Do we want to know the gender?

The PGS testing came back a week earlier than expected. On my voicemail, nurse Christine stated we have 1 healthy viable embryo.

She even offered to share the gender since that is a part of the chromosome testing.

Woah, I am overwhelmed with emotions.

It’s been 8 days since our two little embryos went for testing and the results are said to take up to 14 days.

I check the message and before I know, nurse Christine is sharing the results of our PGS testing.

No time to gear up for the truth, I simply take a breath.

“You have one genetically normal embryo and so we will be able to proceed with this”.

My heart drops.

I know, I know. I should be happy to have one.

I’m still mourning the loss of fertilized eggs from 12 to 2 (which to me is a huge drop off rate).

We have 1.

We went from 20 eggs retrieved, to 13 mature eggs, to 12 fertilized eggs, to 2 blastocysts, to 1 genetically normal.

I would be lying if I said I was overjoyed to learn we have 1.

Unfortunately, my excitement has been mounting over the weeks and months of preparation for IVF. I have heard people who have ended up with 1 in the end of their cycle.

But not me.

I thought I was going to be different.
I had my hopes set on multiple embryos that we would be able to implant over the next few years to make our family complete.

The truth is, I’m a little sad and disappointed.

I had my hopes on having more and had set myself with higher expectations based on what ‘could be’.

I know, I know.

Everyone says, you just need one. Which is true.

Let me explain.

We are apart of the Shared Risk Program at Shady Grove. This was one of the reasons we chose them.

They give a soft guarantee for a live baby birth at the end of 6 IVF cycles, or your money back. Everything (except the medications) are wrapped up into one price.

If you don’t have a successful egg retrieval to embryo process, you can do another egg retrieval for ‘free’ (except for the medications), and you can do this up to 6 times for no additional cost to the clinic.

What is ‘successful’? Good question.

One embryo at the end of an IVF cycle is successful.

So since we have one, then we need to implant this one before we would be able to do another retrieval.

The caveat is, if you have a successful/ live birth, the package goes away.

Any future egg retrievals would need to be paid for by us.

Pretty incredible, huh?

So here’s the ‘issue’.

We want to have more than one child and if we get a live beautiful baby out of this embryo then in order for us to have more children, we would need to pay the full price of IVF, again.

If we would have had more embryos that made it to this stage, then we would have some more frozen and in the waiting.

If we had no embryos make it to this stage we would go back into the egg retrieval stage and have the opportunity for more embryos.

I’m not not grateful for the one.

I’m just pouting because I’m scared that we won’t be able to have more children in the future.

I know, I know… we can always adopt or do another egg retrieval… it just prolongs the process.

It’s just not what I had created to be the story to be.


If our goal was 1, I would be happy.

I guess I shouldn’t have set my sights so high as to have all our kids frozen and at the ready for us to implant when we want.

That would be too easy.

That would give me too much say in the timing, too much control over my family.

Nope, God has other plans.

It’s true, I don’t really know what the future holds for me and I know that God always pulls things together in a way that I could have never imagined.

I’m just letting myself be bummed.

I lean into the tears and let myself feel the disappointment.

I don’t really want to have an only child and the thought of adopting seems so daunting at this point.

Maybe I won’t like being pregnant and having 1 embryo/pregnancy is a gift.

If we transfer now, I will be 36 when I give birth and that puts my eggs a year older than now, which only means fewer quality eggs and less of a chance for more healthy embryos.

I feel like my chances aren’t great at 35, after this retrieval, so the thought of 36 or 37 is a bit uninspiring.

Maybe a pregnancy will kick my body into gear and I will get pregnant naturally the second time around.

I don’t want to have to spend more (outrageous) amounts of money to try this again. If this one embryo does result in a live baby, then our Shared Risk package with Shady Grove goes away and we will have to pay for a full retrieval again.

Maybe this little embryo will divide and we will have identical twins.

The chances of this are single-digit percent, but God is big. He knows the story.

So I just sit here. Trying to allow my head knowledge of what God can do seep into my heart.

It’s not happening in the way that I wanted.

I thought I was surrendered to the process, but I made one mistake in my mental preparation.

I got too fixated on the idea of having multiple embryos that set the bar too high and now my expectations have not been met.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I still need to actually GET pregnant.

