Friday, October 30, 2009

IVF 5: Quality Over Quantity

My fertilised egg has continued to develop and become an embryo. Another hurdle cleared and only one more to go.

The transfer this morning was excellent: a kind, friendly group of women all clearly pleased for me and wishing me well. The transfer itself was gentle - while the moment the speculum goes in is never much fun, I couldn't actually feel the rest, which is a good sign.

On our departure, I inquired about our embryo, and was told that it was a top quality, grade one embryo. Embryo quality is the best overall predictor of implantation and pregnancy. This is the best we've done in more than a year.

A grade one embryo and a good transfer are great news. I have just as good a chance of getting pregnant as any woman walking out of the clinic, and probably a better chance that most.

As I walked back to the car this morning, it was almost too much to take in. I could feel my whole body and soul light up with hope. Usually, I try not to hope too much. But dammit, after all that misery and humiliation, I'm going to enjoy this and stay hopeful as long as I can.

Just stay with us, little embryo. Mummy wants you to stay.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

IVF 5: It Made It!

We were supposed to call at 10:30am this morning for our fertilisation report, but our nice embryologist said she would be visiting our egg at 7:50am this morning and I could call then if I wanted.

I did. Our little egg is fertilised and ready to go!

Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IVF 5: Finally Some Good News

I just spoke to my embryologist, who said the egg looks quite good. It's too early to assign it a formal grade, but the crucial factor is that it has a polar body, which makes it possible for it to be fertilised. The egg is a little dark, but not too bad at all.

I could tell it was good news, because she sounded excited. In fact, she was too excited to have the tact to not tell me how surprised she was!

I like this embryologist. Not only is she always extremely nice to me but, when she told us last time that neither of our eggs had fertilised, she had obviously been crying. She hardly knew us, but she wept for us. It made me feel less alone. I trust her to do her very best by my little egg during the ICSI process.

I've tried to stay as neutral as possible about this cycle, to keep my expectations low, because it just hurts too much when they are dashed over and over again. And of course, my expectations really are low to be so thrilled to produce one egg that apparently has the potential to be fertilised. It's hard to see how I could set the bar any lower.

But I must admit I feel excited and hopeful for the first time in a long time. I suddenly feel just the teensiest bit younger, knowing that I'm not all dried up just yet. Even if I don't get pregnant, I'm glad to feel this way again.


As usual, my IVF cycle didn't go well. I knew my specialist thought I wasn't a good prospect, and this was confirmed when I saw the recommendations for a massive dose of stimulation drugs followed by ICSI - injecting the sperm into the egg. They were really bringing out the big guns, now!

I started the cycle with four good-looking follicles close together in size and a number of smaller ones. It looked surprisingly promising. But over the space of a sad, humiliating week, three shrivelled up and I was left with only one viable-looking follicle and some much smaller ones unlikely to catch up.

The recommendation was to cancel the cycle as, in most cases, one follicle barely justifies the process.

But I felt that, if I failed to even complete three cycles in a row, let alone get pregnant, it would be hard to justify any future attempts. If I cancelled this cycle, I was unlikely to try again. It would be all over.

With the way my cycles have gone, there was no guarantee that my cycles are going to get any better. It's far more likely that they will get worse, that I am just running out of eggs and it's now or never. So, I heard the advice and decided to go ahead anyway. My specialist said there was a 90 per cent chance there was one egg in that follicle, about a 70 per cent chance of fertilisation, and about a 50 per cent chance of actually getting an embryo to transfer. Even if I don't get pregnant, and just get the one egg, just hearing about the egg quality will give me some idea as to whether we ought to just quit or whether there is still a chance.

Pickup this morning was fine - I was half-expecting no egg from that one follicle, but we do have that one egg. ICSI commences in the next hour.

Now, I am just waiting to hear.