Our beautiful 3 day old embryos
I'm on 1dp3dt (1 day post 3 day transfer). Basically that just means I transferred a 3 day old embryo yesterday. Along the way, I've picked up a lot of infertility lingo. It's amazing what I learned over the past few months, not only about infertility but about myself. As far as procedures go, this one wasn't too bad. I arrived at 9:30 and was on my way home by 10:00. What basically happens is you go into the surgical room, see your embryos in the petri dish through a TV screen to confirm they have the right ones (God I hope :) so), they do the speculum thing and insert a "test" catheter through your cervix to make sure there will be no complications. Once this is completed the real catheter, with our embryos inside, is inserted and then they are released. All this is seen and guided via traditional ultrasound through my stomach. It was amazing that Chris and I could see this entire process on the screen and actually watch them be released into their new home. It was surreal....we nearly cried and would have if others weren't in the room for our big moment. In order to make the ultrasound picture higher quality, you are required to have a full bladder. While this doesn't seem like a big deal, it is. I obviously drank TOO much water and thought at one point this was some sort of medieval torture technique. At times it was quite painful but it didn't last very long thankfully. Remember, even though my eggs were retrieved three days prior, the ovaries stay swollen for quite some time, often the size of a softball. Needless to say there's not alot of room in there so even small amount of liquid in the bladder is awful. I now know what it's like for pregnant women to feel they have to pee all the time. Actually I'm still experiencing this but it gets better each day. After the transfer you lie still for 10 minutes and then are discharged home for modified bed rest for a few days. After I got home, I made myself comfortable on the couch that has been my home these past several days. Throughout the day I was experiencing intermittent sharp pains in my ovaries....I relate it to the time I had appendicitis but not quite as intense and long lasting. That too gets better each day. I wish someone would have told me all the side effects IVF can have (especially the emotional ones). However, I still would do it a thousand times over. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, other times not so much.
The past few days have been nerve wracking. We didn't get word until about a day later that 10 of 14 eggs were usable and 7 fertilized. We had to wait until Thursday to find out how they were growing. This was NOT a fun time. Just because they fertilized doesn't mean they'll grow. In fact I read that usually only 30% make it. This had me horrified since that meant only 2....I was SO praying to have some to freeze in case this fails. Thursday (at work) I got the call that we had 2 four celled, 1 three celled, and 4 two celled embryos. At least they are made it, but we were (and still are) not out of the woods yet. Unless by the next morning we had 5 eight celled embryos, we would have the transfer on day three instead waiting until day 5. Again....more waiting. I got the call at promptly 7:30am that I should arrive at 9:30 for the transfer. The secretary called and therefore I was unable to see how the embryos were doing. This really scared me. It was the first time I really felt like a parent....how are my "kids"?@!!! We arrived, had the transfer of the best looking 2 embryos (2 perfect Grade 1 embryos), and then were told the fate of our other 5 potential babies. As of yesterday all were still only at 4 cells (7 to 9 cells on day three is what we are aiming at for viable embryos). They said anything could happen so not to worry. That's quite easy for them so say. Sometimes bad looking embryos take off and grow beautifully while good looking ones just stop growing. We will know Monday morning the end result. They must make it to blastocyst stage (a certain stage in embryo development) in order to be considered viable and be frozen. I am hoping and praying for some to make it, but God it's incredibly nerve wracking.
Some clinics wait until the embryos are 5 days old, while others transfer earlier at day 3. There are many factors involved. First, if you only have a few, the sooner they can get them into you the better. Our womb beats any petri dish in a lab. If you wait too long, they may die and you may take the risk of having nothing to transfer. But if you are lucky enough to have alot, many times they wait until day 5 when the embryo are more robust and capable of implanting. We were not so lucky, but either way viable pregnancies can happen with both. In our case there was no question what to do and which embryos to choose. What I've learned is that even poor looking embryos can develop into beautiful babies and sometimes even the best looking ones fail to implant and cause pregnancy. You just never know.
The two embryos we had were perfect Grade 1's. That means that by day 3 they were between 7 and 9 cells, all cells were equal in size, and there was little to no fragmentation (pieces that break off and float around). There are different grading systems and criteria embryologist use to grade the quality....I've learned it's an art, not a science and can vary clinic to clinic. While having 2 text book, picture perfect embryos is great news, we still have no guarantees which rocks me to the core. I'm on modified bed rest until Monday morning, so I have nothing to do but think.