ones have developed the best.
Well, they called today, and tentatively I’m scheduled for tomorrow at 10:25 a.m. However, they said they would take one more last look at the embryos in the morning and see if I’m going to be a Day 5 transfer. I’ll know by 8:30 a.m. So, we wait and see.
The plan is to transfer 3 embryos. Because of my age, studies show this will give us the best odds. Of course there’s a chance of multiples, but there also is a chance of none. So as per the doctor’s orders, we are going ‘aggressive.’
All in all, it is such a relief that this part is done and successful. I know we still have a long way to go – to see how our embryos develop before transfer, to see if they survive transfer and stick, to see if I can carry past 9 weeks – which seems to be my limit, to see if I can carry to full term. Still many more hurdles.
But for today, all has gone well, and I can’t ask for more than that.
We are holding on to hope.
[Photo Credit: Etsy.com via Pinterest]