Today is a New Day 1

It hurts to move.

I woke up a couple time last night to visit the bathroom and relieve the pressure on my ovaries. My body is not happy with me.

I am grateful that I am giving myself good nutrients to heal and space for my body to repair itself.

With light spotting of blood, I’m reminded that the doctor pierced through my lining into my ovaries and it will be more than just getting the hormones out of my system.

At 2:30am, I am awake. WIDE awake.

I spend some time reading and praying, thinking and praying and around 4am I drift back asleep.

With a slow start to my morning, I give myself permission to hunch over and shuffle.

We wait for the call from Dr. O’Brien to know the progress of our little ones.

Today is day 1– Fertilization check day

Approximately 16-20 hours after the insemination process takes place the embryologist will check to see if fertilization has occurred. The embryologist is looking for evidence of 2 nuclei (pn) – one from the egg and one from the sperm. This is how the embryologist determines if normal fertilization has occurred. Any more or any fewer nuclei present and the embryo is considered abnormally fertilized and is not kept in culture. Once normally fertilized, the embryos are placed back into the incubator and are not disturbed until day 3. The embryos are grown in a specially designed culture dish which contains a small drop of culture medium overlaid with oil. 2pn.jpg

This embryo culture medium contains the proteins, amino acids, and enzymes that mimic the fluid found in the fallopian tubes essential for embryo development. One factor (of many) that contributes to successful embryo development is the constant maintenance of temperature and pH level of this embryo culture medium. The temperature and culture medium pH level is dependent upon the CO2 environment and the heat that is provided by the incubators. Since the embryos are grown in a very small drop of culture medium it does not take long for the temperature to drop and the pH level to change in that drop containing the embryo once the dish is removed from the incubator’s environment. Severe changes in the temperature and pH level of the culture medium can have potentially detrimental effects on the embryos. The embryologists are very protective of the embryos in the lab and this is the reason why the embryologists do not like to disturb the embryos too much and will not look at the embryos on a daily basis.*

We get a call from Dr. O’Brien around 9am, of the 20 eggs retrieved, 13 of them were mature. This is a little less than was expected but MORE than what we saw on the monitoring screen a few days ago (which was 8).

Of the 13 mature eggs, 12 of them were fertilized!!

Yippee! The statistic is that 75% of mature eggs will fertilize, we had a 92% fertilization rate!

This means we go into the next 4 days of waiting knowing we have 12 potentials for a baby (or babies) to grow.

Dr. O’Brien keeps my expectations low as she mentions it’s typical to have 1/3 or 1/2 of the eggs survive the next 4 days. She would expect for us to have 4-6 blastocysts on Day 5. Although she cannot see the future or know the strength of our little growing cells, I can trust in her experience and let 4-6 be a success.

Here’s to a weekend of waiting, healing, and praying!

*Information from Fertility Smarts

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Egg Harvest Day!

Today is the day! We have been waiting a long time for this opportunity to come and here it is.

Since I will be going under anesthesia, I am not able to have anything for breakfast. So instead, I shower, pack my luggage, and we drive to the clinic around 10:15am for our 10:30am report time.

I am nervous. My stomach feels less bloated today and I fear that the trigger shot already forced ovulation to occur and my eggs flushed out of me.

Oh, the mind games I play.

We are quickly taken back to room 11 where I redress with my blue smock and booties. The bruised vein gets one more prick and the saline begins to drip into my body. It takes an hour before it’s my turn to go into the operating room. At 12 noon, I kiss Hubby goodbye and shuffle into the OR.

It’s cold and the bench I lay on is short, just long enough for my head and torso. I lift my legs into the leg rests and I feel the vulnerability overwhelm me. The nurse straps my legs into the rests and asks me to move down to practically hanging off the edge of the bench.

I mention the chill and Steve, my anesthesiologist, quickly responds with, “let me give you a hot totty to warm you up”. He hooks me up to the ‘goods’ and the nurse flips my blue gown up over my stomach. Complete vulnerability. Pure humiliation.

