The Fate of the Fallen Embryos

Okay, time to give you an update, because it’s been a flat out few days following the Transfer and I haven’t had a chance to get to this blog since then. We’ve had back-to-back weddings two days straight (The Partner and I are wedding photographers), which of course meant lots and lots of babies and toddlers and sweet little kids surrounding us, not to mention lots of wishes for future babies and growing families for the betrothed couples sealing the knot.

I’m not sure it was the right time for me to be surrounded by beautiful babies, frankly, but Wedding #2 was easier than Wedding #1. I have to say – because I’m trying to document the whole “emotional journey” of IVF here, as well as just making sarcastic jokes about needles – that I spent a good chunk of Wedding #1 trying not to burst into snotty, sobbing tears. Especially when one of the beautiful babies had the single boy’s name The Partner and I have ever agreed on. Yeah, thanks fate, for throwing that one my way immediately after the setback of losing all the embryos bar one, and that one not exactly being the strongest.

Anyway, the whole “what if this IVF malarky doesn’t work and I never have kids?” thing was creeping up on me during Wedding #1, but by Wedding #2 I was back on track. And there were some criminally cute little ‘uns running around that wedding, up to and including the wedding couple’s own 15 month old daughter and 2 year old nephew. By then, far more my normal self, I could happily coo over the kids without any hint of sudden downward emotional trajectory.

Phew. For a moment there I thought my fears had got the better of me. But luckily my insane optimism and totally unreasonable expectations of success have once more come to the fore.

So, an update, and the reason why I was struggling being amongst so many kiddies the day after Transfer. While I was waiting to go in to the transfer, A Scientist came to speak to me. She wasn’t in a white coat, which was a shame, but she was in a blue one and she was very nice and she explained what had happened to my embryos so far. To recap what you already know:

1. Five eggs were collected

2. Four of those eggs were mature

3. All four fertilised – which was a Yay! moment, because that’s very rare

4. Within 24 hours, one of those embryos ‘arrested’. Arrested means stopped developing. That is, it carked it.

Now, I’m told that first embryo to go was abnormal. Not in a “oh my god my genetics means I have abnormal embryos!” way, just in a “there are always some abnormal embryos around, everybody has them, nothing surprising or concerning”, kind of way. So that was okay, understand all that.

By Day 2 after Egg Collection (EC Day is day 0, just to confuse you, because IVF is like that, confusing almost all the time), all three remaining embryos were well on track. By that time they expect them to have four cells and two did, while one had three. And Day 3 – Thursday – they would expect them to divided into around six cells.

Except Day 3 for our embryos found one four-cell embryo had stopped dividing – Arrested! – while the other four-cell embryo had gone backwards. It was now only two cells. No, don’t ask me how that is possible, but we seemed to have a regressing embryo. If we waited long enough, it may have ended up back as sperm and egg swimming about refusing to meet each other in the same petrie dish or something. Either way, it, too, had Arrested!

So one was left still developing, the one that only had three cells on Day 2 and by Day 3 had four cells, somewhat fewer than expected. That’s the one they implanted back in me. The Scientist explained this isn’t anything to worry about. Some embryos develop slower in the lab and need to be back in Their Natural Environment (me), where they then catch up in the growth-stakes. That’s perfectly normal. So said The Scientist.

I have to say, after what happened to its brother and sister embryos, it still doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence.

Sooo…. Right now this is where we’re at. I’ve had the Transfer, and I’ll update you on what that was like shortly, because it was one of the most fascinating parts of this experience so far, not to mention one of the most awkward. Now we have to wait two weeks, at which point I go in for a pregnancy test. And there’s nothing to do in the meantime except wait…

… and wait…

… and wait…

Can you imagine what it’s like to wait for a fortnight, trying not to think about whether or not you’re pregnant, all of the time? I can handle needles twice daily, I can internal ultrasounds and blood tests, I can handle general anaesthetic, I can even handle the abdominal pain following Egg Collection leaving me feeling like I’d been kicked in the stomach by a World Championship Winning kick-boxer for three days.

But waiting? Doing nothing but waiting? Oooh, this is going to be tough…

Kind Regards

The Patient


Published in: on March 6, 2011 at 11:00 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. *likes*

    …oh wait, this isn’t Facebook, is it? Damn.

  2. […] 18.  The Fate of the Fallen Embryos […]

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