Relief comes over me.

My body put in such a great effort to create these eggs and I am beyond grateful for the outcome.

The process was the same as last time.

I arrived at Shady Grove, Atlanta at 7:45am and was greeted with a friendly staff who has gotten to know me over the past two cycles.

At 8am, I was taken back into the coveted “IVF Suite” and ushered into the same staging room as my last retrieval.

After some brief conversation and the exchange of Hubby’s sample, I change into the ever-attractive hospital gown, hair net and booties. No picture this time.

Dr. B comes in with such a happy voice and we talk through the steps of the procedure.

The nurse explains all the aftercare with me and then my anesthesiologist walks in.

Blown vein

“My veins are tricky”, I say.

I tell everyone this who is about to prick me.

There have been multiple occasions when I’m pricked like a pin bag in order to get a blood draw. Other times my vein is blown.

Today is no exception.

Although she did her best, she did blow my vein and yet was able to save it.

Phew! I’ll just look like a druggy for a few days which is better then being pricked again with an IV starter needle.

Before I know it, I’m wheeled down that chilly, familiar hallway into the OR room.

It’s cold.

I have goose-bumps and my feet are ice cubes.

Onto the retrieval table I go with my legs in the stirrups and my bottom hanging off the end of the table.

It’s only a matter of moments when I fall into the deep sleep only to wake up in a different room.

Completely out of it!

I am crying.

I have tears of joy and relief.

The egg retrieval is finally over and I can rest knowing that I have done my part.

I find myself crying and praying (possibly out loud) to God and praising Him for all that he has done.

It’s so lonely not having Hubby there by my side- Darn COVID.

Dr. B quickly moves in and shares with me that we have 14 eggs! The 16 follicles that were counted yesterday were drained today and we were blessed with 14 eggs.

I praise God again for this outcome, audacious with my faith in Him.

He has done this in me and has gifted us with these eggs.

It is finished!

We call Hubby so Dr. B can share the outcome (I think she saw that I was still pretty loopy). Check out the pic

When I am strong enough to stand, I cloth myself and shuffle out to meet my family.

The rest of the day is full of horizontal living. Giving my body the space and time it needs to heal.

I’m grateful the bleeding has slowed; this is a sign that I will not have any complications tonight.

It’s time to put this tired and well-deserved body to bed.

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