The Embryo Transfer!!!/We made it!!!

(I knew that there was still a chance that none of the embryos would attach and survive, and that if they didn’t, the 7 month long, excruciating process and 40k would be lost…..)

The room we were in had a big screen TV in it, and in the next room were our little want-to-be-babies. The tech magnified what was going on in the next room, and they had it up on the screen so we could see. As he syringed each embryo up, along with the fluid they were in, I had butterflies throughout my body and wanted to scream with excitement!!! Calmly, I watch as he brought them into the doctor, and the doctor transferred my three little embryos to the warm, loving environment that had been carefully prepared just for them, our surrogate mother’s uterus.

We had finally made it to this point, and now had a two-week wait to anticipate whether we would get to continue on this miraculous journey.

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Two or Three???

God had assisted us up to this point, and we knew that it would take a greater power to take over the process from here. I wanted to implant three embryos, so that our chances of having at least one baby survive would be more likely. Putting in three embryos, didn’t mean that three would take. We were planning on implanting two, and planning for two babies surviving. I was afraid with three that I wouldn’t be able to be there for the babies like I wanted to. And even more scared that I couldn’t physically take care of three babies.

I also knew that I would willingly and ecsatically accept one, two, or three beautiful babies with a smile on my face, and that God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. If all three did attach and survive, we were all four willing to do what it took for their safety.

The four of us discussed, and Dan and Alice assured me with details of scenarios, of what could happen, and what they would be willing to do if each happened. Dan jokingly said, “If you guyz have three, you can just give us one!”

A peace came over the room and over Alice, Dan, & me. I started becoming more clear, and felt like God was guiding us all. We had made a decision and I felt good and at peace with it.

WE CHOSE TO IMPLANT THREE LITTLE EMBRYOS!!!

Another Decision???/Dan To The Rescue!

January 25th, 2010 The Embryo Transfer!!!

Alice asked me if I wanted to be there during the embryo transfer. I was thrilled!!!

She obviously wanted her hubby there, so they met me at the clinic. There weren’t anymore decisions to be made, so Gordon went to work. I didn’t think I would need him, and he wouldn’t be in the room anyway………….Or so I thought…..

The doctors had been telling us throughout the 7 months of trying, that they would only implant two embryos at the most. We wanted twins and Alice was ready to carry twins, she’s an expert on that, hehe:)

When we got there, the doctor came in and told us that because the embryos were just barely below normal in quality, we had the choice to transfer three embryos…..What the heck! We had already discussed in detail our options and made the big decision, and now things felt out of control all over again. I called Gordon, but he seemed to be in the same overwhelming dilemma. He knew we were on the same page, so he trusted my decision….I didn’t want to make the decision:(
I felt numb…………. I didn’t want to deal with anything else.

So many risks and unknowns. Would three take? Would they be early or full-term? I had the experience of the NICU before, and just wanted to experience the normal, stay-at-home, in bed, enjoying my baby/babies for two weeks like everyone I had seen. I wanted to be able to actually hold my baby…
Would Alice have to go on bedrest, and not be there for her girls? Could my heart handle three, I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle and enjoy…………….

There was so much loudness in my head, I wanted to run away and cancel the whole thing. I had been on so many hormone drugs, I didn’t feel stable or sane at all. I really didn’t feel like I could make anymore decisions.

We sat in the small, dark room, waiting for an answer. I had a thousand swords flying my way. As I stared off in a blank, Dan and Alice started talking about it. They were wondering what the answer would be, and at the time same being very supportive.

Holding back the tears, I started telling them my concerns and fears, cuz it was again a decision all four of us needed to make. I couldn’t think straight and was mumbling. I couldn’t seem to comprehend anything…..

Dan stood up and very assertively encouraged us to discussed all the facts, details, risks, thoughts, and feelings of all four of us. He completely saved my ass. It was like the “Incredibles”, when Helena grabs elastigirl and says, “pull yourself together”, but in the most loving, caring, gentle way.

It was like he took all my confusion and made sense of it. Thank you, Dan!

