August 7, 2012
The morning arrived with yet another injection of progesterone. There is a bit of a learning curve here, but despite sleepy eyes and nerves, my husband has yet to miss. His concern for giving the injection properly helps calm my fears. I know I’m in good hands even though the shots themselves suck.
A little after 9 we grabbed our things and headed out for the planned transfer with the realization that we may not be able to go through with it. Before a decision could be made a few tests needed to be completed. Ultrasounds indicated that I do have mild ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). The medication given to help prevent did it’s job and allowed my body time to begin healing. The RE agreed to allow transfer but would allow only one embryo to be transferred. When we started this journey I wanted to transfer two. I’m paying a lot of money and putting in a lot of time and emotion into something that was (and continues to be) unpredictable and in turn wanted the best odds of having at least ONE baby come from it.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about transferring only one. And it scares me. What if the wrong embryo was transferred? What if it doesn’t stick? What if we have to go through this again? Transferring only one scares me more than the complications of two. But I understand the decision and don’t want to put myself, and potentially my baby, at risk. So with a little relief that we could continue with a fresh transfer, we headed downstairs to prep for the big moment.
A decade of dreams found themselves at pause in the handful of moments the embryologist shared the positive outcome of our embryo development. In that instant I was unable to hold back tears of joy and anticipation. So much in my life has come down to the single, perfect embryo selected for transfer and my resolve found representation through tears. One perfect 5-day blast (rated 5AA) was to be transferred within the hour. And with it, the hopes of a new journey.
This microscopic grouping of cells holds within it the potential to build our family. And although it was nurtured in a lab, nothing but love went into making it.
The past few days have moved quickly.
Progress on my fertilized eggs has not been reported. I could have called but decided there was nothing I could do with the information today and the possibilities of it being different by tomorrow allowed me reason to just let it go. There is nothing I can do at this point to help those embryos develop in the lab, that’s what I’ve paid the embryologist to do. It’s funny how something so complex as building a life in a test-tube has little impact on what worries me. I’m not at all concerned with the embryologist and her ability to do what they can to ensure healthy embryos. And honestly, they only have limited control.
What finds place in my heart for worry is the possibility of OHSS and cancellation of our transfer. I understand the reasoning behind cancellations. It doesn’t make it an easy pill to swallow. So, tomorrow we drive down to the clinic for a 10:00 urine sample and ultrasound to check on my hyper-stimulation. Those two tests will determine the next step. If all looks good then we move forward with the transfer. If not, cancellation will be ordered. This decision would bring with it uncertain emotions, additional weeks of waiting, re-prepping of my body, and an additional 5K bill.
So on the eve of our pending transfer I pray that the gallons of gatorade, piles of pills, dozen’s of needles, and rest will lead to our planned transfer and a positive pregnancy.
Yesterday proved harder than I had imagined.
We arrived a little more than a half-hour early as traffic was better than we anticipated. Around 8 AM we meet with the anesthesiologist and went over the risks of being put under. Fifteen minutes later we were escorted into a recovery room. I was given the orders to change into the standard hospital dressing gown and was walked into the retrieval room. The anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the IV into my hand. OUCH!!! A few minutes later the RE came in, they strapped my legs into place, my head became heavy, and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room with Joe, crying. It is amazing the wave of emotions that come with this journey. Nobody will ever be able to comprehend all that I feel. And it is difficult to explain. In that moment in the recovery room I felt blessed to be with somebody willing to undergo such a challenge.
A few minutes later the embryologist came in and shared that retrieved 24 eggs and 20 were mature. She said they looked like “A” grade eggs but would know more once they fertilized via ICSI (this is when they actually inject one sperm into the egg). Everything looked good but they shared concerns of OHSS and sent me home with a care sheet on when I should call. They also explained that we may not be able to transfer this cycle if we do end up with mod/severe OHSS, and if we do transfer we may only be able to transfer one embryo if I have mild OHSS.
We were on our way home by 10.
Throughout the day I experienced lots of pressure and cramping in my lower back and belly and nausea. I was in and out of sleep all day and struggled to get comfortable. The pain brought with it fear that I was moving in the direction of OHSS. I’m afraid of postponing, afraid of the health risks, afraid of not transferring the right embryos. Just afraid.
I woke up this morning to more cramping. Notably better than yesterday, but cramping all the same. I hear from others this is normal and I shouldn’t count myself out of this cycle just yet. But this journey has been tedious, speed-bump after speed-bump. I pray for a positive outcome and think positively as often as I find myself thinking in the negative. So when I got the call from the embryologist this morning that 17 of my eggs had fertilized I was thrilled. Maybe things have finally turned in my direction. As the day has progressed I am feeling better, have more energy, and less cramping. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I believe I’m on my way!
The past few days have been busy and full of fear and excitement. As each hour passes we get closer to the completion of an IVF cycle that has teased me with time.
Yesterday found me running across town to pick up two medications meant to help minimize the possibility of OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome) due to my elevated estradoil levels and high follicle count. I have mixed feelings about how the stimming portion of this IVF cycle has gone. On one hand I am excited that I will have (fingers crossed) plenty of eggs to work with, but I’m angry and upset that the embryos may have to be frozen and the transfer postponed.
Haven’t I waited long enough?
I realize it is silly and unproductive for me to worry about issues that are outside of my control, but so little is within my control. I take my medications, go to my appointments, drink my fluids, eat plenty of protein, and rest. Those things I can control. And in this journey those things, although important, are minor all things considered. Tomorrow very little will be in my control. Joe and I will leave at 6:45 to make our 8:00 AM appointment where all the prep I’ve done will lead to the aspiration of my follicles. By the end of the day I will have a follicle count and a better idea of whether or not OHSS will be of concern.
I’m having a hard time concentrating, and as a result writing. There are so many feelings, thoughts, concerns passing time in my head that it is hard to sort them out. So, my apologies for a miss-match post.
Praying for positive results tomorrow.