I can see why women do this again and again… but I don’t understand why I did…
My last appointment saw me starring at the ultrasound showing 12 follicles. I’ve never had that many in the last year. I also never expected to spend over $20k on this project. What shall I do? Knowing my budget was a bust, the doctor suggested an insemination with hormone stimulation, since up to 9 insemination are covered in Quebec and I would only have to buy the sperm. 1000$ vs 8500$. It sounds like a smart plan, right?! My head said yes, but my heart said “what if…”.
What if my beautiful grade 1 – 12 cell embryo from last month was a sign that my eggs were of better quality due to all the supplements I have been taking?! What if there is a chance that I have 12 amazing eggs this month?! What if I waste that on an insemination that gives me only about a 15% chance of getting pregnant… so many what ifs.
I told the doctor that if I were to play the odds, I wanted to play them right. He said: “Let’s take the hormones 4 days at a time and see how your body reacts to them”. I agreed. If by Day 10, I have a great amount of follicles that have developed nicely, then I’d do one last round of in-vitro. I know I said “one last round” last time, but this would have to be the last. Not only because I cannot afford it, but also because my insurance will no longer cover the meds after this round.
I chose a new donor (after 2 friends who said they could help in that department backed out when actually asked) and took the hormones. By decision day, I had five beautiful follicles that were in the “mature egg” range and four that were so close. Still riding high on that amazing quality egg from last month, I took the final decision to go ahead with another round of IVF. I didn’t want to take the risk of losing good quality eggs.
I didn’t feel 100% confident so I chose not to tell anyone I was doing another round. I felt like I’d be judged for spending so much money on this. However, I couldn’t shake off the hope.
I now understood people who went for “one more try”, then “one last try” and so forth. Like a gambler in a casino; he knows his odds but he really thinks that this time is his time and he HAS TO play this last round. I was a gambler. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I felt a little ashamed that so much money was going to this. I felt like I was cheating on that beautiful UK family who were donating their embryos to me. But… I was addicted to hope. This time would be my time! I could feel it!
May 4th, 2018. Egg retrieval day. I chose to play Pink’s latest album in the operating room, but the new nurse didn’t put the volume very high. I could hardly hear it. I thought that listening to a bad ass woman/mother sing would give me bad ass eggs! Haha The procedure was MUCH more painful that the previous two and I actually found myself exclaiming “ouch” a couple times. I also bled, which had never happened before. Codeine was my friend post-op. I had a eerie feeling that, overall, it just didn’t go as well. The content of nine follicles was extracted and I found out before leaving that six eggs were found.
6 eggs. That was the same number as last time. I had to believe that at least they would be better eggs!
24 hours later: I get an email from my doctor.
Yesterday at the retrieval there were 5 mature eggs, 3 of which fertilized normally.
The other 2 fertilized, but they were not normal: 1 had 3 nuclei, 1 had 4 nuclei.
I will let you know tomorrow how the 3 that fertilized normally are doing once they start to divide.
Well, that sucks… I truly felt deflated but, I had to keep hope that I did this last round because it was going to work. It’s hard to keep trying to believe that when faced with adversity but I try. I found myself telling my mom that it was a waste of money, only to tell myself that no – everything was going to be ok. You have that little hopeful angel on one shoulder and the “realistic” devil on the other.
Another 24 hours later: I get an email from my doctor.
Of the 3 fertilized eggs, two have divided to form embryos.
In a perfect world on day two they would be both 4 cell grade 1 in a grading system that goes from 1-5.
Your embryos today are: 3 cell grade 3 and 2 cell grade 3
We plan to transfer both tomorrow.
Hopefully the embryos will divide well over night and give you a better chance at pregnancy tomorrow.
As much as you want to remain hopeful after that, it’s hard. When a grade 1, 12 cells embryo doesn’t stick and now you are faced with 2 medium grade embryos that may not survive the night (that’s what the little devil on my shoulder is saying), how can you believe that this round was meant to be. That it wasn’t stupid. That you did it for a good reason.
But… I only need one egg to stick, right? I am going to be a mom and one of these two embryos will prove my doubting wrong. That’s the hope.
I went to work at 4am that day, as per usual. Every opportunity I had, I checked my phone to see if the clinic had called to cancel the transfer because the embryos hadn’t survived the night or were not strong enough. The call never came, so I left work an hour early and headed to the clinic (**sidenote: I truly do have to thank my boss/company here – they have been nothing but encouraging, understanding and accommodating. Not everyone has my luck). I took a moment in my car in order to be ready mentally for what I still felt wouldn’t be the best of news and that’s where I decided to change my tune. I was an average student and look at me now! The turtle won the race, right?! Underdogs win!
That’s the mindset I had once changed into my sexy patient gear (sarcasm), waiting for my turn. I googled songs with the word miracle in it. I sang. I shimmied. I went in with a smile and saw my embabies (embryo babies):
The one of the left is a weakling. Grade 3, 3 cell (7-10 cell is the norm on day 3). The right one though surprised me. Grade 2, 9 cell. Ok… we have a contender! Not top grade but a good little embryo.
The transfer went smoothly. I had the doctor kiss the embryo picture for good luck. I asked what I could do to help post-transfer and he simply answered: “Get pregnant”!
Well gosh darn it, I sure intend to.
(TO BE CONTINUED)