Today we received the news that of the 4 embryos left out to divide, none of them survived to the blastocyst stage. The nurse said that this is not uncommon and that the 2 they transferred back were of the best quality. I have so many questions that I would like to ask our RE at our next appointment, but until then, I feel that I am left to my own devices to make sense of it all.
The facts so far:
- Started out with 29 follicles/pre-eggs, 15 eggs retrieved at the retrieval. 3 of these eggs did not go on to become embryos because 2 were immature (needed more time in the follicle to grow), and 1 simply did not fertilize. This left us with 12 fertilized eggs.
- 6 of these very early embryos were immediately frozen for storage, and the remaining 6 were left out to continue dividing. At the transfer date, 2 highest quality embryos were transferred back into my uterus, the other 4 embryos were left out to continue dividing into blastocyst.
- The 4 embryos left out to divide did not survive to the blastocyst stage. My pregnancy test is in 10 days.
So what do I make of all of this? All I know is that IVF is not an exact science. They do not have a program to follow that works for every woman. Instead, they go by general guidelines and adjust your particular medications accordingly. But even these guidelines are not exact and the most uneventful, seemingly successful IVF cycles do not necessarily result in a baby being born. In fact, sometimes the more challenging cases go on to result in perfectly healthy babies or even multiples. My personal way of coping with the ups and downs of IVF is to stay focused on the ultimate goal- to bring home a healthy baby first through IVF, and then through adoption. Until then, everything else is simply part of the journey toward our goal and I try to stay focused on each day, each appointment, for even the “bad” days still represent us getting one day closer to our goal. This mind-set may not work for everyone, but it works for us, and that’s all that matters.
At the risk of TMI (too much information), I am happy to report that my body seems to be responding quite normally to the progesterone hormone shots. These shots are geared toward (from what I understand) counteracting the artificially high levels of Estrogen involved in producing the eggs to early pregnancy levels of progesterone in order to support the embryos I am carrying. The inter-muscular shots are by far the most painful aspect of IVF, as injecting them in the wrong place on the hip/upper-buttocks can result in being barely able to put weight on the same side as the injection the following day. For those who are curious, a “good” shot feels similar to how a flu vaccination makes your arm feel the following day. A “bad” shot feels like (no exaggeration here) being stung by a large wasp several times in the same area + flu vaccination + pinched nerve, all in a very sensitive, mobile area. But they are preventing uterine contractions and helping my uterus to grow a thick lining for our embryos to implant themselves in, so bring it on! As for other normal progesterone responses, I seem to be developing the usual complaints of early pregnancy: mild acne, nausea, efficient gag reflex, bloating, breast tenderness, the ability to get choked up over the most the ridiculous things, and a GI tract (stomach and all) that moves about as quickly as an elderly, anemic, unmotivated tortoise in thick, mucky mud.
Regardless if these 2 particular embryos go on to a successful pregnancy or not, Chris and I are practicing our “one day at a time” motto and we are loving it. Until we know otherwise, we are thinking positive and enjoying this time in our lives, for we know all too well how fast time goes by. So when I find myself getting choked up when the emcee explains the origins of the term “putting a dog to ground” (letting him off the horse to track the animals) during the Westminister Dog Show, I sob away while Chris grabs the popcorn to watch the OTHER show called “Jenn and her Hormones.”
But I do consider myself to be very fortunate to have such a wonderful husband, after all, the poor man waits ever so patiently at the grocery store while I spend a remarkably long time staring longingly at the soft cheeses banned from my diet. In addition, he gladly accompanies me to the store near midnight to get the following list: x-large vinegar, 4 kinds of ice-cream, 1 sorbet, 2 Italian ices, 4 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, lemon-pepper seasoning, hard candy sprinkles (NOT the soft kind, mind you), and Welsh’s sparkling non-alcoholic grape beverage. He then stifles his own nausea as I promptly savor each and every one of these items in random order. God bless him, he’s wonderful !!!
Anyhow, we have 10 more days until we know our fate, so please keep us in your prayers!