Options/Statistics/Percentages

From the beginning of the invitro-surrogate process, the doctors told about all the percentages and statistics of what anyone’s chances would be.

They gave us a 60% chance that our surrogate mother would get pregnant. If she did get pregnant, the chance of how the pregnancy went and if the baby/babies survived were the same as for any pregnancy. 60% seemed pretty high to me, but I also understood that it was up to God and it would take His miracle to allow it to happen.

They explained that we could either implant one or two embryos. They stressed that no more than two could be implanted, because of Alice’s healthy, fertile age and the risk of multiple babies. Both could attached or one or both of the two could split, and we could have three or four babies, but the chances were very small for more than twins. They explained that we had the option of reduction if more attached and survived than we wanted. I couldn’t believe that this was a normal routine, like a fart in the wind to some people. To Gordon and I, and lucky Dan and Alice as well, this was considered abortion. We all felt that which ever embryos survived and attached, were God’s gifts to us, and we would not be a part in trying to control their fate.

They gave us a 30% chance of twins if two were implanted. I again thought those were good odds. We had decided early on, that Gordon and I very badly wanted twins and Alice was willing to carry them and do whatever it took to keep them safe and healthy. We were all very excited about the chance of twins. Going through all this hard work and effort, and then getting two out of it!!! That would be such an exciting surprise!

Our Little Embryos/Should They Have a Name?

Now that my eggs and Gordon’s sperm had been mixed together, our little stuff, became embryos. The embryos stayed in the IVF lab for a few more days to see which ones would be the healthiest and strongest. It sounds silly, but it felt like we had left our babies with total strangers, not knowing what was exactly going on with them. It was weird, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think about it…???

The embryo transfer happens 3-5 days after the retrieval, depending on how well they are doing and how fast fertilization occurs.

Two days later, I got a call from the lab where our little embryos were. The tech had been keeping in touch with the infertility doctors. They decided that the embryo transfer needed to happen the next day, because the embryos were becoming more fragile every day. They would pick the best two out of the five to implant.

What did that mean? Were they going to survive?
I tried very hard not to let my mind control me again.

What’s Our Lucky Number?/How Many Eggs (Follicles) Did We Get?

There were only five mature eggs (follicles) in my ovaries. Only five?………

I was really hoping, with everything inside of me, that there were seven… What did all this mean? What were we supposed to learn? Why did this happen?

Bursts of anger snuck into my peaceful mind. We could have finished this whole thing with the FIRST cycle. I felt like the previous decisions made about stopping the cycles, had been put on me. So when this happened, I felt like I should have decided to go through with it on the first cycle. It would have saved everyone time, money, and energy. GURRR:(

Gordon reminded me that we had both made the decisions, and that we based it on the professionals’ opinions and our guidance from God. He encouraged me to put away the beating stick and focus on what I had created. He continued by telling me that we wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be this far in the process if it wasn’t for me and what I strived to accomplish.

What a guy! He helped me find the peace that I worked so hard to keep.

The Egg Retrieval

The day had come! My little eggs (follicles) would be taken out of me.

The egg retrieval is typically done right in the office as a very simple procedure. A needle is passed through the top of the vagina under ultrasound guidance to get to the ovary and follicles. The fluid in the follicles is aspirated (drawn-up) through the needle and the eggs detach from the follicle wall and are sucked out of the ovary. The fluid with the eggs is passed to the IVF lab where the eggs are identified, rinsed in culture media, and placed in small culture drops in plastic dishes. The dishes with the eggs are then kept in specialized IVF incubators under carefully controlled environmental conditions. Sperm is mixed with the eggs about 4 hours after the egg aspiration, and then it begins to fertilize.

Because of the concern with how my heart would do during the procedure and the risk of bleeding, I had it performed at the hospital in the operating room. Once again, there was cardiologist, cardiac anesthesiologist, several nurses, and my fertility doctor who was the one performing the retrieval. I was completely put out so they could monitor my heart and be able to control the pace-maker/defibrillator (ICD).
My biggest concern was the survival of my precious little eggs.