Something I have not been able to do in the past.

There is no guarantee that this 1 embryo will nestle in and grow.

I am very well aware that this may result in a miscarriage and we will be back to square 1 (a 2nd’s egg retrieval) with more information about my body.

There are so many unknowns at this point and the thought of all the various options of how this can play out exhausts me.

Yet again, I learn I’m not in control, I don’t have control over the outcome of these experiences and all I can do is put forth my best effort and trust that God knows what is to be the unraveling of this story.

God, help me accept the plans you have for me. Help my heart be overflowing with gratitude that we have this little embryo and appropriately excited at the thought that I could actually have a biological baby (something I wasn’t sure would happen).

Help me be joy-filled and prayerful about this little embryo (who does have a gender which nurse Christine knows!!)

God, help me to change my thinking around this news and shift my heart so I can exude positive thoughts and love for what you have done so far in me through this journey.

So here we sit, with one lovely, wonderfully healthy embryo.

WE HAVE ONE!!!!


Next steps you ask?

Well, I got my period a couple days ago and since we are wanting to do a transfer when it works with our schedule, I will go back on birth control to time the correct days leading up to the transfer date.

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Day 6. How Many Embry-babies?

I have butterflies in my stomach. Today is our call with Dr. O to find out how many of our remaining 11 are still growing and are viable blastocysts. Although we have 1 confirmed, we still have another layer to get through before we can move towards the transfer, genetic testing.

We have no reason to believe we will have any genetic abnormalities, but we also never know what’s going on in these genes and dividing cells.

I am so scared that the results will be so small that in the end we won’t have any to work with. I have to turn my thinking around.

My body is hot as I think about the call (in 10 minutes).

We have waited and prayed and although my prayers were for 7 blastocysts, I have come to peace that no number will guarantee a baby.

Instead, I turn my thinking to accepting what is and letting it be the story of faith that even if we just have the one that goes into genetic testing, that all will be exactly as it is supposed to be.

I want to control the outcome.                                                                  I can’t.

I want to protect my emotions.                                                                 I can’t.

I choose to feel with a healthy openness to being vulnerable to the desire of my own biological babies balanced with low expectations of the outcome.

Regardless of the number, God is in control.

Not me.

~~~~~~

We get the call.

Dr. O’Brien first asked how I was feeling and was sensitive to hearing how my recovery has been over the past 6 days. She hesitated to give me both the Lupron and HCG shots as my trigger shots for this very reason, it makes the bloating and swelling worst.

This discomfort is worth it to me if we are able to have babies.

stem cell.JPG 25.jpg

Then she let us know, we had one more egg make it to the blastocyst stage and was biopsied and frozen this morning.

There is a possibility for us to have one more, which we will have confirmed tomorrow.

All others did not progress and in a sense ‘died’.

My heart sank.

From 11, there are 2. Maybe 3. (Just confirmed we have 2, 1.9.19).

These are not the final embryos we will use to transfer.

We have one more stage, on more hurdle, to get through, which is the PGS- genetic testing.

We will know in two weeks what our final number of embry-babies will be.

Until then, I just have to keep waiting and trusting that God knows what he’s doing in all of this.

My heart feels quiet. I have no words.

 

Here’s some more information from Fertility Smarts about Day 6:

Day 6 in the IVF lab – Final Number of Embryos Known

On Day 6 we know the final number of embryos suitable for freezing. Day 6 is the final day in the lab for the embryos at most clinics. The embryologists will assess the remaining embryos and if they have continued to grow overnight they will freeze all that are of good quality. Embryos that have not made a blastocyst by this day are not viable and will not be frozen. Most labs do not grow embryos longer than Day 6 because they need to either be frozen or to be in a uterus after Day 6.

Chromosome Screening

If you choose to undergo chromosome screening on your embryos, a single cell called a blastomere can be taken from each embryo on Day 3, or a small group of 4 to 5 cells can be taken at the blastocyst stage around Day 5/6. This is called embryo biopsy and is done before the embryos are frozen.

Chromosome screening allows the lab to select and thaw only genetically normal embryos for transfer in a frozen embryo transfer cycle. This type of screening is recommended for women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles or are of advanced maternal age (38 or older). The pregnancy rates are very good for all ages of women when the embryos have been screened before transfer.