Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day 6 after ER

I received phone calls from the nurse on Days 1-2, and today, Day 5. The ER counts as Day 0, and we left knowing they had retrieved a total of 19 eggs. On Day 1, the nurse called to tell me that of the 19 eggs retrieved, 17 were mature, and 11 had fertilized successfully. On Day 2, we found out that of the 11 embryos, we had 2 x 2-cells, 3 x 3-cells, 4 x 4-cells, and 2 x 5-cells. Days 3-4 fell on the weekend, and the lab likes to allow the embryos to develop undisturbed during those 2 days. Monday was Day 5, which is the day most embryos become blastocysts. Traditionally, embryos were transferred to the uterus on the 2nd or 3rd day of development after IVF because they were only able to sustain growth for 2-3 days in a lab setting. Advances in medicine have allowed them to survive longer than this, after 5 days of growth, in which the cells should have divided many times, with those surviving to this stage likely being stronger and healthier. Basically, a blastocyst is an embryo that has developed for 5-7 days after fertilization, and has 2 distinct cell types and a central cavity filled with fluid (Advanced Fertility, 2016).

On Day 5 (Monday), the nurse called to tell me that 2 of the embryos had reached blastocyst and were biopsied and frozen. (We are doing PGS, so the biopsy will be sent to the lab and the embryos will be frozen until we are ready to transfer.) She told me that there were 3 embryos at the early blastocyst stage, and that the remaining embryos were as follows: 1 x 3-cells, 4 x 6-cells, and 1 x 7-cells. She said that they were going to check again tomorrow to see if any of the early blasts had reached full blast stage and also to check on the progress of the remaining 6. To be honest, this news hit me pretty hard. I was expecting the numbers to go down every day, but I hadn't expected to go from 11 to 2. I immediately started worrying and bracing myself for a failed cycle. What's worse is that David had to leave yesterday so I got the news right as we were eating lunch together, before heading to the airport. :(

Today was Day 6, and I was incredibly nervous when I answered the phone. The nurse told me that 2 more had made it to blastocyst and they were able to biopsy and freeze them. I immediately felt better, knowing we now have 4 embryos that made it. We still have 3 more compacted morula, that are not quite blastocysts yet. When they are compacted, the cells and cell borders are becoming fuzzy as the embryo "compacts" or melts together. This is basically the stage right before blastocyst. So I am praying hard for those compacted embryos to grow tonight and make it to the blastocyst stage tomorrow. Tomorrow is Day 7, the last day they will be allowed to grow to. After this, the embryos that haven't reached blastocyst will be discarded. The remaining 4 embryos are as follows: 1 x 3-cells, 2 x 6-cells, and 1 x 7-cells. Most likely these will not make it to blastocyst by tomorrow (Day 7), but I am praying for a miracle.

As silly as it sounds, throughout these 6 days, I have gotten attached to these 11 embryos. The night of Day 2, after the nurse told us 11 had fertilized successfully, I started praying hard for each of those 11 embryos. It was amazing to me to know that conception had occurred, that this had actually happened, and these could be our future babies. Knowing that some of the embryos won't make it makes me a little sad. I have been rooting for them and praying for them and and thinking about them, and it's upsetting to think about them being discarded. I know that this happens naturally in our bodies, and that the reason they are discarded is because they would not survive beyond this, but part of me can't help but be a little sad and grieve for them.

On a happier note, I weighed myself this morning and I am back down to my original weight (before starting stims), so at least the bloating is going down.

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