And Then We Have 17

It’s me again.

I again woke up at 4 something.  This time I had a hard time falling asleep.  Not that I was worried about anything.  Just couldn’t go back to sleep.

I knew that Dr. E was going to update us, but we didn’t know what time.  And we weren’t really anxious for a report.

She is so good though.  She wrote us in the morning.  Subject line was a smiley face.  I knew that it would be good news.

This is the message:

“Good morning!  We have 17 normally fertilized eggs today.  18 mature, 17 fertilized normally.  This is 1 embryo more than the last family had on day 1 .  I’m very very happy!  Next update = on Monday!  I’ll be in touch then.  Thank you.”

When we got the email, we were in the middle of watching Season 7 of Gilmore Girls.  So we paused and looked at each other.  We have 17 embryos!

That’s good news, right?

But then, Bob was a bit worried.  Last time we had 10 fertilized eggs that were from frozen donor eggs.  They all fertilized on day 1, but they were dropping like flies on day 3.  The difference is, last time we didn’t use PICSI and those were frozen eggs.  This time we used fresh eggs plus sperm chosen from PICSI.  It should make a difference right?

So more emails to Dr. E.

Me: “This is normal, right?  18 mature out of the eggs we had?  But yeah, I will take this as good news!”

Dr. E: “Very.  Exactly what she has every time.”

Me: “Bob is wondering about his sperm quality, if it’ll affect how the embryos grow.  I think he’s just a little worried.”

Dr. E: “Looked great.  I don’t have the analysis report yet, but anytime sperm looks poor, they always tell me.”

Me: “Okay.  We’ll try to breathe and celebrate for this news today!”

Dr. E: “For sure.  I know you trust me, but you can trust that if there’s anything to worry about, I’ll let you know.”

So there you go.  This is our fertilization report.  We will have our day three report on Monday.

If Dr. E is “very very happy”, we should be very very happy too.

I counted the number of follicles our donor had on trigger day.  There were 18 follicles that were 13mm or bigger.  Those must have been her 18 mature eggs.

Praise the Lord for this milestone!

I am still slightly nervous because of all our past problems, failures, and struggles.  But this is a brand new territory of using a new method for sperm selection and young fresh donor eggs.  Waiting is hard, but I will take it one day at a time.  So we have decided to celebrate this victory today.

Riesling, anyone?

Cautiously Optimistic

Eli is so much like Clay.  Even its progression.

Got an update this morning that Eli is now a 4 cell grade 1 embryo on day three.  Clay was too at this stage.  You can read about it here.  We were so devastated the last time it happened.  We had to make a quick decision the morning of the day three transfer if we should transfer the embryo.  I cried.  It was a very tough decision to make.  We were not prepared for it.

Today, the situation was totally the opposite.  I was at my Bible Study leaders meeting.  I was trying to be good and not check my phone for an email from Dr. E until after the  meeting was over.  There was no news when I checked the first time.  The email came about 20 minutes later.  Dr. E, like last time, gave us a choice.  The following is her email:

“It’s a 4 cell grade 1 today.  We can: a. transfer today  b. still wait and transfer it with the frozen day 5 c. transfer the day 5 frozen embryo only if this one doesn’t make it.  I’ve seen 4 cell grade 1 embryos turn into beautiful blasts.” 

Bob and I talked on the phone.  I was relieved to see that it isn’t a 3 cell grade 3 embryo like Daisy who did not survive.  It’s grade 1 just like Clay.  Just a little slow.  It would’ve been nice for it to be 5, 6, 7, or 8 cell at this point. But it is not.  We have to accept that and move on.  Bob was jumping up and down with joy.  He thinks that we still have a good chance for Eli to survive, just like what Clay did.  He’s happy that it’s a grade 1.  So our inclination is to wait until day 5, see how it grows, and put it back with Clay.

Chatted with Dr. E afterwards.  She told me that not too long ago, one of her patients had a 4 cell grade 1 on day three that turned into a 5AA blastocyst and a pregnancy.  Anything is possible.  So we as a team decided to wait and see.  We’re definitely transferring Clay.  Let’s hope that Eli continues to grow and we will have both put back without any hesitation.

Grow Eli grow!

Grow Eli Grow!

Embryo Eli is growing!  Today it is a two cell grade one embryo.  Clay and Daisy were both two cell grade one at this point.   I am trying to take it one day at a time and celebrate the fact that Eli decides to grow.  The great thing is that I wasn’t even thinking about an update from Dr. E this morning.  I got to work, checked my email, and saw a subject line that said “It’s growing!! :)”  Gotta love my RE’s enthusiasm.  She said she’s stoked.  I am too. 🙂

Of course we won’t know how Eli will turn out in the next couple of days.  I emailed Dr.E yesterday about a day three or a day five transfer.  She said that to check if an embryo is not chromosomally normal, we could use the blast culture as a filter.  From what she said, I am assuming that an embryo that doesn’t grow beyond day three or day four in the blast culture would be abnormal.  So it seems like we’re waiting until day five.  If Eli becomes a blastocyst, we’ll definitely put it back.  If it’s a morula, we will put it back with Clay as well.  At least that’s the plan for now.  Dr. E said that if this IVF lab sucked, it’d be a different story as she’d say “Get that embryo home ASAP!!!”  But since she thinks that this lab is the “best ever”, then I’ll take her word for it that the blast culture won’t kill an embryo that would otherwise grow in my uterus.