That was my last thought.

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The IVF process is pretty amazing. We are still in the first part of it all as we need to get the eggs and put the sperm inside and then let the cells grow.

In order to get the eggs, they need to drain the liquid from the follicles. The eggs will come with the liquid into the doctors care. They will pierce the vagina wall and go through the ovaries. I am going into this procedure with just over 20 follicles (that were seen on the monitoring screen).

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_8705.jpgI wake up about 12:45 in a drugged haze. I am in and out of coherent thought and I am crying. I’m so happy this part is over and so scared there were no eggs to retrieve. Hubby handles the blubbering sentiments and random thoughts like a champ. I even asked if Hubby could go into the OR and take a picture so we had a memory of it. (not an option).

 

Dr. O’Brien was by my side and shared they were able to harvest 20 eggs from my body!

Oh, what a joy! Great work body, I’m so grateful!

She was very pleased with the outcome and warned me of how sore I would feel. I could already feel the tenderness in my stomach.

Before I am released, I walk up and down the hall with a nurse. I can barely pull my legs out of bed before I feel a shooting pain up my bum.

I comment to the nurse and she says this is a normal pain as my ovaries are so enlarged. I get home and do some googling. This is what I find out:

It’s normal to feel this way since my ovaries were so enlarged that they could be pushing against my rectum.  Apparently, the more eggs they retrieve, the more uncomfortable you feel.  The reason is that they remove the eggs from the follicles, but the follicles still remain inside you and fill up with fluid after the retrieval, hence the bloating and my engorged ovaries.

Today is day 0Retrieval day

After I am released, 4-6 hours following the time of the egg retrieval the embryologist will initiate the fertilization process of the eggs. Fertilization is attempted using one of two methods, standard insemination or ICSI.

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Standard insemination involves placing a required number of washed, motile sperm into the culture drop containing an egg. Although many may decide to do this, modern science has progressed to the ability to insert a single sperm into a single egg.

 

ICSI is a more involved process where the embryologist uses a specialized needle and microscope to catch a single sperm to inject directly into the cytoplasm of the mature egg.

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Once insemination or ICSI occurs the eggs are placed back into the incubator to allow time for fertilization to occur.

We decided to do the ICSI.

 

For the remainder of the evening, I rest and move gingerly, giving my body enough space to heal. We will learn more about how many of the 20 eggs were mature and fertilized tomorrow.

 

 

 

The Future Begins Tomorrow

Day 14- The final prick of my arm to see if the trigger medications worked. I check out of the clinic and am grateful to not need to make another monitoring appointment.

Nope, the next time I step into the clinic will be for egg ‘harvesting’.

I like that word better than retrieval. Time to gather all these wonderful, healthy, vibrant, abundant eggs!

My final acupuncture appointment focuses on balancing my body and rejuvenating my system. It’s time to love on my body and let the eggs release as they are supposed to.

I spend the rest of the day enjoying this process and relishing the growth of these wonderful follicles.

The sunshine greets us as we enjoy a brisk walk around our ‘home’. I feel as though I’m waddling and anxious to have this pressure released from my body.

Dr. O’Brien said the bloated feeling may last up to a week after the ‘harvest’ because of the trigger shots, but I’m hopeful my body will flush these toxins (is that what there are?) out of my system and I’ll be able to return to a normal body.

  • When will I be able to move without feeling this pressure?
  • When will I be able to work out my body again?

Only time will tell.

For today, I am focusing on giving my body good healthy nutrients.

I took the final medication tonight at dinner. It will be my last meal until after the ‘harvest’ tomorrow at noon.

I’m scared of what the ‘harvest’ will be like for my body.

  • What will the aftermath feel like?
  • Will I bleed?
  • How will I be able to walk?
  • What will the flight be like back home?

The only way to know these answers is to walk through this night… and tomorrow morning… and walk into the clinic at 10:30am and put my trust in the doctors…. And God.

See you on the other side!download.jpg