IVF round two has officially concluded as we received the final results today regarding the fate of our embryos. The nine eggs retrieved during our second egg retrieval yielded three blastocysts. See the breakdown below. (For a more detailed explanation of the progression of embryo growth post transfer, refer to my post describing the grading of embryos.)
- 9 mature eggs retrieved
- 7 fertilized
- 3 make it to blastocyst stage and are sent for PGD and PGS testing
We were initially disappointed by this rather steep drop-off of embryos, as we actually ended up with one less blastocyst to send out for testing than we had last time. In my mind – and this is not statistically sound at all – since it took four embryos to yield one healthy embryo, three embryos will obviously yield zero.
I had come to terms with that “logic,”and started to move on. And moving on is is looking to the one, perfectly healthy embryo that we do have. I can’t believe that I dismissed this embryo in December and instead of feeling intense gratitude I felt somewhat disappointed that there were not more. Now, all I feel is overwhelming thankfulness for that miracle embryo and all I want to do is schedule its transfer…like right now. But of course with everything in IVF, the now must be tempered with more, more, and more, waiting!
Well, today that wait has come to an end, my friends. Three and half weeks after retrieval day we finally have the results of this last cycle. Our genetic counselor called me this morning as I was brushing my teeth and I had to put her on mute so that I could spit out my toothpaste. My hands were shaking I was so excited. She said that out of the three embryos that were sent out for testing, ZERO had the inheritable disease we are trying to avoid and TWO are chromosomally normal.
TWO! TWO! TWO!
That means two + the embryo we already have “on ice” = THREE EMBIES!
This is amazing news and nothing will ever take this feeling away from me. We started this journey with the hope of becoming parents to a child unaffected with this inheritable disease and we now have THREE tested and approved chances to make that wish a reality. THREE means the stakes are not so high, THREE means we could have an unsuccessful transfer and still not lose any hope. THREE means that out of the seven blastocysts that we made, almost half are healthy and viable for pregnancy. This is higher than most IVF averages, and we are thrilled. 🙂
So what’s next? Well, with these great results in hand, we’ve decide it’s time step off the IVF rollercoaster for a bit and get ourselves on some solid ground. Due to the timing of my natural cycle, a transfer for us will not be in the cards until the end of March. That gives us almost 6-weeks to relax, recharge, and regroup. In no particular order, here’s why an official “IVF Vacation” is so necessary for us:
- Body Recovery: I’ve already started hitting the gym post egg retrieval, but I’m so excited to be able to maintain my normal workout routine and not have the ping-pong weight gain of hormonal side effects.
- Mind Recovery: IVF is all-consuming. Between google searching, blogging, and researching medical journals, I have been fully immersed in this world during every minute of my waking hours. I’ve learned so much valuable information, but I need a break. I’m putting myself on a “google cleanse” over the next few weeks and using this time to rest my mind and channel my energy toward other activities, like trying acupuncture or reading a juicy piece of fiction.
- Work Recovery: Being a full-time advocate for your own health is a full-time job. My real job has often taken a backseat on account of it. I’ve been so fortunate to have the flexibility to work from home and keep my own hours during these crazy last few months, but now it’s time to refocus my efforts back into my career.
- Friend Recovery: Even though most of our close friends know that we’re going through IVF, it still has affected my relationships with these people. I’ve become much more of a recluse during this time, as drinking, socializing, or basically doing anything that’s not related to this cause just seems superfluous. I look forward to participating in events with our friends that aren’t geared around our nightly injection schedule, or my morning monitoring routine, or food and drink restrictions.
- Relationship Recovery: In some ways my husband and I have become closer during this time. Through the laughter, the tears, and the shots in the rear, we’ve become a unified team, supporting each other completely during this quest to parenthood. However, shots, bruises, blood work and blastocysts do NOT a romance make. I’m so excited to connect with my husband over the things we are most passionate about – wine, travel, great food, and each other – and to feel that romantic connection again.
To put this plan into action, we’re kicking off our “IVF vacation” with an actual vacation. First up, a ski lodge in the snowy Adirondacks for the weekend, then a quick beach trip to sunny Florida, and lastly the west coast for one week in San Francisco and Napa Valley, California. Some of this is work related, some of this is vacation related – but ALL of it is a bonafide break from IVF!