What a mindfuck that was. Here’s what I’m leaning – you’re going to be blindsided at every point.
We went down to the clinic and I was the first patient of the day. We had the embryologist come in and talk to us to make sure that we wanted to wait till Day 5 to freeze, because it meant we may not get any viable embryos. Because I have so few follicles, typically you freeze earlier, because the longer they aren’t in a uterus the higher the chance they’ll be damaged. But… You don’t know if they’re viable until you test. You shouldn’t test until they’re blastocysts because else you’re taking cells that will damage the embryo.
If the embryos are not viable, they won’t result in a healthy pregnancy anyway, they’ll miscarry or not attach. There’s no point freezing possible non-viable eggs and hoping, better to grow them, and test them and then freeze the viable ones.
So, that was The Plan - wait till Day 5 to see which would grow and then test the blastocysts. I panicked because I felt she was questioning The Plan. In times of stress, things like knowing The Plan give me something to hold on to. It was not exactly what I wanted right before I went into egg collection. Having her question The Plan had me running all the reasons in my head right up till I was in theatre.
Another blind side moment - finding out they stuck suppositories up your behind at the last minute (gross). And having the anaesthetist treat me like I was ‘Thursday Morning’ and not a real person.
Also, turns out I don't do so well under general anyway. I was quite groggy and asked the same questions repeatedly, without really being conscious. I wanted to know immediately how many eggs they retrieved. I remember coming to and demanding to know (little did I know that I'd already asked at least seventy times before that moment).
I got three eggs. I want to cry. I know the odds, I know that it’s a downward pyramid to success, where you lose some at every stage. And our downward pyramid starts with three. It seems almost impossible that we’re going to get through all the gates to a viable embryo…
Next gate: fertilisation. And then growing to blastocyst stage, and then testing for chromosomal normal embryos.
Three gates, where 70% of our embryos are expected to drop off. My body is sore, and I’m cramping and starving and annoyed at everyone for fussing.
And I’m gutted. I’m so sad. Three feels like such a pitiful number… especially when I know other ladies get 20+ eggs, three just feels so impossible, like the odds are destined to fail.
I’m scared that for all the time we’ve spent, all the injections and scans and tears, and all the money (sad face) that we’ll end up with no embryos at the end. I’m scared that even with pumping my body full of hormones for two weeks, we only got three. That if I wasn’t full of stimulants, I’d have none. I’m scared I’ll never get pregnant and have a baby. It’s a terrifying thought.
Phew. All of the fears.
I was told to try balance the fear with the positive, so here is the other side: I'm grateful that I know now what my body is doing, and not five years down the track when it's too late to do anything about it. I'm grateful that I have Zee who hasn't shied away from any of this, who has been so wonderful and gracious, even when I've broken down. I'm grateful that I at this point I have no regrets - I'll never wonder about what would have happened if we hadn't don't IVF.
Even if the worst happens, we'll handle whatever comes the best we can.