Wednesday, 28 June 2017

White Knuckled & Worn

The five day embryo maturation process felt like the longest five days of my life. As I stated in my previous post, we had a confirmed 16 eggs gathered during the retrieval procedure and we were ecstatic - we couldn't be happier. When we got home from the procedure, I closed up the blinds in the spare room (Kay's nest, as she calls it) and made sure she had food, lots of water, Gatorade (hydration helps prevent OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome), and her cell phone. Then I left her to watch "her Dean" on Supernatural and drift in and out of sleep over the course of the day. While Kay was resting I spent the day worrying about the daily phone calls we would get over the next five days. I also worried about her having side effects, about losing all our eggs, about the eggs not fertilizing, pretty much every bad thing I could think of happening. I was excited too though and these mixed emotions had me spinning.

Day 1
The next day we awaited our first dreaded phone call. On the day of retrieval, our eggs were graded in maturity and those that were mature enough to be fertilized, would be. Which means that day two they would be telling us how many of our 16 eggs were mature enough, and how many of those fertilized. The embryologist called Kay that morning and explained that of the 16 eggs that were retrieved, only seven were mature enough to move on to the fertilization process, but that of those seven, we had a 100% fertilization rate. It was a jagged pill to swallow that we had just spent two months, and basically all of our savings, to end up with seven embryos after the first day. We were heartbroken.

Day 2
It was so hard to not focus on the nine eggs that were not mature enough. We waited impatiently for our second call the next day, holding on tight and ready for anything, well almost anything. If they had told us that day that we lost half our embryos, I think we might have lost all hope, but they didn't. On day two the embryologist called and informed us that on a scale from grade 1 to 4 (one being the best and four being the opposite), we had five - class 2 and 3 embryos, one - class 4 embryo, and one embryo had been lost overnight when it turned abnormal. We had moved from 16, to 7, and now down to 6.

Day 3
We were now terrified that there wouldn't be any viable embryos left; they still had to make it to day five to be viable, and day three was the turning point for most people. We were told that a normal rate of attrition for embryos after day three was 25 to 40%! - in short, we were losing our shit. Kay shed many tears between our day two call and our day three call. We started planning for the worst - what would we do if we didn't have any viable embryos left over? Would we do another round of IVF? If so, how were we going to pay for it? All these thoughts were racing through my mind when I left for work that morning, and I waited for the call all morning. When Kay finally called, I picked up the phone and my hand was shaking. All I said was, "So?" Then I realized Kay was crying but before I could say anything she said "We still have 6!" - they all had made it, and Kay's tears, were tears of joy and relief. I was elated.

Day 4
Since we had already been through the toughest part of the maturation process I wasn't all that worried about day four. I breezed through day three and chose to focus on all the good things. I was really starting to get excited for transfer day; just thinking about it put a smile on my face. The thought of making that last trip to the clinic to finally meet our goal and potentially see our dreams come true was too exciting to ignore. That morning we got our day four call from the embryologist, Kay again called me at work to tell me we still had six total embryos! At this stage, we had four grade 2 embryos, one grade 3 embryo, and one embryo that was not yet mature enough to assign a grade to but was still developing.

The relief that we felt after day four and moving into day five was huge. I honestly felt like I'd been holding my breath for a week and I was finally able to relax. We didn't get as many embryos as we had expected, but we potentially did get enough to have as many children as we wanted. Although, depending on who you ask that number changes, I say I want five, Kay says she wants three, but everyone tells me I'll change my mind after the first one. During Kay's mini breakdown before day three I'm pretty sure I heard her mention that she didn't care how many embryos we ended up with, she would keep having kids as long as we had embryos left - maybe it was the hormones, but I'll hold on to hope that it wasn't.

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