The alternate title of this post should be: Grow Embies Grow!
After my somewhat traumatic trigger, I had exactly 48 hrs to embrace the positives of this new plan:
- Extra recovery time: I was feeling pretty awful even though I was taking cabergoline to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. I was so bloated that I looked at least five months pregnant (the irony!), and there was not a single pair of pants I could zip (seriously thought about digging out my Bellaband). I also developed constipation despite chugging Milk of Magnesia and staying hydrated as instructed by my nurse. Having a month to detox before embryo transfer was starting to sound appealing.
- Acupuncture: I cannot say enough good things about acupuncture. The best I had felt during this whole journey was those few months when I was receiving acupuncture alone or in conjunction with my fertility treatments. Because I was enrolled in an IVF study, I was not permitted to do acupuncture simultaneously. In fact, if you get pregnant through the study, they follow you all the way up to the birth of your child, and that means no acupuncture at any time. As someone with two previous miscarriages, I had always envisioned doing acupuncture for miscarriage prevention. Perhaps being kicked out was the best thing that could have happened to me.
- FET success rates: At my fertility clinic, they prefer freeze-all cycles. In my age group, approximately 34% of fresh transfers with non-donor eggs result in a live birth. For frozen cycles, 40% of transfers result in a live birth, and the actual pregnancy rate is quite high (>50%).
- Consideration of single embryo transfer: The study required that two embryos be transferred on either day 3 or day 5 (depending on individual embryo growth). This made me a little nervous as I am not exactly confident in my abilities to take care of two or more newborns along with a pre-schooler. I told my RE that I would likely cry just a little bit if he told me I was having twins. I would, of course, come around eventually. Two baby heads to sniff is quite a gift. But I would be terrified. Ask my husband, and he will tell you differently. Then again, I can probably count the number of poopy diapers he’s changed on my two hands. Hmmm.
I had my retrieval done at St. David’s Fertility Surgery Center, which is two buildings down from my fertility clinic. We had to arrive very early, so J had a sleepover with her cousins. I later found out that she had told her teachers that Aunt Liz had to bring her to school so Mommy could get her eggs taken out. Oh my! Will have to be careful what I say around that child. The procedure itself was fairly easy. My nurses were fantastic, and my anesthesiologist was the kindest man ever. I was knocked out while my eggs were retrieved, and before I knew it, I was back in my room. Any type of sedation knocks me for a looper, so I do not remember even talking to Dr. S after he performed the retrieval. My first memory is of the embryologist coming in and telling us that we retrieved 17 eggs. Wow! I felt like a rock star. High fives all around.
DH and I went home to rest before we had to pick J up from school. I use the term “rest” rather loosely since we were in the middle of a whole home renovation, and those do not tend to be very quiet. Fortunately, they were working on the other side of the house, but we were without a bedroom for the time being and sleeping on a mattress in the middle of my daughter’s play room. Try as they may to let me sleep, the crew had to interrupt me several times to ask my opinion on one thing or the other (insert sigh).
We received our first FERT report the next day. Of the 17 eggs retrieved, 16 were mature, 13 fertilized normally and there was 1 more in culture that they were unsure about. On day 3, we still had 14 eggs in culture: 10 of acceptable quality and 4 that were fragmented or falling behind. On day 5, two blastocysts of grade BC quality were frozen and they were continuing to watch 8 additional blasts. They embryologist felt that things were looking good for getting a few more frosties. Then, on day 7, we received the DEVASTATING news that none of those 8 made it to freeze quality. So of my 17 eggs, only 2 were normal enough to freeze. I was disappointed to say the least. IVF is a lot of work, and to have gone through this entire cycle only to get 2 embryos was a bit of a bummer. But at this point, I was simply too tired to spend too much time lamenting. I was just looking forward to being drug free for at least two weeks before I started my frozen cycle.