January 16 – 21, 2016
Today we’re missing out on a family get-together to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. It’s fine. We’re only missing it due to a *minor* surgery. We were a little upset to once again miss a family event due to some sort of infertility appointment, but at the same time excited because this was a major event for us. It’s one step closer to knock up day! In the meantime, JM and I had to wake up at 5am on a Saturday morning. JM and I hit the road at 530am and drive an hour to the surgical center. I’m so uncomfortable and beyond ready to get these eggs taken out. When we arrive, the nurses get me set up with an IV and the anesthesiologist asks me a bunch of health questions, yada, yada, yada. I explain to the anesthesiologist that I get very nauseous and usually vomit as soon as I wake up from the anesthesia. He promises me there are drugs for that and will take care of me.
JM hands one of the nurses his prized sample in a plastic container and brown paper baggie – only to find out his swimmers literally swam out of the container. WTF!? I don’t know why, (of course I know why… I’m flipping hormonal as ever!) but I begin to panic. Timing is critical with IVF and JM was to provide a sample of his swimmers exactly 2 hours before my eggs were ready to be fertilized on a petri-dish. The nurse assures me it is fine and JM can provide another sample while I’m getting my eggs taken out.
When it’s finally my turn to get my eggs out at 8:30am the nurse walks me over to the freezing cold surgical room. The doctor who is about to retrieve my eggs instructs me to lay down on the table and once again put my legs up in the stirrups. I beg him to please do his best to not disturb my endometriosis and to take care of my babies (literally). He states he will do his damnedest to avoid touching my endo. The next thing I know, the room starts to get fuzzy and I’m out for the count.
Obviously while under anesthesia you don’t remember a thing. The next thing I remember is waking up back in the hospital bed and room I was in before my procedure and JM is sitting in the chair where I left him. I’m as groggy as can be, but the embryologist insists on having a conversation with me. The news she tells me wakes me up instantly. She tells me I had 16 eggs retrieved. (OMG! 16?!?!?!) I have no idea what that means and proceed to ask her if 16 is a lot or a little. She said it’s a great number and is the average amount people have retrieved. The embryologist states someone will call me tomorrow to let me know how many fertilized.
JM and I are absolutely thrilled to hear I had 16 eggs retrieved. Can you imagine if they all fertilize? Suddenly, my attitude about this whole IVF experience did a 180. This could potentially be 16 embryos! Well, not like we need that many babies, but it would mean we could potentially have many more tries of getting pregnant without having to go through all the injections again.
After JM and the nurse finally get me to eat something, I’m discharged and free to go home around 1230pm. We had an hour long drive home and the whole time I was nauseous. With 2 minutes to go before we pull into our driveway, I say to JM, “I seriously feel like I have to vomit.” The second JM pulls into our driveway, I open my car door and literally vomit what seemed like a gallon of clear liquid. Once again, another anesthesiologist failed me and I got sick after surgery. For the rest of the day I stayed in bed and enjoyed having JM serve me Gatorades and fruit smoothies.
Fast forward to the next day….
I get a call from the embryologist around 9:30am with the news of how my eggs did. The embryologist requests that I grab paper and pen to write down all my numbers and next steps. Out of the 16 eggs retrieved we had 11 fertilize — 2 fertilized abnormally and were discarded. HOLY CRAP, we have 9 embryos! NINE! I could barely contain my excitement and tears start to roll down my cheeks. The embryologist continues to tell me what medicines I need to continue to take to prevent infection, and that I’d need to come back to the surgical center in 4 days for the embryo transfer.
As soon as I get off the phone with the embryologist I immediately call JM with the news. I could just hear his smile over the phone. I then move on to call my mom, and then my in-laws, and then I text my three college roommates. I kept thanking God for giving me 9 embryos to work with. This is exactly the outcome I was praying for.
The next four days were the longest days of my life. The morning of our embryo transfer, JM and I decided to head towards the surgical center early and enjoy breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate what we’re about to do. The embryologist told me I would hear from the Baby Businessman before the transfer with an update on how my embryos were doing. By the time I arrived to the surgical center I realize I didn’t hear from the Baby Businessman at all yet.
I sign in at the front desk and immediately the receptionist said that my Baby Businessman wanted to talk to me. My mind starts racing and suddenly I find myself getting anxious. What if I drove all the way there only to find out none of my embryos survived? What if we had nothing to transfer? What if all my embryos are superior quality and I could pick whatever one I wanted to transfer? What if he wanted me to transfer 3 embryos rather than 2?
The receptionist escorts me to a private office so I could talk to the Baby Businessman on the phone and I left JM in the lobby. The Baby Businessman is on the line and proceeds to tell me that apparently I have very poor egg quality and all of our embryos are graded a “C”. None of them made it to the bastocyst stage – aka a specific number of cells by day 5. How could this be? I’m only 32 years old? I try so hard to hold it together while talking to him on the phone, but my mouth is full of verbal diarrhea and I begin asking him “but why?” over and over again. I just couldn’t quite comprehend why this is suddenly happening to me.
The Baby Businessman wants me to transfer 2 of the embryos.The remaining 7 will be discarded and I will be left with nothing to freeze. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. What I’m about to say is probably very controversial, but in my mind I just had 7 miscarriages in a matter of seconds. Those were 7 of our babies that were alive for 5 days and I just lost all of them.
I walk out of the private office, down the hallway and towards the lobby. I wave JM over and begin hyperventilating. I guess you could call it a panic attack and cried in his arms. I couldn’t quite get the words out of my mouth to tell him the news I just received and finally I was able to mouth to him, “We have nothing left; my eggs are crap.” Everything about our infertility is my fault. I can’t even begin to describe how small I felt right then. There is nothing worse than knowing as a wife, I am failing at giving my husband a family.
We’re called into another room to begin our embryo transfer of our “C”quality embryos. The nurse takes my blood pressure and sure enough it was very high. My blood pressure is always the same – around 115/75. Not this time. It was 155/95. That’s very high for me. Clearly the news I received made my blood pressure rise. I get undressed from the waist down, lay on the table and put my feet up in the stirrups. The ultrasound technician checks to make sure my bladder is full for the procedure and suddenly my mind is only thinking about not peeing on the table. Next thing I know, I am laying there with my legs wide open with a doctor, nurse, ultrasound technician, and 2 embryologists staring at me and my husband holding my hand. How many people does it take to knock this girl up in 5 minutes? Clearly 6 people.
The doctor measures my uterus lining and comments on how “fluffy” it is. She states that if she were an embryo she’d want to live there. <<insert awkwardness>> The doctor performing the embryo transfer inserts the catheter guided by ultrasound. JM and I are able to watch the transfer happen on the TV monitor and see exactly when the embryos are put into my uterus. It was fascinating. The doctor recorded the transfer and let it play on repeat.
After they put the embryos in, I had to lay on the table for 5 minutes. The embryologist comes into the room and hands us a photo in a card-stock frame. It’s a photo of our two embryos that they put in me. I stare at the photo for a minute letting it process that these are our babies I’m looking at. (See photo below).
After the procedure, the doctor instructs me to take it easy the rest of the day and to avoid any strenuous activity until my pregnancy test in 10 days and to not lift anything more than 15 pounds. I head into work like as if it’s another day and continue about my daily business. The doctors said that if the embryos are going to stick, implantation will happen in the next 48 hours. All day at work all I could think about was what I just went through. Technically I’m “pregnant” right now with two, but I have no way in knowing if they will implant until 10 days from now. Once again, I’m tortured with the dreaded “2 week wait.”