Introducing...our two embies: The one on the left is the 8-cell, grade 2 which had started to compact so that's very good news for us. The one on the right, well...not so pretty for a reason. This one only made it to 6 cells, grade 2 or 3 (thanks Valium, now I don't remember the important details) but the embryologist felt it was worth a shot to transfer it anyway. We have about a 30% chance with the 8-cell and less than a 5% chance with the 6-cell. Poopy.
It went ok. After the retrieval, which was so disappointing, we were prepared to not have a transfer. What many people don't realize, is IVF is not only not a guarantee of pregnancy or a live birth, but there is certainly no guarantee you'll even make it to a retrieval, or a transfer or anything. The cycle truly can stop at any point in the process. While science has come a long way in infertility and it's amazing what they can do, they don't know everything, have no way to diagnose everything in advance, and not everyone is successful.
Which is where I come in.
So we got 5 eggs at retrieval. The expected around 10 or more. Of the 5 they retrieved, one was immature (useless, can't be fertilized). The fact that we only got 5 eggs pissed off Dr.R, and the fact that one of those 5 was immature really seemed to anger her. She's quite the perfectionist and is determined to get everyone pregnant. Now I'm a problem child.
Of the 4 viable eggs, let's just say, they were, uh...weird. "Small and brown" according to the embryologist. I have this vision of the embryologist looking at my eggs through the microscope and crinkling her nose in disgust. Then maybe calling her assistant over and saying, "Eeew, look at these. Aren't they weird?" while my poor eggs cringe in embarrassment.
In one way, this is a sort of vindication. I've been saying for a long time my eggs had "issues", but there's really no way to prove it. Even seeing them in their unattractive state isn't proof of issues. Proof that something ain't right, sure...but what?
Dr. R thinks, and myself and my google MD nodded vigorously in agreement as she said this since it is something I have self diagnosed in the past, and I was on Valium (totally missed my calling as a doctor. I was just the shits in science in school and that seemed to be an important part of the occupation) that I have a follicular problem. As in my follicles grow big quickly and the eggs don't really catch up. That, and my eggs may have problems releasing from the follicles as well. If this cycle doesn't work, there are some other protocols and drugs she can try and see if it makes a difference. It's a research project for her now. If I have the same response, well then...we know a biological child is likely an impossibility. In all honestly, I've been on this roller coaster for nearly two years and we didn't really expect IVF #1 to work. Hope, yes, but expectations, no. IVF is a process. Most people will be successful within 3. I'm assuming they don't have "small brown eggs" though. I'm a touch more optimistic that we may have another chance before throwing in the towel. Dr. R said she's tough and will get us through this if we're tough. I said "We're tough, we're just not rich." To which she said we could make arrangements, she could get us donated meds...basically we may not have to pay for everything again. So next visit we'll probably dress in really ratty clothes and ask for food just to drive that point home.
The transfer itself was nothing, I tend to have a very cooperative cervix and it seriously took a couple minutes. Dr. R explained in detail the security measures they were taking to make sure it was our embryos they were going to transfer - my response was, "Actually, we'd be happy to take someone elses if they're better." Oohh, am I a terrible mom already?
And again, we wait and hope for implantation within the next few days.