Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Third time's the charm

After strike one and strike two, we had decisions to make. We'd always said if we weren't pregnant by the New Year, we'd start looking into adoption. And we did, sort of... enough to quickly see that the process was every bit as expensive as IVF with ten times the wait. For whatever reason, the idea of going through the adoption process never really stuck. I think if we'd been anything but "Unexplained Infertility," had any reason besides our history to believe that we couldn't get pregnant on our own, we might have been more serious about it. But something in me couldn't give up the dream of the wavy-haired kid with light eyes that I wanted us to create. Most adoption firms require applicants to pledge not to pursue assisted reproductive technology while pursuing an adoption, but that felt like giving up to me. Not that I wanted to go through IVF again, mind you - the thought made me instantly tear up. But there we were at the end of January, in our doctor's office, telling him we were ready to try again. In some ways it was easier to put our heads down and forge ahead than to think about the big, sad picture of being back there again, so we actively tried not to be big-picture about the choice. It just was what it was.

The conversation at post-IVF debriefs with the doctor is basically "what did we learn and what will we do differently?" This time our doctor wanted to use higher doses of stimulation medications and do a 5-day transfer instead of a 3-day transfer. The 5-day transfer felt particularly hopeful to me. On IVF boards this debate can get pretty heated, but the basic idea is this: by spending more time in the lab and giving the embryos the chance to develop into blastocysts, you're increasing the odds that what you transfer back inside the uterus is as viable as possible. Some people also like to point out that the uterus is the natural home of blastocysts, whereas embryos are still in fallopian tubes at Day 3 during natural conception, so you're making a more biologically sound choice with a 5-day blastocyst transfer. Here's the downside: waiting five days in the lab means more of your embryos will die off, embryos that you might have otherwise implanted if you weren't doing a 5-day transfer. Now I'd argue that I'd rather know up front that these embryos weren't going to make it before transferring them, but others think each one has a shot, so you should give them a shot. To each her own. The bottom line with 5-day transfers is that you need more eggs to begin with, because fewer will make it to the blastocyst stage than they would the embryo stage.

Blastocyst or exotic flower?

Despite the huge amount of dread I felt going into this cycle, the stimulation drugs in February (even with the mega-high doses) didn't grind life to a halt. Sure, I had a huge belly ringed with bruises. Sure, I collapsed at the end of each day... hard. Sure, I was sick to death of needles. But like everything, you get through it. For me personally, being busy in times like these is a blessing. I worked a million hours and ran a huge public meeting while looking like I was pregnant and took the elevator a lot, but I made it. I looked up and it was March 1. Retrieval day. I donated twelve eggs to a really good cause. We breathlessly awaited lab reports, and by March 6, we had two perfect blastocysts ready to transfer and one left to freeze.

Some funny things about our March 6 transfer day: DC had a freak snowstorm that morning - gorgeous, hard-falling winter snow to make our way through to get to the hospital. We were placed in a different part of the clinic than ever before - something felt new and positive about that. We were both laughing a lot that morning. I remember that I was wearing green. The transfer was a breeze (always so simple compared with retrieval), and before I knew it, we were on our way home. The blood test was in nine days.

I don't know that I felt different that time. Symptom-wise, I felt the same as always - still bloated, still sore, still not quite myself. I held out as long as I could to take a home pregnancy test. On March 11, just five days after the blastocyst transfer, I saw something. Not a line, mind you, but a shadow of a line. By the next day there was no denying it - we had something real cookin'.

That's "6 days past 5-day transfer," for those of you who don't speak IVF

We got our blood test results Friday morning. By that afternoon we were en route to the Outer Banks to see my family, calling T's family on the way. It was completely, insanely surreal - we were three months shy of a full three years since we'd hoped to hear that news. We were giddy.


  1. Love these posts. Hope you are feeling great!

  2. I had a similar experience and it's fantastic that you've been so open. My doctor automatically had the 5 day transfer and I had no idea there was so much controversy. Thank goodness or I would've obsessed over yet another thing!

  3. I can't imagine what that must have been like after all you had been through to see that positive test- goosebumps!

  4. I'll be using this next time: "In some ways it was easier to put our heads down and forge ahead than to think about the big, sad picture of being back there again, so we actively tried not to be big-picture about the choice. It just was what it was."
    I hope you can enjoy every minute of being pregnant, but know its ok to curse it too. It's hard growing a human!

  5. Cheering! At my desk. Also kind of crying. Really glad I took a few minutes to get caught up before checking out for the long holiday weekend.

  6. I am so glad you are documenting this whole process and all your emotions. I'm kind of sick to my stomach at the thought of doing it all over again for #2, but knowing that there could be that positive test at the end and then a baby makes it all worth it. You are inspiring me!


C'mon, make my day...

Related Posts with Thumbnails