Thank you Lord!  I am trying not to get ahead of myself.  But this is definitely good progress.  Hoping and praying!

 

Quick Update: One Precious Embryo

Hi everyone.  Just a quick update.  We have one precious embryo that fertilized normally.  The other one degenerated.  So long, 14.5er.  I didn’t expect you to last for long, although I did have a fantasy that maybe you would join us for a while.  All morning I was checking my phone for an update while I was at a meeting.  I was imagining how I would feel if one made it, two made it, or none made it.  I felt a slight disappointment about the other one, but then began to rejoice with the fact that we have one that is fighting its way to become alive!  We are not out yet.  Hope and pray that the Lord allows this little embryo to grow to join Clay.  Eli and Clay could make a very good team. 🙂

Update: Fertilization report

I have been a little nervous this morning.  Bob woke up and asked if Dr. E emailed us.  Nope not yet.  When I was eating breakfast, I saw her email saying that we got two embryos this morning and she was “so so happy” and would call me later to discuss more.  

I have been secretly/not so secretly hoping for at least three embryos to start with.  Needless to say, I was overcome with emotions and started tearing up.  Bob hugged me and let me cry a little.  One minute after I wrote back to Dr. E, she called me and explained the situation to me.  She said that we began with one mature egg and three not-so-mature ones.  The lab was able to turn one of the not-so-mature eggs into an embryo.  I am so glad that she did not tell me about the three not-so-mature eggs yesterday.  Otherwise I would have been very worried.  She is very hopeful that this cycle would be good because she said that with my lower FSH (10.6), the textbook tells you that the quality of the eggs would be better.  She’s secretly/not-so-secretly hoping that we will have some embryos with good quality that will grow faster this time.  I guess my one dominant follicle this time soaked up all of the meds.  It happens.  

When my period comes, Dr. E wants to see me at the tail-end of my period to perform a saline infusion sonogram.  She will check the fibroid in the cavity and also the other fibroid.  If there is only the small fibroid in the cavity, she will remove it right then and there.  Then we can do a transfer the following month.  If she also sees the bigger fibroid creeping into the cavity, then we’ll have to do a laparoscopic surgery to remove both fibroids.  We’ll look into transfer in three months.  Fibroids can cause miscarriages and pre-term labors.  It’s better to remove them before proceeding.

Needless to say, there is more waiting.  If the transfer works, the earliest I could give birth to a child is after my 40th birthday.  Who else is counting?

From high fives to okay

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We keep on losing some fingers for our hand gestures but it’s quite okay! We have three fertilized eggs!  Isn’t it like the okay hand gesture?

My RE’s physician assistant called and left a message to see how I was doing after the retrieval.  When I called her back, she was with a patient and I was about to go see my own client.  I told the receptionist a time that the PA could call me back.  I waited and waited but she didn’t call.  I was so nervous and was actually shaking.  Last night I had a dream that only one embryo fertilized and I remember feeling very sad in the dream.  The news was delivered to me by my least favorite uncle.  I woke up feeling very unsettled.  I think I am okay with one embryo but of course I want more than one.  Good thing I was very busy in the morning and was very distracted by my work.  So fast forward to lunch time.  I finally called my RE’s office again but got their answering service!  ARRGGHH.  I left a message and the PA called me right back.

PA: Hi I just want to check in with you to see how you’re doing after the retrieval.

Me: I am doing well.  No cramps or anything.

PA: That’s great!

(Pause)

PA: Did Dr. E update you on your fertilization?

Me: No… I’ve been waiting all morning and been nervous about it.

PA: Oh so three eggs fertilized which is fantastic!

In that moment, I was very relieved.  I didn’t think that all four eggs would fertilize.  Three is totally fantastic like she said!  Having three fertilized eggs means most likely we would do a day three transfer on Saturday.  PA said she would update me a little later.

Bob was so excited!  He had been very nervous all morning long.  Instead of the handicapped high five that is missing a thumb, he can now do a legitimate okay gesture.  🙂

The PA sent me a confirmation for a scheduled embryo transfer for Saturday at 11am my time.  So this is becoming very official.  I hope and pray that these fertilized eggs are going to stick around until day three!

Can I call them embryos???

Praise the Lord!!

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I started doing the vaginal Endometrin insert to support the lining.  I didn’t really feel it last night since I went to bed right after the insert.  After the application this morning, I kept on feeling there was something leaking down my lady bits.  It was so so gross!  This is done three times a day.  I seriously have to consider buying some pantyliners if I don’t want anything sticky down there…. I know that this is a tiny sacrifice if it means a baby.  I know many people do Crinone or PIO that is even worse.  But it is definitely uncomfortable having something sticky that leaks all the time!  Even though it is gross, I hope that in two weeks I’ll have a legitimate reason to insert these gross things for another ten weeks.  🙂