And once again, Gordon could not be there with me…….But of course, he was waiting for my return.

Previously Gordon had given sperm that they could freeze so they would have back-up, it was required. Obviously fresh is better, so off he went.. While I was in the OR, Gordon went over to the infertility center to give them fresh, healthy sperm.

I was sent home the same day to recover. Ouch!!! And so sick from the anesthesia and pain pills.

Here We Go, Ready Or Not…

“We only need ONE to survive, babe” were the sweet words of my husband. I repeated those few words through my head like a skipped CD. I continued to focus on God, faith, peace, and love. If these were the eggs that might create my baby/babies, I wanted them to know how much I loved and appreciated them…..I wanted it to be a beautiful environment for their (the embryos) inception.

The decision had been made. What a relief and yet so final….

The same day of the last ultrasound, I took a Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) injection at 9:00 that night. HCG induces/triggers ovulation.
The hCG trigger has several functions:

*Induce final maturation of the eggs
*Cause the resumption of meiosis
*Loosen the egg’s attachment from the follicle wall
*Allows for the timing of the egg retrieval

The goal is to perform the egg retrieval as close as possible to 36 hours after the hCG trigger is given. This meant for me that the egg retrieval would be two days later, 9:00 in the morning. Timing is everything, and so important.

Here we go, ready or not!!!

Please Let The Third Time Be The Charm?!?!?

Third week of injections, and again the dreaded vaginal ultrasound….

The first ultrasound showed no response..I was devastated.. The doctor reassured me that they had done the ultrasound earlier than normal to watch for signs of overstimulation with the new medication. I was relieved, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away…

The next ultrasound, I had three good eggs (follicles), and several with good potential…Because this was the final try, I didn’t seem to stress as much. I focused on putting it ALL in God’s hand. I tried to be okay with not getting pregnant at all. It took alot of effort, and wasn’t easy. It took a constant reminder, on my part, to stay peaceful………….

The next day, the ultrasound showed two more, and the biggest eggs had a little room to still be in the safe range. It started feeling like a repeated, bad dream. Very familiar……..I again focused on remaining calm and peaceful.

The anticipation was grualling…Breathe Jess, breathe……

The fourth day, the three biggest eggs were reaching the point of no return………Two more eggs barely made it within the acceptable range. I had seven large eggs…Today was the deciding day, because one more day would cause the three biggest eggs to become not viable (not usable)……………

It was now time to test my estrogen levels to see how many eggs were actually mature……….Labs again and we were sent home to wait for the word……………………………………………….

1,433 was my Estradiol (estrogen) count and the second important number of the day. This meant that if the minimum of 200 were in each egg, then there could be seven mature eggs! If any of the eggs had more in them, then as few as three egg could be mature……..Quite a wide range…How could we ever know?………

Every day felt like a decade…….

Last Cycle/Last Chance:(

So as I mentioned before, the doctors said this would be our last cycle, our last chance! They may have let us keep trying, but made it clear that in their opinion, the results would be very similar. They weren’t sure that the added medication would make much of a difference, but we were ALL willing to try just about anything. I felt like I was under alot of pressure.

The doctors all got together and agreed on one professional opinion. They encouraged us to continue with the egg retrieval and transfer, regardless of if I could produce enough eggs. (Enough meaning 8-12 mature eggs.) They had hopes that the new, added medication would help a little, and figured this would be our best shot.

We obviously wanted to see what the results were before we sealed the deal, but we had mostly made up our minds that this was IT!!! Gordon and I once again, put our complete trust and faith in God.

The decision felt so scary, like we had come to the end of our rope, like the clock would stopped ticking………….And yet, at the same time, I felt a sigh of relief…Like it was almost over…We could get on with our lives…….

Floods of thoughts and emotions swept over me….I wasn’t sure which thought or feeling was the strongest or which ones I should feel guilty about. It changed every second, as I was completely overwhelmed, and yet at times, peaceful about where we were at.