Monday, October 12, 2009

Hoping the Second Time's the Charm

Sorry dear readers...I have not been giving you the attention you deserve. It has been a very busy 12 days since my last post. And as we've learned is normal with IVF, it's been an emotional ride, especially in the last week.

Red felt pretty good during the ovary stimulation, and the doctor gave us the go ahead to inject the HCG a few days earlier than in our last cycle. Went that night to get the HCG from our magical bag of pharmacy provided material... no HCG. The pharmacy had been so good the last cycle at giving us everything we needed well ahead of time. Pharmacy is closed. Doctor on call won't call us back. Finally the doctor calls us back and Red can instead inject another dose of the stimulating drug. In our heads we knew that another day didn't really matter... we knew from talking to the nurses that it was a 50/50 call for the HCG that day anyway. But in our guts we were so worried. We were completely reassured when we went in the next day, and the pharmacist apologized, but it was more stress in an already stressful situation.

And then we went in for the retrieval. Red's Estradiol levels weren't as high as last time, and there weren't quite as many follicles. (I actually don't know why we didn't go as long with the stimulation as we did last cycle.) But we expected, based on the levels and follicle numbers, to get at least six eggs.

We got two.

It was so disheartening and disappointing. We were extremely sad after the retrieval. We tried to lift our spirits with the fact that we got even two eggs (some people going through the cycle don't get any), but we kept comparing it to the last cycle where we got seven good eggs. In that cycle we lost three to panspermia (Red's nickname for it is "slutty eggs"), implanted two on Day 3 and lost the other two in attempting to get them to Day 5 for freezing. We knew we were doing ICSI (direct injection of sperm into egg) to avoid the panspermia but odds were not good that both eggs would survive. (We found out later that it's about 70% survival, but how do you apply that to two eggs.) It's always better to have more in case the unforseen happens. And we didn't know the quality of the eggs so we didn't have any idea what their chances were. It was a pretty low day.

So the next morning we're asleep and the phone rings. We instantly know who's calling and we brace for the worst. I'm a little shaky as I hand the phone to Red, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The ICSI went well, both fertilized, and our little cells our chugging along. A little bit of relief for that day, but still the nagging, depressing worry. Next day, same thing: awakened by phone call, shaky handoff... and they're still going strong. One is scored at 19 out of 20, the other a perfect 20 out of 20. Later that day we get the call to come in the next morning for the implantation. One more night, still worried as we get to the clinic, and Sonya the embryologist comes out and tells us... still two, still scoring 19 and a 20. She shows them to us on the microscope hooked up to the monitor.

Whew...a little bit of relief... our two eggs held on until day three. The doctor said the implantation went very well, very smooth. We got a similar ultrasound picture as last time, with the little white dot showing the air bubbles placed around the cells within the medium.

Red is not feeling as sore as she was at this point last time, but other than that, we're at the same place we were last cycle. We've got two cells (with even the same scores) in the oven. We have to wait a little more than two weeks to go for a pregnancy test. So sometime before the end of the month, we'll get our first test results back. That's test #1. Hopefully Red's levels (I think it's the pregnancy-generated HCG) will be nice and high this time and then it's more waiting for the 7 week ultrasound sometime in mid-November. That's the first time we'll be able to feel any kind of confidence. So it's at least another month of worrying. And then there's the 1st trimester hurdle to reach...

But we take some hope from the fact that with only two eggs harvested, we got pretty much the best possible result, and an identical situation out of implantation as we did the last time. Now we just have to wait. Red has taken all this week off, and she's just going to relax. The doctors say that she could do her normal activities (work, school, etc.) without any affect on our little embryos, but it makes her feel better at a gut level to give them a nice relaxed home for the first week of their time in her uterus. I have to admit, it makes me feel a little better too.

So that's the story so far. Please keep sending us your love, good thoughts, prayers, meditations, and crossed fingers and toes. And just to confirm, Red still thinks I look hot in scrubs, but she doesn't want to see me in them again for at least 34 weeks. I'm very hopeful that that will happen.

P.S. Here's us making eyes at our camera trying to relieve a little bit of our nervousness on implantation day. Red's bladder is full to bursting for the implantation, but she looks great. I, on the other hand, look like some sort of bearded puffer fish.


  1. Tycho doesn't think you look like a bearded puffer fish at all (which he calls a pom-pom fish).

    Joc, according to Tycho, looks pretty like a mama. Which sounds more prophetic than it is. Mama is a word for a lady. But I think you both look lovely and I send warm nesting thoughts.

    Now, I have to go play farm. A duck has just stolen a baby piggy and is eating it up.


  2. You don't look like a bearded puffer fish. You look like a bearded puffer fish with glasses, in a scrub cap.

    You're right though - Joc looks great, despite the circumstances. That is, the circumstances of being married to a bearded puffer fish in glasses and a scrub cap.

  3. Fingers and toes are firmly crossed, and prayers and good wishes are being sent your way.
    You both look great to me, but I am slightly biased.
    Love you!

  4. Yay! You're PUPO! (as they say on the message boards)

  5. Those two little eggs are amazingly awesomely cool. Settle in, little eggs!!! And here's something to look forward to: Daddy doesn't ALWAYS look like that, and Mummy IS that beautiful. xoBetsy

  6. Best wishes. I'm mentally influencing the universe in your favour as much as I can.

    What is "panspermia" in this context? I always thought it was the theory that life, or the building blocks for life, were seeded on Earth by extraterrestrial objects (or beings, if you're willing to go that far). Here it sounds like...well, it doesn't sound pleasant.

  7. Thanks, guys! And thanks Travis for the lovely photo of Tim as an actual puffer fish. I think he should include it here for the enjoyment of all -- I'll mention that to him.

    Shannon: :-) !!

    Travis, panspermia (or polyspermia, as I think we were calling it before) means my eggs allowed more than one sperm to enter. They were whorish and that's bad. In this context, that is.

  8. btw, Travis and Tasha: what on earth is going on in your house? Ducks and piglets?? Have you gone completely west coast and forced your child to raise your food?

  9. Is it bad that I kind of want eggs right now? Is that weird? Cause if that's weird, just let me know. But I kind of do.

  10. Weh, that's totally okay. In fact, my FB status the other day was an oblique reference to eggs, which somebody (not in the know) suggested I use to make banana bread. It's all good! (I had eggs for lunch today, btw, so scramble 'em up!)